No fan of the NFL offseason
Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. Every year the winter snow finally gives way to green trees, grass and flowers.
It brings with it a brand new season for many athletes. After most of them were cooped up inside gymnasiums and hockey arenas all winter, they finally get to see some sunlight and hit the baseball or softball field, or perhaps start swinging their clubs at a local golf course.
So why recently did I turn on my television and see former presidents, fans and millionaire executives watch a game of catch by Johnny Manziel?
Oh, never mind, I forgot we are talking about the National Football League and people from Texas. You would think that a former president has better things to do than watch a 21-year-old play catch with some of his buddies.
But my gripes with the NFL off-season involve more than just a pro day involving Mr. Johnny Football. In this day and age, the NFL has made everything in the off-season a circus, starting immediately after the Super Bowl and ending with the draft.
The off-season madness always begins at the end of February with the NFL Scouting Combine. Never mind the fact that all of these players have spent years competing against other top-level talent in college football, now we have to watch them run sprints and lift weights to make sure they are athletes.
Personally, I do not quite understand why some people are so captivated by the combine and pro days. I sure hope these events are not really a huge part of NFL scouting. If team executives have not decided a draft strategy before the combine, they probably should find a new line of work.
Next comes the free agency period, which this season began on March 11. Some people go absolutely nuts when their favorite NFL team signs some cornerback or backup linebacker who is in their late 20s.
Common sense should dictate that NFL free agents tend to be less exciting than they are in other sports. Many of these free agents are worn down after playing a grueling sport at the highest level for years. Unless they are Brett Favre, their abilities begin to decline by the age of 30.
So once your favorite NFL team has acquired some aging veterans, they spend the next few weeks attending pro days and preparing for off-season workout programs that start in April.
My thoughts about the pro days are exactly the same with the combine. NFL teams have multiple college seasons to scout potential rookies. Why is that not a much better indication of talent than watching a quarterback throw a ball without the hindrance of a defense or seeing athletes run the 60-yard shuttle?
But fans flock to these things, and from that point the NFL hype machine keeps spinning until the draft in early May. Turn on any off-season football show and they continually show updates of worthless mock draft boards.
Oftentimes, NFL teams are lying to the media to push other organizations away from the players they are interested in acquiring.
This season the NFL even pushed the draft back a couple of weeks into May, a move many suspect was done to gain some extra excitement.
So this year maybe it is a good idea for all of us to pay a little less attention to the NFL offseason circus and enjoy spring for what it is worth. You probably will not regret it.