Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 28
The Benchwarmer's Hopes for the 2013 NFL Season
By KRISTINA SEWELL
The days are growing shorter and the air is growing chillier. From my cozy spot on the bench, I can see the scattering of brown and yellow leaves and smell fall—by far the best time of the year—in the air.
For some of us, fall signifies the much-awaited return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. For others, fall means the return of something much more exciting; something that glues us to our couches on Sundays and makes us dig in our closets for our fabled jerseys.
Football is back!
The 2012 season was definitely full of its ups and downs with Peyton Manning going to the Denver Broncos, the 49ers abandoning Alex Smith for Colin Kapernick, and, of course, the infamous “glitch” at the 2012 Super Bowl.
The start of every football season always brings about lofty predictions and ambitions in football fans. This season is already off to a roaring start, as teams take their stands and rivalries ignite.
For this 2013 NFL season, I have 10 things I would like to see happen—or not happen—from my place on the bench. Some of these items are definitely attainable, while others are dreams that might take a while to come true. Here they are:
No. 1: End ‘Thursday Night Football’
It’s no secret that the NFL, at the end of the day, is ultimately a business. Businesses want to make money and, to maximize its already astronomical profits, the NFL gifted the world with “Thursday Night Football.”
Well, the NFL can take its gift back. Monday and Sunday night football is where the real action takes place, and those nights are the only nights worth devoting to football. Thursday Night Football is like that high school kid who shows up to a party uninvited and tries desperately to fit in with the “cool kids,” but fails miserably.
The truth is Thursday Night Football is painful to watch. Aside from Week 1 and Thanksgiving, the point differentials for final scores are seven points or fewer.
So let’s leave professional football to the “cool kids” and save Thursdays for something else.
Well, well, well. The NFL’s “look the other way” policy in regard to player behavior is finally biting some team organizations in the proverbial you-know-what.
More than 27 NFL players were arrested since the end of last season for everything from assault to rape to murder with a lot of handguns in between—it would seem that Michael Vick was just the beginning of the NFL criminal parade.
Perhaps the most notable case is that of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who is being indicted by a grand jury for two homicides.
Hernandez is just one example of players who continue to operate with the thinking that they are above the law. Perhaps stronger background checks—and reminding these players that they are athletes, not mobsters who have any business carrying around loaded handguns—are needed.
Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for the 49ers: they have tremendous tenacity and have made vast improvements in the last couple of years.
However, there’s something about Colin Kapernick I just don’t like. Perhaps it’s his lack of humility or his tendency to act the hero by rushing the ball every stinking play, but I just don’t like him.
Or it could be that Alex Smith was shafted by the 49ers and their new whiz quarterback, whom they are quickly making the face of their franchise.
I would love to see Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the 49ers … and I would love to win $1 million, but neither of those things is likely to happen.
After last year’s epic Super Bowl blackout and this year’s opening game weather delay, two things are clear: the NFL needs a new weatherman and a new electrician.
Never in my Benchwarming lifetime have I seen so many game interruptions and delays. Granted, humans can’t control the weather, but it’s not a good sign when the season starts off with a delayed game.
Fewer glitches are definitely in order.
The Patriots, also known as the New York Yankees of football, have had anything but a smooth start to their season. Pretty-boy quarterback Tom Brady is faced with a new corps of tight ends and receivers, which could explain the team’s ugly 13-10 win over the Jets Sept. 12.
The bottom line here is: I am tired of seeing the Patriots reach the playoffs every year, and I believe a majority of people on the West Coast agrees with me.
Overtime in the NFL has been the elephant in the room since 1974. To me, the current sudden-death format is child’s play and allows teams to rely too much on a kicking game and a coin toss.
Why not abide by the same system that’s used for the whole game? Each team has four plays from the 10-yard line—no field goals and no extra points. It’s plain, simple, and truly a sudden death.
What could be more dramatic than that?
Even though I am far from being a fan of “America’s Team,” a.k.a. the Dallas Cowboys (how and why did they get that title anyway?), I think it would be nice for their fans and their owner to actually get what they paid for.
I’m talking about Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. There are numerous complaints that the QB is not involved enough with practices, which could explain why he has only led his team to one playoff game win.
Romo signed a contract for $1 million; you’d think he could generate the effort to go for two playoff game wins, but maybe I am being overambitious.
The 2013 NFL half-time musician was recently announced and, while I have nothing against Bruno Mars or his music, I was hoping for someone a little better.
I’d like to see some rock ’n’ roll on the stage. Rock ’n’ roll would certainly go better with football; hip-hop has had its reign of the halftime stage.
The days of Tim Tebow are over, or they should be. Once the most talked-about quarterback in the NFL, Tebow turned out to be one of those college players who just couldn’t hack it with the big boys.
Tebow had God-like dreams of being an NFL quarterback that ended up being illusions. So for the folks at ESPN, I’m sure you can find something to cover other than Tebow making snaps at training camp. Titillating coverage. If you are going to devote that much airtime to a player, let’s make it someone who plays and is actually worth watching. Tebow had his shot.
Lastly and most importantly (and this explains some of my previous bias against the 49ers): my hope is to see Clay Matthews and the Packers make their way back to the playoffs. However, Aaron Rodgers will definitely need to get rid of the ball quicker and Matthews will need to take the lead on defense in the absence of Charles Woodson.
I think this is a dream that can certainly come true. But what do I know? I’m just a Benchwarmer.
Staff Writer Kristina Sewell is excited to watch the 2013 season unfold. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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