It is September, and football season is upon us. While some of us are still watching baseball on ESPN and hoping that golf’s “silly season” will soon begin, football reigns as king for the next five months.
It is not that I do not like football. I did cheer for the Tigers on Saturday during my lunch break and watched the last quarter of the Chiefs game, but I am overwhelmed with this “gladiator” sport every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It does not matter if it is commercial television or cable. I cannot get away from the sound of helmets crashing and shoulder pads smashing.
The problem I have with football, and many other televised sports, is that there is little action and too many commercials.
Although the average televised football game lasts a bit over three hours, The Wall Street Journal calculated only 11 minutes of actual football action and 17 minutes of replays in any given game. That is less than 10% of the time you waste on an otherwise perfectly good day.
So what takes up the rest of the time? Commentary, analysis and commercials. If you actually watched the entire football game on TV instead of running to the kitchen for more food and drink, you will watch about 150 commercials.
Baseball is a better bet, with 18 minutes of actual play during a three-hour game, according to CBS Sports.
Not that golf is any better. Other than watching a player waggle his club a dozen times and then make one incredible shot or duff the hit, there is nothing going on other than commentary, analysis and commercials. At least you have multiple people doing something at any moment. The average for a PGA tournament is about 22 minutes of commercials for every on-air hour.
Even basketball is not immune to the reality of television commercials and timeouts versus actual play. During a 2½-hour game, you will watch about 50 minutes of action and 85 minutes of commercials.
At least soccer (football to the rest of the world) is almost continuous running, kicking and heading the ball, taking up about 50% of a two-hour broadcast. There are no pads to protect the players from injury, and timeouts are short. If only Americans understood the rules of the game.
This is also the season to revive the habit of reading a book or two or three. For me, it won’t be on a Kindle or computer, but an actual book with pages and ink.
Right now it is Jim Acosta’s “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to tell the Truth in America.” Acosta is CNN’s chief White House correspondent and the target of much of President Trump’s ire. It is his answer to the president’s claim that CNN, among others, reports “fake news.”
I am only a few chapters in, but so far, so good. This is a must for all of you future journalists.
I am also reading Jon Meacham’s “Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power,” as opposed to Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.” I am about a third of the way through, and I am a little disappointed in the lack of information about Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence and The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.
I am curious about the process of creating both documents. Meacham seems to be focused more on Jefferson’s personal life while practicing politics and beyond.
Of course there’s watching the comedy of daily news reports to see what the president and his cronies have done. Recently, it was “Sharpie Gate.”
(For those under the age of 30, the 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., led to use of “Gate” as a suffix after similar transgressions.)
Then there’s always the Democratic candidates to watch, including self-help author Marianne Williamson, who believes power of thought alone kept Hurricane Dorian from hitting Florida full force.
For the time being, on this day off from work, I think it’s time to take a short nap, turn a few pages about Jefferson and watch the news for comic relief.
David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer and professional speaker.