With important real world issues at stake and deep feelings on both sides, recent NFL news is as serious as ever. But it’s easy to lose track of how much our experience as football fans has changed. Can you imagine explaining last weekend in to a fan 25 years ago? Here’s how I would see a 2017 Andrew Perloff explaining Week 3 to 1992 Andy Perloff, wearing his Randall Cunningham jersey in suburban Philadelphia.
2017 Andrew Perloff: This might be hard to be believe, but this weekend President Trump criticized NFL players for taking a knee during the national anthem on Twitter, and the League united with a series of pregame demonstrations. It all started at 9:30 ET with the Jaguars-Ravens game in London on Yahoo….
1992 Andrew Perloff: A few questions… President Trump – any relation?
2017 Perloff: It is Donald Trump. Long story.
1992 Perloff: OK. What’s Twitter?
2017 Perloff: Twitter is an online news and social network created to share text, photos and video in 140 characters. Or 280 for some. It will some day take about 30 percent of your mental energy. Invent something like that or a photo-sharing social network if you can.
1992 Perloff: What are the Ravens and Jaguars and why are they in London?
2017 Perloff: The Ravens play in Baltimore instead of the Colts and the Jaguars are in Jacksonville and they play once a year in London.
1992 Perloff: And Yahoo?
2017 Perloff: That’s a search engine.
1992 Perloff: What’s a search engine and why would a game be on that?
2017 Perloff: That’s complicated. There’s also games on phone networks and online shopping sites.
1992 Perloff: I’m a bit lost. Why was the game on at 9:30?
2017 Perloff: Time difference in England. Lots of people forgot to set their fantasy lineup.
1992 Perloff: Fantasy lineup?
2017 Perloff: Fantasy football. It’s awesome. Be sure to draft Kareem Hunt before the 2017 season. And write this name down for 2010… Arian Foster.
1992 Perloff: Got it. Wait, why are the players kneeling?
2017 Perloff: Players were kneeling for equality and social justice.
1992 Perloff: That sounds like a good cause. What’s the problem?
2017 Perloff: Many fans believe the protesting during the anthem is unpatriotic and a slight to the military.
1992 Perloff: That’s bad. Are they?
2017 Perloff: The protestors say they respect the military and that’s not what this is about.
1992 Perloff: So why can’t the two sides talk about it?
2017 Perloff: It doesn’t work like that these days.
1992 Perloff: What else did the President say?
2017 Perloff: He said the NFL’s ratings are suffering because they don’t allow hitting.
1992 Perloff: Why would I care about NFL ratings?
2017 Perloff: Not sure why we care about ratings, we just do.
1992 Perloff: You’re not allowed to hit?
2017 Perloff: Oh yeah, they discover in coming years that the repeated hits in football can cause brain damage.
1992 Perloff: That’s not good.
2017 Perloff: Definitely not.
1992 Perloff: So was that the only controversy?
2017 Perloff: There was also lots of drama on the field. There were lot of close calls overturned and dramatic finishes.
1992 Perloff: Calls overturned?
2017 Perloff: Now officials have instant replay.
1992 Perloff: Awesome. There must not be any controversy any more.
2017 Perloff: Uh, not exactly.
1992 Perloff: What’s left to argue about?
2017 Perloff: Lots of things. For example, what’s a catch and what’s not a catch.
1992 Perloff: Huh?
2017 Perloff: You have to complete the process.
1992 Perloff: What the hell are you talking about?
2017 Perloff: Let’s not get distracted … more on Sunday. During Sunday night’s game….
1992 Perloff: Whoa, there are games on Sunday night? What about Murder She Wrote?
2017 Perloff: Yeah, it’s awesome.
1992 Perloff: What other nights do they play?
2017 Perloff: They play on Thursday, too.
1992 Perloff: That sounds amazing.
2017 Perloff: You’d think. But I’m not sure the quality is there.
1992 Perloff: You guys complain a lot. What else is going on?
2017 Perloff: There are two teams in Los Angeles.
1992 Perloff: Yeah I know.
2017 Perloff: Ah, two new teams. Or sort of new teams. The Rams and Chargers. Moving on, every team is in shotgun all the time and offense is way up, there’s something called Red Zone that shows every score from every game. And the League’s best quarterback was suspended last year for allegedly taking air out of footballs.
1992 Perloff: How did they prove he took air out of the football?
2017 Perloff: Ever heard of the Ideal Gas Law?
1992 Perloff: No.
2017 Perloff: Well, there was this guy with the nickname “The Deflator” …
1992 Perloff: Are you making this up?
2017 Perloff: There are a bunch of stories you wouldn't believe.
1992 Perloff: Do the Eagles win the Super Bowl?
2017 Perloff: Not yet, but they have a good young QB out of North Dakota State.
1992 Perloff: Out of where?
2017 Perloff: Don’t worry about it. Oh, and don’t leave Super Bowl LI early.
1992 Perloff: Sounds complicated being an NFL fan in the future.
2017 Perloff: You have no idea.