Saturday Morning Quarterback

I was in the barber shop earlier this week and the television was tuned into ESPN. Guess what was on during this mid-June midweek mid-afternoon – the National Football League. I pick up the big city daily newspaper and guess what's in the sports section? The 10th story of the ...
Jun 14, 2013

I was in the barber shop earlier this week and the television was tuned into ESPN.

Guess what was on during this mid-June midweek mid-afternoon – the National Football League.

I pick up the big city daily newspaper and guess what's in the sports section? The 10th story of the offseason of how the Titans are now Jake Locker's team… or how the AFC South is shaping up position by position… or how Gregg Williams' return is galvanizing the defense… or is Chris Johnson predicting another 2,000-yard season. If you've read the story once this offseason, you've read it a dozen times since January.

I turn on the 10 o'clock local news and when the sports guy comes on, guess what one of the stories is? You guessed it - another Jake Locker interview.

Guess the Titans are getting ready for the big game this weekend. Who are they playing? Nobody? That's right. It's June. Even preseason games don't get underway for another seven weeks or so.

The NBA and NHL are in the midst of their championship series. Baseball is in full swing. In golf, the U.S. Open is just past cut day, weather permitting. Tennis is between the French Open and Wimbledon. The College World Series begins today, albeit without Vanderbilt. NASCAR is revving up on the back stretch.

But just about every sports page or sportscast keeps time and inches available for just about the only league which isn't playing games right now. Oh, and there's sports talk radio, which if there's a slow day, it's 'Lets talk Titans or UT'.

AAARRRRGHHH!!!

Guess I should have seen this coming when Sports Illustrated, the week after the Super Bowl, devoted almost an entire issue to previewing the NFL's offseason.

A local high school assistant coach, who admits to being addicted to college football [which also is not suffering from lack of offseason ink, video or sound bite], said the NFL must have a marketing genius in New York to keep the league in the news 12 months of the year.

He may have a point. While other sports have a free-agency signing period, most of those offseasons are otherwise quiet.

The NFL has the scouting combine, free agency, the draft and mini camps [one well-regarded area scribe used to say the Titans have more summer camps than the Boy Scouts].

And when none of those things are going on, the league has two or three dates strategically placed during the offseason in which players on the roster after that day are due X amount of money. Meaning, teams have financial [salary cap] incentives to cut veteran players who are then on the market to be signed by other teams, which is more news. And that was the topic on ESPN while I was in the barber's chair – the New England Patriots signed Tim Tebow after coach Bill Belichick said he didn't like the quarterback.

But at least player cuts and signings are news. If I see another Jake Locker interview about nothing [that is, if I don't tune him out], I'll be tired of the NFL by the time the season starts in September.

But I can't really blame my colleagues in the media. They are responding to demand from the fans. I remember settling into my seat at a Nashville Sounds game a couple of summers ago and overhearing a guy sitting a couple of rows behind me saying he couldn't wait for football to start.

Around the Democrat office, one person wonders why the NBA season is interminably long while his favorite sport, football, is relatively short. Another colleague can tell you the number of days until college football season starts [75 for Vanderbilt, 77 for Tennessee].

Football is a year-round business for players, coaches, fans and media. This would be fine if there were games most of the time.

Maybe the USFL was 30 years ahead of its time.

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