The Sports Rambler

I’ll admit: I’m not playing fantasy football this year. Not because I don’t like football or the fantasy version of it, but because I just, truly, deeply, do not believe football should be played during a pandemic.

If the number of positive tests is any indication, the virus seems to agree with me.

On the bright side, Washington currently leads the NFL East with a 6-8 record, in a heated competition with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, both 5-9. This would turn me off football in ANY season.

At least NFL fans and players were comforted at the beginning of the season by Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement, “We will enforce the facemask policy in the same arbitrary, heavy-handed and nonsensical manner with which we enforce all our policies. We must protect The Shield. Heil Hydra.”

The New York Jets won their first game of the season, upsetting the L.A. Rams. In doing so, their chances of getting consensus number one pick Trevor Lawrence took a hit, as they now have to compete with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the top pick.. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2020 winners of the Hawkeye Pierce Memorial Screwed-Up-In-Reverse Award: the New York Jets!

Oft-injured Eagles QB Carson Wentz has been replaced by a guy named Jalen Hurts. Philly’s really paying for that deal with the devil they made to win the Super Bowl a few years back.

As some of you know, I took a hiatus from being a Vikings fan when Mike Zimmer was hired and dismissed every member of the old coaching staff except special teams coach (and virulent homophobe) Mike Priefer. When Priefer was finally dismissed after the 2018 season, I was free to return to my Vikings fandom. It’s been…a process. Not so much for political reasons, but because of the team itself. You see, I don’t feel like I had a choice but to become Vikings fan the first time around. I’m a lifelong Minnesotan. One must root, root, root for the home team. But now that I AM making the choice to become a fan again, I’m not sure it’s the right move. This is a team that will, in ways large and small, rip your beating heart from your chest and urinate on it with nary an apology. I mean, sure, there’s the hope that one day the Vikes will FINALLY break through and win a Super Bowl. But is it worth waiting for? The situation is analogous to looking at an apartment where the walls are as thick as a cubicle, a thrash metal band lives downstairs, and the place smells vaguely (but insistently) as if a homeless person has squatted there, in any number of ways. Then when you ask your prospective landlord why someone would want to live there, they say, “Well, if you make it all the way through the one year lease, you’d be the first person to do it!” Is that really the sort of thing someone wants to sign up for?

I can’t be the only one who finds the current aesthetic of watching a football game really strange, right? You hear the pumped-in crowd noise, watch the play unfold on the field, and then notice no one is in the stands. Unless, of course, the team in question has taken it upon themselves to put some cardboard cutouts in the seats. Which doesn’t help. I don’t know why they didn’t just go with a bunch of zombie mannequins and lean right into the creepiness.

Speaking of which, has anyone tried watching WWE television and their “Thunderdome?” I realize, of course, that WWE is completely unwatchable these days, but their solution to having no fans in the stands is to have a wall of video screens featuring fans watching from home. It reminds me of that episode of “Star Trek” where Kirk is on a simulation of the Enterprise, stationed on a planet that’s overcrowded. When he realizes this, it’s suddenly revealed that he’s being watched by a whole group of people staring at him through a window. Thunderdome is like that. Only there’s no chance of Kirk getting laid, so the suspense is removed.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame qualified for the College Football Playoff. These are the same four teams who were largely predicted to make the playoffs, thus rendering the actual season a waste of time.

Right after its formation six years ago, the College Football Playoff Committee stated it would place an emphasis on winning the conference championship. Which is rich, given that Alabama and Notre Dame had their playoff spots sewn up to the point their buses could have taken a wrong turn and brought them to a strip joint rather than their conference championship games. Ohio State, which played maybe half of two games, was allowed to play in the Big 10 title game due to the little-known “F**k you, we’re Ohio State” clause in the conference bylaws. (Actually, I’m lying. That clause is very well known.)

The only other team in the running was Texas A&M, who not only failed to win their conference, they didn’t even win their division. Meantime, Cincinnati was completely overlooked, despite going undefeated and winning their conference title. According to the Playoff Committee, this was due to Cincinnati not being a member of the Stonecutters. (Shut uuup.)

Major League Baseball recently announced that it is elevating the Negro Leagues to major league status and incorporating its records into major league statistics. As a result, the Boston Red Sox are now the all-time leaders in ERA (Entirely Racist A**holes).

Seriously, that a league which historically denied people of color an opportunity to play, did nothing to support the leagues that DID allow them to play, and took a full century to recognize those leagues as major leagues now wants a pat on the back for “elevating” is the most Major League Baseball thing possible. It’s like the guy who stole your car asking for a reward for returning it.

JOE DAVIS is the main character in a series of mystery novels by Randall J. Funk. Mr. Davis and Mr. Funk are delighted by the shocking similarities in their opinions and writing styles.

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