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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday Night Football moves to cable TV


I grew up loving Monday Night Football like any other teenage sports enthusiast. Waiting patiently for that music to start and the highlights of the two teams about to play, and all surrounded by the pronounced voice of Howard Cosell. This was the only good thing about Mondays and was a weekly ritual in my household with my father and I. In the 70’s and 80’s television was dominated by the major networks, (NBC, ABC, CBS) and cable stations were still a few years away. MNF became synonymous with ABC and led resurgence for the fledgling station. MNF became the longest running program in the history of the network entering its 17th season in 1986 (SBD, 2005).

In 2005 ABC and the NFL announce the end of their 36-year MNF partnership (SBD, 2005) leaving the door open for ESPN to ink a MNF contract from 2006-13 for 8.8 Billion. The Walt Disney Company owns both ABC and ESPN and saw how lucrative MNF could be on cable (espn.com, 2005). ESPN has taken a bit of history with then to the cable arena and that was the nail in the coffin for standard TV, as we know it. Hour long shows and sit-coms on cable are one thing but MNF? I continue to watch like all other sports fans do, but something just isn’t the same. Where is the symphonic music during the introductions? Where are the highlights of the two teams about to play? In this day and age of in your face flash, I guess I can’t blame ESPN for flooding the screens with light flashes equipped with blips and bleeps or even terribly acted skits just before a game (see link) to amuse the masses. I just wish they would keep things authentic like their predecessors on ABC.

Link to MNF skit on ESPN:


Sunday, December 12, 2010

NFL going to an 18 game season: Is this a good or bad thing for the league?


I have recently heard a number of players, such as Hines Ward and Ray Lewis to name a couple, openly criticize the NFL’s newly proposed 18 game schedule. The two game increase may not seem like a lot but to NFL players, it’s a tremendous increase on an already grueling season. Player criticisms revolve around more player injuries due to the increase in games, thus compromising the overall product on the field. 
            The NFL owners, on the other hand, would love two more games and feel as if the extra games will benefit everyone involved. NFL owners understand that the fans want more football, on top of that, two extra games means more money for the owners, players and everyone in the organization. The current CBA went into effect for the 2006 season, and the owners exercised an opt-out clause in 2008 that makes the deal expire next March. According to the NFL, the average player salary rose from $1.5 million in 2005-the last year of the old deal-to $1.9 million in 2009 (Associated Press, 2010). This means the NFL owners must feel the players are getting more “love” than them and now they want a new CBA . It seemed to me like everyone is happy under this agreement but the owners proved otherwise by opting out (Cooper, 2010). Do the owners want more money? The head of the NFL’s negotiating team says it will be much easier to reach a new labor agreement with the players’ union if the accord includes an 18-game regular season (AP, 2010).
The question is, will an 18 game season help or hinder the league? I feel with 2 less pre-season games, the 2 extra regular season games will not be that much of a difference. Also, the league will expand rosters so teams can do more substitutions, etc. Injuries are a part of the game and will continue to happen whether it’s pre-season or other. The fans will love more football and I feel teams will have to determine whether to sit a player one week or what players to keep on an active roster. Bring on more football!