How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the NFL

The NFL sucks … I know this is a sour way to open a column, but after watching another putrid Super Bowl, I can’t come up with anything else to say. It’s embarrassing to think I’ve been taking the NFL seriously for so long and believing it’s not staged.

There’s an old saying my dad uses frequently that goes,” The proof is in the pudding.” Watching the Patriots’ second-half comeback in the Super Bowl was all the proof I needed to know the NFL is rigged … Cooked up by the writers of The Mighty Ducks and Angels in the Outfield to sell processed food stuffs, Ford trucks and casers of Bud Light. We all know Steven Spielberg and George Lucas killed the Indiana Jones franchise with The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and now a bunch of Hollywood writers have killed the NFL.

The fix was so obvious that the players, coaches, commentators and crowds had to be Neuralyzed by the Men in Black to erase all memories. They couldn’t get to us normal folks who couldn’t afford the bloated, two-month payment ticket cost, but let one of us speak out and we’ll be Neutralized with ease. It will become the biggest-cover up in our nation’s history since a bunch of drunken aliens’ crash landed their spaceship in the New Mexico desert.

If you don’t think this year’s Super Bowl was rigged, then I’ve got one for you. The WWE is real and somehow Goldberg and Chris Jericho walk away from bone-crushing hits that would paralyze us average folks. And just think, MLB higher-ups kicked Pete Rose out of the league and will keep him out of Cooperstown for much less.

I shouldn’t be as surprised at the outcome as I am, especially after watching this year’s Presidential Election where the only suitable candidate had his bid sabotaged by his own party.

Sanders would’ve crushed Trump in the general election, helping us avoid the Tragic Folly of Errors that will occur over the next four years under Trump’s Administration, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz went Debbie Does Bernie and stacked the cards against Sanders. Better to be the party that nominated the country’s first black and woman president than to beat the orange-stain you find in your toilet bowl.

Of course, the powers that be will tell us it’s all lies and that New England simply outplayed Atlanta in the second half and that Clinton was the best choice for the Democratic nomination. The Trump Administration will say it’s all fake news, while Clinton aides will rush to change the password on her email to conceal any insider information she had on the game. Sanders will use the fix to warn us of the dangers of capitalism and suggest everyone in the NFL should get a trophy. The only bright spot will be Ben Carson saying he’s never been as awake as he was watching the end of the game.

My girlfriend, growing up, was an avid NASCAR fan. However, as childhood loves often go, her love for the sport disappeared once Jeff Gordon arrived on the scene and turned it Hollywood. And now, the NFL has the same problem. A Hollywood Complex.

The league has become nothing more than an unwatchable, five-month telenovela written by geek screenwriters and acted out by narcissistic owners and baby-soft players who are just as likely to shoot themselves in the leg or catch a murder rap than rush for 1,000 yards, catch 80 passes or record 10 sacks in a season.

Gone are the days where rogue freaks like Sonny Jurgensen, Dick Butkus and Lawrence Taylor terrorized the league, turning opponents into nothing more than over-cooked spaghetti noodles or runny oatmeal. They have instead been replaced by multi-millionaire babies who retire after getting a nasty case of the runs or the clap.

Today, the star quarterback on any team is just as likely to be an ex-convict who got released early after a YouTube video of him impaling a fellow inmate with a thrown roll of toilet paper went viral than a Heisman Trophy winner.

So how did we get to this point? How did the NFL became the newest version of reality TV?

Six months before Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president, The Real World premiered on MTV, marking the network’s retreat from music videos and its embrace of reality programming.

By the time Clinton’s second term was almost up eight years later, reality TV was starting to take over mainstream culture, thanks to the success of The Real World and CBS’s Survivor. By the 2000s, reality shows had transformed into a diverse, Emmy-recognized genre that many said were destroying the fabric of American society.

And that’s how the NFL has reached its current predicament. Roger Goodell is attempting to make the NFL great again by drumming up controversy like a Jersey Shore fight starter to increase the league’s shitty ratings.

If the NFL is turning into a reality-TV league, then we must take a look at some of the rules and tropes of the genre to help us understand where we’re headed. The Golden Rule of reality TV is that the American public loves to watch villains and their ringmasters, but no one ever pulls for them.

One of the reasons Trump was elected was his blunt talk and lack of political correctness. His off-the-script style and penchant for making outrageous claims — alleging that Ted Cruz’s father had something to do with JFK’s assassination or accusing Mexicans of being rapists — is a page taken right out of the reality TV handbook. On competition shows like The Bachelor and Survivor it’s not the people who are the most skilled that last the longest, but the ones that stir up enough rage and hate that viewers can’t turn away from the train wreck.

Surely Goodell and his advisors know this. Goodell has become a modern-day hybrid of Don King and Trump, kick starting controversy to increase the league’s shitty ratings. I mean, come on, did you really think Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel for the National Anthem was solely based on his concern for social injustice in America? No. Part of me believes that Goodell cooked up the plan for Kaepernick once he realized the league’s ratings were headed for the shitter.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Goodell announce a new expansion team in the upcoming weeks … Led by Bill Belichick with Richard Sherman, Ndamukong Suh and Johnny Manziel as the franchise players. Goodell might even go as far to bring Fairplay and Hatch into the league and place them on the Cleveland Browns’ roster. Not only will Fairplay and Hatch be turned into bumbling idiots after the first week of preseason camp, but they will also lose every game. The American public will be satisfied and ratings will return to their sky-high levels.

And that my friends in a nutshell is the NFL Hollywood Complex. I hope my words haven’t been too harsh and if they were, just remember this has been the state of the NFL as told through the eyes of an innocent sportswriter.



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