When a football team gets penalized for having too many men on the field, one player, and one player only, is responsible. All too often that player is seen ambling, not streaking, off the field. Oftentimes, he is even aware the ball is about to be snapped, but through some misguided sense of entitlement, he chooses not to sprint. If he played for me, the first time he did this would be his last time. There is a feeling on the part of some players that it is never their fault so why should they sprint because of another’s error when doing so is the very definition of teamwork. Some refs call the penalty, some don’t. Smart teams have a signal to snap the ball quickly to get that free play. So not only are some teams out-hustled, they are out-smarted as well. It happens all too often.
College football has lost all semblance of sportsmanship and fair play. Television ratings for CFP (College Football Playoff) placements have driven coaches to outlandish lengths to be included in that final four of college teams. Washington, Ohio State and Michigan are all on that four team bubble. In order to impress those members who make that subjective decision, they ran up their collective scores this past Saturday against California, Nebraska, and Maryland, respectively, to 187-33, and in so doing were throwing passes when each was ahead by at least 45 points in the fourth quarter. That is obscene.
That same ill-advised message is being carried down to the high school level where coaches are winning games by fifty points or more against undermanned and unskilled teams whose players have often been recruited away from the losing schools by those winning teams. Connecticut has attempted to address this inequity by having any coach whose team scores fifty points appear before a hearing of three school administrators to explain what he did to hold the score down. Absent such proof, the coach cannot attend the next game. Florida has exacerbated the situation by passing legislation that allows any students anywhere in the state to play for any other school in the state as long as they provide transportation to get there. Misguided state legislators are killing the concept of small town or neighborhood schools creating school spirit at the expense of some schools winning state titles with players from outside their districts.
NFL viewing is down and nobody seems to know why. Maybe the glut of Sunday, Monday, and Thursday viewing is just too much football. Add Saturdays at season’s end and that “oversell reason” gains even more traction. I think the on-field theatrics by players may contribute to viewer discontent. Players say, “Why take the fun out of celebrating?” I would think excelling at sport and earning millions doing so should be fun enough. The fun to the fan is seeing well-executed plays leading to scores. It is not some goofy choreographed end zone or sideline dance.