Football Fantasy

By MARC LIPMAN | Dec 13, 2017

In my last story, I talked about my experience as an active softball player – if you can consider my participation as active. Now I am going to talk about a sport where I take a very passive role, football, or as my granddaughter calls it, “run, run, run, fall down!” My role is that of a couch potato.

For a start, I have some comments about team names. A team name should reflect something about the team’s city, its heritage or its citizens. Some names are very appropriate, including the San Francisco “49’ers,” the Baltimore “Ravens” or the Tampa Bay “Buccaneers.”

Some names are OK, like the Miami “Dolphins,” but the Miami “Snow Birds” would be better.

Some teams definitely need a name change. The Los Angeles “Rams” should be renamed the Los Angeles “Smog.” The Washington “Redskins” should be changed to the Washington “Filibusterers.” The Detroit “Lions” should be changed to the Detroit “Lemons.” Maybe the Philadelphia “Eagles” should be renamed the Philadelphia “Cheesesteaks.” And the New York “Giants” could be called the New York “Horn Blowers,” although I don’t know what to call them since they don’t really play in New York.

When a team moves to a new city, it should be required to change its name to one more appropriate for the new locale. This would be very beneficial to the economy as a lot of new equipment would be required, not to mention all the new shirts, hats and other items the fans would purchase.

Before I go further, I should ask, “Why is the name of this sport football?” Much less than 5 percent of the time is actually spent kicking the ball. Maybe a better name would be “Pass Interference Ball” or “False Start Ball,” since these activities greatly exceed the number of minutes in a game spent kicking the ball.

Technology has enhanced our enjoyment of the game. In the old days we had to understand the puzzling hand signals made by the referee to know what the penalty was. Relying on the announcers did not always help, as they, too, did not always know what happened and sometimes just made something up. With the wireless mike that the referee has, he can tell us exactly what happened. However, he does not do enough. Instead of “personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, No. 17,” he could say, “Personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, No. 17 called No. 54’s mother a bad name.”

Technology also benefits the coaching staff. With real-time database information available, a coach might tell a player things like “No. 23 has a tendency to tackle low. You may be able to jump over him.” Or “No. 84’s son got an F in history. A few words to him about it might draw a personal foul.”

At home, viewers could also have an alternate sound option, the words of the players often being X-rated. With the ability to listen to what goes on in the huddle, we might hear something like “We just lost 5 yards for a false start. Charlie, the snap count was on 6, not on 5. Maybe if you took off your gloves you could count that high.” Or “I just got sacked twice in a row. Fred, a crisscross pattern means the two receivers should not end up in the same exact place. Remember the difference between an X and a V.”

Equipment could also be improved to make the game less dangerous. How about air-bags for quarterbacks?

A change in the rules that would be nice for us viewers would be a choice on penalties of “choice of yards or loss of time.” That way if there was a blowout, the game could end sooner and we could switch to another game.

Football game scheduling could be better. The season starts in late August, when I could be spending the afternoon at the beach, and ends in February, when I still have a month where there is nothing better to do. Why not start the season a month later?

Marc Lipman lives in Green Brook, N.J., and Barnegat Light.




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