Week 5: The NFL marketing execs plan for world domination
I think it’s safe to say that Thursday Night Football has outlived its excitement. I mean, kudos to the NFL marketing geniuses for finding a way to bombard us defenseless fans with their product all the time, but that’s not always the best idea. For instance, when American Idol debuted 500 years ago (that’s how long it’s been on, right?), viewers flocked in droves. The regular TV marketing geniuses then realized, “Hey! Everyone loves reality singing shows!” So they created “The X-Factor” and “The Voice” and “Rock Star” and “The Singing Bee” (which wins for the dumbest title) and probably “Singing Rock Star Bees.” You get the point. Singing, all day long, every day, every night, until America just can’t listen to one more Simon Cowell insult or bad Paula Abdul joke.
But I digress. That’s kind of what’s happening to the NFL product. By having Thursday night games every week, it loses that “special” feel. I look forward to the season-end, Saturday night football games, or the Thanksgiving football games. Those are special and fun, even if the matchups aren’t always riveting. It’s still football on a different day, and it almost feels like a gift from the NFL right to me. Now it’s just diluted. Monday Night Football ends, and we barely get any down time until the next game three nights later. And honestly, by the time Sunday rolls around, nobody even remembers who played on Thursday. On the other hand, I don’t mind the fact that the scheduled game is usually a yawner, which helps me get to sleep since I have to get up early for work the next morning.
In other news:
Records are like rules, made to be broken.
Perhaps the biggest record to fall this weekend was Johnny Unitas’ record of consecutive games with a TD pass. It was broken by New Orleans slinger Drew “I’m not involved in Bounty Gate” Brees, who threw a TD pass in his 48th consecutive game. Unitas set the record from 1956-60, so this one has been in the record books for quite a while. Holding a record like that, and consequently being on a team that has scored at least a TD in each of the last 48 games, means you’re probably helping your team win a lot of games. In another, less ballyhooed record-setting event during the day, the 49ers became the first team in NFL history to rack up 300 yards rushing and 300 yards receiving. And finally, speaking of records, there is only one unbeaten team left in the NFL. The Houston Texans are 5-0, and not to take anything away from them, but they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. On the flip side, the Cleveland Browns are the only winless team, sitting at a pitiful 0-5. Since I like to be optimistic, 4 of the 5 Browns’ opponents were over .500.
Just because I give fantasy advice doesn’t mean you take it.
On Sunday morning, my husband asked me if he should play Brian Hartline or Ahmad Bradshaw in his flex spot on his fantasy roster. I surmised that Bradshaw had not been terrible but he hadn’t really been lighting things up either. Hartline, I said, had two pretty decent games in a row, which meant it probably wasn’t a fluke. “Who else does Miami have to catch the ball?” I wondered aloud. I told him if it were me, I’d probably play Hartline. NOTE: I did NOT tell him TO play Hartline. I just said if it were ME I would probably start him. Well, the dutiful husband he is, Justin listened to me and played Hartline, who ended up bringing in only 5.9 points. Bradshaw, well, he fared a bit better, racking up 229 yards of total offense and one TD for a total of 34.90 points. Whines of “I shouldn’t have listened to you” followed. The lesson here is that my guess is about as good as anyone else’s as to who is going to have a breakout game. Although I guess I could also argue that if you have a player on your roster going against the Browns, you should probably play him. He’s probably going to have a career day.
Next week, I’m watching Dallas slug it out at Baltimore, the Giants battle the 49ers and the slumping Packers face the high flying Texans. Oh and, it’s the Battle of Ohio Part 2, and I’m pumped! Except not really, but Cincy does play at Cleveland. Chicago, Carolina, Jacksonville and New Orleans get the weekend off with pay as a reward for their hard work. Er, something like that.
Until next week, friends, enjoy the games!
Hershberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org