A Gonzo Sports Column Shunning the Super Swindle, the NFL Media, and the NCAA Father/Son Picnic.
If you’ve been reading this column the last two weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been talking a lot of smack about the NFL, and judging by the Super Bowl, that smack was warranted. Answer me this: How in the hell do you allow a 34-minute power outage during the most-watched and highest-anticipated television event of the year?
The game was the third most-watched television broadcast of all time despite the blackout (although ratings fell), but forcing 108 million people to sit through even more $4 million commercials than the five-hour broadcast originally had scheduled is irresponsible and uncalled for. The cause of the blackout is still unknown, but it’s clear the Super Bowl is the epitome of corporatization and an example of the immense power held by conglomerate media, and the blackout is a symbol for the NFL’s bleak future.
It did, however, spark the 49ers, who probably should have won the game. As soon as the lights went out, my old man said it was exactly what the Niners needed. He was right. They had four opportunities to score in the red zone to take the lead late, but threw it three times, ran Frank Gore just once, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t take off on foot at all. Alex Smith probably would have pulled it off because I’m sure he wanted it more — needed it really — but the allegedly deer-antlered defense of Ray Lewis prevailed.
The NFL media did get one thing right this week. Adrian Peterson was named NFL MVP and AP Offensive Player of the Year on Saturday over Peyton Manning, who somehow won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Sorry, Peyton. When a man is nine yards shy of breaking the all-time single-season rushing record a year after a torn ACL and MCL, that man is the Comeback Player of the Year.
Minnesota Head Coach Leslie Frazier was snubbed for Coach of the Year, which was awarded to an interim coach, Bruce Arians of the Colts (who is now with the Cardinals), for the first time ever. Frazier won ten games; Arians won nine, but the Colts weren’t playing for him. They were playing for the coach in a hospital bed stricken with leukemia, Chuck Pagano, who finished second in the voting.
In other news, a federal court judge ruled college football and basketball players can pursue television revenue, which is a ruling long overdue. I’ve always seen the NCAA as a bunch of fathers trying to keep all the money out of the hands of their kids. In covering a rodeo here at MSU, I learned the athletes were paid for placing in an event, and that’s the way it should be in all sports that make billions of dollars in television revenue. If anything, the kids may end up with nothing but the change in daddy’s pockets, but it still lightens dad’s pants.