June 29, 2007

The End of an Era (Well, Sorta)

WELL, THERE WAS SOME SAD but not all that unsurprising news today: the NFL has officially pulled the plug on NFL Europe, its scrappy and lovable development league based on the Old Continent. Apparently the NFL was losing $30 million to $40 million per year on the thing and finally threw in the towel. After all, that money could pay the salaries of -- gosh, five or six top draft picks!

The NFL's stated reason for throwing in the towel was because it wanted to focus on promoting regular season games outside of the United States; for instance, a game between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins will be played in London this fall. However, I do wonder if the emergence of a new spring football league here in the U.S. might have had something to do with their decision.

NFL Europe games were worth watching because of the prospects on the teams, and because those prospects often ended up trying for slots on their sponsoring team's NFL squad. As a result, watching a few NFL Europe games made one seem uncannily smart during the NFL preseason. However, the quality of the football was -- well, pretty third-rate, to be honest. With a spring league coming on board next year, that would have undoubtedly diluted the talent pool even further, and spring-league players could easily make the move to the NFL after the season ended. But oh well. Cologne, we hardly knew ye.

IN OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS:

IS FOOTBALL A MIRROR FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS? I ask this because I kept half an eye on the Canadian Football League game between the glorious Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes tonight.

Now, the good news is that Saskatchewan won, 16-7. But here's the strange thing about the game. There was one touchdown scored in it, and the team that pulled it off was not Montreal. In fact, Montreal didn't even score any field goals during the game. They racked up a total of -- wait for it -- three safeties and scored a rouge (one point) when a field goal try missed but went into the end zone.

But here's the real kicker. Montreal got those safeties because Saskatchewan was so deep in their own territory that they said, "You know what? We're not even going to try to punt the ball. Instead, we'll just give you two points and the ball back on your own 35 yard line. Go ahead! Try and score again! Be our guest!"

I'm sorry, but what the hell? Oh, sure, it worked, but that's not the point. The point is that this is football! There's no giving-up-two-points-because-it's-easy in football! I mean, come on. Such a strategy is almost as weak-willed as the Canadian Government's foreign policy.

PHILLY GETS A WIN: The Philadelphia Soul beat the Orlando Predators 41-26 in the first WIld Card game of the Arena Football League playoffs tonight. It was a good game to watch, particularly in the first half, when Philly and Orlando battled to a 20-20 tie. But although Philly played well, one could say that Orlando lost the game more than Philly won it. Three Predator touchdowns and an interception were erased from the board due to penalty calls -- and had those penalties not been committed, the score would have looked much different.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 29, 2007 10:24 PM | TrackBack
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