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The New Yorker on 'The Unbeautiful Game'

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Or if he's not a menace, he's an "ESPN concotion." ::)

    I find Chad Johnson (and Deion Sanders before him) a lot more creative and entertaining than Larry Csonka.
  2. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    The Packers had Paul Hornung, who was a free spirit and Jerry Kramer, who wrote two books. I think the Packers of the early 60s were more colorful and interesting than the New York Giants of the same period.

    The Jets had more characters on the Super Bowl team. In addition to Namath, they had Johnny Sample, an outspoken guy. They also had Dave Herman and Randy Rasmussen, who both went on to do radio later. When I read about the Jets, I seemed to get a feeling where I could understand how the players were and you had more knowledge about the players. I knew, for instance, that offensive tackle Winston Hill was a tennis player who competed in tournaments in his home state of Texas.

    21, there is no doubt in my mind that football today is far more buttoned down. For one thing, in the late 60s quarterbacks called most of the plays. That led to more emotion and spontaneous decisions, which was more fun. No QB calls their own plays, and the plays are prescripted. I understand why coaches do that - they make a lot more money and want to be more secure in their high-paying jobs, and there is a lot more money in the game. But that doesn't make the game more fun.

    The other difference is that in the late 50s and most of the 60s, players were more accessible. The teams were happy to have people covering the games, even if a lot of them started paying attention only after baseball season was over. The coaches and owners were happier and more accomodating to the media. Some of the reporters really didn't understand football, and they would take time to show them points of the game, like what offensive lines were supposed to do.

    Today, you have Bill Parcells limiting access to assistant coaches and last year somebody like Nick Saban in the league.

    No doubt in my mind that pro football is a lot less interesting than it was in the 60s and 70s.
  3. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Yeah, Hornung was portrayed as a G-rated "playboy" back in the day. But the story of McGee being out all night before SB I didn't surface until he was long out of shoulder pads.

    The boozing/whoring details weren't out in the open back in the day. They were the stories told in press rooms after guys had filed their "our opponent is a fine team" stories.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    In the dictionary under Raffish the Raiders 1970 team photo is displyed.
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Luggy - I have no problem with Chad Johnson. Why are you trying to twist things?

    Sub TO for chad though - then lets talk .
  6. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    You know what another difference is? You get the feeling that players in the 60s had a lot more fun playing the game than today's players do.
  7. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    That's because it was such a rollicking good time getting your nuts scrambled for $12K a year, then getting a job selling insurance in the offseason so your kids could get braces.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    But then each player probably had 2 kids. Now each one has 27 kids they need to support with braces
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Regardless of kids or potential for good insurance career, I don't know too many players who will tell you it sucks to be in the NFL.
  10. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Speaking with a friend about this, and here are our observations to this point:

    -- There is, we think, a sameness to NFL games these days. They seem more homogenized than in the 1960s and 1970s.

    -- It's hard to surprise anyone these days with a story or nugget about an NFL player. What you didn't have in the days of "Three Bricks Shy of a Load" -- the Internet, "SportsCenter", a thousand blogs per team, athletes with home pages, a 24-hour news cycle, etc. What is left for us to uncover about these stars?

    -- On the other hand, teams and players weren't as secretive in those days -- perhaps because of the lack of the above.
  11. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I lived in Oakland for a little less than a year in 1973-'74. Raider defensive end Art Thoms owned my neighborhood laundromat, and I got to know the team socially. Some sports stories AREN'T legends, they're facts. Whatever you hear about those guys is very likely true, and we're all the better for it.
    The difference the money makes in the NFL of today is subtle but real. The old-timers made good money for someone in their 20s, but that's all. Playing ball was something you did to postpone becoming an adult-much like sportswriting was and is. Nowadays, an NFL career, even a short one, can set a man and his family up for life.
    Given those stakes OF COURSE today's players are going to be more sobersided than their predecessors. Roisterers back then were just good old boys havin' fun. Today such activity is truly self-destructive.
    Although I will say when the Bears went off drunk to the FBI firing range and got in a big beef, which I can't remember was either last year or in the '04 season, that was pretty old school.
  12. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    That's the point. Stuff usually winds up being reported these days. Back then, there was an understanding in most places that off-the-field wasn't for public consumption. They're much more guarded these days because they have more reason to be.
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