We’ve really hit the offseason wall, eh?
Thank goodness for politics (no, really) for filling the void in our daily news cycles and giving us something to concentrate on besides basketball, hockey, and baseball (don’t point your soccer cleats at me; you don’t know where they’ve been). The world of politics allows us to choose sides and root for our team, to elaborate on ridiculous conspiracy theories, and to openly argue our positions and tout the advantages of carrying the torch for our affiliations and people.
Sounds like a typical in-season day in the NFL, doesn’t it?
Regardless, in this post-draft, OTA-oblivious world, we have little NFL news to discuss. There’s simply not much going on with our beloved sport, which makes what is actually reported this time of year that much more interesting. Consider the following two headlines:
- Controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains jobless. Most of the time, this isn’t news, because Kaepernick, particularly after his sideline protests last season, isn’t widely regarded as an effective quarterback and is seen as more of a distraction than help, especially to younger rosters. Hardly news.
- Willie Colon says Ben Roethlisberger seriously considered retiring. Um, duh. Considering Roethisberger openly admitted he was considering retirement shortly after the Steelers’ playoff loss in New England. Some might have seen this as a negotiating ploy, but “Big Ben” has always been well-compensated, which essentially scuttles that theory. Most definitely not news.
Then there’s the “player ranking” stuff, which NFL.com (among others) does every year. It’s soon to be followed by ESPN’s and Bleacher Report’s versions of the same bloody thing, ranking the same players (subjectively) and basically engaging in promotional activities. As the NFL is a for-profit organization, it’s perfectly entitled to “boost their brand” anytime it wants, but this sort of pandering tends to create media over-saturation – how many articles are currently dedicated to discussing Tom Brady’s eventual place in history, thereby not-so-subtly selling a few more tickets to Patriots games next season?
News of the NFL’s inner workings are actually welcome right now. This includes front office hirings, firings, reassignments, new player/coach programs (orientation-based or otherwise), facility changes (demolition, upgrades, etc.), and rule changes. These are issues that actually affect the product on the field, so naturally, we will give such stories their due. For instance, the NFL has a new head of officiating, which has obvious in-game implications. And, naturally, we see staff changes:
- More front office departures for Chiefs. Yup. It happens.
- Belichick says a smaller staff is a better staff. Sounding just like the consummate Republican he is. Those pesky politics.
Then there’s pure fluff and human interest stories, which are designed to drum up interest in the game. In some cases, it’s difficult to see how:
- Antonio Brown gets Rolex for 9-year-old son. Really? How fascinating.
- Wade Phillips has a Twitter account. So do I. Next!
- Falcons rookie running back Brian Hill’s mother used to bribe him. Now, this is marginally ironic, as “Bountygate” involved essentially the same method of reward. Perhaps this kid would have fit better with the Browns and the foremost Bountygate villain, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Unbeknownst to most, a majority of the NFL’s teams held their rookie minicamps last week. Coverage has been adequate, but dull:
- T.J. Watt talks about his transition to the NFL. There are dozens of these.
- Chargers’ rookies adjust to NFL learning curve in minicamp. Indeed. I guess those who fail to adjust get no media coverage…yet.
We miss our games. We miss seeing actual competition. Training camps don’t open for roughly two more months, so we’re continually forced to engage these stories to get our football fixes and remind ourselves that this long scurrilous NFL drought will eventually end.
It’s also forcing me to drink WAY too much scotch. We’re not sure if this is a bad thing.
Welcome to the REAL offseason.