If you stuck it out for the duration of the Saints’ win over the Falcons last night, you were probably unsure whether you were watching the NFL or the NCAA Final Four. The last two minutes of that game seemingly took forever, littered by turnovers, a handful of booth reviews, and referee conferences where six seconds were taken off the clock, only to be put back on the clock after the following play.
I couldn’t help but think that MLB commissioner Bud Selig caught win of the multiple delays and thought to himself, This is exactly what we don’t want in baseball. And to be fair, baseball does seem to have more emphasis on flow than its staccatoed gridiron counterpart. Interruptions–and creating a specific avenue for them to happen more frequently–are a bit of a killjoy in baseball, unless there’s a cat on the field or a fight in the stands behind the home team’s dugout. Missed calls here or there, even as they’re magnified during the playoffs, aren’t the end of the world.
Anyone watching football last night realizes that the 15 minutes or so that it took to play out the end of that Monday Night game realizes that the NFL has no such margin for forgiveness. And whether they laid the eleven and a half with the Saints or were just hoping to boost Atlanta’s potential tiebreaker stats for playoff consideration, neither do its fans. And while it was irritating to sit between plays and wonder Dear God, when will this game ever end? at least the effort to get every call right was there. That’s more than we can say about baseball right now.