The National Football League is just awful. Okay, not really. We all love the NFL so much for so many different reasons. The competition and parity in the league make it one of the most unpredictable and exciting sports to watch and follow. The league’s fans love it for a number of different reasons. Some fans are football fans in general that enjoy any game regardless of what teams are involved. Other fans have their favorite teams that they follow religiously in both good years and bad. There are also football fans that have their favorite personalities that they follow, whether they be coaches or position players.
As much as football fans love the NFL, there being so many things that make the league absolutely fantastic, there are also a number of things that irritate and annoy them about the game they love. With that in mind, here are five things that suck about the National Football League.
1. Negated Kickoff And Punt Returns
One of the most exciting plays during an NFL game can be a kickoff or punt return. The sight of the return man juking and spinning to get free from would-be tacklers and then streaking down the sideline all the way to the endzone is something that every football fan hopes for whenever their team receives a kick or punt. The problem with the NFL is that it seems that eight or nine times out of ten the return is called back due to a penalty, usually holding or an illegal block in the back. Nothing kills the mood like a touchdown return being called back because of a penalty. Isn’t it a shame that so many great plays are wiped away as if they had never happened? What would a solution be? Maybe allow the return team to hold during a return and to balance that advantage out, allow the kicking team to have twelve men on the field? That isn’t the answer, but it sure would be nice if football fans would be treated more with seeing kickoff and punt returns that counted.
2. Over Sponsorship
Anyone who watches an NFL broadcast knows what the problem of over sponsorship is. All it takes is one look at the Cadillac instant replay, one glimpse of the General Motors scoreboard, one glace at the Coca-Cola halftime show, or one peek at the Home Depot Pre-Game Show. These are just examples, but the point is that every little thing associated with the game has a sponsor attached to it. Remember when television networks first started leaving their half transparent logo on the screen during the game? Little did football fans know that it was going to be all downhill from there.
3. Lack Of Celebrations
While having an entire offense break out into an impromptu scene from a Broadway show following a touchdown may not be necessary or wanted, is there really anything wrong with a little over the top celebrating after a player scores? The famous fun bunch celebration done by the Washington Redskins‘ wide receivers was great. Who could seriously have had a problem with the Ickey Shuffle? Joe Horn’s hidden cell phone and even Terrell Owens spiking the ball on the Dallas Cowboys star were all good entertainment. When a player makes a dramatic game changing play like scoring a touchdown or a deep quarterback sack, its nice to see them get excited and put on a show. The old saying that the letters NFL stands for the No Fun League rings more and more true with each and every excessive celebration penalty called every year.
4. Unnecessary Celebrations
In contrast to what it looks like, this is not a direct contradiction to reason number 3. While celebrations after touchdowns are a great part of the game, is there anything more annoying than seeing a player celebrate after making a somewhat run of the mill play that they should be expected to make most of the time. We’ve all seen the linebacker tackle the running back for a one yard loss and then get up and act like he’s just made the best play in the history of professional football. Just as annoying is the wide receiver that catches a short pass for a three yard gain and then pops up to his feet signaling first down and strutting like a fifth grader who just beat up the playground bully. This would be like a high school teacher spiking their dry erase marker after correcting the day’s homework or maybe a grocery clerk flexing their biceps and blowing a kiss to the crowd every time they give the correct change. A psychologist might have a better grasp at what makes a grown man engage in a public celebration for merely doing what is expected of him.
5. Head Coaches Who Delegate The Play Calling
Coaches work their entire lives to move up the ladder and hopefully one day be in charge of an NFL team. The responsibility of running a professional football team is huge in the sporting world. When a head coach delegates the play calling to an assistant coach, what possible valid reason could there be? If a coach is not calling the plays then they are an assistant coach, regardless of what their official title says they are. If the offensive coordinator is a better play caller, then he should be the head coach. General managers should and do delegate many of their duties, but they don’t turn over contract negotiations to the head coach. Head coaches can delegate who runs practice drills, who designs an offseason fitness program, and which assistant coaches are in charge of what positions, but they should not delegate play calling unless they no longer want to be the head coach. This would be like the President of the United States deciding that from now on the Secretary of Commerce will be the one who signs a bill into a law or like a parent delegating the job of paying the monthly bills to their six year old child. A head coach is responsible for how the team performs and they should be the ones calling the plays.
Summing up a football fan’s love for the game by saying that the NFL is awesome just isn’t enough. To be completely truthful, there is something about the league or game that bothers every fan out there. Striving to make the game perfect for every fan who watches it is pointless as that goal will never be achieved, but fixing the obvious problems would be a worthwhile pursuit of those in charge of the league.
So… what did we miss?
What do you think sucks about the NFL?