By: Ben Wietmarschen

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Op-Ed: Is Football Over? Yes.

In this Sports Opinions series, our office sports fan Ben gives his take on all of the important sports questions. This week: Is Football Over? Let us know your take in the comments.


I mean, what are we even doing anymore with these NFL games? What the hell are we watching? It ‘s crazy. It ‘s a joke. It ‘s over, man. Let ‘s just end the dang thing now.

Did you see the Bengals/Steelers game Saturday night? It was insane.

Don ‘t believe, just take a look at this Vine. This is footage of a Steelers coach pulling the hair of a player on the opposing team. That ‘s right. It ‘s a grown ass man pulling the hair of another grown ass man. And that wasn ‘t even a blip on the radar of story lines for this game because everything else was so out of control. See the madness for yourself:

That is insane.

Holy lord, whatever it is that ‘s happening on the field during football games at this point isn ‘t even recognizable as a game. It ‘s some kind of improvised brutal circus, where the outcome gets decided Whose-Line-Is-It-Anyway-style where everything is made up and the points don ‘t matter (because the referee can call a penalty and erase the points instantly)!

And it ‘s not the ref ‘s fault! That ‘s the crazy thing. There are no clear rules, really, just thousands of little unformed ideas of rules and hypotheses of how to stop certain acts deemed unfair by some formless blob of general consensus. The NFL has become a full-contact role-playing game between real-life, extremely angry adults for millions of dollars lorded over by a confused and reeling zebra-striped Dungeon Master.

Officiating an NFL game must be like trying to snatch a handful of water from a waterfall.

And you know what? This is our fault. We ‘re a sick species and we barfed this form of sports into reality. Having six days in between games and endless forums to whine and be babies about who called what wrong when and how has warped the experience of watching a game from seeing which team can score the most into a witch hunt for who is screwing whom the most raw. We ‘re so obsessed with THE RULES and CALLING FOULS on players who are BREAKING RULES that there is no real right way to play the game anymore.

Back to this Bengals/Steelers game, which was not a fluke, it was just the perfect example of the mutant beast, King-Kong-chained-to-a-Broadway-stage show that football has become. You have to sift through half a dozen story lines and key plays in the Bengals/Steelers game before you even get to an actual legal play that happened on the field! Are we even watching a contest anymore or just waiting to find out how loudly and confidently we can complain about something?

In a lot of ways, football has swerved down the same road as politics in America. Screaming “You ‘re wrong!” and “Not fair!” at authority figures is really what we want to do, in our heart of hearts. And it ends up being our consolation prize when our hometown team ends up getting called the loser.

Football as we ‘ve known it in the Super Bowl era is over. Or at least it ‘s walking the edge of the cliff, drunk and dizzy on its own confidence and blind to the cliff it ‘s teetering on in the first place.

So what then is the future of the NFL?

Here are four changes I can think of that might save football before it is too late:

New Rule #1: Take six players off the field and add six referees

More eyes, less things those eyes have to pay attention to.

New Rule #2: No cameras

No way to prove anyone is wrong or right. It just happened and now it ‘s over.

New Rule #3: No helmets

Taking advantage of the very real human tendency to avoid smashing head-first into things.

New Rule #4: No rules

Can ‘t get mad at a referee for making a bad call if there are absolutely no calls whatsoever to make. Just let whatever happens happen.

But whatever, who cares? Football might be over but I ‘ll still watch it because my team might win the Super Bowl one day and that would be really fun.

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