By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Talk about your lows after a high.

The NFL playoffs, as usual, have been superb.

Wild endings, unbelievable plays, coaching gaffes. We've had everything and now we have nothing.

At least, that is, for the next 10 days.

I don't know about you, but I never understood why the NFL has a two-week break between its championship games and its biggest game, the Super Bowl.

All right, I know why the league does it. It gives fans of the teams in the game time to make arrangements to get to the host city. That's fair, but if your team is in one of the championship games, aren't you already starting to make plans?

My gripe is more out of concern for the players and the millions of fans watching on television across the world.

Heck, we need our football and we don't want to wait and we definitely don't want to watch the Pro Bowl in between. If there's a worse professional sports all-star game than the Pro Bowl, please let me know.

Come to think of it, all of the all-star games are lame, with baseball's being the least offensive.

But back to the NFL and why the break is unnecessary.

Let's say you play for the San Francisco 49ers.

You earned a first-round playoff bye because you had a really good regular season. That meant, obviously, you had a week off before you had to play the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs

You then went out and beat the Packers and then took out the Atlanta Falcons. Good for you. Your reward?

Another two weeks off. That means you will have played only three games in a five-week span. That might sound like not such a bad thing, but we, as football players, are used to a regiment.

What we do during the season is play, not sit around and wait to play. And, when we don't play, we can get stale.

When we're stale, our product suffers. That's why, don't be surprised if it takes both of us, the Niners and the Baltimore Ravens, at least a quarter to get things together.

That's why, as players, it was always better when there was only the usual week off between the championship games and the Super Bowl - remember those days? - because we're better when we stay in our routine.

But enough about that. What about the fans in TV land?

Our options are dismal.

The NBA in the middle of its way too long regular season? Thanks, but no thanks.

The NHL, actually a bit intriguing because the season is just starting after the lockout, is still not enough.

College hoops? Let's be honest here. College basketball begins the first day of March Madness. The regular season is just a bad dress rehearsal in which one team after another looks like the team to beat until it loses.

NASCAR? I can't even write that without laughing out loud.

Golf? Like college hoops, pro golf doesn't start until The Masters in early April. The tournaments before Augusta are like spring training baseball games. They don't matter.

So, basically, we have nothing of interest between now and Super Bowl Sunday.

Some will say, go outdoors and enjoy. Well, for a lot of us in the Northeast, it's friggin' cold. What we have to do is sit on our couches and wish football was on.

We need closure and we need it sooner rather than later. Yes, the sooner the Super Bowl, the longer it is until next season starts, but that's fine.

It's this two-week dead period that needs to go. I just wish I were naive enough to think it will ever go away.

The NFL loves the buildup that the two weeks provides and the hunger it builds for its consumers.

If we don't watch ourselves, and if we keep complaining, they might make it three.

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

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