Not only is play on the field accelerating, so is the way in which football is perceived. The NFL's Red Zone channel is a seven-hour Sunday marathon of nonstop snaps -- no commercials, no pauses for a deep breath, just snap after snap after snap from around the league. Red Zone has just one presenter, the estimable Scott Hanson, because there wouldn't be any time for banter. And if Red Zone isn't head-spinning enough, you can subscribe to NFL Game Rewind and watch in "condensed" mode -- all snaps, nothing else.
As the nation's No. 1 sport -- as the king of sports -- pro football holds a mirror to society in many respects. Just as all American life seems faster, louder, crazier, so too with football. The previous U.S. national pastime, baseball, is slow and graceful. Try to imagine no-huddle baseball with, say, five seconds allowed between pitches. You can't imagine that because it would never work. But like U.S. society, football is amenable to being sped up. And the acceleration of how football is played may become more pronounced this season.
In other news, next week's Tuesday Morning Quarterback will make a major announcement: the debut of ESPN Grade, an all-new way to think about college football rankings. Here's a hint: ESPN Grade takes the NCAA at its word and ranks football-factory schools as if the players really are student-athletes.
Now for TMQ's annual review of offseason nonsense:
And She Did So Well in the Disguise Competition: The Miss Florida pageant crowned the wrong woman.
Scotty, What Do You Mean Starfleet Can't Get Spare Parts? Events in Ukraine led to a rocket engine shortage.
I Am Not Making This Up: Iceland denied a passport to a 10-year-old girl because her name is Harriet. The Icelandic Naming Committee must approve all children's names. Just be grateful you live in a free nation that doesn't have a naming committee, where anyone can name a child Fairy or Legend.
Arrested for Stealing Jokes: A New York state bail-jumper living in Pennsylvania was caught after he talked to a local newspaper for its story on whether the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons should change their name. Serves him right! The quote he offered -- "the Redskins should keep their name but change their logo to a potato" -- is a Tony Kornheiser line.
Longtime TMQ Fans Remember This Line: A Wisconsin physician was fired for thong-based reasons.
Singing Proof of Need for Scholarship Reform: The news that a Yale men's basketball player opted to sing with the Whiffenpoofs for a year shows the value of scholarships controlled by the student rather than by the coach. In the Ivy League, athletes receive only regular financial aid, not sports-performance-tied aid. The multiyear sports scholarship makes an NCAA agreement more like regular financial aid. The time has come.