Well I think I only made it to week 9, maybe 10 of my Sunday Steeler 6-pack this year. I have tried this in some form or another since 2009 but to no avail. Eventually it becomes like work so I give up.
As the years go by, the Steelers get older, can't compete solidly, and drift off into obscurity for the season. What begins as a solid looking powerhouse of a team in pre-season, ends up being out worked, out played, and out shined (see Week 1 - Week 14) They are featured less and less on TV going forward too. If the Bears and Colts are not playing, there might be a rare chance that CBS will carry the game as their National broadcast but that's it. Sometimes they get a MNF, TNF, or SNF game but...they don't seem to perform in prime-time anymore and this Sunday's match-up against Cincinnati is fixin' to be a bloodbath.
So I instead resort to one of the greatest inventions in sports entertainment...The NFL Red Zone Channel. This is the fourth year I have watched Red Zone and I love it even more now than the first day I turned it on. For those of you that don't have it or many not know what it is, let me quickly break it down. It's every game from the time the ball crosses the offensive "red zone" until points are put on the board. Not highlights...live game action or mere seconds after. Imagine if you had Sunday Ticket but didn't want to flip channels on your remote. The channel flips for you. As Scott Hanson announces each and every week as they go live, "It's Seven Hours Of Commercial Free Football".
Thursday night, Sunday night, and Monday night games in their entirety along with basically every other game on Sunday makes for a lot of football watching. And this year especially, I have noticed many more things that have begun to annoy me to no end.
I present to you my basically the end of the 2013 NFL season GRIPE LIST.
1. Up until last week (because of the weather), kick returns for touchdowns or what I like to call, The Most Electrifying, Death Defying, Game Changing Play In the Game, have virtually went away. I am a defensive guy but for some reason, these plays get my heart racing. While there are a few guys capable of taking the risk running the ball out of the back of the endzone, most players simply take their proverbial knee or simply let the ball go out the back of the endzone. Please, NFL Rule Czars, I beg you. Move the kickoffs back where they were. I know you are trying to prevent injuries but come on! You have single handedly rendered about 150 special teams guys around the NFL useless. Congratulations.
2. I am sick and tired of player begging the referees for penalty flags. SICK!! I hate it. As Ditka says, "Stop it!" Just stop it. Drew Brees! You are going to get hit. You are a quarterback. It's not always roughing the passer. And Wide Receivers! Just because you drop a pass or it was thrown 30 feet over your head doesn't mean you were interfered with. I think begging for flags should be FLAGGED! It's unsportsmanlike conduct.
3. Speaking of unsportsmanlike conduct, I'm all for being happy about a big play, a big sack at a crucial time, a fourth and goal-line stand, or a huge touchdown catch. But celebrating a routine tackle? It's first down and you dropped a running back after a four yard gain? Great! SO WHAT! It's your job to make these tackles. You get paid for it. Stop pretending like you won the game. Doubly for the four yard route runners that spin the ball on the ground after they just set up a fourth and three. Triply for you too, guys that score touchdowns late in the game while still trailing by 20 points, slam dunking the goal post and doing the Harlem Shake in the end zone (people still do that, right?). You are losing. Act like it.
4. Pass interference is not the same as incidental contact. Pass Interference is not the same as bumping into a player running along the same trajectory as you are. Pass Interference is not the same as a receiver quitting on a route because he is beat by a faster, more agile defensive player. Pass interference is not running the wrong route on a pass play. Pass Interference IS the most overly and incorrectly called penalty in the league and it needs to stop. I get the grabbing and turning guys or not even trying for the ball thing. But I have seen way too many ticky-tac calls this year and is just plain ridiculous.
5. Jerry Jones. Just...please go away. Your team is failing because of one person and he doesn't play on the field. You may have a god complex but even I am not stupid enough to think that one person can be owner, president, and GM and still be able to have a successful team. I hate the Cowboys with a passion but even I am starting to feel sorry for them.
6. RGIII is not a quarterback. There. I said it.
7. Stop with the "feel good story of the year" before each and every game broadcast. Save all that stuff for the weekly talking head shows and the sports reporter babble that goes on when normal people are at work. If the goal is trying to get more female fans, I don't think it's working because even my football noob girlfriend (who still can't figure out the difference between offsides and encroachment...Shhhh!) thinks this stuff, while sometimes heart-warming and genuine, is a bunch of crappola designed to sucker people into watching boring games. Touche. But really, I know there are good guys like Russell Wilson who want to show off duct tape wallets made by sick kids, but there are also too many attention whores in the NFL too that get equal time devoted to their dumb asses. Stick to talking about football and the game itself. Leave the locker room hazing stories, the personal troubles with the law, the domestic disputes with wives, and the off-field antics out of the pre-game shows.
8. Just because you played the game of football doesn't make you an authority to speak on all aspects of the game. You were a player and played a certain position for a reason. If you are a defensive back, don't pretend to know what it's like as a quarterback. If you were a quarterback, don't think for one minute that I believe you know how a tight end prepares for a game.
9. To piggy-back on 8...just because you were a player, doesn't make you a good announcer, analyst, talking head, broadcaster, sports reporter, [insert job description here]. Honestly?? Most of you are pathetic and we only keep you around because you say dumb things that entertain me.
10. I still hate Tom Brady.