Friday, January 30, 2015

DeflateGate and the NFL's Genius Marketing Ploy

Let me start off by saying that I have never been a fan of the 2 week break between the Championship games and the Super Bowl.  My opinion is that the NFL should either play the game the following weekend (and let injuries be what they may), add a second bye week so the NFL season ends up 18 weeks long or have the Super Bowl fall on the President's Day weekend (with a two-week break) so people have the following Monday off.  The two week break is just too long, particularly for hungry sports media and fans.

Deflated Footballs anyone?
Which brings me to DeflateGate.  By the time this is published, this is an old news story.  You know why?  Because after the weekend between the Championship games and the Super Bowl, teams and fans start arriving at the Super Bowl location, Media day starts and all of the hoopla associated with the Super Bowl begins in earnest.  The NFL doesn't need anything to keep fans and advertisers tuned in starting the Monday of Super Bowl week.  Which was part of the problem all along.

Stories were popping up everywhere last week.  Brady likes the balls under inflated.  A ball boy took the balls into the bathroom and the NFL has video.  The balls were checked before the game.  Belichick actually sounded convincing and human-like in answering the questions.  (He wasn't too worried about the DeflateGate during the first week.).  Where did all of these stories originate?  The Colts? the Ravens? D'Quell Jackson?  Bob Irsay (well, maybe)?  No.  It was the NFL!  The same organization that failed to inspect the balls properly.  The same organization that took weeks to decide what to do and is still hemming and hawing.  The same organization that failed to interview any of the players involved.  The same organization that has been battling a image problem for years...

Many will say that the slowest sports news week during the season in the week after the AFC and NFC Championship games.  The NBA and NHL are in the middle of their seasons.  Baseball and soccer are outdoor sports no one plays in the Winter.  There were no Olympics or other news stories that could distract the media from the stories that the NFL did not want anyone to talk about - Concussions, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.  What better way to get the media in a frenzy about the sport than to leak a story about how the Patriots - notorious cheaters - some how cheated their way to the Super Bowl?!  You have a harmless violation that people can have very strong opinions about.  You have a wonderful villain.  And you have a readership that is thirsty to talk about anything football.  No one is talking about Ray Rice, or Adrian Peterson, or the latest guy to get arrested for domestic violence.  They are all talking about Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft and their deflated balls. 

The NFL got off scot-free.  It was a genius marketing ploy.

I don't have any misconceptions.  Our favorite team is hated - HATED - outside of New England.  We are not going to be getting any breaks this week.  Almost every former player on TV has some axe to grind because of the Patriots or the players involved.  Yes, I'm talking to you Ray Lewis, and Marshall Faulk, and Mark Brunell and Troy Aikman.  Brady and Belichick have been around for so long that they are hated by everyone who played football between 1986 and the present.  That's another story for another time.  Did they cheat?  Yes, of course.  Every team does it and the Patriots allegedly got "caught."  The NFL failed to check the balls and the slight deflated balls that Brady likes using were permitted.  Did it mean anything to the game or the outcome?  No, but it doesn't matter.

There are some smart people int eh NFL after all.

Patriots 23, Seahawks 17.  Pound the under on this one.

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