Time To Thin The Sideline Herd, NFL

So apparently, today is Sports Day on my blog. Hey, I did cover sports for more than 25 years so every once in a while I’m going to talk sports. Earlier, I told you why I am suspending my fandom of the Los Angeles Lakers.

So now I want to discuss an issue I have with football – at all levels and no, it doesn’t involve anything that goes on in between the sidelines.

How many of these people actually need to be on the sidelines? Not that many.

It is what happens outside the boundaries that annoys me, and has for some time. There are too many people standing there and many of them don’t need to be there at all.

The players, coaches and staff need to be there of course. So do the officials. The TV camera guys for TV and NFL Films are there to do a job, as are the still photography guys (of which I use to be one I might add.)

Everyone else? Nope. Don’t need to be there, so be gone!

I’m talking about the sideline reporters. Reports from the sidelines can be done by the play-by-play guy or the color analyst in the booth – like they used to do back in the olden days (pre-1990). Those injury reports? They are sent up to the press box. Everything else? Is just noise that does nothing for the game on the field.

As an aside, I did enjoy the game NBC broadcast many, many years ago with no announcers in the booth or on the sideline. Just the game with whatever sounds were being generated on the field and in the stadium. It was the most enjoyable game I’ve ever watched.

Now, back to the sideline reporters. Get them off the field and off my screen. And not only because of the one that got bonked in the back of the head by a football whilst doing whatever they call that blathering her lot does. They just clutter up a crowded sideline, making it harder for the camera folks to move about and do their jobs.

The heave-ho especially goes for Booger McFarland on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The dude sits on some glorified recliner in the sky on the sideline. The lack of oxygen likely explains the utter nonsense he spews out. But that clunky bit of stage can easily disappear from the sideline.

Great eye candy? Sure. Great for the game? Not really.

And send off the cheerleaders as well. The only purpose they serve is eye candy. They do nothing for the game itself. And they too tend to wander out of their designated areas. I know, I’ve been hit from behind in the head or the back of the leg by a wayward pom-pom and/or boot enough times while trying to get a shot of a play more than my fair share of times.

And seriously guys, if THAT is what you go to the games to see, you need to get a Playboy channel subscription and just stay home. There is a football game being played. Watch that.

And don’t even get me started on the people on the sideline there as a “special guest” of the owner. There is nothing more annoying than trying to take a picture of a play down the sideline only to have some putz stick his head right between you and the play. I

C’MON MAN!!!!!! I’m working here!!!!!! This dude was not a coach, not a TV guy and not with a TV cameraman. Nor was he an NFL official. He should NOT have been standing there or moving in front of the photographers.

stopped counting how many back of the head shots (like the one to your right) I took about three years into my photography career.

It’s also a safety issue. The more people on the sidelines, the more likely someone is going to get hurt. Just look at what happened to the security person who got steamrolled by Kenny Stills last Sunday. It wasn’t Stills fault he ran into her. It wasn’t her fault for being in the way. She was in the place she was supposed to be, her back turned to the field and watching the stands as she was supposed to.

So if the NFL would really like to do something positive, try thinning out the crowds on the sidelines. It is starting to look like the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles during the morning commute – and getting just as dangerous. Trust me, the product won’t suffer in the slightest.

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