As someone whose football allegiances are of the professional variety, from time to time I have to suffer through college football beat writers and bloggers saying something along the lines of, “Here’s a secret: College football is the superior football. Why? Because CFB is more damn fun.” (Fine, they’re direct quotes.)
How exciting was watching the 2013 BCS National Championship Game? This is what I discussed with my friends while watching Alabama dismantle Notre Dame:
A family vacation to the Cayman Islands over the holidays.
Environmental damages caused to coral reefs by cruise ships.
My friend’s possible upcoming vasectomy.
Pros and cons of vasectomies.
Pregnancy dangers for women in their forties.
A tale of a friend getting a vasectomy and then being punched in the balls by one of his kids when he got home from the hospital.
Head coaching for the Browns.
Head coaching for the Bears.
Mike Singletary. (In all honesty, we spent way too much time talking about Singletary.)
Oral history of the “Jay Culter is a cat” joke.
Pitchers and catchers reporting in thirty-odd days.
The Cubs winning the World Series in 2015.
Did someone just pick the Cubs in 2015 because that was the plot of BACK TO THE FUTURE II?
Filming a commercial and working with a fake baby.
Possessed doll impersonations.
Why is it no one wants Lovie anyway?
Why it’s okay to root for the Patriots since Gisele Bundchen saved Sidney Crosby.
OH HEY LOOK THE TWO BAMA GUYS ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER THANK GOODNESS SOMETHING IS HAPPENING IN THIS GAME, PASS THE JALAPENO POPPERS BECAUSE IT’S GETTING SPICY IN HERE.
The proper way to give a handshake and people who are jerks about handshakes.
Women greeting hugs.
Pervs looking for boob smashes in greeting hugs.
President Bill Clinton boob hugs and handshakes.
People taking dumps on the sidewalk in Echo Park.
Thank goodness the college football season is over and we can get back to the NFL.
Super Bowl party plans.
When was the last exciting BCS title game anyway?
Not a very exciting night of chatter, but it was still more appealing than anything we were watching on the field in Miami. By the time Alabama was up 21-0 early in the second quarter, the bar began to empty. When the score reached 35-0, we were one of the last groups left. Final score 42-14 and none of us could say who had scored for the Irish.
There wasn’t even a field goal attempt from either team, which sounds awful to wish for because, well, college kickers, but at least a kick would have added some drama. Nope. Nothing. Not a single wide right.
And we can expect more of the same from the “superior” football the coming years. Nick Saban has a stranglehold on recruiting, the BCS playoff is still two years and four days away, and what is the biggest pastime during the college season aside of excessive bourbon drinking? Conference realignment. Woooo-eee doogie does college sports love conference realignment. It’s so exciting, conference realignment talk happens all year long. Should San Diego State stay in the Mountain West or go to the Big East? How about staying in one conference for basketball and another for football? What should we name our new conferences? What should we name the divisions in our new conferences? What about historic rivalries? Can’t mess with that Army-Cornell spat that’s been brewing since World War I. Holy shit is that exciting to college football fanatics. Not even baseball geeks can keep up that level of interest in divisional changes.
Where does that leave the NFL fan and their subpar boring football? Well in Super Bowl XLVI, the last five minutes of the game gave the Giants a 21-17 victory over the Patriots, a finish that held the possibility of New England winning on the last play of the game with a Hail Mary pass. Super Bowl XLV in 2011? Green Bay and Pittsburgh fought to 28-25 in the fourth quarter before the Packers were able to wrap it up for a final score of 31-25, a fumble away from a Steelers victory. (Two-point conversion late in the game for Pittsburgh, if the tension wasn’t already ratcheted high enough.) Super Bowl XLIV champs New Orleans Saints didn’t have a lead against the Colts until the fourth quarter, so don’t let the final box score of 31-17 fool you, Indianapolis was winning 17-16 going into home stretch in one of the tightest NFL finals ever. The Steelers and Santonio Holmes tiptoed past the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII, a game that saw defender James Harrison run back a 100-yard interception for possibly one of the best fat man touchdowns in history. Giant David Tyree catching the ball against his helmet in a drive that would lead to New York upsetting New England 17-14. Patriots 24, Eagles 21. Colts-Bears went into the half 16-14. Patriots 32, Panthers 29. Just typing out this paragraph has my heart pounding, my mind racing back through the highlights, and giving me the sudden urge to rewatch any Super Bowl that isn’t Super Bowl XXX.
You have to go back a decade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII for the last blowout in the NFL championship. College? Alabama has outscored Texas, LSU and Notre Dame 100-35 in the three national championships they’ve played in since 2009. Sure, Auburn-Oregon and Texas-USC were tight games, but in there you’ve also got Florida killing Ohio State and USC’s (vacated) 55-19 win over Oklahoma.
Of course we should never confuse exciting and fun football and good football. Alabama is playing undeniably good football. Football is usually so destructive, it’s easy to forget how pretty it can be when one team is at its peak and the other team is Notre Dame, to paraphrase my friend Pete Holby. What generally makes college football appealing are familial connections and the farcical manner in which it is covered by prominent online writers and even by the networks. The circus is fun and I adore my friends who cover college football dearly. (I even shared the title of this post with one of them at 1 AM just so I could properly be called a harlot to be sure I was on the right track.)
But was the game fun? No, not really. What makes college football exciting is that so much of it is so poorly played, TCU-Michigan State for example, anything can happen.
So no, college football is not superior football. The NFL is not boring. It’s winning at the end of the season to make the playoffs. It’s not looking too far ahead at Brady versus Manning because both the Ravens and Texans could play spoiler. It’s Green Bay playing on the road in sunny California against the 49ers instead of in the storied cold Wisconsin air. It’s Seattle playing some of the strongest football anyone has seen in recent memory.
The best part? NFL fans still have another four weekends of football to go. So my hope is the NFL isn’t so beneath your football love that you won’t watch the fun, college fans. Because I think it’s some pretty damn good fun.