What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
EDITOR’S NOTE: Boyd Bergquist was the sports director at KETS-TV in East Tree Stump, Nebraska for almost 40 years. Known across the Husker state as the voice of the Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament, Bergquist was a four-time winner of the Marv J. Butz “Golden Cob” Award For Excellence In Nebraska Broadcast Journalism. That background, along with his quick if not cliché-riddled wit and love of single-malt scotch makes Bergquist a perfect fit to be our “Question” guy.
Last year, J-Dub accepted my nomination of Serena Williams for a Dubsy Award. But what do you think explains her collapse at this year’s Australian Open?
~Tennis the Menace
Serena Williams is one of the greatest female athletes of her generation, let alone a tennis player. But she has two big problems; one she can fix and one she can’t. No matter what she does, she’s a “high-mileage” car in terms of being an athlete. Being 37 years old puts you in the prime of life for most people; for athletes it’s two steps from the retirement home. As Charles Barkley says, Father Time is undefeated.
For the life of me, I don’t get why nobody else spotted this, because it seemed pretty obvious. You can try all you want to blame this on her supposedly “rolled ankle,” which by the way was already taped up before she set foot on the court. The real reason she dropped that last set after having it down to match point is simple…she ran out of gas because she’s overweight.
Go back and look at the video of that last set. As it plays out, Karolina Pliskova played some “out of her mind” tennis, but it was also true she was hitting shots by Williams that the pre-baby fat Serena would get to. Now, I understand we all lose a step with age, and you can tell me all day long about Williams’ “muscular build,” but sitting right on top of those muscles is two heaping helpings of too much ass. The reality is some sports tolerate a few extra pounds because they don’t exact as high of a demand from the body of an athlete, but tennis isn’t one of them.
Some people think the ratings for the college football championship were down because everybody is bored with Alabama and Clemson. Do you think the same might be true of the Super Bowl and the Patriots?
It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s likely. I get that outside of New England, the rest of America has as much love for the Patriots as earaches and tax audits combined, but the Super bowl itself has transcended football to become essentially a national holiday. Super Bowl Sunday is the leading day of the year for delivery pizza sales and domestic violence. If there’s a better way to define a truly American holiday, I don’t know what it is.
What that means is Super Bowl Sunday is the one day that even people who don’t give a damn about football watch football. Christmas is when we gather with families, but Super Bowl Sunday is when we gather with friends. and co-workers. As such, it may the most social holiday we have, and it will take a major cultural shift for it to go away. So, unlike the college game, the ratings really don’t matter all that much, unless you’re a TV network or an advertiser.
Deion Sanders ripped the Pro Bowl, and he was right. Is there a way to make it worth watching?
~ (name withheld by request)
In a word, no. Frankly, it’s an idea that has outlived it’s purpose. As it is set up now, you don’t get any of the players from Super Bowl teams, and most of the star players don’t want to be there because after a full NFL season, they just want get healed up. The guys that do show up put on a glorified game of “flag football” because nobody wants to get hurt.
The problem is nobody in the management structure of the NFL wants to make any major changes to the Pro Bowl because it still draws viewers. Like it or not, it doesn’t face any major competition for the football junkie, because that Sunday between the championship games and the Super Bowl is the first Sunday in about six months without football viewer. My pothead son says this is when football fans are down to “stems and seeds,” and they’ll take anything they can get. I’m not even sure what that means, but it seems to make sense to his buddies that do nothing but eat microwave burritos and play Madden all day long.
Anyway, if the NFL really wants anybody to buy the Pro Bowl exists as a “Fan experience,” you’re right…it needs a “watch-ability” factor beyond “the fans are desperate and will watch any crumbs we throw them.” This idea to to radical to get any traction, but it’s time to accept the idea of a “Pro Bowl” game is outmoded and maybe we should consider transforming this from a post-season on-field event to a pre-season fan event.
This solves so many problems and presents so many opportunities. Imagine a scenario in which the guys who get named to the Pro Bowl no longer have to play in a game which most of them treat like getting picked for jury duty, instead, honoring the Pro Bowlers becomes an event moved to the pre-season, specifically, it becomes an event combined with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies.
In other words, if you’re trying to sell this to me ans a “fan event,” why not make it the ultimate? Imagine what the NFL could do with a full “fan experience” weekend complete with all the “Pro Bowl” players from the previous season, all the living Hall of Famers, and the current year’s inductees. If they can’t build a bigger event from that than a football game full of guys who were the 7th choice to be there, then screw ’em all.
I’ve heard everybody’s take on that ridiculous pass interference non-call at the end of the NFC Championship, and almost all of them sound stupid. What’s your take, and how dumb is it?
~ Al, Pack A Sweater
You’re right about almost every other take on this being stupid, because nobody is talking about the root cause of the problem. Everything I’ve heard so far is so much bugle oil about what should and shouldn’t be review-able with replay. Dubsism nailed this problem years ago, even though at the time the subject was replay in baseball. Despite the difference in the sport of discussion, the points made are still valid.
The most important one for this discussion is the fact that replay doesn’t solve the problem of bad officiating. Say what you will about that call in particular, but there no way on God’s green earth that wasn’t a penalty, and it was egregious enough in my opinion that somebody should have lost their job. We all have things at our jobs that if we screwed them up badly enough we’d get fired; why should NFL be officials any different?
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