The NFL returned this past weekend in all of its head-pounding, strange-call-making, cheerleaders-not-getting-paid, lawsuits-on-the-horizon glory!
The Bay Area, home to both the Raiders and the 49ers, has always been a bastion of football fandom (for the sake of this article, I'm not even going to dive into baseball. In my estimation, basketball comes third in the Bay behind football and baseball).
Now that the Warriors have been crowned champions of the Universe, do you think there's any chance in hell that the pendulum of Bay Area fandom swings more towards the basketball side of things? Or will the Bay perpetually be more of a football town?
The 49ers moved to a new stadium. That stadium had some, uh, issues. People are not super excited about driving down to Santa Clara and sitting in (getting burned alive by) the sun in a town that is so far south from San Francisco that people may as well call highway 101 "the 101" like they do in godforsaken Southern California. Then, there was a bat-shit insane power struggle that eventually saw the most successful coach in recent memory forced out of town. Then, a bunch of dudes retired. Then, some other dudes got arrested. And then everyone assumed the 49ers would suck, but hey! They came out, won their first game, and looked shockingly competent.
The Raiders are trying to build a new stadium. They have a new coach who totally looks like Shooter McGavin. They are still the Raiders. They recently signed one of the dudes who got arrested on the 49ers. Their quarterback came out in the first game and messed up some shit in his hand. Also, in a year or two, the Raiders might not even still be in Oakland, fr chrissakes, which (combined with the impending A's and Warriors moves as well) would leave a caustic, gaping hole of Coliseum-area-wasteland.
The NFL as a whole has been flailing in the wind like a rag doll tied to the front of an 18 wheeler barreling down a dusty highway in Montana. Roger Goodell botched every single thing he touched. Ray Rice happened. Deflateballs happened (seriously, watch that video. Holy Mass Pike). Tom Brady happened. Goodell's most staunch supporters turned against him. But, don't feel too sorry for the dude. He still makes over $40 million a year. Also, don't feel sorry for the league. They make billions a year and somehow, miraculously, are a tax-exempt entity. Let me just take a quick break to throw back my head, open my mouth and HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
Wait...wait. Actually, they recently gave up their tax-free status, specifically so they wouldn't have to report Goodell's salary. Jesus.
Okay, anyways. Where were we?
Meanwhile, the NBA had one of the most interesting Finals in recent memory. The Warriors are stacked with young, likable dudes. Stephen Curry is the world's darling. His daughter, Riley, may well be more famous than he is already. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the whole crew are super fun to root for.
It seems like a no-brainer, right? Why root for this sinking-ship, concussion-filled, endlessly-litigating thing when you can root for space and flow and fun and smiles and Steve Kerr (AND NOW STEVE NASH AS WELL!! WOOOOOOOO!!)?
But maybe I'm way off. Maybe it doesn't matter and I'm throwing unnecessary shade at the NFL.
Because, full disclosure: I ate that shit up. I watched as many of the games as I could. Why? Damn, because I couldn't help myself? Because football is so thoroughly integrated into our lives as Americans that we have no other choice? Because football reminds me of Autumn, and the changing trees, and the shift in the winds, and the smell of wood smoke and of new colors to be praised in the hills and all the other subtle things that make up Fall?
So, hey, I suppose it doesn't matter. The NFL is here, and it's here to stay. And I for one, am actually super happy about that.