Football: It’s Finger-Lickin’ Good!

2011 turned out to be an amazing year for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who set an NFL single-season record by passing for 5,476 yards. But what is truly amazing is that he accomplished this feat while licking his fingers an estimated 2,560 times.

I personally made this calculation, which I believe to be a conservative estimate, by taking into account the average number of offensive plays per game (80) during a 16-game regular season in which Drew licked his fingers at least twice prior to each play.

I say this is an amazing accomplishment because, to my knowledge, Brees never missed a single game or day of practice due to a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection.

What a nasty habit “” licking your dirty fingers 160 times per game. Fingers that have touched the ground, the center’s butt, and the football, which has rolled around on the ground and been handled by every running back, receiver, and referee on the playing field, not to mention the opposing quarterback, who is probably licking his fingers, too. YUCK!

Isn’t it amazing how many of us don’t lick our fingers but still can’t go the entire length of an NFL football season without getting sick?

And to think some people are repulsed when they see my Great Dane, Bella, licking my face! Get with it, people! Dogs have less germs in their mouths than people do! Unless the dog has just gotten into the cat’s litter box, in which case the bacteria count goes way off the charts.

Isn’t it amazing how many of us don’t lick our fingers but still can’t go the entire length of an NFL football season without getting sick?

The following message is brought to you by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Hi, I’m Drew Brees. During a tight game, I may lick my fingers up to 200 times. That’s a lot of germs going in my mouth! That’s why I always make sure that my family and I get a flu shot before every football season. 

It’s not uncommon for a pro quarterback to apply a little saliva to his fingers before each play to get a better grip on the ball. This supposedly increases the accuracy of the quarterback’s throws while decreasing the chances that the quarterback will fumble when the center steps on his foot and the quarterback falls on his ass.

But are saliva fingers a performance-enhancing ritual or just a nervous habit? To find out the answer, let’s compare Drew Brees’ statistics for 2011 with those of Jordan Jefferson, who never licked his fingers.

Drew Brees Jordan Jefferson

Finger Licks: 2,560   0

Passing Yardage: 5,476 737

The numbers don’t lie.

The hygiene standards of NFL quarterbacks certainly buck the trend of the average flesh-eating-bacteria-conscious person. Even postage stamps now come as expensive stickers that don’t need to be licked to be used, because no one wants to lick anything anymore, with the possible exceptions of ice cream cones, Popsicles, and any woman in Sports Illustrated‘s annual swimsuit issue

It’s probably apparent that I really don’t know much more about football than the average fan. I have no idea why the quarterback, after he licks his fingers and approaches his offensive line, points his finger towards the defense as if to say, “You see those guys over there? They’re the defense, and they’re going to try to stop us from scoring!” or “Hey, what are you doing standing right there in the middle of the field, middle linebacker? We’re running this play right up the middle; you wanna get hurt?” or, in an effort to momentarily distract and confuse the defense, “HEY, DEFENSIVE BACKS! YOUR FLIES ARE ALL WIDE OPEN!”

OK, I admit that’s a little silly. A quarterback would never say that to the defensive backs, because the pants that football players wear don’t have flies!

The first meeting of the LSU and Alabama football teams in November 2011 was billed as “The Game of the Century.” So what was the BCS National Championship game, which was a rematch of the same two teams playing a second time in January 2012? Was the first game “The Game of the Century 2011″ and the second “The Game of the Century 2012″? Or maybe the first game was “The Game of the Century” and the second was “The Game of This or Any Other Century”?

How many Games of the Century can you have in one century? Which century are we talking about, anyway? The 21st century? There are still 89 years left! How do we know there won’t be an even bigger game in, say, 2089 between two teams that are tied for No. 1?

This demonstrates the fallacy of ever calling any sporting event the game or match of the century. So don’t let it happen again.

About Antonio Winnebago

Antonio Winnebago
"When you remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." - Mark Twain

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