LAFAYETTE — Even Hank Williams Jr. might’ve stumbled with this one.
Are you ready for some football? A Tuesday night party!
Wait, what? Tuesday?
This doesn’t feel right. I love me some football, but isn’t it getting to the point where we’re becoming a bit oversaturated with it? Part of what made football special is that you could only watch it a few days a week.
As soon as you punched your time card on Friday evening, you’d move right on up the chain. Catch a prep game in the bleachers on Friday night, join tens of thousands walking through the turnstiles to scream yourself ragged on Saturday and recover by plopping yourself in front of the TV all day Sunday.
Weekends are just the best in the fall, aren’t they? It’s not sloth if we’re watching people move fast.
Then, to ween yourself off your football fix, the football gods were generous enough to grant us “Monday Night Football.”
The truly fanatical football junkies would stay up until the wee hours of the morning getting that last little bit in before the real world hit and football went on the shelf for the remainder of the week.
It’s kind of like what my dad used to do with my video games when I was a kid. He’d grant my brother and I a couple of hours on the weekend and then, when our time was up, he’d disconnect it, hide it somewhere and tell us to do something productive. Something like, I don’t know, playing football.
But, like my brother and I, rather than getting on with our lives until football returned on the weekend, we the football addicts sat there and watched it on the shelf, willing it to come back to life because our thirst was insatiable.
ESPN watched us football users intently. So did Fox Sports, NFL Network and all those other dealers of this drug called football.
Now we’ve got Monday Night Football, Tuesday Night FunBelt, Wednesday Night MACtion, a Thursday Night pro/college mixer, Friday night lights, and all day action Saturday and Sunday, replete with pre-, mid- and postgame analysis.
It’s as if TV has Peyton Manning on its side and we are forever playing a prevent defense. We are powerless to stop.
Will this over-exposure to football dilute our interest?
In the short term? No way. We football fans will watch anything wearing a helmet and pads try to score. Hell, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve watched the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet before. It’s adorable, but Fido has absolutely zero gap discipline.
But in the long term, will the increasingly ubiquitous nature of the sport’s televised events make it less special? It’s a question that those making the schedules should be asking themselves.
They should be asking, but both you and I know they aren’t. They’ve got their fingers on our pulse, and they’ve measured the way it jumps and spikes when we watch Joey Heisman break an 80-yarder, and they aren’t going to stand between the football-addled masses and what they want. They like swimming in their piles of money, and what’s wrong with that?
Then again, maybe they’ve got the right idea.
I’ll be watching, and I probably would be watching even if I wasn’t getting paid to watch. And there’ll be plenty of other people around the country watching, people who have no idea what a Cajun is, nor why said Cajun is Ragin’. People who will use the TV timeout to Google whether Bobcats do, in fact, inhabit the San Marcos area of Texas. (I checked; they do.)
Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth understands this. All throughout the cosmos, those gridiron devotees will flip the channel to ESPN2 on Tuesday night to scratch that ever-present itch.
“Tuesday games, you’re the only game on in the universe,” said Hudspeth, channeling his inner Neil deGrasse Tyson. “That means we’ll be on in every bar, restaurant, pub and home in the country. There’ll be a lot of people watching the Ragin’ Cajuns and watching our brand. Great publicity for our program, for our university and for our community.”
People will watch because it’s football, and we the people can’t get enough. We won’t get enough until we overdose, and even then we’ll probably return.
We just can’t quit you, football.
Even if you’re weird and you happen on Tuesday.