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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

Commentary: NFL over Olympics an easy choice

August 16, 2008

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Are you all about Michael Phelps this weekend? Sorry, I'm all about JaMarcus Russell.

Can't get enough Olympic basketball? I'm just marking time until New England-Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Anxious to see whether USA can dominate the sprints in track and field? I just want to see what the Giants' rebuilt secondary can do against the Browns' Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Donte Stallworth?

Maybe it's because I have no life. Maybe I'm just easily amused. For some reason, preseason football has gotten very watchable.

Part of it is my lack of interest in the Olympics, I realize. When I was a kid, and the USA and Soviet Union were at the height of the Cold War, the medal count mattered. Or at least it seemed to.

Now?

I understand that China is trying to make a bold statement with its dominance of gold in these games, but it just doesn't have that same feel.

Used to love Olympic track and field. But too many tales of Ben Johnson, Marion Jones and all the rest have poisoned it.

Used to love Olympic boxing. Grew up watching George Foreman dominate in Mexico City, watching Sugar Ray Leonard show glimpses at Montreal of what he would become as a professional.

I have no idea where you even find Olympic boxing now, but it's not on NBC in prime time, that's for sure.

I know I am in the minority here. But I was stunned to see that the Olympics beat the Cowboys-Chargers game in local TV ratings Saturday night.

I can't remember the last time the Cowboys lost a ratings battle to anything here. Even their preseason games have been known to be the highest-rated shows of the week.

Maybe I just didn't get the gene that makes you sit there for two hours and watch gymnastics. Am I really missing something?

I can't tell you which medal Phelps was collecting Monday night because Aaron Rodgers was making his Packers' starting debut on another network. That game got a 3.2 rating, which means about five times as many people were watching the Olympics.

I don't have any problem with not being part of that crowd.

Give me five straight nights of good ol' exhibition ball, kicking off with Eagles-Panthers last night and continuing right along with Oakland-Tennessee, Dallas-Denver, Pats-Bucs and Browns-Giants.

OK, it's confession time. Part of this is seriously fantasy fueled.

When you have a baseball team as lame as mine, you're ready for fantasy football.

(Who knew it was a mistake to build around Travis Buck, Daric Barton and Kenji Johjima?)

And maybe the reason I planned to tune in Friday night was to see what Oakland is doing with former Arkansas running back Darren McFadden and how he fits in with Justin Fargas.

But that's not the overriding reason. Russell was one of my favorite college quarterbacks at LSU. Same for Vince Young at Texas. Maybe they each barely play into the second quarter Friday night, but I'll take whatever look I can get.

If you're counting medals, have fun with it. And if China wins more gold than the U.S., maybe you can explain to me why that matters to anyone.

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