I’ve been watching the NFL Network a lot lately. It showed up one day a few months ago in our satellite channel list, and was fairly useless for the remainder of the offseason. Sure, there was the occasional NFL Films segment about an interesting game, or an interview with a favorite player, but the hits were few and far between. The ‘behind the scenes’ team cheerleader tryout documentaries were particularly disappointing. They barely showed any group shower scenes, and the pillow fight footage felt staged and hokey. And don’t even get me started about the hot tub makeout sessions. You call that a closeup? And what’s up with that lighting? Just dismal.
“They’re not constantly practicing or playing or shooting growth hormones into players’ eyeballs all that time — they must commute and shop and play and live like the rest of us occasionally.”
Happily, the approach of the NFL season has improved the content available to the flagship station for all things ‘football, the one with the fat guys and the face-stomping, not the one with the too-short shorts and the head-butting’. And I’ve been watching it all. Previews. Highlights. Recaps. Replays. Interviews. Press conferences. I’ve been living a life of total immersion in professional pigskin playing, and I have to say the network hasn’t let me down yet. If only they’d get the slow-motion shots and *boom-chikka-wakka* music right for those by-the-pool cheerleader wet T-shirt contests, I’d give them an A-plus across the board.
One aspect of the football season I’d never really explored before is the preparation that head coaches go through each week. Sure, I knew they put in an awful lot of work. Obviously, you can’t just show up on Sunday and expect the players to be on the same page without careful planning. Otherwise, one of your slavering behemoths on the offensive line could zig while another one zags, and they could end up falling and snapping your quarterback in half. And those fragile little bastards are expensive, so clearly you can’t have that.
What surprised me, though, is the dedication these coaches show for the game. I imagine they take a couple of months off in the spring, but when the preseason begins, these guys are on. Non-stop, twenty-four seven. It seems all they do is eat, drink, think, sleep, breathe, spit, fart, sweat, and bleed football. Probably, they poop footballs, too, but that sounds far too painful to think about very closely. The laces in particular would seem problematic and hurty.
It makes me wonder, though — if these coachines are so obsessed with football for nine or more months out of the year, how do they manage to survive in society? They’re not constantly practicing or playing or shooting growth hormones into players’ eyeballs all that time — they must commute and shop and play and live like the rest of us occasionally. So I wonder — does a head full of football get in the way? Do they line up the shoppers at the grocery store to coordinate a blitz on the checkout clerks? Do they give the fishmongers tossing haddock around down by the docks tips on how to throw a spiral? When making love to their wives, do they pause during foreplay to give a halftime pep talk?:
‘All right, we managed to get into the red zone a few times. That’s good. But I’ve been seeing a lot of sloppy play out there, and way too many mental mistakes. Those false starts are killing us. In the second half, I’d better see some smart decisions, crisp execution, and big licks in the backfield, or so help me god, we’ll be here for two-a-days until you can’t stand up straight.
Remember — this is sixty minutes of hell, and you’re only halfway through it. Stay focused, remember the play book, and dammit, stay hydrated out there. I don’t want any more of those cramping issues we had last week.
Now buckle up that chin strap, put yer head down, and let’s punch one into the end zone for a score. ‘Tight end’ on three… TIGHT END!!‘
Okay, probably they don’t do that.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t. I am so going to try that next time the missus and I get snuggly. And I’ve always wanted to bring a whistle and a clipboard to bed. Just give me the damned ball, coach.Permalink | 2 Comments