Someone clearly shit in Charlie Pierce's Wheaties this morning. He really hates the Cards! Yes, it is true that there is an embarrassing, Ashcroftian, Let-the-Eagle-Soar tendency to glorify the game of football as a cultural exemplar of AMERICA. Yes, it brought us that subliterate protohuman John Madden. But:
[The Cardinals] are in the position that they're in because the NFL rigs its season worse than any carny rigs his wheel. For all the macho posturing of its principal propagandists, between the jiggering of the schedule and the conniving of the draft and the socialistic revenue schemes, and the desperate grab for any mechanism that will flatten out the differences between really good teams and really bad ones, the NFL is the league that comes closest to the biddy soccer league philosophy of making sure that everyone gets a trophy.Would he rather the NFL look like MLB? What differentiates the NFL from other American professional sports leagues is that it is a league, and its efforts at parity are, I suspect, appreciated by fans. The truth is that there are still teams (My Beloved Steelers, for instance) who regularly perform with excellence, season after season, who may have the odd 8-8 or 9-7 year, but whose organizations operate with consistency, professionalism, and aplomb, just as there are teams (say, the embarrassing Cincy Bungles), who do just the opposite because of poor coaching and poor management, although from time to time they manage a decent season. Sure, Arizona is a fluky team to be ravaged and destroyed by My Beloved Steelers, but were it not for seasons like this, every damn year would look the same. Despite their miserable performances at Foxborough and elsewhere, the Cards got to the big game just like any other team: by winning their playoff games. Whaddareyagonnado?
Meanwhile, if Charlie Pierce wants better coverage, he should turn off the damn TV. My Beloved Steelers, for instance, are covered on the radio by the great team of Bill Hillgrove and Tunch Ilkin, with the delightfully wacky Craig The Wolfman Wolfley as the sideline reporter. Any time I happen to be in another city on a Sunday in the season, I turn on the local game, and am almost uniformly impressed with the quality of local radio NFL broadcasts.