I should be watching the Superbowl. I used to be an avid NFL fan. I grew up playing football and love the game. I have fond memories of watching Doug Williams, Steve Young, James Wilder, Mike Alstott, Warrick Dunn, Lee Roy Selmon, and many other players. These men were tremendous athletes that would sometimes do amazing things.
I grew up in Tampa and went to a number of Tampa Bay Buccaneer games. I was at the game when Tampa Bay blew a 24 point fourth-quarter lead to the Detroit Lions which at the time was the largest lead lost in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay struggled mightily during those years and some fans showed their displeasure by wearing bags over their heads. During those years it was exciting that the Buccaneers belonged to the so-called black and blue division of the NFC. The teams in that division were the Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears, so even though the Buccaneers rarely made the playoffs, we saw them play against some legendary players and teams.
When friends and I had a chance we would play football or if there were just a couple of us we’d throw around the ball. We played on gravel, sand, grass, and pavement. We played hard; diving into walls and trees to make receptions. We injured ourselves for the love of the game.
I spent many hours watching professional football. I learned the rules of the game and often could correctly answer the questions posed during the games in the “you make the call” commercials. I can anticipate what will happen during a play by the way the teams line up. As I see the play start, I can tell from blocking and player movement how the play will unfold.
Watching a football game gave me a couple of hours where I could disconnect from reality and enjoy very skilled athletes playing the game that I also played and enjoyed. There were unbelievable feats of skill. A running back spinning, dodging, and somehow making their way through traffic.
The NFL is no longer interesting to me. The sport has been forgotten in the hype and drama. The coverage has shifted away from the sport and more toward personal dramas and political statements. Some of the commercials scold the audience telling them they should behave differently, assuming they are someone who acts a certain way. As someone who watches for the sport and competition, this takes away the enjoyment.
I watched a few minutes of the Superbowl, but it was not very entertaining to me. I would rather write an article or refinish some cabinets. There are a lot of ways I would like to spend a few found hours and watching the Superbowl no longer makes the list.
I am happy for the Buccaneers, their fans, and my children who were pleased by this victory. And if you told the younger version of me that my home team would be in the Superbowl and I would only watch the first few minutes of the game, I would not have believed you. But for now, the NFL has lost the soul of the game in political statements and they’ve lost my viewership.