As the old saying goes, when the irresistible force meets the immovable object, something has to give.
The recent victory by the sorry San Francisco 49ers over the equally sorry New York Giants requires a new saying.
When the resistible force meets the moving object, do not bother turning on the telly to watch NFL gridiron play.
American gridiron has jumped the sharks, as another saying that speaks to something being past its prime and ready for its plug to be pulled is used to describe.
The 49ers had not won a game since almost a year ago. They were sitting at 0 – 9 going into the game with the Giants, who were 1 – 8. The only better match for San Francisco would have been the Cleveland Browns, whose 0 – 9 record now gives them clear title to the bottom rung of the NFL ladder.
In the final game of week 10, the Monday Night Football affair between the Carolina Panthers and the Miami Dolphins, the Panthers won 45 – 21 and moved within one game of the NFC South Division leading New Orleans Saints. The Panthers have now won three consecutive, but they have their work cut out for them, as the Saints, after losing their first two at the start of the season, have reeled off seven consecutive.
The NFL’s problems run deep. Other than the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South, at least half the teams in the 32-team league seem completely rudderless.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers have firm grasps on their divisions. In the NFC, only the Saints and Panthers are making a contest of the regular season.
The days of the NFL dynasties are over, but the quest for parity and compelling action down to the final games of the season has given way not to equality and excitement, but simple mediocrity.