Monday, December 7, 2015
You don't have to go to the theater district to see great acting. No sirree, it's right there on your television screen and it's free. Football is the new Palace for thespians.
Football games provide a rare combination of sports action and show biz entertainment. Bone crushing mayhem followed by self-centered celebratory prancing in the end zone. In between the danger and the dancing there are moments when very big bodies pile one upon another in a human pyramid. Most often this leaves participants happily out of breath, but I should mention too that real injury sometimes happens to the hapless one on the very bottom.
Like a lot of fans I've been there in-person to see a number of truly great heroes play the game. It's a fact that there is no substitute for being there. And through the magic of television any number of stars and near-stars bring their athleticism right into sports bars and our living rooms every week. Most of us have seen a lot of football but we surely wish we could have seen the real life legends like Jim Thorpe play in their heyday. That goes as well for Red (“The Galloping Ghost”) Grange whose exploits we view from time to time on old black and white footage straight from the collector's vault.
As far as penalties assessed during a football game, plaintive calls of “I didn't do it” usually fall on official ears that do not hear. There is something sad about a 230 pound player feigning innocence like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. While hundreds of thousands of us out here on the couches saw it all, and will see it again on the replay, it doesn't seem to register with our actor-on-the-field that all other eyes say you did do it. I have a mental picture of the late Dom DeLuise prancing along the sidelines singsonging “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
You need a program to tell the players apart. It's a genealogist's nightmare out there. We are used to seeing “Jr.” on a player's jersey. Then came “III”, which was okay. But now it's “IV” or “V.” As the Boston Red Sox great “Big Papi” reflected: “Who's Your Daddy?”
All ex-jocks share the dream of suiting up one more time to take the punt and score the winning touchdown. And to top it off Jim Nantz will be there doing the television commentary. Hopefully without Phil Simms (“You're right, Jim, “I agree with you, Jim” “I see it that way too, Jim”) as his sidekick in the booth on that glorious day.