With the Super Bowl’s afterglow finally waning after the NFL’s final game of a season that saw me watch less football than I have since I was still sleeping in the fetal position, thumb inserted, I have some thoughts, some about football and some about a game that was just a platform to dive into a couple of other matters.
As for the sport itself, I don’t think as a fan I’m unusual to have paid a lot more attention to the college game than the pro version. Sure, I do still have some allegiance for the Browns, but it’s hard to drum up the same type of passion that I had once-upon-a-Jimmy Brown-1960s time after so many beat-downs for so many years.
I will tell you I wasn’t fooled by that 4-0 pre-season, but the 0-16 that followed, well, I didn’t expect that either. But, aside from my team’s trail of tears, I think there were other reasons why I’ve distanced myself from so much of the game this past season. I think one reason is the sport, at least for me, just doesn’t seem to have as many likable stars as it once did.
As sports fans, I think we have, for the most part, fought through that jealousy thing when we read of salaries and salary demands than dwarf what the average hard-working schlep could earn in a hundred lifetimes, but when the players cease to be all that likable, well, that’s where we kind of draw the line.
As a lot of fans, I had a hard time with the dozens of players who either took a knee or sat during the National Anthem, with one in particular, Marshawn Lynch, in a game played in Mexico City, going so far as to stand for the Mexican and then take a seat for his own country’s.
Actually, my dislike for Lynch’s antics predates anything related to the Anthem, In the past, his refusal to speak to the media, comprised of folks trying to earn a living, especially during Media Day prior to his Seahawks 2015 Super Bowl win, when he answered every question with, “I’m just here, so I don’t get fined” surely irks the writer in me, one who has been blessed so many times in interviewing folks for newspaper and magazine pieces and a couple of books, folks who bent over backwards to answer every question I asked in such earnest fashion.
Later, Lynch filed a trademark for those words with an eye on using the phrase on a line of clothing bearing his nickname. So, ignoring the fact that the coverage the media he stiffed has, undoubtedly, helped him amass his nest egg, he apparently had no problem trying to use his uncooperativeness to cash in even more.
That’s a little tough to take, especially when I’m reminded of it each time I see him showing no reluctance to speak on those pistachio commercials.
As for all those college bowl games, with far too many rewarding mediocrity, pitting schools with 6-6 and 7-5 records, I’m always intrigued by the naming rights. Let’s see, we had the Foster Farms Bowl, the Camping World Bowl and the Tax Slayer Bowl.
However, without a doubt, the one that amused me the most was the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, a gridiron mouthful if there ever was one.
The company, Bad Boy Mowers, based out of Batesville, Arkansas, forms part of the bowl name and combines with a word known to most in the Tampa/St. Petersburg natives, Gasparilla, a nickname for the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar. Since Bad Boy signed a three-year deal, you’ll see this amazing bowl name at least another couple of years.
To my great amusement, the game was played at Tropicana Field in St. Pete’s, on an artificial surface, which, for me, was the ultimate irony when the sponsoring mower couldn’t even mow the playing surface! Let’s hope next year someone moves the game to a natural-grass field.
I was so tickled I actually tweeted for the first time in 13 months. Like a lot of old dudes, I’m not much for Facebook and Twitter and all that social media jazz, but I do occasionally try!
Among my faithful 70 “following” and 23 “followers,” and don’t ask me what the difference is between the “following” and the “followers,” so I’m saying I’ve got 93 “peeps” who’ve been waiting so patiently for 395 days for me to tweet, I was gratified to see I had two followers who returned their “likes.” Much love to one of my favorite former students, Chad Doll, now himself a teacher as well as fellow Yankee fan, and my favorite former law dog, living in Hawaii, Mark Murphy!
And so it is, some thoughts on football and a tweet I thought was pretty neat!
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at email@example.com.