Sunday, September 7, 2008

Futbol Americano y Ocho Hell No

Viva, Viagra! Oh, I’m sorry. I’m watching football. And the commercials are just so darn catchy.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Which means what? Well, among other things, it means that I get to watch a whole lot more commercials for erectile dysfunction than usual. By the way, as a side note, I find it intriguing that the baseball games tend to air more of the hair re-growth product commercials whereas the football games tend to focus on the erectile dysfunction. It’s just interesting what you can learn from watching game time advertising. Like, I now know that guys who watch baseball are bald and the ones who watch football can’t get it up. And, based on the advertising I have seen the few times I have been forced to watch the golf channel, those guys should all consider seeking immediate medical assistance.

But in addition to what the beginning of football season promises to do for my repertoire of ad campaign jingles, it also means that we are going to be reunited with a whole lot of old friends. Old friends we all but forgot while we were busy focusing on baseball, tennis and the Olympics. Well, not Fav-ruh. We could never really forget about him. What with all the headlines, cornfield mazes, and text messages. But the other guys? We all know we haven’t stayed in touch quite the way we would have liked. The way we promised we would when the season was over. Even Tom Brady has been conspicuously absent from the pages of US Weekly these days. Probably busy going over plans with the contractors for that house in Malibu. I hear he’s like totally obsessed with getting the bathroom right. But the good news is that friends in professional sports are the really quality friends. You know, the kind you can go months without talking to and it’s as though no time has passed at all.

I know what you’re going to say. Why, really, do we need these guys? Doesn’t baseball provides us with an unending well of material? It’s true; with so many major league players, on any given day, you can always count on someone to break his hand on his bat, or give someone the bird, or get married and present the world with a hand drawn sketch of the wife whose name he refuses to make public. But every once in a while, I think we all can admit to wanting a change of pace. A-Rod is A-Rod, and Manny is Manny, and maybe I’m ready to be hearing about someone else. And while I wish that baseball season would never end, maybe five months into it, I am still ready for some fresh faces—for some different brands of crazy.

It’s true. Most of the football headlines these days have been pretty narrowly focused on the game. We’re not so far into the season yet that players have taken the liberty of distracting us with their antics. So, there has been a lot on the injuries, the matchups and, of course, Fah-Fah-Fah-Fav-ruh and the Jets. You know, the stuff that is arguably more important, though dramatically less entertaining. There was a little bit of feather ruffling when Big Blue played the Redskins. Mathias Kiwanuka apparently took offense to the fact that Chris Samuels was willing to play for a team with such an incredibly racist name. Oh, no. That wasn’t it. That’s just the fight I want someone to have. I guess what Kiwanuka really said was that Samuels got a little down and dirty with a play. The result was a not-so-serious ankle injury for Kiwanuka. Samuels tried feebly to defend himself. Everyone else basically said he was in the wrong. And that was it. Pretty boring. But, like I said, it’s still early.

But there is one story—one story totally unrelated to anything having to do with actual football—that has captured the hearts and minds of football fans everywhere these past few days. Well, it has captured the heart and mind of this football fan, anyway, and I am just going to assume that the rest of them are like me. Except that I don’t have erectile dysfunction, and I would rather frost my tips than leave the house wearing a Styrofoam cheesehead. Bad for both the environment and one’s self-esteem, I would think. But I digress.

The story to which I refer is a story that has to do with a player and his fight to have the football community acknowledge the person who he truly is. And that person is a person who wants to have a Spanish number for a last name. Only not a real Spanish number because, apparently, he doesn’t speak Spanish. However, he wants an approximation of a Spanish number for a last name. So much so that he was wiling to take legal steps to make it happen. But the latest on Chad Ocho Cinco is that, despite his efforts, he was forced to start the season with his old name on his jersey—the boring name. Johnson. Blech. It’s just so…pedestrian.

The NFL made the ruling, claiming, “He has a financial obligation to Reebok, which produces the jerseys available to fans. That has to be resolved before the on-field jersey can be changed.” Hmm…funny because I actually heard that Reebok had already started making jerseys with Johnson’s new name on them. Like, as soon as he had it legally changed. So, people at NFL, is that the real reason? Or do you just hate Spanish Heritage Month? Whatever the case, shockingly, you obviously didn’t read or heed my advice about how to handle Ochenta y Cinco. You may feel like you are winning the battle by making a big deal of this, but you are actually only giving him the attention he so desires. And yet another headline on

Me? I don’t mind. You’re giving me something to write about. All I am saying is that if you let him play the game with the jersey without saying a word, he gets one story out of it, and then it’s over. Now? He gets this story. He gets the story where he makes a big stink out of it. He gets the story where you finally give in and let him do what he wants, which you eventually will. So cut to the chase. Or don’t. It’s not that easy for me to figure out what to write about, and I am glad for the material. Like I said, no one else in the world of the NFL is doing much that’s newsworthy yet.

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