After watching the first Sunday of NFL I am finally ready to admit something that five years ago I would have argued with you to the death over; NFL football on most Sundays is better from my living room than in the Superdome. Yeah I said it. This isn't going to be some tired old rant against high ticket prices because it's more complicated than that. Going to Saints games in person and experiencing the atmosphere of a big game is still unmatched by my couch and flat screen HD. New England last year on a Monday night or the playoff wins are memories for anyone who was there are something we'll take with us till our bodies are six feet under. A regular season game where the Saints host the Cleveland Browns...not so much.
What the hell happened?
Giant HD TVs and surround sound home entertainment centers can be bought for less than the price of two club level season tickets. If you don't think the economy along with affordable high end electronics isn't affecting attendance you aren't paying attention. Why fight the traffic, pay the sky high food prices, parking, etc if you can watch the NFL in 60 inches of HD goodness?
Not to mention while at an NFL game your view of the game isn't as good. Something that drives me up the wall at Saints games is the fact the Saints don't replay controversial calls on the video screen. Whenever there is a huge play and the play is in review if you are at the Superdome all you see on those giant million dollar replay screens is a Fleur-de-lis twirling 360 degrees. If this is some NFL mandated rule not to show coaches challenged calls on replay while the referee goes under the curtain it's dumb and if you want to improve the in stadium experience Roger Goodell then fix it. This is America and not some third world soccer crazed country so we can handle seeing a replay. If a controversial call doesn't go the home team's way we aren't going to riot and hunt down the official. Raider fans might but in the 31 other NFL towns it won't happen.
Joe fan at home got to see Calvin Johnson's supposed game winning catch in Chicago from 900 angles and in super slow motion. I wonder if fans in Soldier field got the same view or did they just get a growling Bear on the Jumbotron?
The other thing that makes NFL football so much better at home...the Red Zone channel. Oh sweet Redzone Channel how I love you. If the Redzone channel's Scott Hanson was a news anchor I might actually care about world events. The way Scott Hanson can take me to a Jake Delhomme interception and make it feel like I am going live to some well in Kansas with a trapped baby makes me tingle.
If I'm at a Saints game I can't get rushed to Dolphins-Bills like it's an emergency presidential address from the Oval Office and NFL Sundays without that is like football without beer. And who wants that? NO ONE.
And please save any, 'The NFL added the Redzone to every stadium this year emails' - not in my seat high up in section 641 they didn't. NFL is it too much to ask that every seat in every stadium have its' own TV? Make it happen, America is suffering.
As much as I love going to Saints games I always feel disconnected from the rest of the games and my fantasy teams. Following my fantasy team or watching other games on my phone doesn't cut it. I barely like watching Tony Romo on 55 inches in HD why would I like it on my one inch cell phone? So mark this down as reason 5680 Ralph is now old...I think besides about three home games this year (Vikings, Falcons, Steelers) I'd much rather be on my couch then in the Superdome.
On to this week's games
Last Week: 3-2
New Orleans (-5.5) at San Francisco: I love Bud's Broiler. Almost every time I drive into New Orleans for a Saints game I want one. After I order myself two #4's with hickory smoke sauce I always think, 'Why does Bud's Broiler not rule the Earth?' It's so fantastic. The cheddar cheese with the Hickory smoke sauce makes me feel like I'm Anthony Bourdain discovering some secret dish no one knows of. Then I wait like 40 minutes and realize there is only a 50/50 shot my order is right and I remember as great as Bud's Broiler is there is a reason it hasn't over taken McDonald's. The service. Same thing happens while watching NFL opening week.
All offseason the media talks me into believing teams like San Francisco and Oakland will be better. Then the games start and suddenly reality punches me in the face. The Raiders are still horrible no matter who is the QB. I remember that now. Alex Smith and his baby hands are into year six of horrible quarterbacking so why did I think the 49ers would be really good? Stupid sports media, I'm so easy to convince.
I'll just say it, 'Mike Singletary is an updated Mike Ditka.' Not the Chicago Bears Ditka, but the washed up loser New Orleans Saints Ditka. The media loves him because he gives great post game sound bites just like Ditka did but his offense was an embarrassment Sunday. Ditka's Saints offense was an embarrassment for three years but San Francisco isn't far behind. The 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye blamed headset problems on getting the play call in for big fourth down plays early in the game against Seattle except Alex Smith said the headset worked fine. BURN.
I've shown better coordination trying to go to the bathroom in the dark then the 49er offense did last Sunday. Singletary has the same Ditka mindset that the key to football is toughness, defense, and running. It was that way in 1978 but not today. Singletary also has Ditka's taste for over their head offensive coordinators. At least Danny Abramowicz could get the play call in on time. Why San Francisco didn't trade for Donovan McNabb I'll never know. Look for Pierre Thomas to prove he's the second most valuable offensive player for the Saints this week along with Jon Gruden rambling how Singletary is still a great coach despite the egg the 49ers will drop on America.
Gruden: This guy Singletary. HE. IS. A. FOOTBALL. COACH. He knows how to FIX THIS. This guy Alex Smith I call him HOT COLLAR because he gets the head coach HOT UNDER THE COLLAR.
Miami (+6) at Minnesota: On Sunday my fiancee and I were arguing over who to start at running back for our fantasy team. It was either Ricky Williams or Jerome Harrison and if you listened to us you'd think we were debating whether to adopt a Malaysian orphan. Yesterday I said we should claim Brandon Jackson from the Packers because of Ryan Grant's injury and cut Harrison.
Fiancee: Didn't you call me an idiot for wanting to start Rickey over this Harrison guy who I told you not to even draft and now you want to cut him?
Fiancee: You aren't very patient. Are you going to cut me after one bad week of marriage?
Me: (Total silence)
Seattle (+3) at Denver: The NFC West is terrible but someone must win it so why not the Seahawks. Pete Carroll looks more relaxed now that he can pay players and not have to lie about it. ZING!
Washington vs. Houston: Did you know the Texans won the Super Bowl Sunday? Oh right, only people here in Houston think that. When the Redskins are up 17-6 at halftime don't say you weren't warned.
Kansas City (-2) at Cleveland: Last Sunday at 2 p.m. I was driving the Brown's bandwagon while they led 14-3 but by 3 p.m. I had jumped off and dislocated my shoulder.