Usually, I ignore all things football at this time of year. I don't listen to ESPN Radio, don't watch Sportscenter (motto: All NFL All The Time) because they seem to think that people care about football in June--when all I want are baseball scores and highlights of great defensive plays. But this year, it's been harder than usual to tune out the off-season noise.
Let's start in the NFL. I am weary of those complaining about the lockout. Fans worried about games getting cancelled, business owners thinking they may have to shut the doors without Packers games or practices or training camp to bring people to their area, players comparing themselves to slaves. I've had enough. Most of the time, I'm "football-ed out" by Sunday anyway so I don't watch much NFL--especially in early fall when tee times at courses are easy to get on Packer days.
Then college football had to start hogging the spotlight. Jim Tressel's cheating, lying and covering up have sullied the reputation of a once-pround program at Ohio State. Then you get the Big Ten offering to pay players above and beyond the tuition, books, food, room and board already provided to them for playing a game. And now the Big Ten sticks it to the fans by putting their "money grab"--I mean Conference Championship Game--at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis for the next five years. Nothing embodies the tradition of Big Ten football like two teams from meaningless divisions with joke names (remember Leaders and Legends?) playing in a sterile dome on artificial turf in a city that cares only about basketball. Did no one at the Big Ten offices think that the fans wouldn't enjoy a title game at Lambeau Field? Or even Soldier Field?
Even high school football is killing us. The new conference alignment means Oshkosh fans will be traveling to Stevens Point and Marshfield to play games against their new "rivals". And then there is the ludicrous WIAA idea of putting all teams in the playoffs--and shortening the regular season.
So let's just all agree to put football on the back burner--permanently. Think of it as an economic stimulus effort. Consider how much more work will get done by guys who aren't using the office computer to check out fantasy stats and set their lineups for next week--and how many more hours will be dedicated to actual productivity instead of three hour recaps of Sunday's three hour Packers game. We might even be able to avoid a triple dip recession before 2012.