Caring About the NFL is Hard ... now that they can't properly knock each other's heads off | Outside Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Caring About the NFL is Hard ... now that they can't properly knock each other's heads off

The NFL is handing out fines, but you know you love the violence, you sick bastard.


On the last few Sundays, I've done some strange things. I've gone to movies, ran (almost) three miles, folded laundry, endured three consecutive hours of a reality show about kids who can see ghosts, and NOT watched NFL football. Well, that's not entirely true. Last week I witnessed the Seahawks give up two touchdowns in 15 seconds of game time. Then I took a nap.

I'm having trouble watching the NFL this year, partially because the Seahawks appear to be half drunk and confused out there and also because it's been an exceptionally awesome college football season.

College football: Drunken mascots, marching bands, rivalries, the triple option, fans who wear identical T-shirts, kids who care a lot about winning.

NFL football: Enormous men at all positions, enormous fans, drunken Joe Namath strolling the sidelines, players who care a lot about changing their names to Ochocinco, even though that's not a word in any language, brain-exploding hits by enormous men.

That last one is where NFL football has always had an edge - the game is exponentially more violent than its collegiate counterpart. NFL linebackers and defensive backs are mercenaries, paid a hefty, if not ridiculous, salary to engineer their bodies into weapons capable of rendering running backs and wide receivers unconscious. Of course, this can be, and often is, super terrifying, as we saw last week when the Colts' Austin Collie was carted off on a stretcher after getting KOed on a crossing route.

You'd think fans would support the new fines instated to penalize defenders who hit "defenseless players," but that really hasn't been the case. People, including myself, to a small and guilty degree, want the violence.

As I recall from my high school glory days, getting railed in the head, especially when you're not expecting it, goes something like this: "Holy shit, he's throwing the ball to me! And I'm open! And here comes the ball! Yeah, I hear what sounds like a small elephant approaching, which is somewhat concerning, but who cares, I'm going to score a... DING DONG... SCENE MISSING... I'm on the ground and the entirety of my body hurts... SCENE MISSING... Did we win?"

It sucks and you could die from this, which is why the NFL should be protecting players, because with everyone getting bigger, faster, and crazier, somebody is going to die out there. Yet the league, at the end of the day, is still an entertainment outlet. And people find painful collisions entertaining. This is disgusting, sure, but it's probably the sport's biggest draw this side of Tom Brady's glorious mane of hair. The fines will continue to roll out, and if they do, that probably means more people are watching, including myself - that is, if the ghost kids aren't on TV.

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