What Happened to Pro Football?

Well, it’s starting to feel a  lot like…winter. Two enjoyable early a.m. runs in what is now a frosty NE Ohio. And typically this is the time of the year when I will start to hunker down on Sunday afternoons and watch the Steelers as they begin their drive to add another Super Bowl ring to one of their fingers or thumbs.

Oh mama. What happened to pro football? I haven’t even watched one game yet this season and the Steelers are, ah, toast. No point unpacking the Terrible Towel for a playoff run this year. Sigh.

And while I’ve been focusing on health care, Afghanistan, Government Motors, Tiger Woods — you know, the quasi-important issues — the Steelers have become an average football team. Shouldn’t Congress investigate? Are the Steelers — America’s team — too big to fail? Oh well. And I’m not big on conspiracy theories (well, beyond Oswald and so on), but maybe William C. Rhoden has a point in his NYT column, “In a League Based on Violence, A Game Turns in the Name of Safety.”

I’ve said this previously. I don’t watch pro sports (well, OK, I watch some Cleveland Indians’ games until they are eliminated in late April) — particularly football and basketball — because they are boring. Better to spend the afternoon watching paint dry. Yet sports — and this is true in the pros, college and in high schools — provide a common bond, unifying people and communities. And that’s one of the frustrations of sports fans here in NE Ohio. We really haven’t had the opportunity to experience that in decades — and it’s why there is so much emotional angst linked to the ups and downs of LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers. If not now, when? Just sayin’.

Anyway, now that pro football is over, I’m going to turn my limited attention span to…soccer. Good luck to the Akron U Zips. They have a real shot at winning the NCAA soccer title. Win or lose at this point, the soccer team certainly has created some excitement on campus and in the community. And I like this for a lot of reasons. But mostly because it is so different and so far removed from the mega-buck college sports that you see on display in football and basketball. It’s a return to reality — and the reality of what college and high school sports should be .

Oh, one last thing on my musings about pro football. We’ve only had a trace of snow here so far this late fall. But the forecast — yeah, I was paying attention this morning while grinding away on the elliptical trainer — calls for some really nasty weather Thursday: cold, windy, snow.

Just in time for the Browns-Steelers game at night in Cleveland.

Go figure.

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