Scooter Hobbs column: Beginning of football withdrawal

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Super Bowl overtime was a nice touch, but it only delayed the inevitable.

Now that the Chiefs needed an extra quarter to dispatch of the 49ers, the reality has set in. No football for a while — college, pros, high school, whatever.

That’s a shame. Mourn the season’s passing.

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But deal with it, accept it. By all means, don’t force it.

You see, football doesn’t do the offseason very well — even though, gosh knows it never quits trying.

For one thing, nobody has ever really figured out how to play it in the spring, let alone the dead of summer.

Maybe the sport tries too hard.

The NFL, for instance, is under the impression it has to control our daily lives, 365 days per annum.

They’re getting close.

The NFL’s all-star game, the Pro Bowl, long ago established that the sport itself — unlike baseball, for instance — did not really lend itself to all-star exhibitions.

In this case, it’s like the pros have quit trying, cheapening the “game” to the point that the Pro Bowl is basically football satire, and has trouble drawing an audience even coached by the Mannings Bros.

They sneak it in the offweek before the Super Bowl, not daring to wait until after the final game lest this farce be fans’ lasting memory of the season just ended.

The colleges have true all-star games, most notably the Senior Bowl, but with a twist.

These are perhaps the only sporting events that are now trendy to go through a week’s practice — under the watchful eyes of NFL scouts, of course — but then skip the game, somehow to better prepare for life in the pros.

That sets the stage for the biggest, silliest excess that involves sweating, though little in the way of honest football.

That, of course, would be the heralded NFL combine, wherein the most heavily armored athletes in the most brutal of sports run around in their underdrawers for a week of no contact. They perform for stopwatches and mostly answer silly personal questions off stage.

The college game’s answer to that foolishness is spring football — when they practice for weeks on end with nothing but false promises of a game to be played at the end.

It will be nothing of the sort, of course. In fact, in their desperation to attract crowds, some schools gimmick up the spring game to the point it seems to be moving closer to the dreaded Pro Bowl than anything resembling your father’s football.

Yet, for some reason, many schools’ fan bases get duped into going year after year.

The purpose is to work without a game plan looming. It’s a chance to work on the cherished football fundamentals — and still, when next fall rolls around, it will be obvious that nobody practices open field tackling anymore.


Well, there’s late April when the Granddaddy of All Grand Excess — the NFL draft — comes rolling in, but only after an estimated 4,273 mock drafts warm you up for the event.

NFL marketing is such that hosting the draft is now considered second only to the Super Bowl itself as a plum for any city.

The NFL at some point will do its version of the Gender Reveal menace that is plaguing society. That’s when it announces, with much pomp and circumstance, the schedule for the entire 2024 season.

These will be analyzed in all seriousness until the exhibition season begins, the games of which often challenge the Pro Bowl for insignificance.

But there is one big question to answer, one that is gripping these United States of America.

Mainly, now that the football season is over, will Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift switch roles? Will Kelce transition into the luxury suites to watch Swift perform her day-job concerts?

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at