18 November, 2006

America: This Post is Not About Football

I am a resident of Columbus, OH on Nov 18, 2006 at 5:20 PM. Therefore, The GAME is on.

The GAME is the Ohio State Buckeyes hosting the Michigan Wolverines in football. It is the last game of the college football regular season every year, and they measure the score by the series. The GAME even has its own Wikipedia entry, and they count the score like this:

Michigan leads the overall series 57-39-6 and the conference series 45-39-4. However, in the last 50 years, they are even at 24-24-2.

I love football. It is the perfect game for men. It has everything. Individual performance matters. Team performance matters. Toughness matters. Heart matters. Like Lombardi said, the most competitive men love the most competitive sports. In football, a game can be decided when one person, on one play, steps too far back by one foot, and cannot throw the critical block. All 44 people on a team can win or lose the game every day.

It's a magnificent game.

I despise football.

Let me quote from "Play," the New York Times Sports Magazine.

This year, the NFL will reap a staggering $3.7 billion from television networks (including DirectTV, which has out-of-market rights), billions more than any other sport commands. Much of that money is distributed equally among the 32 teams; it is such a huge sum that it essentially covers the players' salaries, which for any football team is its largest expense.

The NFL has commanded its brand with a brutal genius.

The hammer the NFL holds over the networks and ESPN is fairly obvious: if the other networks aren't willing to ante up, well, the NFL can always decide to withdraw a rights package and put the games on its own network instead.
And that's the other, more immediate purpose of putting those eight games on the NFL Network: to apply pressure to the cable companies.

That game, and The GAME have nothing to do with games any more. They are all about American eyeballs. $3.7 billion dollars is only the revenue from television, but it's enough to talk about for purposes of this post. $3.7 billion dollars comes from New York Life advertising eternal promises. $3.7 billion dollars comes from Best Buy keeping their name on the screen during every replay. From Pacific Life giving the game summary. $3.7 billion comes from hundreds of advertisers paying for our eyeballs for 3 long, interruption-rich hours.

The Ohio State Buckeyes charge about $18,000 dollars per year to attend. The GAME makes them so popular that they need offer ZERO financial aid to most students - as a state university. The boys out on the field during The GAME think they are half playing, half gambling their lives, hoping to make it into the big time - to play for the pros. But really, they are just marketing toys for NCAA financiers.

The GAME's not football. Those boys demonstrating the fruit of their discipline and talent are deceived. And the millions of American men watching them every week are too. They think it matters what happens on that field. The only thing that matters is that millions of eyeballs cannot turn away. As long as football can sell eyeballs to television networks, football's power brokers will continue to collect money.

There are things in life that matter. Being a member of a society that has no clue how to entertain itself matters. Being a member of a city that has no idea how to care for its own matters. Whether the Buckeyes Beat Michigan! does not matter.

Except to the people in those towers. Those money-addicted people in those towers, those men who pull the strings of America, deciding which tv network will be allowed to pay them billions for their piece of the millions of eyeballs tuned in every week, to those men it matters. They need the game to be compelling. And they need it to be expensive for tv networks and cable companies.

And there's precious little they won't do to make sure it is.

The only way [the cable companies] can stay an unregulated monopoly is to provide the programming." Congressman love football, regulators love football, lots of people in important places love football. And as usual, what the NFL wants, the NFL will surely get.

America. You are dying.


Kansas Bob said...

So sad that sports has become the golden calf of these institutions of higher learning ... so sad that so many have been sacrificed on that altar ... so sad that jocks trump nerds ... so sad that poor bright young people are overlooked because universities would rather have a winning sports team than a winning academic team ... so sad that so many have bought into a lie.

DugALug said...


You may be right, but how dare you say such things in Columbus before THE GAME. LOL!

The aged theologian Jack Johnson (chuckles permitted) has a song that he asks "Where'd all the good people go? I searched the channels and all the TV-shows! Where'd all the good people go? We're reaping heaps and heaps of what we sew!"

This is more of a chicken and egg thing. Did the 'towers' make the monster or did the the people make it and the 'towers' take in the benefit. God answered this when Aaron brought the golden calf to Moses.

Jack Johnson is right, We have reaped what we have sewed. The world's mantra is for us to build a better mouse-trap and the people will come. God says for us to wait on Him and HE will come. I'm for the latter.

In saying all of this... I still say Go Bucks! (I am writing this after The Game, but it is how I feel).

To us, who have been (insert team) fans since I was a child, it is hard to argue with the fact that todays highscool game is what our generation's college game was about. Money and fortune has corrupted it. Still there are those, like me, who want to believe that many still play for the love of the game. In OSU's case, players like last year's linbackers: AJ Hawk, and Shlegal did a lot to pump that belief. Unfortunately, in the end you are right.

God Bless