Monday, October 31, 2011

Bad football really isn't that bad

David Fleming of EPSN's Page 2, perhaps the most irreverent and therefore the best way to approach sports, took it upon himself after last week's 6-3 Seahawks-Browns game to find the ten worst football games of the last ten years. Fleming didn't count routs in his analysis because those are technically games where somebody plays well, and in a sense I suppose he's right, but from my perspective as a more-or-less dispassionate fan without a particular favourite team, I'd rather watch two crappy teams play a close game. A rout like the Saints' 62-7 win over the Colts last week is simply awful to watch.

I watched most of five football games today by skipping through commercials, kicks of any sort and other undesirable fluff. In the Colts-Titans game, were up 20-0 in the first half, which is when I switched to another game, and went on to win 27-10. I remembered the Bills were playing in Toronto. As I watched the game, the Bills kept making plays, it was great, but when I skipped ahead to the third quarter, the early 13-0 lead had become 20-0, so I stopped watching. The Bills won 23-0.

Then I tried the Jaguars and Texans, hoping that this otherwise unassuming game might have been interesting, but when I tried to watch just the fourth quarter, it was 21-7. I turned it off immediately. The Jaguars did get as close as 21-14, but the Texans put it out of reach with a field goal. I gave about a half hour to the Cowboys-Eagles game, but as dazzling as the Eagles looked, it was a double-digit lead before long and when I skipped to make sure it stayed that way, I saw the score that made it 34-0. That final held up as a 34-7 rout.

As I write this, my fifth game of the day, the Lions-Broncos game, has just become 17-3 for the Lions. Skipping ahead a bit, I saw that it became 38-3 midway through the third quarter on a deep pass to Calvin Johnson. With two minutes left, it's 45-10. I give up. I'll have to wait to watch the Patriots-Steelers game in its entirety, which the Internet has given rumblings (Facebook comments about the game I didn't read, pictures on websites that I immediately closed) of having been interesting.

By contrast, I saw three football games last week: the Jets-Chargers, the Broncos-Dolphins and the Jaguars-Ravens. These Jets and Chargers game was presumably well-played for the first half, but I saw the last twenty minutes (game time) and I was appalled by what I saw, particularly at the end of the game. Still, it was reasonably entertaining to watch as the Jets came back from a 21-10 deficit thanks to the Chargers' miscues. Rivers threw two interceptions that resulted in ten Jets points. This was entertaining.

What was not entertaining was something that I feel like I see far too much, as losing teams stand around doing nothing as the clock runs inside two minutes. The mismanagement of the clock inside two minutes was so egregious that even normally reserved commentators, the sort of vexing people who remind you of an indifferent parent as your brother pummels you, noted the incompetence.

Then we switched over to the Broncos-Dolphins game, where the Dolphins had extended their lead to 15-0 with seven minutes to go. The Broncos didn't score a touchdown until 2:44 to go, then recovered an onside kick before scoring on another goofy-looking Tebow pass. In overtime, it took three possessions that looked as though they might lead to an unsightly 15-15 draw before finally there was a Dolphins turnover that the Broncos used for an 18-15 win.

Even the 12-7 Jaguars game, where the Ravens didn't score until late in the fourth quarter, was more watchable than today's games. They scored with 2:02 left, then recovered a tantalizing onside kick that went about 9.5 yards and bounced backwards, before holding the Jaguars to a 19-second possession. The Ravens had a chance to drive for the winning touchdown from their 20 with 1:43 left, but threw an interception on the second play of the drive. It was ugly, but it was far more watchable than the crap that aired today.


Brian said...

I really prefer college football to the pros, but on any given Saturday you'll find games that could contend for the ten worst. It could either be because of sloppy, ineffective play (like watching Penn State and Illinois trying to go this week in snow and freezing rain), or it could be one of the three-dozen 66-3 blowouts we read about in the paper when supposedly "big" programs schedule teams like Akron, Main, and Gwangju State five times a year.

Oh, but while watching the Cleveland - Seahawks game I did think it was probably the worst game I'd ever seen.

Brian said...

* Maine

Adeel said...

Yeah, if the NFL went out of its way to schedule those sort of games, I can't imagine how bad it would be.

What conference does Gwangju State play in? Big 12?

Brian said...

I'm sure three seconds after Gwangju State formed a football team, Penn State would schedule them.