Monday, December 9, 2013

Football--The Way It Should Be

I would like to thank Mother Nature for contributing to the most entertaining day of NFL football in recent memory.  The heavy snow at stadiums in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh brought the game back to the NFL Films-style of play that reminded me of my childhood.

You can't tell me that there was something that just felt "right" when you saw the big snowflakes falling and blowing past those purple Vikings helmets.  December games against the Purple People Eaters were epic battles not just against the opposing team--but the worst weather in the league at Metropolitan Stadium.  When was the last time you saw the Vikes play in real weather like that?  The same went for the snow covering the field in Pittsburgh--where the Steel Curtain would use the elements to their advantage in slowing down and stuffing high powered offenses like Air Coryell with Dan Fouts or Luv Ya Blue with Earl Campbell slip-sliding all over the place. 

The best watch of the day was Detroit at Philadelphia--where you couldn't even tell where the play on the field was.  The shot of Megatron--Calvin Johnson--being tackled on a long catch and coming up with his facemask completely filled with snow--that is the essence of football.

Fans who attend games like that talk about it for generations.  It almost becomes a badge of honor.  I was at the Snow Bowl game against Tampa Bay at Lambeau Field in 1985.

My friend Eric and I rode into Green Bay on his snowmobile through a foot of snow that morning.  We didn't stay for the entire game--it was two horrible teams playing--but at least I can claim to be one of the 20-thousand or so that "braved the elements".

And did you notice the exciting football that was produced in those snow games yesterday?  Even without 5-receiver sets and the spread pistol read-option, teams were still able to move the ball by running it.  You had a bunch of kick returns for touchdowns--and Pittsburgh almost had a Cal-Stanford "The Band Is On The Field" miracle final play to win it against Miami.

Yesterday's weather is the nightmare scenario for the NFL as it gets ready to host its first "cold weather" Super Bowl in New Jersey in February.  The talking heads who think they know the game better than anyone will be full of gloom and doom predictions this morning--that snow during the Big Game will "ruin the purity of the contest" or be an "unfair advantage" for a team that still plays cold weather games outside.  But based on what we saw yesterday, I'll take the Super Snow Bowl over the "perfect conditions", antiseptic, video-game style of football we've had to endure the last few years.

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