You always have to hope that the Sunday night game, or really any primetime NFL game, is a good one. Because when it’s bad, there’s just far too much dead time for Cris Collinsworth’s brain to drip out of his ear. I don’t mind Collinsworth as much as other people. He can be a little too “Everything is awesome!” in his analysis, but he’s hardly the worst. He can show me something I didn’t see. He’s clearly dedicated.
Well, thanks to the Rams’ inability to gain more than four yards per play for more than two plays in a row, and Matthew Stafford turning back to being Matthew Stafford (he was always Matthew Stafford, it just doesn’t look like that when he’s surrounded by an All-Star team), Collinsworth and Mike Tirico had plenty of air to fill.
Which usually means stapling their tongue to anyone’s ass that gets put on camera, because for some reason various NFL broadcasts — or perhaps their NFL overlords — think we have the slightest interest in seeing or hearing about any of the owners. Sure, I’m curious like anyone else if Double J is going to actually pull out a cat o’ nine tails to flagellate whoever is nearby or himself or both, but that’s where the intrigue of NFL owners dies.
But watch any NFL game, and you’ll see a shot of an owner in his box, whether it’s Mike Brown wishing he were anywhere else or George McCaskey trying to not choke on his room-temperature chocolate milk (thanks Slak) on live TV or pretty much every owner’s awkward as fuck high-five after a touchdown. NFL owners, they’re just like…that guy you didn’t go to high school with.
Thursday was no different. After the Bills had fully gotten their foot up into the Rams’ ass sideways, we led off with a shot of Stan Kroenke and the knitted web of bleached, dead squirrels he calls a hairpiece. Collinsworth couldn’t wait to tell us just how successful Kroenke had been the past year, championships for the Rams, the Avalanche, and the indoor lacrosse…wait, what the fuck? Who fuckin’ cares? Is this how much Collinsworth needs to Bird of Paradise to convince us that Kroenke is some shrewd businessman? Indoor lacrosse?
Both the NFL and NHL have salary caps, so no owner should be complimented for spending up to that limit they installed and can easily afford. Also, ask any Arsenal supporter who watched Manchester United tear through the hole in midfield that Arsenal ignored in the transfer market and ask them how spendy-spendy Kroenke is.
Any sports fan knows that Kroenke is a dimwit who just happened to marry into the no-consequences situation of the Walton family, who held up the state of Missouri for one stadium and then was taillights when they wouldn’t give him another just some 20 years later. He also is absolutely hated by every other owner, because thanks to a lawsuit by the city of St. Louis that would have ripped open all the secrets of what really goes on in the NFL they had to bail his overwhelmed ass out. Sure, no NFL owner notices $7.5 million, but no owner likes having to spend that because one of their ilk huffs paint. And he didn’t draft Nathan MacKinnon or Cale Makar. Fuck all the way off with this.
It was then the Pegulas’ turn. Yes, with Kim Pegula’s illness this was always going to happen, and certainly, the argument here isn’t that she deserves whatever is afflicting her. Still, the Pegulas are apparently awful to work for and not all that good at whatever it is they do, and are currently trying to hold up the state of New York for $800 million so they can have a new stadium or they’ll fuck off to Toronto or something. These aren’t swift people or terribly good ones, which Collinsworth will skip over as school budgets in Western New York are slashed in a few years time.
We weren’t done, but I’ll let my colleague Carron Phillips handle this one:
I don’t expect the coverage of an NFL game to be revelatory or even mention any problems. Everything is perfect in the world of the NFL when you’re inside it. There must come a point where they know we won’t swallow this tripe.
The NFL: And now have some delicious tripe!
Before I forget
Still in a buzz over Wednesday nights Carlos Alcaraz-Jannik Sinner match that ended nearly at 3 a.m. and went five hours. The best games or matches are the ones you kind of stumble upon, and thanks to social media (one of its few pluses) there’s a community that forms as you bond over watching something that could end up historic.
Sinner and Alcaraz, especially the latter, look set to take over the sport from its torch holders that have had it for 20 years now. Alcaraz is seemingly the answer to the question, “What if Nadal and Federer had a baby?” He’s got Nadal’s determination and athleticism to chase everything down, while also having Federer’s scalpel of a forehand and a developed net game already. Sinner’s reach should make him a tad awkward at such a young age, but thanks to better-than-he-has-any-right-to-have athleticism and uncanny timing, he can pick up anything and turn it into offense that controls a point.
What made the match such an epic was that even after four hours, they were still sending missiles at each other and chasing everything down. There was no sign of fatigue during points. Like I said last night, it was as if Hagler-Hearns made it to the 15th round.
We hope that it’s a match we’ll look back on for years as they develop a rivalry that will define the sport. Tennis provides so many pitfalls for a young player to traverse to become great. It felt definitive last night, like if you were there you were meant to be there, to have something to cherish. There was nowhere better to be, either in the stadium or watching at home. It’s why we do it. Let’s hope they make it and provide us with more.