My dog is afraid of loud noises. 

One of the loud noises he is afraid of is me yelling at the top of my lungs, “GET HIM!” while six New York Giants chase an opposing quarterback around the pocket on third and long, finally extruding him like a dollop of toothpaste into the flat for a gain of 16 yards and a first down. Football is back! How I’ve missed it! The elevated blood pressure, the constant juggling of my schedule, the pre-game excitement, the post-game depression. At first my dog thought I was yelling at him. “Who, me? Get who? The guy running around on TV? What am I supposed to do with him if I do get him?” My dog imagines that I have a closet full of opposing quarterbacks that my previous dogs have captured, and he wants to capture one too because he knows he’ll get a treat. “Good boy! There’s a quarterback sack in the laundry room, so just put him in there.”

Yes, I love football. I even watch the pre-season games, because I like to see what future bar bouncers and real estate agents look like playing football. The coaches don’t want their starting players to appear in pre-season games because they’re afraid that they will be injured. So the star quarterback comes in for the coin toss, then he’s done for the day, and the rest of us are left trying to evaluate his readiness to start the season. “Did you see the spin he put on that coin? It was like a reverse spiral.” “Yes but he didn’t toss it very far- do you think something’s wrong with his arm?”

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There are a couple rules changes for 2019. For one thing, coaches can now call for a review not only of plays where they thought pass interference should have been called but wasn’t, but plays where they thought pass interference shouldn’t have been called but was. So up in the review booth you have a group of officials evaluating every pass play. “Back up the tape- did you see what he did with his hand there? He put it right on the guy’s bottom.” “Inappropriate, yes. But pass interference? I think it was just his way of saying, ‘I’m here for you, whatever you decide.’” So they overturn the call after further review. Now I’d like to see the other coach throw the red flag, and see if the same officials vote to come to their senses and reinstate the pass interference call after even farther further review. If they review it any further it will end up in the Monongahela River.

To all the girls I ever made a pass at in high school, and you interfered with it, I wish there was a group of officials in a booth somewhere to consider whether I actually made a pass at you at all. I was kind of shy, and I automatically assumed I would be turned down, so I just went right to the penalty phase. “In your mind you shot me down when I didn’t even say anything to you? Well, I wouldn’t date you if you were the last girl left on Earth. Unless you want to, of course.”

Another new rule stipulates that a player can be disqualified on the field for both flagrant “football and non-football acts.” I take this to mean that you can get tossed out of a football game for throwing a baseball at somebody. If you want to see a non-football act, just wait until someone scores a touchdown and watch what they do afterward. They used to simply “spike” the ball, meaning they would throw it at the ground really hard, and since a football is a weird shape it would bounce back up and hit somebody in the head who wasn’t expecting it. If that wasn’t entertaining enough, soon players were not satisfied with how little air time they got to further their “brand,” and started to develop more intricate and personalized routines. They began to choreograph complicated production numbers, and now the end zone celebration has evolved into a Taylor Swift video. I imagine a bunch of football players pitching their routine to an off-Broadway promoter. “Is this a football act? Because I just had a bunch of bar bouncers and real estate agents in here claiming they were football players, and I showed them the door.” “NO, no, no. This is a NON-football act, and we saw the door when we came in. It’s very nice.”

There are still rules, however, because you don’t want someone executing a three-pump twerk in the end zone when two pumps would have sufficed. So you can still be penalized for an “offensive demonstration.” Excuse me for asking, but isn’t the entire offensive line offensive? Nobody says a word about them, until now, ME, your whistle-blower. Excuse me for asking, but shouldn’t the guy on the field who has the whistle be the whistle-blower?

Even more concerning to me is that a quarterback can throw into double-coverage three times in a row for two interceptions when he’s getting paid $12 million a year. That’s because there is a common misconception that the more you get paid, the better you should be at your job. If that were true, I should be much worse at this job and much better at my day job. And if my boss is reading this, I hope she doesn’t think what I just said makes any sense, like usual.

Join Rick and the No Options band for some real live rock & roll on Saturday evening, Nov. 2, 9 p.m. at the Back Nine, 2050 East Main St. (Route 6), in Cortlandt Manor. Say hello at: rlife8@hotmail.com.