NFL Commentary: The Consistency of Inconsistency

Beau TempsContributor IDecember 30, 2008

You have to wonder what goes through the average sports commentators mind when they issue bold edicts about the NFL.


As a bit of an outsider, I find myself standing back in awe of the comments various sports-heads make.


My theory is that the NFL, with its limited season of 16 games, is simply under a more powerful microscope than other sports.


Now that the pro football regular season is at a close for this year, the “experts” begin their epitaphs for the large group of clubs that are now out of the playoffs.


Teams that one week were proclaimed “contenders for the championship” are now written off as under achieving or under motivated. These back-and-forth opinions truly gave me whiplash this season. And the change was dizzyingly fast. One game changes the rhetoric from drastically positive to drastically negative.


As many will admit, this trend was not limited to any particular cities. And some of the final criticism seems well deserved (see Detroit).


Being someone who takes the comments at face value (because I don’t feel I’m knowledgeable enough about the sport to argue them), I found the whole vacillating mess very confusing.


Are the Cowboys a good team? Were the Falcons a bad team? Were Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre washed up? At one time or another this season, depending on which game came the weekend before, you might hear either point of view.


Tarvaris Jackson...Y'know, I could have sworn I heard he was the worst QB in the league. Now I’m not so sure.


I guess the smartest thing I’ve heard a sports-head say was when Bill Parcells said something like (forgive me for paraphrasing) “…at the end of the season if you have a 6-10 record, then that’s what you are…”


So it seems to me that, at some level, the commentary in the NFL is largely a cycle of bold claims followed by indignant or painfully obvious hindsight.


This leads me to question the perplexing emphasis we fans put on sports commentary in general.


It’s not just from the “journalists” and “experts.” What about the endless stream of completely meaningless sports pussyfooting and PC drivel the athletes cough up week after week?


Talk about a cyclical redundancy! The Journalistas ask the “tough” question...the whole time praying the athlete will slip-up...and in-turn the paranoid athlete answers in diplomatic double-talk that creates the illusion of team cohesion and professionalism.


And if...IF...sometimes, the athlete’s emotions somehow get the best of them and they accidentally blurt out a controversial truth...the journalists immediately decry the comment and dog-pile the source.


So why do we bother with all the effort of this impotent speculation? Are we simply bored?


We must be...but it’s too bad because sometimes...and I stress “sometimes”...I think the game itself should be enough to entertain us.