The Wise Guy: But what about the games?

The Wise Guy has the offseason blues.  When football season, his first love, ends, there is a succession of great sporting events to keep him occupied: March Madness, the Masters, the NBA (and even NHL) playoffs.  But those events are over, and the dog days of summer of are rearing their ugly head.  There’s only so much golf and baseball and man can watch.  With that, the Wise Guy has taken to drowning his sorrows in a semi-regular chronicle, “The Offseason Blues.”

The problem with the offseason is there aren’t any games.  Insightful, I know, but let me try to explain.  There really is no off-season in football media coverage.  The carefully constructed draft, OTAs, training camp, and pre-season, it feels like there’s always news to report or analyze.  But there’s not.  Sure, there’s plenty of gossip.  Every day, it seems there’s another stupid story about some stupid athlete doing something stupid.  Today, I actually wasted one minute of my life watching a video of Mike Ditka yelling at people to sit down on an airplane. I really needed that.

Other than that, the offseason is just another example of the football-media-industrial complex producing content for unnecessary consumption.  Just like when the Department of Defense tells Congress it needs another $100 Billion for new super-bunker buster bombs, I really don’t need to hear about player X’s performance or no-shows at practice (we talkin’ ‘bout Practice!), almost three months in advance of the actual games.

You’d think the football offseason would be better than the others because of its parity.  Every year, a team comes from out of nowhere and makes the playoffs, a notion that seemed incomprehensible in the prior offseason (see Jets, Falcons, Bengals). This prospect offers a little bit of hope to even the down-trodden that this will be your year.

But what is that hope based on? The answer, almost always, is nothing.  As I’ve mentioned before, football is complex and very hard to grasp.  Unless you have a superstar QB like Peyton Manning of Tom Brady, it’s almost impossible for the layperson (i.e., me) to breakdown why a team is or isn’t good.  So as I read all this so-called news about what my beloved Bears are doing to improve themselves, it goes in one ear and out the other.

The draft is the biggest mirage.  All the hype and build-up.  But, Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr., and you have absolutely no idea whether the players drafted are going to be any good.  You might as well just play the lottery.  They’re all physical specimens, and pro football is such a step up from college football, that it’s so much more a crap shoot based on coaching, scheme, and, of course, being free from injury.

I’m starting to get cranky again.  Time to watch some futbol.