LOS ANGELES – I can’t remember a better NFL weekend, a more entertaining end to a Monday night game.
So what’s with an ESPN SportsCenter anchor saying she’s depressed, media everywhere going into a conniption fit because our entertainment package goes haywire?
I would argue there’s nothing better when we can jump up and down in excitement, disgust or whatever at the end of a sports event.
Breaking news: This is not the end of the world or the demise of the National Football League.
They played three regular-season games with replacement players in 1987, counted the results in the standings and reduced the season to 15 games.
The NFL regular season covered nine games in 1982 because of a strike and the Washington Redskins still stand as Super Bowl XVII champions with apologies to no one.
All this nonsense about turning off NFL fans is just that, fans enjoying a good car wreck as we all know.
We already know, too, that this shall pass. Regular refs will be back at some point.
In the meantime, it’s the Three Stooges – and you have to admit the Stooges are hilarious and infuriating – with the reaction of the angry coaches on the sideline only heightening the TV drama.
If the officials make the correct call at the end of the Green Bay-Seattle game, they take away so much emotion spilled Monday night. And there’s nothing better about sports than when it can spill emotion and allow everyone to escape from what really matters.
If one of the officials calls a touchdown and another throws a flag because Seattle receiver Golden Tate is guilty of offensive pass interference, how much enjoyment would everyone have missed out on?
It was perfect, bad call after bad call mounting and analyst Jon Gruden giving an Academy Award performance. His mounting frustration made it a Monday Night classic – even before he delivered the line of the night, suggesting he was about to jump out of the press box.
It’s a game that had to end on a botched call.
And aren’t sports wonderful when it’s also great theater? Steve Young and Trent Dilfer later weighed in with eloquent outrage.
It was incredibly entertaining to watch Young gather himself, knowing he was about to savage NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, no doubt weighing the consequences in his head before he did so.
But he also knows, having made the point a week ago, that no one is going to turn away from watching the NFL because of any of this.
I can’t remember which ex-player said after the game that this will go down as one of the worst NFL seasons. But he’d make a fine newspaper columnist, going over the edge with the dramatic punch to the gut.
Come on, who knows how this will go?
Each team has 13 games remaining, so many highs and lows to come. If Green Bay misses the playoffs because of one too many losses, I know I’ll get over it.
And if the folks in Green Bay don’t, they will have next season. What’s their other choice?
It’s just football, as wildly entertaining as it can possibly be and fantastic TV on Monday night.
Amazingly, life would go on, somewhat to the surprise of ESPN’s breathless anchor Stuart Scott.
Scott asked ESPN columnist Rick Reilly, given all the years that he has covered sports, if this was the most unbelievable he’d seen.
Reilly ripped Scott’s heart out, saying it was probably in his top 20, noting it hadn’t decided a Super Bowl or changed the course of history.
In fact, you can argue the worst thing about the night was ESPN going with the traditional on-field interview with rookie Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
Who wants to hear from a guy programmed to say what a rookie is supposed to say when the most improbable, shocking finish in recent memory has just taken place?
I couldn’t believe an ESPN producer wasn’t yelling into reporter Lisa Salters’ ear and telling her enough already with the endless questions to Wilson and instead show everyone at home the full-picture reaction in the stadium.
Why not soak in the glorious chaos?
And then when it’s time for the postgame show, ESPN goes to highlights of the game as if there is any highlight to top the last play. We have to wait to hear from Dilfer and Young and then they bring Wilson back on set to talk some more.
Some folks lost money in Las Vegas and now have a gambling story to tell the rest of their lives. Some fantasy football owner might have won his week thanks to Golden Tate. Sports talk radio folks will never have a better Monday.
It was the perfect finish to a wonderfully entertaining weekend.