November 02, 2006

The Institutions of Football Must Be Preserved

FOOTBALL IS A SPECIAL GAME. Those words, which legendary announcer John Facenda made famous many years ago, remain true even in this troubled age. It remains a game which has captured the hearts and minds of millions; a game which values pride, loyalty and honor; and a game which demands professionalism and results.

That’s why Paris Hilton’s ten-second appearance introducing “Monday Night Football” was such an abomination, and why events like it must never, ever happen again on any National Football League-licensed telecast. Ugh. It was bad enough we had to watch the Minnesota Vikings get their heads handed to them by the far superior New England Patriots, but that didn’t make me, you know, choke down vomit. But being exposed to the horrid visage of Paris Hilton, something I have diligently avoided until now, was enough to make me nauseous. “I’m ready for some football” indeed.

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to include Miss Hilton on the intro – it was likely some dunderhead at ESPN – but surely that person could have gotten, I don’t know, anyone in The Walt Disney Co.’s television/movie empire to take part instead. But no. We got Miss Hilton, who would undoubtedly be more at ease watching useless sports, such as rowing or badminton. That’s just great.

Now look. Football is a special game, OK? Hundreds of thousands of high school athletes, many of whom have had a rough time of things thus far in life, learn a lot through playing football. They learn about character and teamwork and hard work and grit. Tens of millions of football fans watch the game for its beauty and its glory, even when the players are earning nothing more than pride. Hell, football is such a great sport that if you’re up late watching old game footage and hear the line, “The 1988 Houston Oilers tested the waters of greatness,” it not only works, it seems like genius.

As a result, it is not something with which Paris Hilton – whose antics have tarnished and cheapened her family name – should be involved. As much as I admire Miss Hilton’s ability to spin gold from straw with her tawdry career, I can’t sit idly by when that same tawdriness threatens an institution which I’ve come to cherish deeply. Please, football types, no more Paris Hiltons and Justin Timberlakes. We’ve got a good thing going here. It doesn’t need to get screwed up in misguided attempts to generate “buzz” or get “the young people” more interested.

(via Steve Silver, who jogged my memory)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 2, 2006 11:29 PM | TrackBack
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