Thursday, December 9, 2010

3 comments Rick Reilly Continues His Assault On Sports and Fans of Sports

There's really no way around it at this point. It's very clear that Rick Reilly hates sports. He writes (sort of) about sports for a living, but in his columns you can tell he cares less about sports as a whole. You can tell this because of the various times he has shown contempt for sports figures and sports overall in his columns.

Today, Rick Reilly gives tips on how to go to an NFL football game with your family and stay safe. I am sure that Reilly rarely goes to NFL games on a regular basis and sits in the stands with his family, but this still doesn't stop him from talking like he is an expert on the topic. Reilly assumes his audience is full of people who hate sports as much as he does. I think he is wrong.

You have everything you need to take your kid to an NFL game this Sunday? Program? Binoculars? Nunchucks?

Yes, there are rowdy fans at a football game. Yes, there is a 0.5% population of fans that get out of control, but a person can generally take their child to a sporting event and not have a fight break or the child be scarred for life. People can be respectful.

When I went to a Panthers game last year with a friend of mine the man sitting beside me asked me politely before the game if I would watch my language in front of his 8 year old son. My friend and I agreed to do so. Sure, part of me wishes I could say whatever I want at a game and fans would be more rowdy, but it was a game between the Panthers and Buccaneers. Is there really anything to start cursing about in a game between two non-playoff teams?

In 2005, I went to the Dallas Cowboys-Carolina Panthers playoff game and the man behind me was a Cowboys fan. He brought his 10-12 year old son with him and became annoyed with my three friends and me because we constantly stood up and chanted random (though fairly clean) things in our section. Later when we joined our section (or most of it) in chanting derisively "Quincy Carter" as he threw another incomplete pass, the man stated we were the most disrespectful group of fans he had ever encountered because we still wouldn't sit down. This is a Rick Reilly-type fan. A man who goes to a playoff game while cheering for the road team and expects the home team's fans in front of him to sit down and not chant things. We were seven rows from the top and the people in front of us were standing. If we didn't stand, we couldn't see.

Actually, if I were you, I wouldn't take my kid. I'd take Manny Pacquiao. NFL stadiums are rougher than sandpaper thongs lately.

These days, NFL fans make NHL fans look like Miss Manners. They're often buy-a-vowel drunk, spewing cuss words and looking to fight. And the men are sometimes worse.

This is an observation coming from a person who probably hasn't attended a game among the fans of an NFL team in years. I am 99% sure Rick Reilly has a press box seat, but because he is a member of the informed sports media he knows from various incidents that have happened lately exactly how most sports fans behave.

This year alone:

A plastered Browns fan tackled an 8-year-old kid in a New York Jets jersey, cutting the boy's ankle.

A man was stabbed and another bruised before a game at Candlestick in San Francisco. Police were looking for a fan in a 49ers jersey.

A man at Soldier Field in Chicago fell to his death from 20 feet up on Sunday.

Having fun, kids?

These are isolated incidences that are, yes, mostly caused by alcohol. These incidents are not representative of what happens at most NFL games. The bad apples and bad circumstances make other fans look bad and then a moron like Rick Reilly comes around and pretends these types of things happen on a weekly basis in every NFL stadium.

With insane popularity comes inane people, and we're not just talking about Pittsburgh's James Harrison.

Nice cheap shot Reilly. Nothing like criticizing a football player for playing the game of football. This is what I mean when I say Reilly displays a contempt for sports. He hates the player AND the game.

Don't go. Just sit your kid in front of your HD screen with a bowl of Cheetos and the remote.

Plus, who wants to go see a sporting event? It's just a bunch of sweaty men who are hitting each other hard. It's much more fun to make a living talking about sports while simultaneously hating their very existence.

Still, if you INSIST on taking any child who isn't at least a brown belt, here are some survival tips:

1. Don't listen to anything Rick Reilly says.

2. Acting like you are better than the other fans because they are so uncivilized will get your ass don't be like Rick Reilly.

3. Cheer for your team and teach your child that any crazy things another fan says/does is due to overconsumption of alcohol and use this as an abject lesson on why people are idiots.

In covering this league for over 32 years, I've learned one hard and fast formula: more jerseys = more mayhem.

Rick Reilly saying he has covered the NFL for 32 years is just an outrageous claim. He isn't Peter King or an NFL beat writer. He was a football writer for the Denver Post and then went to Sports Illustrated where he covered every sport and then sold his soul for many boring and overly sappy human interest stories. He hasn't covered the NFL for 32 years. He has covered sports for 32 years, but I don't know how much "covering" of the NFL he has done.

Sit at YouTube for two hours and watch all the NFL stadium fights. Every single one will involve morons wearing jerseys. For some reason, fans think that once they put on that stupid $175 jersey, they are now part of some army that must defend its colors at all cost.

Much like how a person who writes about all sports gets in front of a computer and thinks he is an expert on the NFL and how fans react during a game?

And yet, if one of these jersey boys were on fire, the player whose name adorns the back of that jersey wouldn't take the time to put him out with his water bottle.

This is so incredibly irrelevant, it's not worth talking about. It's like saying a fan shouldn't wear a player's jersey because that player wouldn't stop to help the fan fix a flat tire on his car.

Don't wear a jersey, ever. In January of this year, two men wearing Philadelphia Eagles jerseys attacked a woman wearing a Tony Romo jersey outside a convenience store in Bethlehem. So much for peace on Earth.

Don't ever go swimming. Earlier this year in Australia a surfer was attacked and killed by a shark. Avoid the water. Stay on the beach. Actually, don't stay on the beach. Skin cancer is a major killer of many adults. Stay in your hotel room. Well, don't do that either. Hotel rooms in certain cities contain bed bugs that can get all over you and spread to your home. Stay at home. Wait, don't do that either because most accidents happen in the household. You know what? Just kill yourself right now. It's easier that way.

Don't bring a sign. Last year, at a Patriots-Jets game in New Jersey, Michelle Munoz's 14-year-old daughter held up an "I Love Tom Brady" sign. Munoz was then allegedly kicked, punched and thrown over a row of bleacher seats. And the Jets were ahead.

Yes, you will be beaten to a bloody pulp if you bring a sign to a game. How about don't go to a Jets game carrying the sign of an opposing player?

Don't sit up high. If you sit up high at an NFL game, more than your nose might bleed. Instead, pay through the nose and sit low, where the generally sober people are.

Ah yes, the joys of elitism. Sit with the people who can afford good tickets to the game, because those people are too wealthy and refined to drink too much in public.

The game is this Sunday in San Diego and it's the jersey-jerk capital of the world. It's their own little World War III. For some reason, Raiders fans, especially, will risk broken hands, rearranged eyes and night court to defend the honor of their team.

This is further proof that Rick just doesn't get why fans are loyal to their team or care so much about how a sports team performs. It's illogical, I agree with this, but sports fans are very passionate about their teams and any sportswriters who pretends to understand fan behavior and doesn't understand this fact should not be writing about fan behavior. I don't think Rick Reilly enjoys sports and it shows in his writing.

But you wonder if they realize that 21 of the current Raiders weren't even on their roster last season and probably another 21 will be somewhere else next season, wearing jerseys Raiders fans must despise.

It is illogical, but diehard fans don't think about these things. All these fans care about and realize is that these players are on the team right now.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, these people are knifing each other over laundry.

At least he paraphrased and didn't outright steal this joke from Jerry Seinfeld. That's a step up for Rick.

And this is just what's in the stands. The product the NFL has on the field now has gotten uglier, nastier and more violent. This brings out fans who not only want to watch violence but participate in it.

The product on the field hasn't gotten nastier or more violent. Football has always been a violent sport. There is a reason you hear about veteran NFL players barely being able to walk when they hit 40 and 50 years of age. The violence isn't new and any attempt to pretend that it is false.

The players are bigger and faster, so maybe that makes the game more violent...but I refuse to concede a point to Rick Reilly.

In San Francisco in Week 2, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush lay prone on the field with a broken leg. The announcer said, "Reggie Bush is injured on the play." And the fans cheered. How will you explain that to your little Amber?

Say the fans are all relatives of Kim Kardashian?

The NFL, to its credit, is trying to make things safer and saner with its "Fan Code of Conduct" and tattle-text numbers at every stadium to bring security. "We're getting very positive feedback," says NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. "It's appreciated by fans and it's working. "

We must be going to different games. The games I'm going to seem more menacing every year.

Riiiiiiiiiiight. I am sure Rick Reilly is sitting with the fans when he attends an NFL game. He's probably actually sitting in the comfortable press box eating the free dips and appetizers that are given to him and sipping a Diet Coke while only paying attention to the game long enough to get an anecdote for a future column.

There's an easy answer, of course, but it's the third rail nobody wants to touch: beer.

So fans should be less passionate, cheer quieter and also not be able to enjoy a beer at the game? Who wants to go to a football game with Rick Reilly anytime soon?

Without beer, the NFL would dry up and blow away. But how about stopping sales after halftime instead of the third quarter?

That makes sense. What better way to make fans less rowdy than give them less time to guzzle alcohol so they will chug the beer and give fans more incentive to tailgate before the game at home before they drive to the stadium? I don't know about other people but after I have had a few beers and then if I quit drinking for a while I either get sleepy or cranky. I may be in the minority, but I am assuming that happens to other people too and neither of those are good things at an NFL game. So stopping beer sales at halftime probably wouldn't have the effect Rick Reilly thinks it will.

How about opening up parking lots two hours before the game instead of four?

This is the only proof I need to know that Rick Reilly hasn't attended an NFL game in a long time. Anyone who has attended a game knows that if the parking lots are closed there is going to be a TREMENDOUS amount of traffic around the stadium prior to the game. In fact, I would almost bet if the parking lots opened up two hours before the game there would be many, many pissed off fans because they miss the first part of the game. Imagine the amount of traffic of 70,000 people in a two hour time span as compared to a four hour time span.

How about telling the networks to stop showcasing single-brain-celled fans like Fireman Ed and Can't Feel My Face Shirtless Buffalo Guy, dolts who give the impression that this game is slightly more important than their next breath?

Guys like these get fans excited to see the game. I don't know if Rick Reilly has such little respect for fans that he may truly believe these two specific fans singlehandedly lower the bar for decorum at football games. People aren't stupid enough to see these fans on television and think it is completely normal to act like that at an NFL game.

Until then, leave the kids home. Let them do something safe and happy and nonviolent.

Like Halo 3.

Current pop culture reference!

Look forward to Rick Reilly's column next week that details why fans shouldn't be able to be close enough to the field so that they can see the players and why sporting events should no longer be televised.


Anonymous said...

Think about how much Reilly gets paid to churn out crap like this...

Bengoodfella said...

My guess would be $3 million per year too much.

Nunyer said...

Based on my limited sample sizes, I would hazard that NFL games are more civilized and calm than decades past. When I was a kid growing up in the 80s, my hometown Lions were generally awful (I know, shocking revelations!). My dad wasn't a big sports fan, but I had a uncle who had four season tickets, didn't want to give them up and could rarely find anybody to go with him to games... So I attended quite a bit of Silverdome action between the ages of 10 through 15 or so.

Back then, the upper bowl of the Silverdome was like the wild, wild west. My first memory of attending an NFL game was being down on my hands and knees, trying to hide under my seat along with a buddy of mine, as a drunken, twenty person donnybrook played out overhead. I was probably nine years old, maybe ten, at the time. Similar upper bowl brawls happened at least once in every Silverdome game I can recall attending in the pre-Barry Sanders era. (Once Barry showed up, more sellouts were happening, the drunk hooligan types were getting more dispersed among fair weather types, etc)

Nowadays at Ford Field, it's rare to see one decent scrap in the stands per season.