In not-so-long-ago, simpler times… Days of Yore (or perhaps “days of your” if yore a product of educational budget cuts courtesy of “No Child Left Behind” programs)… the world was not so complicated a place. Newspapers brought us the news, reported by qualified reporters and delivered by neighborhood boys who deposited them on your doorstep. People read the news generally once a day and had time to reflect, ponder and even go about other tasks such as going to work or reading a book or eating breakfast without requiring a constant data stream of breaking news.
It was a less complicated time, when people communicated by actually speaking with each other rather than their soon-to-be-arthritic thumbs, BlackBerries went into pies not pockets, text was a book filled with scholarly facts. In those days, PDA referred to smooching in public, Facebooks were on post office walls, conversations were struck up without devices and if something struck you as humorous you might actually laugh out loud or share it with co-workers at the water cooler. There was also a time when phones (that were just phones) and typewriters were the modus operandi for girls from the steno pool and press conferences were limited to presidential candidates or the Beatles…but that time has passed as well.
Not everything new is good nor is everything old bad but some balance might be nice. The internet and electronic news services bring us news faster, across greater distances and to areas previously underserved by more archaic delivery methods. Refrigeration and freezers along with microwave ovens and other methods deliver, store and make food supplies available over longer distances and time so that more of the world’s population remains fed and can plan accordingly. Electronic infrastructure offers us direct deposit, ATM, GPS, e-mail and even better pizza delivery.
The Sports World has changed as well – but not for the better. Everything it seems has become public knowledge – whether intended to be or not. Insults and inflammatory messages, once the province of bulletin boards and locker room walls, now are exchanged with the speed of electronic mail, or virtually instantaneously. First responses being public are not always a good thing and sometimes catastrophic. We as a society no longer think before we speak… or text… or tweet… blogging of course is an extension of traditional media and is therefore entirely different!
What used to require a printing press, inking and press operators, editors, reporters, delivery trucks and young “newsies” on the street corner shouting “EXTRA, read all about it” now works very differently. On any given day at any given moment, any number of people can become news sources. How? Elementary dear Watson. Observe. Unsuspected and with virtually no notice, an unseen buzzer goes off in a man’s pants using a symphonic rendition of Ode to Joy or Too Legit to Quit while said unfortunate soul rummages frantically through his person to locate and extract a ridiculous device. As Beethoven or MC Hammer subside, the message on the device is delivered. Said person nods triumphantly, snaps the device shut, returns it to his pocket and surveys the board room or subway platform or public restroom importantly proclaiming to no one in particular the familiar phrase: “Sorry, but I just had to take that.”
NovaCare seems to be the Grand Central Station of spin doctors, catch phrases, bulletin board material and of course the frequent regrettable phrase delivered via mass communication from these pocket-sized instruments of destruction. Sometimes these messages are fodder for the traditional media while other times they are actual corporate edict with unfortunate consequences. Whether right from the top or lowest man on the virtual totem pole all messages make their way to the public with equal alacrity and lack of filter. Newspapers were thrown away the next day or eventually recycled but despite its fleeting nature, electronic data seems more lugubriously enduring than stone etchings. There is no statute of limitations, no retraction of public phrases and certainly no so-called “do-overs.” Once you put it out there into the ether, it exists.
If Jeffrey Lurie, perhaps you are haunted by two words: “Gold Standard.” If Andy Reid, those two words might be “ham sandwich.” If you are Vince Young, the two words you might want to take back are “Dream Team.” Oddly enough, the solution to most of these regrets would come in the form of one very specific item that has been sought lo these many years since 1960 (indeed the days of the Beatles and steno pools and simpler times) – a Super Bowl trophy for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Incoming backup QB Vince Young had no idea his words would carry so much weight and was stunned by the fallout which followed. Taking note of the Birds’ bountiful harvest of free agents, he was asked his thoughts on joining this Eagles team – speaking two words: “Dream Team.”
“All-hype team,” snorted Rob Ryan the defensive coordinator in Dallas upon reading the comment.
“All that talk will come to an end, I guarantee you,” snarled Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley. Mind you, Finley and the Packers just won the Super Bowl in February but still can’t get the attention of the press.
The media had a field day, a virtual carnival of jackals reporting more vehemently than had been seen in some time – and never in quite this fashion. Local media quoted him, national media harassed him and everybody questioned what the connotation truly was. Criticism and interrogation and requests for clarification rained down on Eagles camp as never before.
Probably due to the 132 day NFL owners’ lockout which ground the flow of news-quality chum to a halt for the entire summer. Largely due to the flurry of activity during the so-called “Free Urgency Period” compressed from 5 months into a few short weeks the media were starved for any news and piranha-like when offered the feeding frenzy in July.
Now it is mid-preseason. Players have taken the field for the excruciatingly pointless exercise of milling about in uniform to pretend to play football but it is more like a poorly planned (yet televised) Halloween Costume Party where everybody comes dressed as NFL players, coaches and fans. It masquerades as an NFL football game but in reality these glorified scrimmages are a poor facsimile of NFL games. The coaches know it. The players know it and most of the fans know it.
These soirees are simply priming the proverbial pump until the real NFL season kicks off to satiate the behemoth appetite of hoards of drooling savants desperate for their football fix. Well, that is how the NFL league office and owners envision the fans after all. Forcing season ticket holders to pony up their hard-earned dough in a struggling economy simply to maintain the privilege of paying for astronomically overpriced season ticket packages works if the people are willing to pay.
Maintaining to the TV networks that preseason NFL football still garners a quality rating – better than reruns of “The Office” or the new reality fodder that rules the airwaves (be that “Paradise Bachelor Fantasy Dancing Island”, “Weight Watcher Sing-Off“ or “Celebrity Scorned Womens’ Deathmatch“).
In any event, they’re right. ESPN, FOX and NBC will pay and the NFL Network goes right along with them. Dish services can’t pay the NFL fast enough. Sports bars, cable companies and satellite providers will gladly pay. We the public will always pay…and do pay for merchandise and tickets and subscription packages and stadium luxury boxes and parking and seat licenses and then we watch…on Sundays and Thursdays and Mondays…
Are you finally ready for some real football?
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org