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Nobody asked me, but....

10:19 AM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I usually despise columns that start off with catchy song verses or a song title. It almost always means the writer had no idea how to start off.

But in this case, a song title kind of works. Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" (yes, it's "Sound of Silence," not "Sounds of Silence" - thanks YouTube) fits perfectly.

So, of course, today we're talking about NFL football. Let me explain. Way back (for some of us), 32 years ago, the NFL televised a football game with no announcers.

The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, two teams going nowhere, had a game in Miami with nobody to talk about it.

NBC, which broadcast the game, had a young Bryant Gumbel, circa 1980, give some introductory remarks to let folks know what was about to happen and then he walked away before kickoff.

Yes, it was a publicity stunt, and it did give a nothing game some juice, but others also believed that some announcers talked too much.

Regardless, NBC filled the screen with all sorts of graphics and spliced in taped interviews with the coaches to fill time.

Obviously, the no-talk game didn't catch on, but my question is, what would happen if it was tried again today?

Not that it will, but, boy, it would be a lot easier than 32 years ago when television graphics were horrendous.

What else do we need that the screen doesn't give us now?

We have the score.

We have the game clock.

We know halftime lasts 12 minutes (plenty of time to go to the bathroom and feed the dog).

We have markings that tell us how many timeouts each team has left.

We have instant score updates from every other game running on a continuous crawl along the bottom of the screen.

And for fantasy football players, we get stat updates for every player and every scoring play.

Last but far from least? The yellow line. The greatest football on television innovation since the instant replay. Think about it, nothing else is even close.

With the yellow line, we know exactly how far a team has to go for a first down. And you have to chuckle because each time a team is close to a first down, the television talking head will say in a deep baritone, "Remember, the yellow line is not official."

Well, have you ever seen the yellow line be wrong? I haven't, either. That thing is on the mark every time, without fail.

So, all of this stuff leaves us wanting what exactly? I can't think of anything else (well, no commercials would be nice) that we need.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the best ways to watch an NFL game is by yourself, with the door locked, the telephone hidden and the kids at the park with mom.

It's not exactly a fancy man cave, but you get the idea. Let me be. Let me be alone to cheer and to complain. To curse, if need be, and pump my fist when things go right. Do I need a play-by-play guy and a color commentator telling what a nice tackle the strong safety just made? Nope.

The only person needed to enjoy a game is me. Sound selfish? OK, it's selfish, but it's the truth.

Tell me, if your team makes it to the Super Bowl, do you want your wife throwing a big party to celebrate the occasion? Absolutely not. Trust me, that happened to me a few years back and it was dreadful.

You're more worried about there being enough ranch dip and not whether your team can convert on third down.

The next time it happens, and I hope it's soon, I'm vetoing the Super Bowl party idea and locking the door and pulling down the shades. And turning off the volume.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several Philadelphia- area newspapers for over 25 years.

The Sports Network

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