If the National Football League and its network co-conspirators really, REALLY wanted to do something about the over-the-top player antics that periodically bring the league seemingly unwanted notoriety, here’s a suggestion. Forget the pro forma statements of regret. Forget levying fines on the obscenely compensated. But do this: keep the cameras off of showboating individuals after a play has ended.
Sometimes you add by subtracting. This is one of those times.
Go right to replay, put up a graphic or a test pattern or look for trite reaction shots in the stands. Do not, repeat do NOT, linger on wide outs, running backs, defensive backs, defensive lineman, etc. who go into their individual, look-at-me, juvenile hijinks that range from boorish to vulgar. If no one — save enabling live partisans — could get a look, there might, repeat MIGHT, be less incentive to do it.
As it is, completions, incompletions, first downs, sacks, fumble recoveries and interceptions are all provocations to trip the light fantastic as only mugging athletes can. And that’s why touchdowns – occurrences traditionally worth “celebrating” – seemingly require an orchestrated upping of the ante, i.e., the (moon) shot heard ’round the sports world earlier this month.
As to whether the networks, who pay outrageous sums to televise pro football, would want to make such a coverage change, it’s a long shot. Likely a no-shot. They like exploiting the trash-talking as if it were merely gamesmanship; they follow and focus on the sophomoric, classless antics as if they were mere extensions of enthusiasm.
They think there’s not enough of us who know the difference.
They are probably right.