The NFL is a big deal in American sports. Baseball may be American’s past time but the NFL dominates the now in the American sports landscape. How dominant is the NFL? So dominant that two glorified studio shows run by the league have become the most watched and talked about sporting “events” every April and May. The NBA Playoffs and MLB regular season have become after thoughts (not in the mind of this fan) to the NFL Schedule Release and the NFL Draft. But for some reason I fail to grasp every year the appeal of the release of the NFL Schedule for the upcoming season and the NFL Draft and why that is all that many sports fans, talk show hosts and talking heads on TV want to talk about.
The 2014 NFL Schedule was released on Wednesday evening. You would think an online release of each team’s schedule with a week by week and TV network schedule would suffice but no, the NFL Network aired a 3 hour special on Wednesday night devoted to “breaking down” the schedule. Do I have an interest in knowing who the 49ers will open up against in Week1, when they play the Seattle Seachickens and how many primetime games they have? Absolutely, but I received all the information that I needed in ten minutes online on Thursday morning. The idea that a three hour TV studio show and days and days of sports radio talk devoted the schedule release is warranted is asinine. The fact that such programing is watched and listened to by thousands of fans across the country is mind boggling. What good does analyzing a schedule that begins in September do in April? The NFL Draft has not been held yet, OTAs (off-season training activities) have not begun and training camp is still months away. To go through a team’s upcoming schedule in April and talk what games will be won and lost is just silly. I get it, football is really popular. I love football but when there are actual NBA playoff games being played I would rather focus on what is happening now, not on what may or may not really happen in September through December. The point is you can get all the information you need about the 2014 schedule in ten minutes on your phone tablet or computer. The NFL wants to sell you a three-hour fluff special even but it is nothing but fluff. There is more substance in an episode of The Bachelorette than in the NFL Schedule Release Special. It actually may be a draw, both have absolutely zero substance.
And then there is the NFL Draft. In the past, the draft would have been held last weekend or this upcoming weekend. But the NFL in all of its wisdom and interest in ruling the headlines for more weeks of the year moved the draft to May 8th through the 10th. I do not know who decided that three days of former college football players walking on stage and shaking hands with the NFL Commissioner or Deputy commissioner while a 30 second college highlight reel is played was good TV but I sit firmly in the football fan minority that thinks it’s an absolute waist. Every analyst thinks that every pick is great. Every player is “great in space” or has a “high motor.” Again you can get all the news you want on who was drafted in the Top 10 and who your team drafted in ten minutes online. It does not say much about the intelligence of the average football fan that so many watch the entire three days of coverage.
There are actual NBA Playoff games being played and even actual MLB regular season games and NHL playoff games being played, all of which (especially the former) are so much more entertaining than the NFL’s made for TV “events.” If you just read the summary or watch a highlight of a game that was actually played you will still miss out on a lot of the details, atmosphere and content of the game. If you read the summary of the NFL Schedule Release or NFL Draft you miss out on absolutely nothing. Fluff over substance. That is what the average American sports fan seems to be interested in these days. For shame.
Posted by Hatch