Brian Clarke

5 Ways to Write A Column About Football

Created on Aug. 06, 2014 9:40 AM EST

In attempt to find something unique to write about in the world of football this week, I did some research to see what every one else covering football. In my extensive research, here are the five topics and ways you can write a column about football this week:

1. Roger Goodell

You would be hard pressed to find a week where one can’t write about Roger Goodell. Not sure if this is a good thing for a commissioner to be in the news weekly, but Goodell is an easy target for someone suffering from writer’s block in the summer draught of football news. There’s one rule when it comes to talking about Goodell: Don’t defend him! Be self-righteous and be as indignant as possible. If you get a chance, make an unfair comparison to a dictator; call him a coward, there will be no backlash to your column. He’s one of the least popular figures in sports.

2. Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, Aldon Smith and others involved in nefarious behavior

The big NFL offseason controversies and headlines have been largely related to player misconduct. Luckily these issues generally happen in stages. First, the action, second, the public reaction, third the punishment and fourth the effect it has on the football team and/or society as a whole. That’s at least four columns! When writing these columns, be sure to separate the difference between violent and non-violent acts. When discussing the violent acts, be strong, come with it, don’t be timid, express outrage and disappointment. Call for stringent action! However with non-violent crimes, such as marijuana use, be sure to mention that society has different rules for athletes than every one else. Because of that double-standard, athletes NEED to be aware that if someone is paying you millions of dollars to play a game you need to be more responsible than to use recreational drugs. For bonus points throw in a few lines reminding the athlete that fans would sell their first born to be in their privileged position.

3.Training Camp Talk

Injuries. Depth Chart. Holdouts. Progress. Training camp is a great way to write something actually football-related. Most of it is painful conjecture designed to get the reader excited about a third-string running back you have heard from a second-hand source “looks good” in camp. It excites the fan base and there’s little chance that there is something one can write that is totally insane. Go for it. When discussing holdouts refer back to the same narrative when discussing recreational drugs. Hint at the player greedy without actually calling him greedy, because that will probably make you look petty. No one wants to seem petty in a column.

4. Hall of Fame

Another feel-good route if you’re tired of writing depressing and negative columns. This column is mostly biographical in nature, praising an individual for his greatness and more importantly their character. Remember to highlight their statistical achievements, while reminding the reader of the nebulous leadership skills that player possessed. On the other hand, if you are feeling negative, go ahead and point out the snubs this year. Snub columns are great, because it shows that you’re thinking outside the box. Question the way the Hall of Fame is voted and speculate as to why some guys are first ballot and others aren’t.

5. Make a list previewing the season

Top 5 quarterbacks! Top 5 running backs! Fantasy lists! They all work. There’s something about making a list that’s subtly brilliant. It’s easy on the eyes. It gives the reader the opportunity to follow a simple idea and an overarching theme in a manner that’s totally subjective and creates conversation. One thing people love is fighting over semantics and hairsplitting, especially when it comes to our favorite players. It’s even more fun now, because there are no right answers, just wrong answers left and right. 

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