The Grammys, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Week Are All Good Reasons to Read a Book.

Forget it kid. She’s WAY too old for you.

Sunday night.   It’s The Grammy Awards vs.the NFL Pro Bowl. Decisions, decisions…what should I not watch first?  It’s a movie night!  The Grammys vs. The Pro Bowl: Great Moments in Counter-Programming.

1.  I had more important things to do than to watch a show celebrating music I haven’t listened to made by “artists” I don’t care about.  Stuff like peeling a potato or clipping my toenails or something. I’m taking the Public Enemy stance on the Grammys: “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?”

2.  Still trying to figure out why such an utterly ordinary song like “Royals” gets all this slobbery love for Lorde. Back in the day she would have been a one-hit wonder on Casey Kasem‘s America’s Top 40.

3.  For pure superficiality, pomp without circumstance and puerile insignificance, it’s hard to trump the Grammys, or as I prefer to call them, the awards show for the group sitting at the little kids table.

4.  But the NFL’s Pro Bowl (a.k.a. “Thanks for choosing me, but I’d rather stay home and watch The Grammy Awards than play in this bullshit game) comes close.   Roger Goodell has threatened to end this cluster fuck and the only questions are why not and who cares?   The worst part of the NFL is the pre-season where the fans are charged full-price tickets for games that don’t count and have no meaning beyond watching a starting player lost for the year with a blown-out MCL.    The Pro Bowl doesn’t count and what makes pro football great is every game counts.   This isn’t like the NBA or baseball where if you lose four or five games in a row it’s called a bad week.   Lose five games in a row in the NFL and your team will be looking for another coach soon.

5.  Media Day:  The biggest bag of bullshit in the whole bullshit week that is the run up to 6:25 pm on Super Bowl Sunday.  A herd of reporters sticking cameras and microphones in front of a bunch of guys who either have nothing to say or can only speak in jockspeak (It’s gonna be a tough game.  We respect those guys.  We have to play our game.  It’s gonna be a war, blah, blah and more blah).

Then you get someone like Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch who doesn’t want to play nice with others.

This is what I want to see repeated about a dozen times Sunday night.

The media-adverse Lynch only “spoke” to the press for six minutes on Media Day and dropped a “shit” on the NFL Network while speaking to Deion Sanders (well, that’s appropriate.  Neon Deion and the NFL Network is shit).   Oh golly, oh gee, oh gosh!  My Super Bowl viewing experience has been ruined by Marshawn blowing off the media.  Whatever shall I do?

Yawn.  Who cares a lot?  Breathes there a single, solitary soul that has ever found the Super Bowl’s Media Day to be anything but more hype of an already over-hyped game?   I’m sure there must be a reason I should care, but I can’t think of what that reason could be.

6.   On ESPN the big game is a possible NBA Finals preview between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.   Pass.  There are few things I care less about than the NBA until the playoffs when the players awake from their stupor and get interested.   CBS is striking back with the Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials.  Seriously?  An hour of 48 years worth of commercials? There must be a book somewhere I haven’t read.  Or need to re-read.

7.   Am I bitter that the 49ers aren’t in the Super Bowl?  Does their absence lessen my interest?  Would I be more into Super Bowl week if Jim Harbaugh was preparing for the game by practicing how he would meltdown on the sidelines at a perceived bad call?  Yes, yes, and yes.   Am I bad loser?  Yes, but I’m a worse winner.

8.   Oh, the President gave his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.   The State of the Union is there ain’t a damn thing getting done if the Republicans have their way and so far they’re having their way.

9.    I guess should make a Super Bowl prediction.   I predict a cold and boring game.  I predict Bruno Mars will be short.   I predict the fans of Bruno Mars will wonder who the hell The Red Hot Chili Peppers are.    I don’t even know why The Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing during the halftime show.  They’re old and when they were young, they still weren’t all that good.

10.   Broncos 31  Seawhores 20.   But I don’t give a damn if it happens the other way around.  It’s just another game.

Payton is pretty fast for a slow old White guy.

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The Refs say “we’re here.” The Browns say “wait ’til next year.”

Heard ya missed us. We’re back!

The NFL is the most successful sports corporation in America.   All the major sports, baseball, basketball, hockey run along similar business models, but football more than any other is run and acts like a corporate entity.  The bottom line is money and power and  with the money the NFL makes it is the unquestioned king of the hill  Every knee  bends and every head bows when the mighty NFL speaks.

This week though, the NFL heard the voice of the commoners as all hell broke loose following a spectacularly bad blown call by the scab referees the league hired to stand in for their real referees.   You don’t need me to tell you how awful the replacement refs were in the Packers/Seahawks debacle on Monday Night Football.   Everyone within earshot of a television heard all about it the next day as the worst case scenario for the NFL came to horrifying life.   The refs screwed up in a way that not even the NFL could cover up for their rank incompetence.   When the Today Show, Morning Joe, and other non-sports programs began to drop names that should only be familiar to Sportscenter viewers that’s not good.  When politicians from union busting Governor Scott Walker to President Obama agree its time to get the real referees back on the field, Commissioner Roger Goodell  had to drop his hardball negotiation position from “take it or leave it” to “what’s it gonna take to get you guys back?”

The NFL is very sensitive to what its image is with the public and these poor saps in stripes were putting the brand in jeopardy with their blown calls, extra time outs and deer-in-the-headlights reaction to large, smelly, 300 lb men screaming and spitting obscenities in their face.   The NFL was getting killed in the press with even ESPN jumping on the pile to pummel the league as greedy bastards who would rather sink the entire season than make 32 teams cough up an extra $100,000 each to cover the locked out refs pay raise.    You won’t find a gathering of more smugly arrogant men than a NFL owner’s meeting, but they aren’t deaf either.   When your bad refs are getting more publicity than  your good players, things have gone too far.   That was the breaking point where enough owners must have pulled Goodell’s coat sleeve and said, “Make the deal and get this done NOW.”

The real deal refs returned Thursday night to a standing ovation from the Baltimore Ravens crowd prior to the game against the hapless Cleveland Browns.   Their return will be scrutinized more than the game itself which was typical of everything that’s bad about the Browns since their former owner Art Modell ditched Cleveland to move the team to–wait for it–Baltimore.

It’s been a long, hard road for Browns fans.

I feel sorry for Browns fans.  They have to be going straight to heaven when they die because they’ve already been through hell.  Between bad owners, bad coaches, bad players, bad teams, it’s been a bad 13 years since the Browns returned.   Every few years it seems like there’s a new owner or another coach and a new face of the franchise, but nothing changes and the sucking never stops.   The NFL is a league where doormats can challenge for Super Bowls if they are run by smart people, get lucky, guess right and follow a plan to be competitive.

None of that seems to work for Cleveland.    There’s really no reason for the Browns to suck for 13 years since their return.  Everyone has had their share of  busted draft picks, incompetent GM’s, absentee owners, lousy coaches, free agents you wish had been free and just plain  bad luck.   The Browns have all this and they keep having it.

It’s hard to believe the Browns will suck forever, but until they don’t they have the misfortune of being bad and boring.    Their defense is short of stars while their best player, cornerback Joe Haden sits out a four game suspension, but they try hard and hit harder.  But bless their little hearts, they’re out there all day because the offense is simply offensive.   The Browns are starting rookies at wide receiver, right tackle, running back and quarterback which is a trial by fire.   One day they may be good, but now they’re simply learning to play together which means this is a work in progress instead of a finished product.

The NFL Network is the league’s in-house television network and it puts out a pretty ragged product.   I don’t think much of it’s “personalities” such as Rich Eisen or “experts” like Deion Sanders and Michael “Mush Mouth” Irvin who anchor the network’s game highlights show.   What’s worse is the package of Thursday games suck hard because the  match-ups usually are games the broadcast networks don’t find all that attractive.    Pro football dominates our collective consciousness on Sunday and Monday.     I love football too and between NBC, CBS and Fox as well as the NFL Sunday Ticket on Direct TV in addition to the NFL Network, I can see every game,  but the Thursday games run the risk of overexposure.

This made the Ravens/Browns game perfect for the NFL Network.   A divisional tilt between the up and coming Ravens and the gritty Browns is the difference between a team that knows it can win and the other that hopes they can keep the score respectable.    The defense did their part, but the Browns inept offense couldn’t finish and the Ravens beat their rival for a ninth consecutive time as the Browns finished the first month of the season with four losses.    That’s all, folks!   The leaves haven’t turned brown yet and the season is already over for the Brownies.

Welcome back refs.  Bye-bye Browns.  Better luck next year.  Again.   Your new owner spent a billion dollars to buy the team.   Next year he can start putting together his own instead of these leftovers that came with the purchase price.   The NFL realized they couldn’t get away with lousy officiating but charging an exorbitant price to watch lousy football for over a decade?   That, they have no problem with at all.