[Originally posted October 2010]

Shit that drives this one casual fan completely insane about the NFL:

1.  Force-feeding the pink.

Breast cancer is serious shit.  I’m not making light of it.  I wouldn’t dare – I have enough family who’ve succumbed to cancer to take this lightly.  But October rolls in, and every marketer is cashing on breast cancer awareness to turn a buck.  But does EVERYONE need to cash in?  Pink gloves, pink cleats, pink end zones, pink armbands, pink mouthguards, are you shittin’ me?  Maybe I’m being an enormous dummy (there is ample evidence to back that up) for not getting the convergence of agendas.  But this is the NFL, for God’s sake.  It’s cartilage-crushing, maniacal rage channeled right into the sole purpose of knocking you the fuck out.  Yeah, NFL – breast cancer awareness… yeah, what an obvious fit.  Because when I see Ray Lewis screaming his head off and punching the air like an insolent child with ADHD on the 40-yard line, I think “breast cancer”.  When I think large, male-centric television audience, I think “breast cancer”.  I don’t get it.  Is this reciprocated?  When it’s prostate cancer month, is anyone clamoring to get the WNBA to don all sorts of logos and colors promoting the cause?  C’mon.  I get that breast cancer is worthy of awareness and support to find a cure.  Of course it is.  Joe Biden said best: it’s a big fucking deal.  But the NFL?!  Seriously, WTF.

2.  Primetime football.

I can’t remember the last time I watched the final seconds of the fourth quarter of a Sunday or Monday night game when I wasn’t out in L.A.  This is one of the few things that blow about living on the East Coast.  A typical game lasts what, three-and-a-half hours on average?  Longer if the defense is only slightly less crap than the offense so that they’re forcing third and fourth downs with no turnovers.  Imagine how much longer it’d be if football players had the dramatic flair for faking injuries like soccer players.

So even if a game were to start at 8pm promptly, I’m looking at wrapping it up at close to a quarter to midnight.  That is, if I can keep my eyes open that late.  And the thing is, these league and network jerkoffs are starting to creep that start time later and later.  Why, so you can cram another Faith Hill musical special down my throat before I get down to the business of Jay Cutler getting pounded into the ground like 230lbs of hamburger?  Between the inane theme songs that make you want to stab your ears with rusty spoons, the pointless sideline banter (from which you learn absolutely nothing), and same old “special-teams-are-key-and-you-must-force-the-turnovers” catchphrase bullshit from the anchors, it’s now closer to 9pm before that ball goes airborne.  At that rate, I’m going to bed the next day if I stay to the bitter end.  I envy my friends on the West Coast – by the time the final whistle is blown, they’ve still got a good part of the evening ahead of them to do anything they want – finish the rest of the 12-pack, head out to Taco Bell for that retarded “fourth meal”, walk the dog, mess with their neighbor’s sprinklers, whatever.

Why can’t the game start at 7:30pm Eastern time?  The West Coasters are used to missing the first few minutes of the game anyway, so no one’s gonna complain to hard, I suspect.  That way, the stupid game’s done around 11pm, and I can actually have the option of staying to the terrible end and not pass out on the couch (again) only to be awakened by the dog trying to scratch his back by aggressively rubbing my shin.

Put it on earlier, NFL.  Gimme a fighting chance to actually make it to the end of one of your stupid games.

3.  3D on-field advertising

U.S. sports leagues are a conundrum of contradiction.  The NFL has to lead this race.  These greedy bastards will license any NFL property to just about any schmuck who can come up with a rich dollar.  You’ll see every imaginable piece of shit covered NFL team logos.  Hey, a Ravens-logoed dogshit scooper!  Wow, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers beer coozie with pirate finger grips!

But these schmucks won’t take on-field advertising.  And I don’t mean simply painting a Doritos logo in the endzone.  (Although a Snickers-sponsored CHEFS logo in the endzone at Arrowhead Stadium would be kinda retro-cool).  That’s fine, but that’s not trying hard enough.  I say you go big with the 3D on-field logo placements as they do in Europe, on soccer and rugby pitches, and on the grassy areas of racetracks.  These guys know how to serve up branding to a television audience.  No matter what, that logo is always going to be face-on to the viewer.  It’s brilliant.

They have no qualms selling stadium rights to every half-assed department store or hemorrhoid cream, and the in-stadium signage is now approaching Times Square levels, but God forbid they actually sell ad space on the turf.  Every inch of the stadium is sold to some shitty sponsor, but the biggest billboard canvas they won’t touch?  What is that, hallowed ground?  Fuck off.

I say if you’ve already sold most of the real estate (literally and figuratively) in the league, you might as well go all the way.  Put that Durex logo in one half of the field.  That way, if the quarterback gets sacked, these cringetastic announcers can say dopey shit like, “Romo really could’ve used more protection there.”  Or the Doritos logo I talked about: “Wow, did you see that hit?  You could really feel the crunch!”  You know they’re just dying to add shit like that to their repertoire.

Just do it and stop being precious about your stupid turf.