Saturday, February 21, 2015

The NFL is out to get your kids

In the PBS Frontline episode League of Denial, there was a scene where Rep. Linda Sanchez (D) compared the NFL to Big Tobacco, and now comparison more and more apt according to this Vice Sports article by Partick Hruby.

Like marvel and DC, comic books the readership is aging with children no longer reading them. Unlike the comic publishers the NFL at least understands that children are the future. With concussion and brain damage fears causing less and less kids to be playing the sport, they are at least trying to make them FANS of the game.

First the NFL was all about easing Mom's qualms about the dangers of the sport with "safe tackling" programs which are about as questionable as Big Tobacco's safe cigarettes.  Their next strategy is is just comically bad, first with introducing fantasy football into the schools under the guise of "math education"(which is for some believed to be a gateway to gambling) and NFL themed teamwork propaganda posters and the next is the Joe Camel style campaign involving a Nicktoons cartoon called NFL Rush Zone, which according to Hruby,
Akin to Hasbro pushing G.I. Joe and Transformers dolls in the 1980s via after school cartoons, the league now has its own Nicktoons network animated series, NFL Rush Zone, which began in 2010 as a series of shorts that averaged 1.2 million boy viewers ages six to 11. Ostensibly about a group of pre-teen heroes wearing football-cum-Power Ranger outfits who team up with NFL players and mascots to fight anti-football villains and free the "benevolent life force" trapped inside the league's 32 stadiums—sadly, there's no mention of also freeing the billions of taxpayer dollars used to build said stadiumsNFL Rush Zone is basically an infomercial, a way to build brand affinity among grade schoolers who might find actual football to be slow, complicated, and boring.
I grew up in the 1980s and 90% of every cartoon I watched was out to sell action figures, I also have a nostalgic yearning for them. I look at this show and it is what we media studies people like to call  "Shit". Not since marvel's NFL Super-Pro has football put out something this bad. I suspect we will soon hear from Roger Goodell of a Super-Pro movie with Tim Tebow playing the titular character and it will cost $200M of our tax dollars.

I watched one episode and I have to ask how much Toradol did the NFL inject into the buttocks of the creative team to come up with this concept? This is coming from a person who is writing a screenplay for a low budget B-Grade sci-fi satire where the Bible God(tm) declares War on the USA and we side with the UFO Aliens and kick his ass. (Shameless Promotion)  I highly doubt this cartoon will have the Super Football Force get concussed and develop CTE, this show looks like it will damage children's brains nonetheless.  I remember when Nicktoons started out and they had Ren and Stimpy with it's absurd gross out humor got parents up in arms.

This looks just as absurd with super powered teens defending the NFL from the forces who threaten it, like evil space aliens, who for some reason have a beef with the NFL.  These children are called the Guardians and are defending the league from evil forces who want to capture "the essense of the NFL" whatever the heck that is. From what I can tell recent events is that this "essence" is a destructive form hyper aggressive masculinity." It must be the closest thing to crack, in whatever hyperspace dimension these aliens come from.

 More realistic show is one where Roger Goodell hires a group of teens to wear RIDDELL built super powersuits to defend the NFL shield from the real forces who want to topple it. You know like law suits from former players and the families of players who died as the result of crippling football related neurological injuries.  Another episode the Guardians protect the NFL not from aliens but itself as they steal casino security camera footage of one of their best players caught slapping his  wife around.

You know....The real enemies of football.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Taylor Swift at Super Bowl 50?

This Blind Gossip link alludes to Taylor Swift being considered for the Half Time show for Super Bowl 50.

Let's dissect this little blind item. The post brings out a few pros and cons


1# Taylor Swift is the biggest music act in the world BAR NONE, next year will be Super Bowl 50, the Super Bowl to be bigger than all the others. This Super Bowl will need BIG NAME acts, and you cannot get bigger than her.

2# She is safe, Taylor has put her self out with a family friendly image,  because her main fanbase are teen girls. For Roger Goodell and co that means SAFE. There will be no unpleasant surprises such as foul language, obscene gestures, sexual innuendo or wardrobe malfunctions. After 2014 the NFL does not want anymore bad PR moments, especially at this Superbowl.


Her fanbase to be exact. as the Blind Gossip put it out. While she is the biggest name in music, she does not really have that broad fan appeal and her fans are not exactly the NFL crowd either, as Her fan base like Katy Perry's also skewers young as well.

Well this CON is probably a small one, Michael Jackson was not exactly football material either, but Michael Jackson was chosen for the 1993 game to literally SAVE the Super Bowl. Rupert Murdoch hired him to get major ratings. Before the King of Pop the HF show was the time to change the channel or go use the toilet. For past acts were not that stellar, it was b list talent or such dreck as Up With People.

Watch the video and DESPAIR

Like Katy Perry's fanbase was not exactly NFL crowd either. The NFL knows this, it could be a reason they want her. The league has a youth problem, from 2010 to 2014 they are losing viewers 50 and under. The millennials to be exact, pose even a bigger threat.  they are the population that is driving the cord cutting trend and Sunday Night Football now loses out to The Walking Dead. Then there is the case of parents, who 50% do not even want their sons playing this game out of head injury fears. Leadership knows that children are the future, that for the NFL to be relevant and profitable they need a constant stream of new fans. Getting someone like Katy or Taylor could be a good strategy of getting younger viewers at least interested in watching the game.

Long Term prospects for the sport are looking bleak, the NFL the all American cultural institution is now facing a growing culture that is now becoming anti-football. They are going to have to attract the young viewers at the same time ease their parents qualms about the safety of this sport. Many are now starting to see the NFL as a regressive relic of the hyper masculine frat boy culture.

A culture that is becoming toxic to so many, with child abuse and domestic violence scandals from players, hazing rituals and even rape by players at the high school level, the sport is in desperate need for an image rehabilitation. Maybe the NFL is realizing that they also need to adapt to the changing cultural climate. If they do not win back the under 30 crowd the sport will be entertainment for an aging and shrinking male demographic. Cultural irrelevancy will destroy the NFL worse than any concussion crisis. Just ask Marvel and DC how ignoring younger readers has helped their book sales.

Taylor Swift is the master of promoting and maintaining a safe, clean positive image. The NFL can learn a few things from her.

2# Music,  Taylor does not have any songs  that would well fit on the halftime show, songs about break ups and former boyfriends do not fit the atmosphere of a major sporting event. She need some sort of anthem as the blind suggests. Taylor can easily fix this, she is probably very capable of writing such a song, we have seen her pull off a total move to pop with 1989. So far it seems there is NOTHING she cannot do.

Those CONS are all easily fixed or are minor. The one CON going against her is preparation, one she cannot get around easily. Taylor is starting her 1989 world tour in May this means she will not be able to prepare for this. Halftime shows take huge amounts of prep time, for the 50th one it will probably be a year of planning and rehearsals, with Taylor going on tour this might not be a possibility

In the end one thing is true the NFL needs Taylor Swift for the Super Bowl more than Taylor needs the NFL to further her career..