Way back, a long time ago, pro football games used to be played on Sunday afternoons. And that was about it.
Before Monday Night Football.
Before Saturday football.
Before Sunday night football.
The NFL and the AFL had merged. Three NFL teams (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cleveland) joined the 10 AFL teams to form the AFC. And the remaining NFL teams made up the NFC.
Sunday, at 1:00, there'd be a football game starting on one channel. Then, at 4:00, there'd be a game on the other network.
Except when the area team played a road game in Baltimore. They kicked off at 2:00 for some reason.
Anyway, the 1:00 game was real, genuine, hard-nosed football, and always ended in time for the 4:00 game to start.
Okay, not always. There was the "Heidi Bowl" game. But that was a 4:00 game. It ran long, and was cut off so that NBC could show Heidi ... and football fans would miss two Oakland touchdowns that turned the game around.
That was a big deal, because the network wasn't prepared for it.
Games never went long. Three hours was plenty long enough.
Today, though, pro football games take too long. Waaaaayyyy too long.
But, watching this political primary season, I think have discovered the solution.
Play pro football games like they are the primaries.
After the coin flip and kickoff, if a team makes two first downs, declare them the front-runner. Have members of the defense -- say, some 2nd or 3rd stringers -- leave the sidelines and head to the locker room.
Midway through the first quarter, check the scoreboard. Whoever has the lead, declare them the inevitable winner, and urge the team that's behind to pack it in. And some of the players do.
After every first down, punt, score, or turnover, the announcers call on players who are behind, or who aren't leading in rushing, passing, receiving, tackles, or some other such statistic, to pack it in.
And some of the players do.
Then, after the big half-time show, when one team is leading -- even with half a game of football left to play -- the announcers tell the players on the team that's behind to call it quits.
And sometimes, they do.
Yeah, if football games were done like the political primaries, it could really change things.
We wouldn't have to worry about football games dragging on and on. They'd be over at half-time.
Just think about it.
Kickoff at 1:00. Then, barely 2:30 and we can turn the channel and watch Star Trek, Whacked Out Sports, or a Law & Order rerun.
You know. The same ole same ole.
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