Thursday, December 18, 2014

Titans/Jags. A pitiful game

One would think the NFL could have done better than the garbage game they presented Thursday night. Tennessee vs Jacksonville, both with 2-12 records.

Sure, any "stand alone" NFL game will attract TV viewers from the cities of both participating teams, and the hard-core demographic. But lately, Thursday night games have been broadcast on the NFL's own cable channel, which not everybody has access to.  If they're looking for ratings --  and what station isn't? -- it would only seem logical they feature a game with at least ONE good team, and preferably both. That would attract other viewers from neutral cities that had ponied up the bucks to get the NFL channel on their 50 inch screens.

Further, when the season schedule was originally made, it was no big secret that both the Titans and Jags were expected to be bottom feeders this year. Sure enough, they've delivered.

Games scheduled in advance can't be changed, you say? Balderdash. It happens all the time. Not only the days they're played on, but even changing venues to another city. Remember a few years ago when the dome collapsed under the weight of snow at the Minnesota Vikings' stadium? They moved the game to Detroit. Just recently, the Buffalo Bills got hit with 8 feet of snow, and their game was moved to Detroit -- a day later than originally scheduled -- as well. The NFL, TV folks, and even teams can adjust quickly when necessity requires.

And when a "prime-time" broadcast on Thursday night winds up featuring two 2-12 teams, then yours truly says -- change it. What happened in Minnesota and Buffalo were sudden occurrences -- but it was handled. The league and their network knew both Tenn and Jax were 2-12 after last Sunday. Plenty of time to make an adjustment. The options were there.

As we get towards the end of the NFL regular season, they're about to start featuring Saturday games. This weekend there are two. Philly at Wash and San Diego at San Fran for the nightcap. The Eagles are still very much in the playoff hunt, and football fans are certainly curious about the future of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Either of those games could have been moved to Thursday prime-time, while switching places with the Tenn/Jax yawn-a-thon. Roger Goodell and company could have notified the four teams involved last Sunday night of the move. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Planes and hotel reservations can be changed within hours. The fans with tickets to the game? Moving the games up or back two days might be a slight inconvenience, but they'd show up. Anybody that's pre-paid NFL ticket prices will find a way to be there. Trust me.

And how many folks outside the Nashville and Jaxville area actually tuned in to watch this game? 100,000? 500? 3? I'm a hard core NFL junkie myself, but have no idea who won the game, because I didn't tune in either. That would be like watching the Philly 76ers play the Detroit Pistons. Who cares? There's bad, there's terrible, and there's 1000 other channels to choose from. An eskimo cooking show. A praise the lord and pass the offering plate evangelist. Reruns of Wally and the Beave would have been far more exciting. Anything but Titans and Jags.

C'mon Mr. Goodell. You don't seem to mind changing all the other rules as you go in the name of public relations. So when you've got a stone loser game on your hands scheduled to be broadcast in prime time -- change THAT in the name of public relations. Football fans across the country would be grateful.

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