Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't been more consistent with my posts lately. It's been a little hard to find material to blog about with the recent winning streak, especially with the way the Red Sox destroyed the White Sox as the swept the four game set this weekend. My personal life isn't interesting enough to merit a post, in fact, it's boring enough to do more damage to my traffic than this week of silence has done.

I don't really want to post too much about the NFL at the moment because there isn't a lot to say about preseason. I am psyched that the season is right around the corner now. Yes, players can get hurt and teams don't pay players anywhere near regular season salaries so owners make lots of money and sell fans an inferior product. The CHB covered that to death in his recent column on the topic, which was basically the same lame premise he does to death every August.

I like watching the guys who are fighting for their football lives battle in the last minutes of these preseason games. Yeah, it's not the same quality as a regular season game, but it can take on a desperate intensity that makes the games worth watching, at least when the games come up against reruns or even the latest run of terrible original programming on the Turner family of networks.

And as for the risk players take, no one has yet come up with a reasonable alternative to get players some game experience before the regular season opens. Practices and scrimmages are important tools to get teams ready, but players need to face other teams in front of the crowd even if it is only for a few series. But I'm not interested in the future prospects of Kevin Kolb to write a full post about it.

One thing I've noticed that bothers me as I've watched the preseason games is the NBC studio show. If you've read this space regularly, you probably noticed that I hate Cris Collinsworth. And I hate Bob Costas. And I hate Tiki Barber. Put them all together and it's a very, very bad thing. It's even starting to make me slightly dislike Jerome Bettis, who should be immune as a Notre Dame player who submitted a huge performance in a bowl victory.

It seems to me that the folks who run the NBC studio show have made a decision on the way they want their broadcast to work. They seem hell bent on manufacturing controversy so that they have something to talk about. They want to be the edgy show. So they aired Tiki Barber's criticism of Eli Manning's leadership. Tonight, they brought up things from Jerome Bettis' memoirs that might cause contention with his former team.

This bothered me on a number of levels. First, Bettis has been retired for over a year. He's old news. Then, who even knew he wrote a book? He's Jerome Bettis, not Albert Schweitzer. It's good that he wrote the book. It's good that he might be a positive role model for other people. But I don't think the book jumped off the shelves. If his book had any merits as a tell-all tome, it probably would have generated more impact without this little forum discussion.

I've come to believe that these guys are becoming a sort of male version of the View. They don't bring any new insights to the table. They waste time that could be devoted to showing more highlights that we probably already saw ten times. They try to start problems that don't need to be started so that they have something to talk about to justify their existence.

I understand that they have an unenviable time slot from a football news perspective. With ESPN, NFL Network, the web and Direct TV, people have access to scores, highlights, injury updates and anything else under the NFL sun long before the NBC guys take to the air. But there is still a game to be played and some panel must introduce it and provide half-time fodder. So they try to manufacture their own stories and that's beat.

While I'm posting, I have to pass this story on, in case you haven't seen it yet. In Japan, there is a recall on arcade arm wrestling games because they're breaking arms. I find that to be pretty damn funny, but then I'm a bad person. Imagine having to go to the damn emergency room to tell the doctor that an arcade arm wrestling contraption kicked your ass? Provided it happens to some one else, that is not beat. In fact it could be the anti-beat. In fact it's awesome.

I was surprised that there is a mechanical arm wrestling contraption on the market. How bored could you possibly be that you'd want to arm wrestle a machine in the arcade? It's good that these people with too much time on their hands get hurt by the machines they use to occupy their attention for a few seconds. Perhaps I ought to be a bit more sensitive, but personal growth is a long, painful process. Kind of like arm wrestling a Japanese arm wrestling game.

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