Sunday, January 07, 2007

Black, White or Rosy?

This weekend in the NFL saw upsets, mishaps and rides off into the sunset. With some of larger media market teams (Dallas, NY Jets/Giants) now watching TV for the next few weeks, I have to assume the League will at least be cheering for Chicago throughout the remainder of January.

In order to generate the hype needed to bring in fans and attention, the League will be counting on them after watching last years game attract far less attention than in the past. The cost of Super Bowl commercial buys this year is down/flat. The need to improve the ROI for advertisers either must come from more exciting games, which the League has no power of, to some effect or the teams need to have a story behind them fans find compelling to tune in.

One person who won't be at the Super Bowl, well not as a player, but most likely as an analyst very soon is Tiki Barber. Barber announced early this season, no matter the outcome, it would be his last. He has other ventures he'd like to pursue and has taken advantage of his celebrity status over the last few seasons to prepare.

The unfortunate thing is, about 10 years ago, many athletes, especially minority athletes were criticized for not having a backup plan. They were encouraged to start a business, complete their degree or invest their guaranteed money early and wisely. However, the hypocrisy by many media outlets, teams and fans has evolved. We now see players such as Barber taking the time to become analyst if they don't make the playoffs. Or Lebron signing marketing deals for shoe contracts larger than that of the NBA's. So when we see a not commercial, why now is their disgust and jealousy? Is it because the athletes are making strides to provide for their families and establish multiple streams of income in case of injury, being cut or these days even untimely death?

The double standard baffles, however doesn't surprise me. The examination of the minority athlete male/female will continue until the microscope used is not covered with a rose colored lens. There were many stories of athletes being homeless, dying broke, and we usually shook our heads at the irony. However, when Shaq says he's never spent a dime of his playing money, owns low-income housing investments and plans to become a Law Enforcement Offices after playing, most only see the loss of their amusement and unattainable goals.

Looks like it might be time to change the lens.

Might wanna get an eye exam.

1 comment:

Paragon said...

Q, you got it backwards, Chicago is one of the last teams the NFL hopes to go to the Superbowl. Along with the Seahawks and the Eagles, the Bears have the least intriguing story and the least iconic players. The NFL wants a story intriguing enough to attract a national audience, not just a major media market. Thus major football icons like Manning or Brady would be prefered because their iconic status would guarantee viewership. Or for San Diego, which is also the USA's 8th largest city, winning a superbowl would solidify LT as an icon. McNair overcoming the Tennessee saga and becoming one of, if not the only, black quarterback to win a superbowl would be a sellable story. But by far, the most intriguing and ratings attracting story would be "America's Team", the Saints, going to the Superbowl. EVERYONE would be cheering for them, the WHOLE nation. That's who the NFL is rooting for. The only story Chicago has is how shitty Rex Grossman is. Who's going to root for Rex?