Seahawks or bust

DAVE CAMERON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

It's hard to believe now, but the NFL was once just another pro sports league looking for its place in the public eye. Public met that eye and the NFL turned it into a giant eyeball in the middle of a cyclop's forehead.

A forehead as wide and long as North America.

- - -

Between NFL Films and Monday Night Football and the regional broadcasting with constant highlights and updates, the National Football League practically created - certainly raised the bar on - the broadcast production of professional sports on television.

For example, ABC trots out almost 40 cameras - 40! - for Monday Night Football. You won't miss a pass, a hit, a Terrell Owens towel dance, or the barbecue sauce on John Madden's tie.

- - -

The circumstances of the NFL are unique, but they have become, for good or bad, the model way to run a league. They divide their billions of TV dollars evenly among the franchise. They pay players lavishly ... until they are no longer useful. Then cut them. They dominate pro sports betting. And they own Sunday afternoons.

- - -

You can pick on the NFL for its 9-6 field goal fests. Or that the last two minutes of a half takes longer to elapse than the first 28 minutes of the same half.

But you can't ever knock the NFL for its level of talent. It, more than any league on the planet, can say it has the best that game has to offer.

- - -

Murph takes a lot of shots. He has to. He's a Seattle Seahawks fan.

But, if you've ever heard Murph - a.k.a. Tim Murphy - blast out his NFL-fuelled rants on Team 1260, you know he gives shots, too. He also spends his weekends yelling at TV screens: Honest Mur's on Sunday afternoons, Peppers Sunday night and Dante's on Mondays.

Murph carries a few chips on his shoulder. (The Seahawks thing again.) The chips burn into that fuel.

I spent a lunch or two with the NFL mouth that roars through Edmonton.

It's hard to put it in one long story. So let's go with rapid fire. EXCLAMATION!! MARKS!!! have been edited for brevity.

MURPH ON THE HAWKS: "I've been a Seahawks fan for 28 years. I get a lot of heat for being a Seahawks fan. But, you know what? I've never, ever wandered. I'm loyal and faithful to my team. I want to see them in the Super Bowl. That might be a long time. But I've never, ever wavered." (Or been waivered.)

"I've been to 17 games (in Seattle). When they blew the Kingdome up, I went to that. I went and watched that sucker get blown up. I bought a piece of the turf. I've got 15 jerseys. I've got hats. Seahawks underwear. I've got it all."

ON NFL FANS: "They support their teams. Even if the Raiders go 4 and 12 this year, the fans are still going to dress up; they're still going to fill that end zone. They don't let go of their team.

"We don't do that here (in Canada)."

ON CFL FANS: "I go to every (Eskimos) game. I made a point of doing that because guys will say, 'You didn't even go to the games.'

"That's what frustrates me about guys like that. They're so hypocritical. 'The NFL's no good.' Well why don't you go to the CFL game then, man? They don't go!

"Then don't bitch about the NFL. Don't bitch about the Seahawks being on TV.

"It drives me nuts!

"You don't go because it's TOO COLD?' Suck it up!"

ON SCRAMBLING AND GAMBLING: "What's the busiest time in a convenience store? Sunday morning when there's 15 guys waiting in line hoping they make the cutoff by 11 o'clock to get their bets in."

ON THE PLAYERS: "You've got a guy who's six foot seven, 320 pounds and can run 40 yards in five seconds. That is a MACHINE!

"You've got that small field. When those guys collide ... it's outrageous to see that happen.

"Anybody who uses their body to make a living (like that), I tip my hat to them. Because you know your career's not lasting forever.

"And anybody who plays pro football, I double-tip my hat to them."


Videos

Photos