With week 1 of the 2010 NFL season in the books and the current college campaign well underway, it’s good to have America’s favorite exercise in primal masculinity back. Well, it would be if the game hadn’t become increasingly effeminate in recent years.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being effeminate. But there’s a lot wrong with pretending to be something you’re not. In the case of big-time football, the façade of toughness fades away with each additional example of less-than-Neanderthal behavior. And let’s face it: We want our football players (and while we’re at it, our football fans) to be uncivilized savages, not a bunch of new-age sensitive guys with metrosexual tendencies.
Here are 11 elements of football that should be put out to pasture, so our beloved game can return to its roots as a legitimate bloodsport.
1 Eye Black Stickers
Smearing a greasy black substance under your eyes to reduce glare is pretty cool in a tribal warrior sort of way. Putting a couple of black adhesive strips on your face like a toddler with ADD isn’t—especially if the reason is to prevent your pores from getting clogged or the perfect shape of the stickers enhances your personal feng shui. And calling attention to yourself by scrawling biblical chapters or other dumb messages on them just isn’t something that a hard-ass should do.
2 End Zone Celebrations
Speaking of calling attention to yourself, the So You Think You Can Dance routines that break out not-so-spontaneously after touchdowns have got to be done away with. Pulling a Deion Sanders and high-stepping into the end zone like some Radio City Rockette with a neck injury is not characteristic of a guy who eats lightning and craps thunder.
3 Chest Bumping
This ritual gets a separate entry because it happens all over the field, not just the end zone. So what’s the difference between this and dude-approved chest thumping a la Tarzan? The possibility of unintentionally (yeah, right) putting your junk in direct contact with someone else’s.
4 Half Shirts
Thankfully, this ridiculousness has been contained to the college game, and even there it’s not as common as it once was. But there are probably a few players for schools south of the Mason Dixon line who still think it’s intimidating to put their six-packs and treasure trails on display. News flash: It’s not. Curing college players of this idiocy would be easy: make them walk into a dimly lit whiskey bar with a belly shirt on. Rest assured, they won’t be the ones who will be doing the ass-kicking.
5 The Snap
This one dates back to the very origins of football, but one guy putting the back of his hand on another guy’s taint doesn’t exactly send the message that they’re going to roll over the opposition like a bulldozer. Now that the NFL has become a pass-happy league and the NCAA is quickly following suit, both should mandate the exclusive use of the shotgun formation or, in a pinch, the even more awesomely named Wildcat formation.
6 Hair Extensions
It’s unclear when and why it was decided that resembling Bob Marley on the Uprising album cover was an expression of bad-assery, but on the gridiron, it’s lame. Especially when you consider that the vast majority of these long-hairs got that way by having a weave done at a salon. And it’s even worse when athletes think their fake, braided hair extensions are dreads. The gang members in Marked for Death? Those guys had dreads, and they were animals. What most footballers have is closer to the coiffure of ESPN’s Jemele Hill.
7 The Pants
Football pants have always been knickers, but they used to be constructed of canvas, burlap or some other manly fabric. Now they’re made of the type of skin-tight Spandex that Pilates instructors favor. And when a guy fancies himself as too tough for thigh pads or a cup, well, you get this:
8 Kickers and Quarterbacks Attempting a Tackle
Just because the china dolls who play these precious positions are trying to avoid injury doesn’t mean they have to bust out their best Pee-wee Herman moves when it’s time to bring somebody down. They need to take a cue from this high school girl who wasn’t shy about annihilating an opponent after she kicked the ball to him:
9 Mascots and Cheerleaders
Saturday mornings and Disney World come immediately to mind as a proper time and place for cartoon characters. High noon and a college football stadium do not. And yes, hot chicks in cheerleader outfits on the sidelines should be eliminated from both the college and pro experiences as well. They merely prevent spectators from directing their undivided attention toward the raw carnage going on in the trenches. Note to fans: you have the rest of your life to look at women. And guess what? When you Google them, you can actually see them naked.
10 Dick Enberg
Unless he changes his catch phrase from “oh my” to “holy shit” or “fuckin’ A,” this guy shouldn’t be allowed near a football broadcast booth ever again. Stick with tennis, Dick. It’s more your speed.
11 Whining About Contracts
Randy Moss’ recent outbursts are just the latest examples of public grandstanding by these self-proclaimed underpaid, disrespected victims. There’s more testosterone pumping through the Oprah Winfrey set when the topic is “housewives who want their husbands to appreciate them more.” Get a grip already.