7

July

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Do you ever wonder if the marketing machines behind professional sports franchises make fans stupid? Or are professional sports fans already stupid, and the marketing machines give fans exactly what they’re asking for?

I was thinking about this while covering the Yankees beating the Twins (yet again) earlier this week at Target Field. Between almost every pitch, the Twins blasted some type of music over the stadium sound system or tried to entice a chant out of fans by playing some other type of sound effect. During every between-inning break, something silly like kiss-cam or a dance-off party played on the stadium video board.

It’s like the Twins didn’t think their fans had the mental capacity or attention span to pay money to attend a baseball game and actually, you know, watch the baseball game. Part of the beauty of baseball is the downtime between pitches and breaks between innings. You can follow and enjoy baseball while still chatting with friends or explaining the game to your 10-year-old son or daughter.

It’s hard to do any of that with yet another T-shirt toss (shiny objects!) going on or a song (wow, noise!) playing that tries to coax the audience into participating in some sort of generic sing-a-long.

I’m picking on the Twins, but the Packers haven’t been much better in this area the last couple of seasons. I haven’t been going to Packers games for very long, but even from when I first started (2007) to now, I’ve noticed a drastic change.

During the playoff win over the Vikings last season, I don’t think 10 seconds went by without the Lambeau PA announcer screaming at fans to get loud, or some type of gimmicky chant/song was played over the sound system to entice people to do…something, I guess.

It shouldn’t be this way. There are plenty of sports fans who are fans of the actual sport and the game being played on the field…right? Or am I naive and out of touch? Do the fans who attend today’s sporting events — even Packers fans — need all of these silly bells and whistles that have nothing to do with the actual game to keep them entertained?

21

March

NFL Free Agency and Training my Dog

Nnamdi Asomugha

Remember how free agent Nnamdi Asomugha was going to deliver the Lombardi Trophy to Philly?

For some reason, my dog acts like a crazed maniac whenever she’s on a leash.

Matilda is a near-perfect dog in any other setting, but when we put on her leash and walk her around the neighborhood, she goes nuts. Lunging at other dogs. Eating leaves and rocks. Chasing cars. She’s completely out of control.

My wife is working with Matilda to correct this behavior, which makes my wife a much better person than I am. I don’t have the patience to deal with a dog that treats bikers and pedestrians like the fake bunny rabbit on a pole at a greyhound track.

My attitude toward Matilda is kind of like the attitude most NFL fans have toward free agency. I don’t want to put the time and effort into re-training my dog. Most NFL fans don’t want their teams to put the time and effort into building through the draft.

I want Matilda to magically get over her leash craziness. NFL fans want their teams to magically get better by signing a bunch of free agents.

Check out the reaction to Miami not signing Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn. They’re getting trashed. How about the Dream Team moniker and the euphoria over the Eagles after their spending spree last season? People thought Philly would roll to a championship.

Signing a bunch of free agents doesn’t lead to a Super Bowl. There’s a small, but loud, segment of NFL fans and analysts that repeat this fact every offseason, but few people listen. I see this segment getting louder, but not larger. Why?

Are people not listening? Do they not care? Are most NFL fans just plain stupid? Is it impossible to re-train fans to favor draft and development over spend and splash?

Sabermetrics became mainstream in baseball. Advanced analytics keeps getting more popular in basketball. Fanbases in other sports embrace new and innovative ways to build a team. But most NFL fans would rather see their teams go the same old route of stocking up on high-priced free agents and other “name” players.

They’re like Matilda on a leash. They want off that leash so they can chase after every shiny object, whether it’s good for them or not.