Thursday, September 4, 2008


Remember back in February when we were wondering when the television writer's strike would end? Broadcast networks were praying that something... anything could give them the kinds of numbers and buzz that their halted programs generated for them before the studio scribes went on their extended breaks. Well, if you recall, FOX decided to couple their coverage of the national primaries with their NFL coverage on Super Bowl Sunday, creating a tremendous ratings windfall for the Rupert Murdoch network.

It was a day of politics and pigskin. Americana at its finest, right?

Now just imagine the next two months.

It's not to say that suddenly ESPN will have a midscreen ticker counting down to Election Day (though has linked to for election coverage since the Democratic primaries began). Yet, considering the historic nominations of Barack Obama (first African-American nominee), John McCain (oldest nominee in American history, don't forget) and Sarah Palin (first woman Vice President nominee for the Republicans), it would not be much of a stretch to believe that at least one of the NFL's broadcasting partners would try to bring the two national passions together once again.

Leading into last fall, the public (not the media which covers and hypes these events) didn't really believe that the primaries would have received so much attention and for as long as they did. November 2007 changed much of the television landscape as not only was the strike gaining steam, but the scrapping between Obama and New York (State) Senator Hillary Clinton began to take center stage. There must have been 76,000 Super Tuesdays, it seemed, which made for an interesting way to end 2007 and begin 2008.

FOX's decision to promote the continued political battles along with the battle between the Patriots and Giants was a bold and successful one, but because of both the primaries and the Super Bowl are unique events, it seemed to have been a relatively easy fusion.They would be the leading candidate to try it again, though you have to wonder if it'll be a wise move. Despite the fact that we're talking about the President of the United States, we're also talking about half of the season of NFL action compared to one special Sunday. It could become overkill for many of the demographics they seek, causing some dwindling ratings and a firestorm among many of its fans who find a voice online.

NBC could, but it would be one of the biggest failures in network history. Nothing - save for a major news story, tragic, absurd or both - beats the NFL on television. They would have to go against ongoing games on other networks. Throwing political specials and the like before their already-crowded pre-game show, Football Night in America would be asking interested viewers to listen to a hundred voices for seven hours before their Sunday Night Football broadcast. If you haven't heard, Keith Olbermann isn't a well-liked fellow in some circles. Also considering their approach to the Beijing Olympics - where some felt that they didn't say enough about the fallacies of the Chinese government - the Peacock will get raked through the coals for anything broaching the concept of promoting politics and football together.

CBS? Never. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. For all of the flack that The Tiffany Network gets for its older viewership and tendancy to cancel shows too soon, they are about as no-frills with their game coverage as it gets. Even with the horrendous blend of MTV and CBS during Super Bowl XXXVIII (which lead to... this), there was essentially no mention of the halftime performances other than their introduction and reminder promos leading to the game's break. Other networks would have probably asked Ed Hochuli to not start the game clock for the second half until someone had an on-field interview with the bare-breasted Janet Jackson before the story 'got stale'. It's hard to imagine that CBS would make an attempt to cross anything with its sports properties ever again.

Then again, all of this could be (and will likely be) 100% wrong. Yet, as all of our politicians will tell us, this is a significant and historic time in our country.

It's also football season... even in Washington, D.C.

Say What?!?!: And can we all give a warm welcome back to Mr. Hochuli. The only man on Earth that can instill fear in a 6-foot-7, 350 pound defensive tackle without wearing a helmet.
Also, as this was being edited, Chris Chase for Yahoo Sports!'s Shudown Corner blog delves into the first test of the two passions.

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