Mmm, mmm, NFL Soup! Just add two cans of water. Throw in more dilution to the solution, and it’s ready to serve.
And coming soon: extra lard!
If we’re to agree that the quality of NFL games is reflected, first and foremost, by the quality of starting quarterbacks, we’ll note that few teams have, through Week 13, survived without injuries to their first-string QBs.
And then injuries to their backup QBs and so on down the line through practice-squad QBs and desperate signings of QBs who have been relegated to civilian life after lives of backups to injured QBs.
In Houston, the Texans’ star QB Deshaun Watson has been out all season due to, as they say in the NHL, “a lower-body” issue. Then there are the COVID quarterbacks, including the artless dodger, Aaron Rodgers.
The dilution is such that games featuring two Day 1 starting QBs have become novelties, like a Tom Brady sighting in a Subway sandwich shop. “Say, what’s in the tuna, today?”
The Jets this season have replaced Zach Wilson with faded Joe Flacco, Mike White and itinerant Josh Johnson, the last an emergency QB with his fourth NFL team.
Brian Hoyer, now a Patriots’ backup — for a fourth time — had been an emergency QB for the Cards, Colts, Bears, 49ers, Browns and Texans. He has made a fabulous living as a substitute for injured QBs because every team needs at least one.
Case Keenum, now a sub with the Browns, last season played QB for his seventh different team in seven years.
Now add the dozens of injuries that have disabled key players on all teams, and you have a badly diluted product. Those cut after preseason games are suddenly in demand to return.
Friday’s Post carries a full page of players most recently injured and their anticipated status for their team’s next game. And that page appears in agate — small type — in order to fit it all on one page.
Thus, the last thing the NFL needs is to add more regular-season games. Yet this season the league has increased the number of games from 16 to 17, and there have been reports the league intends to make it 18.
The pursuit of money — more and more money — be it by partnering with sports gambling operations, PSLs, bait-and-switch TV scheduling, or by the unneeded and unwanted addition of regular-season games, is the mandate for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his salary, estimated to be $42 million per annum.
There was no hue and cry among NFL fans for more regular-season games. The increase to 17 and then 18 is not a response to a populist demand or even a fleeting wish.
It’s pure greed, nothing more, nothing less. And nothing better. Yet, Goodell claims that he represents only the best interests of NFL fans. “It’s all about our fans,” he was heard to say on the NFL Network, no laugh track added — or needed.
Soon a “bye week” will be preface to never returning, as in “Good-bye week.” By Week 18, NFL teams will be stocked with volunteers.
Neck scare forgotten in an instant
Sunday’s 49ers-Seahawks game began with a gasp as San Francisco kick returner Trenton Cannon was wheeled off the field on a gurney, having suffered what appeared to be a serious neck injury. He was hospitalized with a concussion.
No matter, on Seattle’s first possession it ran a fake punt for a TD by RB Travis Homer. As Homer reached the goal line, he somersaulted into the end zone.
That frightening neck and head injury to Cannon, the stretcher that rolled Cannon into an ambulance — the kind of scene we’re told “puts everything in perspective” — went ignored for a stupid and tired TV highlights stunt.
How do diminished standards benefit any of us?
As heard in his latest podcast with Ryan Ruocco, CC Sabathia remains unable to speak a complete sentence in public without a vulgarity. If he chooses to be known as an undignified, classless slob, he’s doing a great job.
On Clint Frazier, he couldn’t come up with better than “S–t is ridiculous. That kid played 15 games in the f–king big leagues. Get the f–k out of here with all these stupid-ass f–king stories.”
Sabathia is 41 and claims to be a proud family man. It’s time he grew up. Or shouldn’t we expect better from him?
Speaking of the gratuitously on-air vulgar, multimedia sudden star Pat McAfee, a former NFL punter, has agreed to a $30 million-per-year deal for FanDuel to sponsor his “The Pat McAfee Show.”
Think how much money is lost to FanDuel by sports gamblers to throw that kind of dough around.
If McAfee were as bold as he likes to sound, he would start and end every show with a special thanks to the suckers in his audience who lose their money to FanDuel and now, by extension, to him.
Little skill required for replay
Once again the reality of a replay rule challenge was butchered on TV by TV.
Sunday, during Eagles at Jets, Philadelphia was up, 30-18, but stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the Jets’ 34, 1:24 left in the third quarter. Philly coach Nick Sirianni threw a red flag to challenge the spot.
On CBS, Andrew Catalon said Sirianni “is good at challenges,” having won three of his four.
No! That’s one-dimensional, cut-and-paste stat-sheet silly. Replay challenges are often more a case of circumstances than conviction. Sirianni didn’t take classes in Applied Microscopic Replay Challenges.
First, he doesn’t challenge unilaterally — and likely neither does any other head coach. They await quick input from assistant coaches above who are equipped with TV monitors.
Second, it’s highly unlikely the Eagles would have used a replay challenge after such a play if, say, the game were in the first quarter.
In this case, Sirianni had little to lose from the challenge. He had a 12-point lead late in the third and was well into the Jets’ turf.
A losing challenge would give the Jets the ball in the same spot, their own 34. A reversal, at that point, would not only give Philly a first down, but best cement a win, which it did as the spot was changed to a first down in a 33-18 final.
It wasn’t a matter of being “good at it,” but the application of common sense at that particular moment and those particular circumstances.
TV’s new key to winning football games is to “run behind your pads” in order to “stay ahead of the chains.” Got it? Now go stick your foot in the ground and run downhill.
Sorry, Wrong Addiction: So Ben Affleck is a recovering alcoholic who now appears in commercials encouraging people to lose their money betting on sports. Affleck’s co-star in the ads, Shaquille O’Neal, now endorses anything. He, too, must be teetering on homelessness and starvation.
Graphic of the Week: Before Iowa and Michigan played for the Big Ten championship, there was a full-screen of numbers on the Big Ten Network comparing the teams’ stats — compiled over the last 17 years! Yes, for applicable enlightenment how can you not compare the 2006 Wolverines with the 2019 Hawkeyes?
Big pay-per-view women’s cage match coming: Siri vs. Alexa.