10:12 AM, Aug 8, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The fight over television blackouts of NFL games is on again. The league, which may be the most successful, powerful, and popular sports conglomerate in history, is lobbying Congress for some of its famous protective services. The thing comes down to the issue of whether or not games that have not been sold out should be broadcast in local markets. Just the sort of thing you sent your representative to Washington to deal with, right?
As Julian Hattem of The Hill reports, the NFL “argues the rule helps teams sell tickets and creates a compelling stadium atmosphere, allowing the NFL to keep games on free television.”
(“Free television” would be the kind with the ads that stretch a two-hour game into four hours.)
And why should Washington be getting involved? Well, because the NFL believes “the FCC’s sports blackout rule remains necessary and in the public interest.”
The NFL doesn’t really need the government’s muscle to get what it wants:
Even if the FCC did get rid of the rule, leagues like the NFL would still be able to negotiate individually with broadcasters, cable providers and satellite companies to black out some games.
But force is so much easier.
11:01 AM, Jun 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The white-hot issue of what to call the professional football team currently playing its home games in the vicinity of the nation’s capital just got hotter. Earlier this week, Senator Harry Reid said he wouldn’t accept comp tickets (truly a first for a sitting senator) to the team’s games so long as it continued to be called the “Redskins.”
8:35 AM, Jan 25, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Unlike you, I will be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, albeit grudgingly.
3:39 PM, Jan 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Impossible to imagine American college football without Notre Dame. Rockne. “Win one for the Gipper.” The Four Horsemen. The Blue and the Gold. Heismans and national championships by the bushel. Rudy. Exclusive television deals. And now, as Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg reports:
6:46 PM, Jan 19, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On the one hand, Barack Obama, speaking as a dad, says he "would not let my son play pro football." It's a reasonable judgment, one other parents have made and one they're entitled to make (though enforcing it on recalcitrant sons is another matter!).
A special weekend in the NFL.4:01 PM, Jan 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There will be only two games this weekend in the National Football League. Down from four the previous two weekends as many as sixteen during the now-completed regular season during which 256 games were played. Many of these would be charitably described as “forgettable.” But what often seemed like a random process of elimination has marvelously reduced
1:06 PM, Jan 8, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In an interview with Fusion's Jordan Fabian, a political consultant to the White House compared the rollout of Obamacare to last weekend’s memorable NFL playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts, of course, pulled off one of the great, improbable comebacks of history … football division, inspiring Phil Schiliro to say:
Television, that is; no thanks to the NFL or its partner in Washington.10:45 AM, Jan 5, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The last of the unsold tickets to the playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers were bought up on Friday, mostly by Proctor and Gamble. Call it a reverse corporate bailout. If P&G had not come to the rescue, Bengals fans who live in Cincinnati and its environs would have been unable to watch their team on television.
10:50 AM, Jan 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Cincinnati Bengals won their division and made it to the playoffs but are having difficulty selling enough tickets to this weekend's game against the San Diego Chargers to avoid a local television blackout.
6:34 AM, Dec 22, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Temperatures in the high 40s, with some rain. That’s the forecast for Buffalo on Sunday when the Bills and the Dolphins kick it off. Balmy, then. So much so that the team from Miami can’t, should they lose, use the weather for an alibi. Likewise, the fans who choose not to pay sit in the stadium and watch. The Bills have been disappointing but not surprising. They seem always to be disappointing. And it’s almost Christmas. So, even if you follow the team and have since the Jim Kelly days, it might seem more appealing to stay at home and wrap presents. With the game on the television. In the background, of course.
11:02 AM, Dec 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The team plays badly. The coach coaches badly. The owner owners badly. The fight song is revolting and the name is an offense against the laws of political correctness. But other than that …
10:15 AM, Dec 9, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
These days, the only thing in Washington performing less ably and delivering more disappointment than Obamacare would be the Washington Re****ns, a facsimile of a football team that is long on controversy, short on competence, and overflowing in controversy.