This is why I’ve never used a press pass. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities. Super Bowl, National Championship games, World Series … Lingerie Bowl, curling, bullfights on acid, you get the idea. I’ve just never been the neutral-colors, no-clapping, “sober” type when watching my teams play. So no free ticket and buffet is ever worth sitting on my hands in a booth with a bunch of jock-sniffers who claim to watch with completely emotion-free pragmatic diagnosis. To be honest, the prospect sounds God-awful. Not too many of the broadcasters look particularly athletic, now that I’m on the subject. Some just reek of an I-was-never-good-at-sports-so-I-sit-on-my-fat-ass-and-judge stink on them with a built-in loathing of the very readers who pay their salaries. Now that the GPS in my brain just notified me that I missed my turn in making a point in all this drivel, I’ll attempt to spin it around and explain myself.
I’m an unapologetic homer. But much like a coach or a father, I don't carry rose-colored glasses in my purse, er, European man-bag. My emotions run free, while still retaining the ability to see the good and the bad. I believe that to my core. That said, had I actually been in the press box Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the New Orleans Saints, I most assuredly would have been tossed out face first through the window like Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.
I actually had people several rows down (and even a couple of sections over) spinning around and giggling at some of the 100-percent uncut, Grade-A hatred flying from my mouth toward the referees after they called personal fouls on the defense for … I don’t know, playing football, I thought. I suggested they throw a flag on the cheerleaders for excessive shimmying, a flag on the brave soldiers recognized during the TV breaks for unnecessary roughness on Al Qaeda, and one for good measure on the beer vendors for excessive use of force upon my defenseless wallet. The NFL has taken the simple, subjective spearing penalty that has existed since I played Pop Warner and turned the game into an unwatchable nanny state resembling a mother arming her bike-riding toddler with a helmet, elbow pads, kneepads, shin guards and a shirt that says, “I’m Mommy’s Precious Little Sugar-pants." Helmets tend to hit one another. Unless it’s painfully obvious that the defender used his hat like a Pamplona bull, just chalk it up to the fact that sometimes shit happens and move on. Can you imagine NFL Films with the legendary John Facenda talking about gridiron warriors with the smooth sounds of One Direction’s “Kiss You” in the background? It truly makes me want to throw up a little in my pants. God clearly stated Sundays are a day of violence. Stop messing with it or get ready for raining frogs or something.
Despite the officials’ attempts to make the game resemble The View, the Bucs’ defense played outstanding football and kept the team in the game. Unfortunately, we still had the pesky little issue of the gentleman under center. Josh Freeman went 9-of-22 for 125 yards, one TD, one INT. For those of you who go cross-eyed when they see numbers, that falls under the category of “suck.” For those who love numbers, Michael Vick went 23-of-46 for 428 yards with 2 TD’s, Aaron Rodgers went 34/42, 480 yards, 4 TD’s, Sam Bradford, 32/55, 352 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 INT, and Matt Ryan, 33/43, 374 yards, 2 TD’s. And as far as I can tell, they make team meetings and never missed a class photo.
Josh Freeman … is a bad … quarterback.
And don’t hit me with the stand-by “Well, who else is out there?” crap. That isn’t the point. No man worth his salt has ever stayed in a relationship with a woman who wakes him up every morning with a swift kick in the testicles because there’s nobody else out there. When the experiment fails, you regroup. Period. Is Mike Glennon the answer? Well, I can guarantee you he can lose a game just as easily. “It’s not all Josh’s fault” makes a shitty bumper sticker. I’m done.
Honorable afterthoughts: The Tampa Bay Rays are still in the hunt, though it’s too early to tell (you can take that info to the bank, my friend … Gold, Jerry!); the USF Bulls have officially hit the taint of rock bottom after losing at home to FAU putting them at 0-3 for the season (and they still have Miami and Louisville on the schedule … on the plus side, head coach Willie Taggart is set to star in the latest Southwest Airlines commercial, which is sure to be the best “Wanna Get Away?” ad ever); finally, the U.S. isn’t the only country with soccer attendance issues. The Swiss team FC Luzern has decided to hire strippers for pre- and post-game shows in an effort to boost crowd numbers. As an added safety advantage, studies have shown soccer hooligans are less likely to riot with a boner.