Sure, I admit to being bruised by the Eagles’ loss to the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. But what makes football games like that so painful to watch is the clock. In football there are three major factors – the two teams on the field, and the clock. The teams play against each other while also playing the clock, managing and manipulating time, trying to always keep it on their side.
And so in the waning minutes of the game, commentators and fans alike begin wondering not about a wide receiver, quarterback, or free safety, but about remaining timeouts, the two-minute warning, and the impact certain plays could have on the clock. Run out of bounds, the clock stops. Get tackled in the field of play, the clock keeps ticking. Throw to the sidelines, get a first down, spike the ball, take a knee. These plays are only interesting because they impact the almighty clock. In the final minutes of a close game the clock is almost more important than the guys in the other uniforms.
A clock? A clock? Is this what sport is about? Time-management sucks the life from the final minutes of a football, basketball or hockey game and distract from the head-to-head competition between two opponents. When is the last time you saw a basketball game tick down its final seconds without incessant fouls and timeouts? Pretty exciting, eh? Give me two athletes or teams going at each other, trying to beat the other on their own merits rather than a time-out laden, clock-stopping, choppy contest any day.
And that’s why baseball is superior to football. 9 innings, 27 outs, and no clock. Just beat the other team, get the other guy out, make the catch, hit the ball out. No timeouts. No seconds ticking down. No goofy plays just to stop the clock. Just plain simple sport. Competition – one team vs. the other, each with an equal number of chances to score, to win, to beat the other guy.
Is it Spring Training yet?