In case you missed the first one, you can find it here. Unrelated Rants
holiday bye week comes around my thoughts turn bitter and the 180 year old man in me bubbles to the surface. (Oh, who am I kidding? I'm like this all the time. The bye week has nothing to do with it). While attempting to choke back the bile of contempt rising in my throat, I came to the conclusion that the best way to rid myself of all the deep seated hatred boiling in my bloodstream would be to go off on a mindless rant to anyone with enough time on their hands to read it. Congratulations!!! You have chosen of your own free will to be that someone (There's no use fighting it now, you've already clicked the link. It takes more effort to click 'back' than to continue reading).
One rant won’t possibly be therapeutic enough to return me to my usual rational, easy going, non judgmental self (stop laughing DThomas and hmills, just go with it) so I intend to expel as much of the evil in my sole (no that is not misspelled. I store the evil in my feet) as I can with two completely unrelated rants. They may even be somewhat related to football in some small and insignificant way. I feel that with a losing record still in place we've talked about purposely sucking for Luck ad nauseam, and it’s time for something different. Later, in the comments I’d like you (yes, specifically YOU. It’s not a general invite. I’m talking to YOU that is reading this sentence at this exact moment) to take this chance to spew out some of your own disgust about whatever drives you crazy, or call me out as the idiot I profess to be. However, as I’m mere seconds away from slap shooting a kitten off a rooftop with a hockey stick, I get to go first.
Fantasy Football: Look, I'm not a complete idiot (I'm still four credits shy of the sheepskin), I get it. Millions and millions of people love fantasy football. In the last five or six years it may quite possibly be the largest single force that has driven fans to the NFL game. An entire industry has sprung out of nowhere to keep the stats, feed leagues and players real time data, allow users to run drafts on their own schedules or automatically, and pass out really poor fantasy advice from more sources than there are psychic hotline numbers and street side palm readers.
But, precisely because fantasy football is such a driving force, the fans of football (who've always loved seeing points scored) have turned militant in their demands for more and more big plays that result in the highest possible scores for their fantasy team. A great number of them don't seem to even care what the implication of that very scoring is on the NFL game experience. The league has responded by changing the rules to encourage more passes and more scoring in order to satisfy the 'new' NFL fan. (We all know a few of these people. He/She's the person that barely followed the NFL with a passing glance before fantasy football, but now plays in 3 or 4 leagues and talks about their fantasy team like it were an actual NFL club.) And really, no one outside of your league [or in it for that matter] would actually give a 1/2 a dog turd to listen to you talk about your fantasy draft picks or talk smack about how many fake points your fake players scored against some other fake team.
Fantasy football, in bringing so many new breed NFL fans to the television on Sunday, has a responsibility to uphold. Those gigantic fantasy sites (Yahoo.com, NFL.com.etc) with millions and millions of leagues full of fake football fanatics need to do their part to maintain the integrity of the NFL game. They ALL need to encourage fake fans to become real fans by rooting for all aspects of the game, not just the offense. It should be a requirement, not a league option, to count as many fake points from the defense as are generated by the offense. Give the fakey football fans the same reason to cheer for sacks, and fumbles, and tackles in the back field as they have for throwing the long ball for a touchdown every 3rd snap of the game. ALL fantasy leagues should be forced to draft the defensive players (not teams). For craps sake, fantasy teams draft kickers by name, but not pass rushers....KICKERS!!!???!!! Coaches don't even consider kickers to be real football players. When Neil Rackers becomes more valuable than Tamba Hali on your fantasy team something is just plain wrong!
So here's my suggestion (keeping in mind that I think the defense should be able to score just as many points as the offense). First, we throw out the concept of drafting a full teams defense, and choose individual players. Each team fields weekly: 2 pass rushers (4-3 DE's or 3-4 OLB's), 1 safety, 2 CB's, 2 DL (4-3 DT's, 3-4 NT's/DE's), and 1 MLB (4-3 MLB, 3-4 ILB). That's a total of 8 defensive players on the field and you'd have another 2 or 3 open spots on the roster to swap around.
Touchdowns are still worth 6 points. All turnovers are worth 4 points (fumble recovery, interception, or strip). A safety is worth 6 points because it's a 4 point turn over + a 2 point score. Any yards gained by a defender are counted the same as a running back (1 point per 10 yards). If a safety intercepts a ball and runs it back 45 yards for a TD, that player would earn 4 (turnover) + 4.5 (return yardage) + 6 (the TD score). [NO IT'S NOT TOO MUCH!! On offense both the QB and the receiver take the points for passing yards, yards after the catch, AND any TD scored. The defense should have the potential to score as many points as the offense. We want fans to be FORCED to make defenses relevant on their teams]. Blocked punts/field goals are worth 3 points. A sack or tackle for a loss are worth 2 points PLUS 1/2 the number of yards lost. If your pass rusher sacks the QB for a 10 yard loss they earn 7 points (2 for the tackle in the backfield and 5 for the lost yardage). Finally, passes defended or tipped balls resulting in an incompletion count for 3 points each.
Fantasy Fakey Football players, in this way, would be forced to spend as much time researching defenders and defensive match ups as they currently invest into offense. They would come to the realization that they cannot ignore the defensive side of the ball. In order to win their leagues they would need the defense just as much as they need the offense. It would encourage the same level of understanding of the D as they are forced to learn about the O. Best of all, with fake football players looking at defense in the same light they look at offense, the league might just be forced to stop ruining the actual NFL game in favor of huge scores and manufactured offense.
Imagine this, Hali breaks through the line and strip sacks Phillip Rivers 12 yards in the backfield, then hops up and grabs the fumble to run it 50 yards back the other way for a touchdown....and a 23 point fantasy play. [Sack(2) + sack yardage(6) + turnover (4) + return yardage(5) + TD(6)]
Announcers: Listen up jerks. We're watching the football game because we're fans of football (or at least the team playing). We want to learn about the game while we watch. We want you to tell us what's happening on the field. (Randy Cross and Tim Ryan are my favorite announcers). Tell us the down and distance. Tell us what players just got subbed into the game. Tell us what offensive formation/defensive set the teams are in. Point out mismatches on the field BEFORE the snap. Pull up pictures of previous times in the game where a similar set/circumstances happened and show us what the teams did. SHOW us what changes happened at 1/2 time so that we may better UNDERSTAND the game. Explain to us that the last 4 times the offense lined up in "X" formation they threw a slant pass to the slot/TE and we should watch for that again. Talk about the tendencies of the QB, which way he likes to roll, how he sets his feet, etc. Diagram the big play that just happened and explain exactly who missed their assignment and what that assignment was...... TALK ABOUT THE DAMN GAME!
We don't care about what happened on 'The Office' last night, and we certainly don't want to hear your thoughts about it. The last thing we need are more collections of completely useless statistics tossed up on the screen that you read to us as if we're children. (ex. The Chiefs haven't lost a game... in which they led in the 4th quarter.... against a back up QB..... in a temperature under 54 degrees.... in November..... on the road..... vs. a west coast team..... played on natural grass..... on an even numbered calender date..... in 7 years). I mean seriously, WHO CARES? We also don't want the cameras to swing to the booth and force us to watch the announcer yahoo's doing an interview with the likes of Christian Slater, or Brett Favre's wife, or some guy that wrote a book you like WHILE the game is going on down on the field and, YOU (the announcer), are too busy sucking up to some corporate advertisers' to swing the camera over to the game and DO YOUR DAMN JOB!
We don't need any more large chested, blonde, heavily make-up'ed, tight clothes wearing models running up and down the sidelines asking some retired player from 15 years ago what it was like to play in a stadium with this much noise. If the sideline reporter can't tell me (from memory) what the overtime rules are in the regular season vs. the playoffs, and doesn't know the name of the weak outside linebacker on the field...SHE ISN'T qualified to be a football commentator. If I want to look at boobs I'll watch the cheerleaders or the doofuses you have up in the booth laughing about yet another 6 legged Tur-Duck-Hen for the 15th year in a row.
Here's another novel thought: You've known all week long exactly which game you'd be announcing on Sunday. Maybe you could take some time out of your busy Tur-Duck-Hen joke crafting schedule to.....hell, I don't know.......LEARN HOW TO PRONOUNCE the starting players names correctly? How about just knowing who the starters are? Do you think you can handle that? Exactly how hard is it to pronounce Copper? Is there a reason that none of you goobers can get it right?
Once again, I implore you: DO YOUR DAMN JOB! ANNOUNCE THE GAME!