Are you ready for some….
ridiculous questions from members of the Sweedish media to participants in the Super Bowl?
repetitive gibberish from numerous analysts?
discussions about the Harbaughs that will be heartwarming at first?
discussions about the Harbaughs that will erase the channel up button on your remote?
information on ways to spice up dishes at your Super Bowl party?
time wasting exercises on television that help pass the time until Sunday?
Yes folks, the gluttony that is Super Bowl week is already well under way and it’s as bloated and unnecessary as ever. Sure it’s become great way for up and coming networks (CBS Sports Network & NBC Sports Network) to beef up their presence in the growing world of sports media, but when is enough going to be enough?
Between ESPN (120 hours), NFL Network (140 hours), NBC Sports Network (24), CBS Sports Network (50 hours), and CBS Sports Radio (75 hours) there will be 409 hours of original programming broadcast from New Orleans this week, per Richard Deitsch of SI.com. That number doesn’t factor in the numerous columns, op-eds, interviews, and 12,000 words from Peter King about IPA’s that you’ll only find in New Orleans. (Sorry Mr. King, I had to.)
It just seems as if we’re at a point of no return with the seven daylong celebration of America’s most popular sport. Sure there are some bright spots:
Deion Sanders on media day is a must watch feature on NFL Network. The Dan Patrick Show has a tremendous in studio guest list throughout the week. After the airing of three different commercials 2,342,351 times The Crossover (aka Beadlemania) finally gets to debut on the NBC Sports Network.
It’s fantastic that numerous athletes and celebrities will be featured throughout all of the different media platforms throughout the week, but the overexposure of Super Bowl week has become just too much.
Consider this, on Super Bowl Sunday NFL Network will air TEN AND A HALF HOURS of pre-game material. If you combine that with CBS pre game festivities (four hours) it equals over half a day of coverage about a game that will have already been dissected for two full weeks.
Come February 3rd it’ll be a damn shame if 90% of America can’t name both of the punter’s parents and their jobs. (Yes Rich Eisen, punters are people too.)
I understand that the root of every operation in New Orleans this week is business growth. The various branches of News Corp, Disney, and Comcast have to take advantage of the opportunity to grab the attention of the biggest sports audience they’ll get all year, but I ask at what cost?
Remember when you couldn’t wait until December 1st because it meant that Christmas was right around the corner? There was no need to build up the anticipation because it was the best time to either be a kid or to see your kids smile as they opened up their surprises on Christmas morning. Then the retail industry realized that they could capitalize off of the spirit of Christmas before the calendar flipped to December, so the concept of the holiday season got pushed back further and further into November. Then amazingly the retail executives justified a reason to put out Christmas tree displays next to the Halloween candy.
Think about how over commercialized and butchered the holiday season is. Now apply the same logic to the week preceding the big game.
This country currently has an insatiable appetite for everything NFL related. The advancements in television production have created the perfect spectacle that appeals to gamblers, casual fans, fantasy football enthusiasts, women, drinkers, non-drinkers, and statistical nerds. No longer is football just a talking point during the weeks of the fall and winter, it dominates the conversation like no other sport before it.
Sunday Night Football has become a major force in the world of primetime television (a NBC record 30+ million tuned into the Wednesday opening night game between the Giants and the Cowboys). Even though the regular season ratings on Fox and CBS were at their lowest in three years, 2012 was the first year in which an NFL game was the most watched television show during all 17 weeks of the regular season, per sportsmedia.com.
Just like the new American way however, we’ll drink the NFL kool-aid to excess. The once medium sized television deals have now become super-size monstrosities that allow us to watch every snap of the 651 games that make up the preseason, regular season, and the playoffs. Yet we still can’t seem to get enough. This year’s joke of a Pro Bowl drew a 7.7 share, which is higher than games one and three of last year’s Giants-Tigers World Series (game two had a 7.8 share). People needed their fix and when you’re a junkie you’ll take whatever you can get.
At some point in the far future the addiction will cease and we’ll talk about the glory days of Super Bowl week. It’s inevitable. All bubbles pop and one day sports fans will feast into another product until the talent level flattens off.
For now though we’ll have to suffer through all of the #boldpredictions, all of the Colin Cowherd predictions on prop bets, all of the First Take nonsense (don’t we already get that on a daily basis?), all of the non-essential fluff information that serves no purpose. The public shouldn’t have to be sold on tuning into the Super Bowl. We’ve already dedicated an ungodly number of hours following the beast that is the NFL, why should we have to invest even more of our time?
Can we please just fast forward to 6:27pm on Sunday, maybe then I’ll finally be ready for some football.
Follow me on Twitter @scottdargis.