One Man’s Batshit-Crazy Plan To Avoid The NFL For A Year

  • Dan Fogarty

Meet Devin Rossiter: Northeastern grad, baseball fan, former broadcaster for a minor league hockey team, and currently on his way to becoming a certified teacher in Southern California. Normal dude, right?

Yes. But he’s a normal dude with an absolutely batshit crazy plan: for the next year, he plans to avoid football. As in, he plans to completely scrub all traces of it from his day-to-day life.

No games. No Trent Dilfer analysis on SportsCenter. He won’t even allow himself to see scores on ESPN.com. He’s going to track his progress on his blog, A Year Without Football, but when one considers football’s strangelhold on media from September to February, his plan sounds like it has a 0% chance of succeeding.

Rossiter, however, is taking some extreme measures.

“The biggest step I took was blocking all the ESPN channels altogether,” he told me via Gchat. “I went into parental controls, locked them out and had my wife change the code. I haven’t watched SportsCenter or any ESPN programming for over a month now. Same goes for the website.”

The idea first came to him when his school axed its football program, and everybody freaked out. This, despite lackluster attendance and the fat that Northeastern rarely cracked .500 at the 1-AA level. Rossiter looked around, and realized that football coverage dominated every medium he used – TV, internet, radio. Not being a huge football fan himself, he started to get sick of it.

“Once the latest round of Brett Favre ‘stay or go?’ started up again,” he said. “I thought it was time to step away.”

Despite his strong convictions, it’s been a struggle so far, even before the season’s started. Rossiter told me about the time his father-in-law purchased a set of Packers pajamas for his child, due in April (he didn’t tell me if he burned said PJs). His wife also works as a news producer for both the CBS and Fox local affiliates, which both carry the NFL, which further complicates things.

Then there’s Ochocinco.

“[He] came out of nowhere to be the unofficial villain of the project. On the first day of the blog, my provider placed an ad for his reality show on the bottom of my post.”

Then, a week later, he and his wife drove down to Venice Beach for the day and immediately encountered a billboard promoting Ochocinco & T.O.’s new reality shows. The lesson he learned in Venice Beach might be a running theme for him until February 7th.

“You can’t just change the channel there.”