Football dreams fall short of goal line

Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Upon returning to the peninsula after a summer’s absence, I was pleased to see that the Dish Network has added the NFL Channel to its suspect lineup.

I had read a little about it, and now I was looking forward to experiencing it firsthand. Visions of 24/7 football, like sugarplums, danced in my head. I imagined wall-to-wall NFL Films highlights of early seasons, replete with blooper shows and all-time bests, narrated by the late John Facenda, the little man with a distinctive bass voice that made the words “Lambeau Field” and “frozen tundra” seem to actually be important to one’s understanding of the game.

But, alas, the sugarplums aren’t dancing after all.

I’m sure that it was a plum for the NFL boys in New York to get their own satellite TV channel, but that apparently is where it stops

Instead of hours and hours of classic or recently played games, we are treated to more well-coiffed talking heads wearing thick pancake makeup who interview each other and also reluctant head coaches, who really don’t want to have to speak to the media pukes, but must because they are beholden to the almighty NFL.

And, it isn’t even pure NFL. Some of it is college scores and highlights and post-game press conferences. Press conferences! Like with the head coach of USC speaking in front of a background that has the team’s logo, plus a major sponsor’s logo. And there are more microphones set up (with their own logos) than when the governor is in town.

So, after a week or so of watching the NFL Channel, I don’t know whether to be disappointed that it doesn’t really have the gravitas to be a true football channel, or to be relieved that I am not addicted to the sport to the extent that I am compelled to watch even the reruns of the pregame stuff: “We gotta good football team. We’re gonna run the ball, we’re gonna throw the ball. We’re gonna play 60 minutes of football. The (insert team name here) are a good football team.” Or the post-game stuff: “They’ve gotta good football team. Don’t let the 42-7 score fool ya, it was a lot closer than that. We gotta lotta respect for them.”

Bill Gronvold


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