A couple weeks ago, I was reading about how Dan Patrick of ESPN asked a few NFL broadcasting colleagues about college football overshadowing the professional ranks. Predictably, Mike Dikta and Michael Irvin didn’t agree, but that’s because they can’t possibly say that the sport they cover is being surpassed by the league that supplies its players.
It’s true though – college football is much more entertaining to watch and, overall, is better than the NFL this season and probably every other year.
Think about it. Approximately halfway through the NFL season, what kind of storylines have we seen thus far? Well, we have the Saints owner Tom Benson being an absolute jerk in his city’s time of crisis. Even though he is prohibited from talking about moving to another city, many of his actions show that he is at least thinking about the idea. He insists that the Superdome is unusable and therefore the lease is terminated, which would allow him to find another city. The NFL disagrees – the Superdome has minimal damage at this point, and is ready to use.
But the best storyline from this season is also probably one that doesn’t come from the field. Nope, it comes from the high tide of the “seven seas” so to speak.
During their bye week, 17 Minnesota Viking players decided to take a little jaunt on one of Minnesota’s 11,000 lakes – instead of thinking about why they were 1-3 despite being the favorites in the NFC North. But as we’ve heard, they weren’t fishing or just enjoying some great fall weather in beautiful Minnesota. No, they were doing the nasty on the stern and bow of two separate boats.
I’m not a moralizer, and players can do what they want, but come on. This is one of Minnesota’s most populous lakes, and they brought strippers and who knows what else into broad daylight. Randy Moss was supposedly the problem on the team. Now they’re 2-5 and have lost starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper. But at least they’re having fun.
Now we can look at what college football has offered.
Once again, the BCS looks to be in a little bit of trouble, but at least that problem has to do mostly with the actual game of football, not strippers named Candy, Barbie and Peach.
Southern Cal, Texas, Virginia Tech, Alabama and UCLA are supplying late-season drama to go with outstanding individual play all the way from Reggie Bush to Marcus Vick. Every week, media and fans can argue about who the best in the nation are. In the NFL, well, people can argue if it’s possible to take away a playoff spot from the winner of the putrid NFC North.
Closer to home, Michigan hasn’t exactly had the type of season fans wanted. Three early-season losses guaranteed that. But the games have all been exciting, save the Eastern Michigan contest. Five of the six Big Ten games went down to the last possession, providing great entertainment almost every week. You’d be a liar if you didn’t feel a tingling feeling after Mario Manningham caught Chad Henne’s game-winning pass against Penn State
Don’t get me wrong I love the NFL; it’s fun to watch – and I still do. But it’s not as exciting. You could argue that there’s too much parity, and that maybe the NFL is having a down season because of injuries (see the aforementioned Culpepper, Ahman Green, Deuce McAllister, etc). I mean, it seems as if there is one dominant team (the Colts) and then a bunch of maybes. I can listen to that argument, but I don’t believe it.
You could argue that pro players are more talented; yeah, they are. But that doesn’t mean the games are superior to watch. Pro games can be too predictable because of that high level. With the ability different at each position, college games can add excitement and down-to-the wire games seen less frequently in the pros.
What if I gave you the choice of a Colts-Patriots game or Michigan-Ohio State, I think almost any person, fan or not, would choose the latter. The atmosphere is unparalleled in college. Besides, what are the chances you’ll see the Indianapolis and New England have another showdown in the playoffs? Pretty good.
This gets me to my last point as to why college is much better than the pros. Watching the NFL in person is, at times, awful. Seriously, I like it on TV much more. It feels cheesier than professional wrestling when watching in the stadium. There are too many gimmicks, whether it be annoying announcers (I blame that on that Godforsaken Pistons announcer Mason), pumped in AC/DC music between plays, or jumbotrons telling you what company brought you the replay. It’s just too set up for my liking – telling people what company brought you the replay.
I love that Michigan lets the band provide the music and doesn’t have Pepsi and whatever other company constantly informing the fans what’s going on. But some colleges have fallen pretty to what the NFL does.
Northwestern and Iowa – and if any of you made the trip to either of these places you know what I’m talking about – had games that felt as if they were at Ford Field. The announcers did their best to be infuriating with their calls and music to greet the players. But I’m hoping and thinking that these schools are in the minority. I know that Ohio State and Notre Dame don’t do that
It’s that simple. Contrary to what for dimwits like Mike “Cialis” Ditka and Michael “Fur Coat” Irvin think, the NFL can’t hold a candle to college football.
– Matt Venegoni still loves the Vikes. Skol Vikings. He can be reached at email@example.com