Wednesday, January 02, 2008

End of the season football thoughts

Sometimes at this time of year I'll sit back and think about the hundred or so hours spent watching football over the past several months and think, "Was this time worth it?"

Even if the team I cheer for makes it to the playoffs or Super bowl and win it all what does that give me? They don't win because I cheer for them, and my self worth isn't improved by cheering for a winner. It would however be hurt if I were a Cubs fan.

All that aside, when the weekend comes, I enjoy sitting and watching football. It's a very physical chess match between grown men who are themselves the chess pieces. Missing a block by half a step can cause a sack. Making the block and pushing an extra half-step can open a hole big enough for an 80 yard touchdown run. All the little things in football matter, and nobody alone can make the difference, the entire team has to work together in order to be successful. It's the teamwork and all those small things that make the game interesting to me. I'll never be able to do play football that way, but I can sit back, relax and enjoy watching good teamwork, or bad teamwork, which generally is the difference between the winner and the losers.

As a Chicago Bears fan I was very disappointed. A year after the Super Bowl, I looked at their sche dule and expected 4 or 5 losses, which would have them back in the playoffs. However they played below their ability. The defensive line didn't fill the gaps like they have in the past two years, which caused more runners to excel. The safeties didn't make nearly as many big hits, which allowed opposing receivers to be fearless. And the Bears played a really hard schedule. Their non-conference games included several division champions, which they lost to. With even 2 more wins they could have been in the playoffs. I'm sick of Grossman. He's the big arm potential whose never there. Having missed more than half of his 4 years as a quarterback injured, I don't want to rely on him for a single game more. I don't think the Bears need a great quarterback. We haven't had one since Sid Luckman. There are maybe 4 elite quarterbacks in the NFL, it's not going to be easy happening across one and building the team around him. As a team sport it's much easier to get good players everywhere and build a team. Cedric Benson is as bad as everyone thought. I don't know how he earned the stats he had in Texas, oh yeah, he was on a great TEAM. With better receivers and better blockers, he will be better. Late in the season he finally showed up and had a few runs that looked impressive right before breaking his leg. However, with a bad season and a broken leg, I wouldn't pin my hopes on him next year. Again I don't think the Bears need an awe inspiring running back, but someone who can earn 70-80 yards a game, yes that will be a 1,000 running back, but that should be possible. Finally the offensive line was not good. Too many sacks happened. I think part of that is Grossman, part is the line. I'm not sure who, but someone there needs to be replaced.

College football and the bowl games are nearly over. The Fat runner had a great post on how bowl names have gotten out of hand. He's right. Thankfully this year, without cable (and ESPN), I will only see parts of 5 games. And I will only see all of the Ohio State game next Monday. I don't like the fact that I have to wait until the 7th of January to see the Championship. C'mon, let's get these games done with sooner. The bowl season, rightly called a season since it now encompasses more than a month when the Senior bowl is included. I will be cheering for Ohio State to redeem themselves from last years loss in the Championship game, and to keep my dilusion that the Big 10 is really a great football conference.

I will probably not pay much attention to the NFL playoffs. The super bowl will be a party, at least I hope it will. I'll invite a few people over, and hope they come, sit back, and enjoy watching the game with me. If not, it's because the NFL puts the game on too late at night. I want a 3 PM Super Bowl. Something I can watch in it's entirety, then get to bed early. After all, I have to work on Monday's.