December 7, 2016

Dan Zeigarnik’s Guide To Watching Football

By Dan Zeigarnik, Patriots Daily Staff

Sundays are Holy days, with their special rituals that are not to be broken unless you are under extreme duress.

Naturally, I’m talking about NFL football devotees, embracing all denominations. (What did you think I meant?)

All fans have their well-rehearsed traditions of how they spend their fall Sunday afternoons. Some spend it battling their significant others for remote control access. Those of you in that predicament, I send my condolences to you.

Some of the more fortunate ones get to actually attend the games with all the pregame and tailgate festivities, and to them, I tip my hat, or rather offer a wool ski hat for those frosty December games.

The rest of us should treat the games like mini Super Bowls. There is no reason why these Sunday afternoon games cannot be a time for delicious food, great booze and sizzling conversation. Since you’re planning on spending the day on a couch anyway, why not combine your efforts and make it over to your friend’s or parent’s house?

Personally, I get to my Football Watching Station around 12-12:30 and start ordering or cooking food while catching up. The only rules are that the TV has to be large and High Definition and that everyone watching the game must be a football fan or be willing to shut up for the whole duration of the game. Is there anything more annoying then somebody discussing their list of chores (which should have done on Saturday) while you are concentrating on a key Patriots drive?

Finally, you need to banish the ‘football purists’ and the ‘traditionalists’, you know the ones:  They need to start the game on time and they hate you re-watching a play because they believe that the game was intended to be watched live. While I respect these people’s points of view, I can’t help but think that they have been suckered into the corporatization of sports.

The only reason why there are breaks in the action is so that TV stations and the organizations can stuff their advertising down your throats. There is no reason why you have to sit through a timeout, commercial, touchdown, commercial, kick-off, commercial. That’s 12 minutes of commercials for 2 plays of football. The only reason why one might think that it’s the right way to watch is because they had no options before and were forced to watch it that way and so it’s become a habit. Well it’s a bad habit and one that needs to be kicked. Maybe if enough people start DVRing their games and forgoing the commercials, the game itself will adjust and get revenue some other way that doesn’t involve football players just standing around on the field waiting for the TV timeout to end.

So start the game at about 1:30-1:35 pm. There is no reason for a die-hard fan to listen to Jim Nantz tell you at the start of the game for the 50th time that “Nobody believed in Wes Welker, as this undrafted free agents has really made a name for himself…..That Tom Brady sure is something isn’t he? Back to you Michelle Tafoya.” That gibberish lasts about 10 minutes before the kick-off anyway.

If you think about how many commercials there are in a half. 1 scheduled TV timeout per quarter, the 2 minute warning, the end of the first quarter and if the two teams combined for 4 scores, then that adds 8 more time outs, 4 for the scores and 4 for the kickoffs. That’s about 11 timeouts at about 3-4 minutes a timeout. So if you start the game 30-35 minutes late and re-watch some of the key plays so that you can see Logan Mankins earhole a corner back on a seal running play in slow motion, you can fast forward through all the commercials and the halftime show, and be live mid-way through the 3rd quarter.

This way you still get to build up the tension that end of the game commercials tend to build in close games, while boycotting the corporatization of sports and spending time with your family and friends. It’s a win-win and anyone who argues otherwise needs to try it out a few times.

Lastly, for all of you who have a compulsive need to check your fantasy line-up, you know that Patriots always come first, and that you can way until midway through the 3rd quarter to check and see if McFadden got you the 20 points you need him for or not. I have 4 teams and lots of money and bragging rights at stake, and if I can do it so can you. So enjoy the game, the food and the company and not the commercials.

About Dan Zeigarnik

Like Bill Belichick, Dan is a graduate of Wesleyan University. When he's not obsessing over the Patriots, Dan works as a project manager for a nonprofit organization aimed at helping Boston area youths. He has also managed a recent district political campaign.

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