It’s arguable that pro football might have been my favorite sport as a kid. If you are like me, though, you stopped paying attention to the NFL a lot of years ago. Oh, sure, I thought about dialing in to support the kneelers, but the fact is that until recently those guys were the most interesting thing going on in the sport. I mean, seriously. Pro football has become pretty much boring. The players are great athletes and I can enjoy an individual play as well as the next person. But the money is insane and the league can’t even figure out what a damned catch is.
I have better things to do.
Sure, I watched a bit of a game here or there during the holidays. It’s literally impossible to not actually see the NFL when you get down to it. But, blah. I just don’t see the value any more.
But that changed this season when Joe Posnanski started his Browns diary.
Talk about the luck. I mean, how many guys would be ready to give up on the NFL (like I was), but then find himself genetically unable to stop watching his team play—on the very year that they were going to turn in such a marvelously disastrous 0-16 season? Sure, Posnanski is an award caliber sports journalist (he’s one of my literal all-time favorite sports writers, a guy who can make just about anything interesting). And he’s a Clevelander through and through. So the signs were there. But really, let’s face it. The guy was ready to quit writing about the NFL and came back in the nick of time to document in what is literally pitch-perfect form the step-by-step process of one of the only two 0-16 seasons on record. And I was lucky enough to live in a time when that happened. I’m not a religious person, but if you’re looking for a sign that God actually exists, you could go a lot more wrong than that.
Sure, you can say the same about being here to experience David Bowie, too, but this is different. To my knowledge, no power of the universe ever had to intervene in the idea of Bowie quitting.
Anyway, if you have any interest at all in the NFL you need to read these. And if you don’t care about the NFL, but just want to read the thoughts of a true fan of a certain age as he sorts out the feeling of what it’s like to follow a team that is perhaps the epitome of the downtrodden, or…well, if you just want to read about the human condition put forward by a guy who can really write… well…you just need to read these.
They restore my faith in what it means to be a fan.
In perhaps the highest praise I can give, they almost make me want to watch the NFL again.
Here are the links. Start at the top. Work your way down, Enjoy.