I've lived and died football for 30 years, but the lockout—along with other things—has gone a long way to poisoning my interest.
The NFL isn't fun anymore. They've done everything they can to sterilize it and make it as robotic as possible. It's not about the best athletes in the world demonstrating their athleticism. It's about who can watch the most film. It's about who can scream that they love the NFL the loudest.
When I first started watching the NFL in the late '70s the star QBs were all different from each other: Bob Greise was different from Terry Bradshaw, who was different from Roger Staubach, who was different from Ken Stabler.
Today, Peyton Manning is the same as Tom Brady, who is the same as Drew Brees, who is the same as Philip Rivers. They all "stick their foot in the ground, look off the safety, and hit the Z coming out of his break," and anything else has to be crushed out of an up-and-coming QB with coaching and with rules changes. I'm not knocking these guys' effectiveness; I'm just bored with it.
I'm watching Dirk Nowitzki turn to Mark Cuban and say, "Ich habe diese," while he dominates in the NBA finals.
I watched Peyton Manning and Tom Brady do nothing in the playoffs and then listened to every NFL analyst make excuses for them.
Whoever was doing color for the Pats/Jets game blamed Wes Welker for the interception Tom Brady threw on the botched screen pass. Seriously, he said that if Welker hadn't made the feet comments about Rex Ryan, Belichick wouldn't have had to sit him down, he would have been on the field, and Brady might not have thrown the pick.
It didn't have anything to do with the Jets defense being one step ahead of the Pats offense and Brady having the athletic ability of Stephen Hawking with a low battery and a flat tire. It was the fault of a guy who wasn't even on the field. A guy who had gone off script and said something other than, “I’m just happy to be here.”
Every time Ray Lewis or Drew Brees opens his mouth I roll my eyes. Every time Roger Goodell opens his mouth I think, “What a f**cking a**hole.”
All of this is before I get to the fact that I’m a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. The owner does nothing but whine about how the city doesn’t give him enough money, and how Bob Kraft and Jerry Jones don’t give him enough money.
The head coach is focused a lot more on office politics than winning football games. And the roster is so milquetoast that Kenny G thinks they’re boring. Mark Brunell is the second most exciting player in the history of the franchise behind Maurice Jones-Drew.
Maybe I’ll feel differently if the season starts on time, but maybe I won’t. The Gators have a new coach. The Hurricanes have a new coach. My Seminoles are playing exciting football again, and there a bunch of other fun things to do on a fall Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville.
The bitterness and stupidity of the lockout is what ultimately stopped me from renewing my season tickets, but it wasn’t the only thing. The NFL has put itself in the worst possible position a business can be: having to resell a lost customer. Good luck.