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By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If we made an official list, the good would outweigh the bad. But we're not into official today. This column is strictly unofficial. And gluten free, too.

It's time to make some lists. You know, what they do on talk radio just about every day. And they do it not just to fill time, but because it's fun.

Our topic is the NFL. What makes it fun and what needs to go.

Let's start with the positive. The fun stuff. We'll do 10 of each and see where we stand.

  • 1. Reliability. My wife may ask me every week what time the games start, but NFL fans (at least those in the Eastern Time zone) know it's Sunday at 1 p.m. We all wish it were earlier, because time stands still leading up to kickoff.
  • 2. The salsa dance by Victor Cruz. It's fun and unique.
  • 3. Seeing players from the small-time colleges make an impact. They played in college because it was fun. Making the NFL wasn't their first priority coming out of high school. Those guys get high marks from me.
  • 4. A good kicker. Ever try and kick a football 35 yards through goalposts 10 feet high? Good luck.
  • 5. The yellow line. One of the greatest innovations the game has ever seen. The announcers will always tell us the yellow line isn't official, but have you ever seen the yellow be wrong?
  • 6. The weather. Unless it's raining locusts, the game goes on. Does it get any better than sitting on your couch watching an NFL game being played where it's snowing?
  • 7. The uncertainty. Rarely is there a blowout in the NFL and most of the games come down to the end.
  • 8. The importance. Unlike baseball or basketball or ice hockey, NFL teams only get 16 chances. Every game in a season is the equivalent of 10 baseball games. That's huge.
  • 9. The continuous scroll of stats and scores at the bottom of the screen. Heaven for the fantasy player.
  • 10. We've gotten this far and haven't mentioned how much fun it can be, for those so inclined, to wager a dollar or two on the NFL.

    Bonus for the good list: Listening to talk radio the day after the home team loses. For me, living in the Philadelphia area, but not being an Eagles fan, makes this one of the best days of the week. Every caller wants the head of the coach (in this case Andy Reid) and the quarterback (in this case Michael Vick) on a platter. Depending on where you live, the names change, but the requests are always the same.

    What needs to go:

  • 1. Thursday night football. The players hate it, the quality of play is subpar because there isn't enough time to rest players and it will never replace "Monday Night Football."
  • 2. Sunday night football. They stole the idea from "Monday Night Football." Took the better matchups away from MNF and try and jam it down our throats. It just doesn't feel right.
  • 3. The premeditated salsa dance by Victor Cruz. Aren't premeditated celebrations supposed to be illegal (like the Green Bay Packers doing the Lambeau Leap)?
  • 4. Kickers. They don't practice with the team and they decide too many games.
  • 5. Coaches calling a timeout right before the opposing kicker tries a game- winning field goal. Guys, all you're doing is giving kickers, who convert field goals at an alarmingly excellent rate, a second chance. Try to surprise the kicker by not calling a timeout.
  • 6. The self-centered players who celebrate a touchdown or a sack by dancing around like a fool when their team is down by three touchdowns. Uh, guys, you're losing, shut up.
  • 7. The blackout rule. NFL owners make so much money from television that stadiums could be empty and they'd still be raking it in. Show the game to the local folks regardless of how many tickets have been sold. Some out there, many, actually, just can't afford to go.
  • 8. Overtime in the regular season. What's wrong with a tie? Plus, in overtimes, there are no TV commercials because the networks haven't sold the air time. That means when the players are at their most tired they don't get a break. That just doesn't make sense.
  • 9. The continuous scroll of stats at the bottom of the screen. Enough already. Just show them every 20 minutes or so, we can wait.
  • 10. The bye week. I know it's good to help injured players get a bit healthier, but for fans, the two weeks between seeing their team play is an eternity.

    I'm sure I missed plenty of the good and the bad, but that's just part of making a list. None are comprehensive, but they're still fun.



    Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

    Copyright 2012