Keeping an open mind

How about this as the opening paragraph on a story about why the writer prefers the NFL over college football?

For the past six years I have watched almost every NFL game and, aside from a few pre-draft projects, zero college football games. This is partly because covering the NFL is my job, but mostly because I enjoy pro football infinitely more than college.

It only gets better.

I realize many fans watch football mainly for that glitzy presentation. They love the pageantry of football. The tradition. The sense of community. Most people say that in this regard, college beats pro. To those people, I say: you’re right. In fact, it’s really not that close. But there are those of us who like football’s pageantry but love its strategy. We see the game as a chess match, only where everyone’s pieces are not the same, those pieces are not confined to individual squares, they move not one at a time but all at once, and that movement usually doesn’t stop until someone scores or gets hit.

I guess that explains why the pros keep stealing all kinds of college offensive strategies.

Look, it’s fine not to like the college game.  I don’t watch the NFL because its soulless uniformity tends to bore me.  However, I’m not going to wear my attitude proudly like a badge.  Instead, I’ll simply settle for quietly cringing every time I hear someone suggest how college football would be better if it would only follow the NFL in some way.

At least I follow the sport that hasn’t tied itself in knots over the national anthem.

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53 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

53 responses to “Keeping an open mind

  1. Russ

    The NFL is good for withdrawal symptoms after the college season ends. I put it on in the background.

    Like

    • CPark58

      NFL games are made for hangovers between naps after a UGA win. It’s something to mindlessly watch when you don’t have enough physical or emotional energy left to actually care who wins, kinda like nascar.

      If you can go on a 4 game losing streak in a 16 game schedule and still have a legitimate chance to lay claim to the championship, your sport is garbage. College ball you live and die with rivalries, every game has implications and the only way to control your destiny is win em all. (Except Tubnerville’s Auburn because, you know, fuck Auburn)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The best players make it to the pros … it doesn’t mean the game they play is better. I can’t stand watching the NFL.

    I love college football because the tradition, the campus, the rivalries, the best regular season in sports, and the variation in play to name a few. I’ll admit I don’t watch a ton of college football on TV other than the Dawgs anymore. I surf around, but I’m not glued to my set from 9 am Saturday to 2 am Sunday. There’s nothing the pro game has to compare to stepping into Sanford, Bryant-Denny, Neyland, Clemson’s Death Valley, or Jordan-Hare to name a few for me. You don’t see opposing NFL fans flock to an away game with or without tickets just to say, “I was there” like so many did to South Bend or Pasadena last year. Lambeau Field may be the only place that compares. Even walking into EverBank Field, the Georgia Dome, or the Superdome for a college game blows the NFL experiences in those same venues away.

    Dare I say it, but #ItJustMeansMore.

    Like

  3. Greg

    “DGAS about the NFL”…..hope they all strike & never come back. There, that on subject??

    Like

  4. 92 grad

    My reasons for having merely a mild sense of curiosity for the no fun league would fill too many pages. All I can say in a comment is that there isn’t anything at all about the nfl that’s better than college ball. It’s faster, cleaner, in a word “professional”. It’s just not entertaining to me at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Got Cowdog

    I’m too emotionally spent (spell that: H-U-N-G-O-V-E-R) after the Georgia game prior to care what they do on Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Derek

    There’s no doubt that the pros is a better x’sand o’s game. Watching Belichick and Brady navigate season after season with a questionable ensemble of talent while the crappy teams get top draft picks and go nowhere is impressive indeed.

    Coaching and qb play wins in the NFL. Talent wins in college.

    The problem is that the fans aren’t involved in the complexities or subtleties and the coaches like it that way. The game would be infinitely more entertaining if we had an idea of what was going on on the sidelines and in the booth. As long as there’s no transparency, the pageantry of college football wins the day for me. For guys that know what really going on I can see them seeing the “art” in watching NE vs. Seattle and then thinking UK vs Alabama is as entertaining as a baby seal clubbing.

    However I think people overestimate the gap between a Bama fan and a steeler fan. They’re not that different. What matters is where do you live and your life experience.

    For me, it’s the connection to the TEAM not the connection to the level of play that matters. If they put Georgia in the NFC south, I’d still pull for us to win in utter and infinite futility.

    Like

    • Even if they allowed everyone to hear what was going on in the press box and the sidelines in every NFL stadium between coaches and players (like racing), I still wouldn’t watch. I don’t find the pro game the least bit entertaining.

      Like

    • PTC DAWG

      Bama vs UK holds zero interest for me…it’s just not competitive.

      Like

      • That’s why I don’t watch games all day on Saturday because there are a lot of games that I don’t care to watch. If the Dawgs are on the road, I’ll watch starting the DVR to catch up around the middle of the 2nd quarter or so, but generally, a Georgia game is the only one I’m going to watch from beginning to end.

        Like

        • PTC DAWG

          I feel sort of out of touch if I don’t see/listen to the UGA game live…Not sure what it is. Other games, I enjoy watching that way…

          Like

          • It’s the TV timeouts in the first half. If I stay away from social media, I can catch up easily (this is generally my approach to an away game like Vandy not Florida). I’m nervous as a house cat in a room full of rockers before a big game … waiting to start it (unless there are circumstances beyond my control) would not be good for my mental state. 🙂

            Like

  7. Otto

    Didn’t even watch the Super Bowl last year.

    Agreed the NFL is uniform, absent of the passion found in college games, but what really has run me off is the offense friendly rules and the decline of a smash mouth game. Legal issues may force change but they can’t force me to watch. I am enjoying the college game while I can.

    Sundays, are for F1, and sportscar races. NASCAR lost me as well but that is another rant.

    Like

  8. PTC DAWG

    I like both, NFL games are usually much more competitive till the end due to the equal talent, payrolls etc…I mean, UGA might lose at most 2 games this fall…that’s the biggest difference.

    I’m much more passionate about the College game….

    Like

    • Coach Bobby Finstock

      This is how I feel, too.
      I have no emotional attachment to any team in the NFL.
      If the Falcons or the Rams win, hey that’s great. If they lose, eh, go get ’em next time.
      When the Dawgs win, I am elated, high as a kite.
      When they lose, I’m devastated. Crushed.

      With the NFL, I feel no sense of any rivalry. In fact, I kind of like almost every team.

      With college football, the sense of rivalry is off the charts for me. I feel giddy when Tek loses. I parse their losses like I do our wins, lol. I take unnatural joy in it.

      In a nutshell, #itjustmeansmore

      Like

  9. South FL Dawg

    Look at how it worked out for Mr. Decided Strategic Advantage when he wasn’t calling plays for Tom Brady.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Uglydawg

    Nick and company came back to Georgia to play college football one more year for less than free. They could have been living the high life as pros. How many pro players would come back for free? This is why we love college football…for most players and fans, it’s about their heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tony Barnfart

    I love the disparity in talent on the same field in college. No, i don’t stay glued to blowouts but I love seeing a transcendent player make a spectacular play and/or takeover moments in a game because of superior talent.

    I love pulling for the under-talented ‘dog to score a huge upset, but also enjoy watching (or at least glimpsing until i get nauseated) a once in-a-generation program like Alabama put a beating on teams that are, in their own right, uber talented with deep tradition when compared to the whole of FBS. I enjoyed the Pete Carroll USC teams in much the same way. To me, it will be fun to see if Alabama can cover -25.5 against a team who just graduated a Heisman Trophy QB.

    And then it will be even more fun when the protege slays the mentor in December. (and then probably has to play them again on January 1. I kid. Kinda.)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Argondawg

    There is something about walking the same halls, taking some of the same classes. drinking in the same bars (with different names). I remember my time at UGA as one of the most special times in my life. Even though it is a little bit hazy. I am not saying that the average student at UGA has a life like a D1 football player but those kids and the alumni have more in common from shared experience than I would ever have with an NFL player. That being said I have no animosity towards the NFL. It is filler between college games. Hell I caught myself watching the CFL the other night. Just trying to make it to the first game of the REAL season.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Go Dawgs!

    The NFL is fine. I feel like the games are more dull than college games, but i love football so I watch when I can. Sundays are mostly for getting back from college game sites and also doing the chores I’ve put off all weekend, though. The passion and energy just isn’t there in the same way for an NFL game. The easing of the celebration rule feels like it’s made the problem worse and not better… instead of a spontaneous eruption of energy, let’s watch the players do a rehearsed skit? Nah.

    Like

  14. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    The article was funny on a couple of levels. OT in the pros? They keep playing football! (But the coin toss is all important; that makes sense? In college it’s red zone football (like that is bad and both teams get a chance). I am not sure there was any reason given as to why one was better, but I like the college OT game, especially now that you eventually have to go for 2, and it won’t take 4OT to decide it.

    Two feet in makes sense, but one doesn’t? Sounds pretty arbitrary to me especially since in both cases the receiver is going out bounds anyway.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think there are many – if any – NFL stadiums holding 90K+ that are routinely full of fans.

    Like

  15. HiAltDawg

    I stopped paying attention to SI after the UGA on the cover nonsense. I decide UGA is the best mascot not some magazine. My question: is the magazine now a parody like the Onion or something? I mean the opening: I don’t like something I don’t watch? This was a joke, right? Thankfully I can count on Spencer Hall and his idiot gator friends or Pawl’s callers for College Football info

    Like

    • 92 grad

      There’s not much of any print media that is what it was 20 years ago. S.I. went from something I enjoyed to just another website, sorta like the Newsweek in the ‘80-‘90’s. For CFB info and news I like the SBNation hub for bloggers. Lotsa folks out there taking a hobby and doing better stuff than the ESPN folks.

      Like

  16. TomReagan

    That is one of the worst columns I’ve ever read.

    Like

  17. Trbodawg

    “quietly” ? 🙂

    Like

  18. ASEF

    College football is entertaining on a broad spectrum. Lots of variance, fan nuttiness, local flavors, a sport where App State can derail a program like Michigan into a decade-long hangover. It’s easier to appreciate excellence in, say, Athens, when contrasted with a tire fire in, say, Knoxville.

    The NFL is entertaining if you want to devote 4 hours of your life breathlessly waiting to see the results of a chess battle between Mike Shula and
    Mike Smith. Because, really, watching minds like those convert 11 super-sized athletes into harmonies of competitive motion is just too sublime for words.

    Like

  19. Dave

    Here’s the thing. It’s easier to find a rooting interest in a local NFL team than it is to pick a college that you didn’t go to and decide to root for them. That happens in Georgia, Alabama, and many other places, but it probably is a little off-putting to many. My brother in law makes fun of people who root for Georgia who didn’t attend. Of course, he’s a hypocrite, because he roots for the Red Sox even though he has no actual ties to Boston/New England.

    But, I feel confident in saying (didn’t read the column, so perhaps I’m going to make myself out to be an idiot) he didn’t attend a school w/ a worthwhile football program. You won’t find too many people who like the NFL and not college who attended a school w/ any kind of competitive football team.

    I like college football more, but I sure love me some NFL Sundays, too.

    Like

    • My brother in law makes fun of people who root for Georgia who didn’t attend. Of course, he’s a hypocrite, because he roots for the Red Sox even though he has no actual ties to Boston/New England.

      This is the single dumbest argument anybody levels at fans of a college team. Using that logic, pro teams shouldn’t have any fans whatsoever since nobody attends the University of the New York Yankees.

      Like

      • Dave

        While I don’t agree that it’s the same thing, I do agree on the stupidity of the argument

        He also suggests that watching college football is akin to watching minor league baseball. I do sort of understand where he’s coming from, but there is just an all around passion for winning your conference, beating your rival, etc., as evidenced by packing out 90,000+ seat stadiums all over the country, that you don’t have in the 3,000 seat minor league stadiums.

        Like

  20. Union Jack

    While I don’t think agree with him that the NFL product is better, I have seen a lot of college fans claim that the NFL is stealing everything from college.

    I guess the “pro-style” offense we used to run under CMR was developed in college and was an ironic naming device?

    Is Saban’s process a completely collegiate creation or something that evolved from his connections to Parcells and Belichick?

    A significant # of the college coaches are pushing offensive spread schemes with direct connections to high school football.

    Innovation in football has ebbed and flowed from all levels of football – coaches learn from other coaches all the time. I also don’t think there is a hard and fast line that NFL coaches are superior to CFB coaches across the board who are superior to HS coaches. For every Gerry Faust, there is a Gus Malzahn. Jimmy Johnson won big at Miami and Dallas and couldn’t win enough in Miami. Spurrier was innovative in Tampa Bay, great at Duke & UF and horrible in Washington. Bill Walsh took Paul Brown’s concepts to a new level with the West Coast offense, won 3 SB’s and then crashed out at Stanford.

    You might claim the NFL product is better due to the level of athletes competing but that is about it. But to also claim that the NFL just steals stuff from college is just as absurd.

    Like

    • ASEF

      No one did claim that.

      It’s absolutely true that strategic innovations in the college game regularly work their way to the pros. And the same thing happens in the other direction. Both games are blessed by very good minds who know their stuff. The idea that the NFL is some sort of master class in football theory while college football is just glorified gym class (which is sort of the vibe from that article) ignores what college football contributes to the game other than free personnel development, doesn’t it?

      Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      I know this is a tangent, but there is a UGA origin to Paul Walsh’s West Coast offense.

      Wally Butts was truly innovative in the passing game. He coached Johnny Rauch in 1946-1949. Rauch finished his UGA career as the NCAA’s all time leading passer. Rauch later became an NFL coach and taught Butts’s passing concepts. One coach who learned Butts’s principles was Sid Gilman.

      Rauch became Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. Rauch’s Raiders had a great passing team and played in Super Bowl II. Paul Walsh was an assistant coach on that team. Walsh built his offense on principles learned from Rauch and Gilman, who learned from Rauch. Rauch learned from our own Wally Butts.

      Rauch may be UGA’s most under appreciated superstar, by the way, and UGA has not done a good job of memorializing Butts’s contribution to football. Sure he provides half of the name of a building but UGA does not publicize why his name is on a building.

      Like

  21. Cojones

    Let’s compare another sport: Wimbledon Semifinals – Isner vs Anderson and Nadal vs Djokovic. Winners are in the Championship Match.

    Sic’em, John and wear your Dawg shirt to the interview again.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hogbody Spradlin

    Every once in a while, when a pro qb not named Brady gets in the zone, a pro game can be scintillating.

    Like

  23. Sliceshs

    Andy Staples has nice response to the nfl article:

    https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/07/11/nfl-college-football-debate-strategy-rules

    Especially liked the ending about the 2007 Michigan upset to Appalachian State wouldn’t happen if they had the nfl style hash marks…need that kind of capabilities unlike the sterile NFL environment.

    Like

    • I hate the NFL hash marks. Just put the ball in the middle of the field after every play if they are going to be that close.

      I do like the 2 feet down from the pro game rather than the 1 foot in college. That rule is too tilted toward the offense.

      I hate the NFL clock rules especially after first downs. The clock rules make comebacks almost impossible unless Shanahan is your offensive coordinator.

      Other than that, give me the college game all day long.

      Like

      • Cojones

        Think you will like the new officiating rule of what a “catch” is in the NFL?

        I kinda like the one-foot down possession rule in college. One-handeds with one foot down is a more athletic-ballet move that’s a wonder to watch in slow motion.

        Like

        • Cojones, my only point about the 1 vs. 2 question is that the rule is far too tilted to the offense (of course, interceptions are subject to the same rule). I think a player should have possession of the ball with 2 feet within the boundaries for it to be a catch. AJ Green is the master of it in the NFL. Watching a wide receiver get both feet down while catching the ball is a beautiful thing to watch (and you don’t have to try to figure out which foot hit the ground first).

          I think the 1-foot rule bails college QBs out from not having to make a quality throw on the sideline (or the end zone) to get a completion.

          Like

          • Cojones

            I think that many QBs are fully capable of putting the ball right on the money ob to let the receiver snag it with a foot inbounds and prevent the D from making a play that would be negative. Many QBs can’t make that throw purposefully and that makes the difference between team offenses. It’s a great play that demonstrates athleticism rarely seen on the NFL level. AJ was a master of that while at UGA as well.

            Like

  24. The idiot who wrote the piece went to the College of Idaho and lives in Boise. He wasn’t even smart to get into Boise State or the University of Idaho. No wonder he thinks college football is minor league. His frame of reference is the Smurf turf of Boise.

    Like

  25. Game breaking plays seldom happen in the pros. That is why I watch college. A close game between two teams can get busted open by a missed tackle or misread, leading to an ace like Michel taking it to the house. When I watch the pros it just seems like this does not happen that often. They are all too good. Instead, I usually see a bullshit pass interference on a long throw, or worse..holding.. that shifts a pro game late. Yawn…..

    Liked by 1 person

  26. “I’ll simply settle for quietly cringing every time I hear someone suggest how college football would be better if it would only follow the NFL in some way.”
    I agree…like paying the players for instance.

    Like

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