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The Rant

Holiday special: A four-part rift on NFL absurdities

Posted: Thursday December 22, 2005 9:53AM; Updated: Thursday December 22, 2005 1:06PM
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This is a stressful time of year for most people. Everyone's wallet takes a hit during the holidays, you have to endure crowds and commotion while shopping and you have to put in lots of time with the family. So why add to the stress by getting all worked up about something in sports? Instead, let's focus on four trivial NFL gripes that are just minor annoyances, but still need to be addressed.

Rant 1: How is it that some NFL announcers still don't know the rules of instant replay? The current system has been around since 1999, including the rule that in the final two minutes of each half, only the replay official upstairs can ask that a play be reviewed. Yet every week, in the final two minutes, we hear an announcer scream that a coach should challenge a play. If you don't know the rule, you shouldn't be in the booth.

Rant 2: Speaking of replay, how come a lot of coaches seem totally befuddled by the little red flag? They don't know where to keep it, they don't know how to throw it and they don't know when to throw it. Some heave it onto the field. Some just drop it. Some keep the flag in their sock or in their pocket. Others make an assistant hold it. Who knew these men could be responsible for 53 men, yet they look moronic when it comes to utilizing a red piece of cloth the size of a tissue.

Rant 3: Why does FOX think it's necessary to use an enormous arrow to show which direction a team is driving? I know most people in network television think the viewing public is stupid, but this is just insulting -- or a case of having too many toys to play with. This may come as surprise to those in charge at FOX, but we really can tell which way each team is going just by looking at our screen. We don't need any help.

Rant 4: Why can't DirecTV help its viewers by putting the games in a smart order on their channels? The crappiest games need to go on consecutive channels so we don't have to skip past them when we go from game to game. For example, on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, Detroit-New Orleans, and San Francisco-St. Louis are meaningless games when it comes to playoff implications. Put these two stinkers on channels 704 and 705. Then we'll just have to flip between 706 and 713. DirecTV should then go a step further by putting the best games (Dallas-Carolina, Tampa Bay-Atlanta, San Diego-K.C., Giants-Washington) on back-to-back-to-back channels so we can just lock in on them.