Hard knocks on science

It’s that time of year again!  Crisp air, the start of a new school year, a hint of red in the trees, and the beginning of the NFL season–this is undoubtedly my favorite time of year.fall

This NFL season should be full of intrigue.  Will Ezekiel Elliot plow over all front lines?  Will Jim Caldwell, Mike McCoy, and Gus Bradley still have their jobs at the end of the season?  Will any AFC East team dethrone the 4-game Bradyless Patriots?  Will Colin Kaepernick’s stance–or lack thereof–result in a season-long seat on the bench?  Will mermaids rise from the ocean to cheer William Hayes and the newly relocated LA Rams?

I bet you thought this piece was going to be about concussions.  Although that is an ever-present issue for football players, what I really want to discuss is Rams defensive end William Hayes’ anti-science diatribe on the HBO show Hard Knocks.

Hard Knocks has had its moments.  From its first season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001 (long before it was picked up by HBO) to the more recent seasons with the Houston Texans and this season’s newly returned oceanside Los Angeles Rams, the reality sports documentary has profiled training camp for an NFL team.

Some seasons have been hilarious and others total duds.  Some of my favorite moments include the always enigmatic and foul-mouthed Rex Ryan during Jets camp in 2010, the cementing of “as youge” in popular vernacular by Dolphins tight end Les Brown, and watching some of my favorite former Patriots make it with the Texans last season.  Does anyone else just want to hug Vince Wilfork?

This season has been kind of meh, particularly because the most entertaining moments have come at the expense of health and science.  In the second episode, Kenny Britt crashed his golf/go-cart hybrid, turning a tight corner and landing under the roof rack.  While Britt and his passenger were unharmed and the team erupted in laughter when coach Jeff Fisher replayed the accident on the conference room projector, I can’t help but to wonder why the Rams couldn’t bus their players around the UC Irvine campus instead of encouraging the misuse of unnecessarily fast and dangerous means of transportation–for their million-dollar professional athletes no less.

By the way, just an aside, I don’t care much for Jeff Fisher.  He’s an average coach–at best, and I did raise a drink for him on August 8th.  8-8, get it?  But the guy is remarkably self-deprecating with the ability to make fun of himself and his situation.  When a cork board on his desk falls over behind him during taping, he stops what he’s saying about the team and remarks, “Well that’s some 7-and-9 shit right there.”

Throughout this season, defensive end William Hayes has had some pretty peculiar moments.  First, Fisher states that Hayes was excited about the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles because he’d be “closer to mermaids”.  I have to admit, I laughed.  I thought, maybe he likes Ariel and was looking forward to Disney Land.  I didn’t think he was serious.

Later, Hayes goes on to tell his teammates that he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs.  Honestly, I like a person who can question things and not just outright believe everything that they read or hear.  But the existence of dinosaurs isn’t something that a crackpot blogger or conspiracy theorist just made up. There are thousands of actual, irrefutable fossilized samples that prove their existence.  As for mermaids?  Not so much.

To his credit, Hayes goes to a dinosaur museum and talks with one of their tour guides.  But all this poor woman does is traipse him around exhibits of animatronic dinos–ROAR!!, which obviously does little to change his mind.  Then she shows him a dinosaur egg, to which he remarks, “it’s a rock.” And let’s be fair, it looked like a rock.  Maybe there were more appropriate samples to show, maybe an explanation about how scientists can determine the age of something would have helped, maybe HBO should have called Bill Nye or Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Courtesy of futurism.com
Courtesy of futurism.com

With a full slate of NFL games about to begin, Sundays in the Cloudy Media Blog house are very soon to be full of football, pizza, naps, FFB fame and failure, and science.  There’s always room for science in the CMB house, as their should be in yours.

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