With the world trying to muster up some cheer in another holiday season dampened by COVID, I personally would like to offer a sincere bah-humbug to the NFL and the SNKRS app. I didn’t want much last weekend, just a spec of pre-Christmas. Instead, I received two lumps of coal with an unofficial SNKRS app L and another largely boring NFL Sunday.
I expected to be disappointed by the SNKRS app. I had my eyes set on that re-release of Cool Grey 11’s, but of course, so did much of the planet. And like much of the planet, I was not able to get a pair. In fairness to the legitimate sneakerheads of the world, at first I didn’t actually know the drop was last Saturday, I just knew it was coming. I woke up at 7 a.m. on Saturday for no reason at all, so I did what any groggy millennial would do: took a scroll through social media.
My Twitter timeline was littered with people who were talking about taking Ls on the SNKRS app. At around 7:20 a.m., after looking at some of the complaints, I was still not in a place to fully comprehend which shoe they were talking about, so I went to Google and found out that the Cool Greys that I wanted had indeed been released that day. That was an instant adrenaline shot of disappointment in both the system of buying popular basketball shoes and myself for forgetting to check for the exact day so I could plan my disappointment properly.
Then on Sunday was another ugly slate on NFL football. The NFL plays in less than half of the weeks of the year. With the NFL being America’s favorite league, one would hope that the anticipation of the games at the end of the week would pay off with excitement. This past Sunday, it was mostly blowouts and boredom. If not for fourth-quarter comebacks by the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills sending their games into simultaneous overtime, that Sunday would’ve been better spent not procrastinating my holiday shopping
The problem with shoes and the NFL on one hand are the same — the amount of each that is offered to the public. On the other hand the problems are completely different — there are too many NFL games and too few shoes being printed.
NFL, just one time could you worry about the quality of your product. Player safety became a hot-button issue that needed to be addressed with CTE becoming a problem that was costing people their lives. The NFL decided to make contact to the helmet rules more stringent, and be more diligent at enforcing the excessive rules already in place.
Then, they added a Thursday night game. Not just Thanksgiving or opening weekend, but a consistent nationally-televised game. The players complained, most of the games have been terrible, and now Amazon has purchased the Thursday Night Football package.
Not satisfied with diluting the product enough, the NFL has been wanting to expand to an 18-game schedule for years, and for 2021 finally added one regular season game. The result? Four teams had a bye in Week 14 of the season, Dec. 12. Those four teams were the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles. Four teams in playoff contention, all battling for a spot in the tournament, or in the Patriots’ case, the No. 1 overall seed. Combine the bye weeks with injuries befalling teams like snowflakes in Buffalo, and poor officiating, week-after-week the majority of these games, sometimes all of them, are not enjoyable to watch.
While the NFL is making its product worse with more, the shoe companies are making theirs worse with less. Jordan Brand hasn’t released the Cool Grey 11’s since 2010. Then on Saturday they release a limited amount that are mostly going to get claimed by sneaker bots — algorithms that allow those who have them get a better place in the digital line.
When I wanted a pair of Iversons in middle school, I went to the store and bought them — no camping out necessary. In high school if I wanted a pair of popular basketball shoes, I would go to the local Foot Locker. If they weren’t in stock, the worst-case scenario would be to order them off Eastbay. In 2021, if I really want these Cool Greys I’ll have to pay far more than the retail price on the resale market.
Remember in Boomerang, at the Thanksgiving table, when John Witherspoon was talking about Eddie Murphy’s problem? His solution after licking all of his fingers, “Reverse it. Don’t be —” so I’m not going to finish that line. If you know you know, but that’s what the NFL and sneaker business need to do, reverse it or perhaps think about trading places (that’s a great joke, if you don’t like it your opinion doesn’t matter.)
More shoes, less football. If we can’t agree on how to slow down a virus, let’s at least have nice kicks and better NFL games. At least we’ll feel better.