John F. Russell: Cars, beer and football


Each Sunday I flip on my television, grab a cold beverage and something to eat, and settle in for an afternoon of football.

But when I sit down to watch a football game lately, I can't shake the feeling that something really important is missing -- like football.

Today's NFL broadcasts are looking more and more like infomercials. And not one of those semi-entertaining infomercials for BowFlex or the amazing Ginsu 10-piece knife set, but a really bad one.

These days, football fans must take their football action in small doses between a barrage of commercials featuring beer, cars and all those newfound prescription drugs promising to make our lives better.

Of course you can never figure out what the drugs are for from watching the advertisement. If you want to know, you will have to call your doctor.

The good news is you can call him during one of the commercial breaks in the football game and never miss any of the action.

Then, just when you think you're going to get to watch a game, the announcers start spouting off about the next episode of "Cold Case" or "Everybody Loves Raymond," complete with some graphic that impedes your view of the field.

Sure I love Raymond, but not in the middle of a 30-yard pass completion.

But like so many other people, I sit in front of the television waiting for a little fix of football between commercials and promotions for the next exciting edition of "Survivor."

On a warm Sunday afternoon, I should be spending time with my family or mowing my lawn one last time or doing something better than watching meaningless commercial after meaningless commercial.

And if you think sitting in front of your 19-inch Sanyo is bad, imagine those poor souls who are at the game and sitting in a seat in the nosebleed section between those seemingly endless TV time-outs.

They don't get to sit in the comfort of their warm living rooms and stare at a screen full of good-looking girls dancing with a bottle of beer.

Instead, they have to sit in the rain, or cold, or snow and wonder why the players, who are getting paid millions to entertain, are standing at the 20-yard line chatting with the linesman for 10 minutes after the first kickoff.

If they make those TV timeouts any longer, the players will have time to go to the locker room and warm up between drives.

I understand that advertising is how professional sports franchises make money. It pays for all those million-dollar contracts and keeps the owners and the NFL front office happy.

But there is a line.

Someday, hopefully soon, fans of the National Football League should toss their hands in the air and say, enough.

But if your're looking for me this Sunday, chances are I'll be in front of the television watching a little football and a lot of commercials.


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