Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The NFL (No Fun League)

Why do you watch the NFL?
Is it because of those spectacular touchdown catches?
Is it because of the fourth quarter drives that result in Hail Mary passes?
Or is it because of those leggy cheerleaders who supercharge you in ways that Gatorade can never dream of?

For me it’s all that and then some.

I live to see those touchdown celebrations. I live to see the spike. The slam dunk over the crossbar. I live to see a shuffle and when players launch themselves into the end zone with their arms stretched getting ready for that Sportscenter highlight. I live to see the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Johnson entertain fans with his creative celebrations. I loved it when putted the pigskin using the end zone pylon. I laughed out loud when he tried CPR on the ball. Did you see when he handed out a sackfull of autographed balls after a recept? How about proposing to a cheerleader after a great TD catch? Mondo hilarious, effendi!

I’ve seen Ickey Woods shuffle, Terrell Owens pose like Mr. Universe, Steve Smith perform calisthenics, and Joe Horn call his mom on his cellphone in the end zone after a TD! I’ve seen Deion Sanders high-step, Shannon Sharpe salute the crowd, and Robert Brooks jump into the stands in Green Bay. Yes, that Lambeau Leap. Invented by former safety Leroy Butler – yes, a defensive player who was the recipient of a lateral pass off a fumble recovery that lead to a 25-yard TD run -- it has become a tradition since the Packers’ return to respectability in the 90’s.

Sadly, all that might be a thing of the past now.

The No Fun League of Paul Tagliabue has just taken a huge dip in my coolometer. As part of the No Fun League’s new rules for 2006-06, they passed this moronic statute:
Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.
In the name of sportsmanship they say. C’mon. That’s like outlawing the dunk in the NBA. Or taking away the post-goal celebrations in football. Nigeria’s Super Eagles have some of the funniest and most creative goal celebrations the world has ever seen.

It’s these acts that add color to the game. It’s a form of expression of joy with some creativity in it. A little display of emotion never hurt. If it’s construed to be in the vein of trash-talking then they best way to prevent Chad Johnson from making the highlight reel of the game is to have those safeties or LBs tackle him.

Get in with the program, you geriatric buffoons. You were young when Elvis shook the foundations of a staid music scene. Moptops and long-hair was how you responded to change.

To the fogies who run the NFL, if you think that the post-game dances slow down the game, then maybe you should cut down on those lengthy commercial breaks. Maybe you should take a look at the officiating – and this despite instant replay – which still sucks. All those false starts and holding calls slow the game to a crawl.

If the opposing team feels slighted that Chad Johnson has put one over them again they should be more upset that someone blew their man-to-man coverage somewheres. Or maybe their quarterback has the mobility of those party-poopers who just passed that rule so getting picked off for a TD return by a defensive player warrants a jig or some nifty routine.

A 15-yard penalty if someone celebrates? Ok. There’s a verbal warning first but nevertheless that sucks. Way too much, amigos!

Personally, I am a Denver Broncos fan but I enjoy watching the Bengals and now the Cowboys (because TO is now there if only to see what he will do when he gets to the end zone). I’d love to see the players get down with it after a score; not just to get up and walk away.

In the pre-season game between the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals the other day, as Chad Johnson was being interviewed about what he has in store for fans this coming season, teammate Kelly Washington scored on a 34-yard TD strike from Doug Johnson. Washington did a dance that Johnson described as “sweet.” So when pressed as to how he intends to deal with the ban on TD celebrations, he simply teased. “It’s a soap opera,” said Johnson now sporting a blond mohawk. “So you gotta join us for the whole year to find out.”

And so will the No Fun League officials led by Paul Tagliabue up in their skyboxes.

The NFL will be shown on Solar Sports this coming September.

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