Usually, the knowledge that a lot of people watched a lot of football would make you yawn, and return to watching cat videos on Youtube dot com while trying to balance a peanut on your nose. Office productivity just isn’t what it used to be.
But then of course you’ll recall that Sunday night’s game was never close. I mean sure, technically it was close at one point, with the Seahawks leading only 8-0 after the first quarter and they didn’t score the first touchdown of the game until early in the second. But when Seattle scored 12 seconds into the game (a record) and then held a lead for 59:48 of game clock (another record), it didn’t once feel like Denver had a chance. For a television audience that’s what should matter, and if we were to extract Sunday’s proceedings and put them into any regular season week, the channel would have been flipped really, really early.
It was the Super Bowl, though, and the sheer volume of people who will stick around and watch a game that ended with the third largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history gives me both feelings of joy and pain. Once again, this year’s Super Bowl set a record, and for at least one year it will be the most watched show in American television history with its average of 111.5 million viewers.
In Super Bowl terms, a game that was a 35-point beating into submission destroyed last year’s 49ers-Ravens title fight that went down to the final play, and it still averaged 108.7 million viewers. However, that may be a poor comparison since the short attention span of the audience likely led to many clicks in a different direction during the half-hour blackout. So here’s a better one: the previous record holder was Super Bowl XLVI with its 111.3 million average viewers. That game two years ago featured a man named Tom Brady, a crucial drop by Wes Welker, and this…
At first it gives me great joy to be reassured that even during times when there’s an obscene blowout, football is still king. But that feeling is only brief, and it’s overtaken by fear.
You see, the more we love something this much, and the more the American audience can be controlled by football forever, the more rich old men in suits will try to become richer (and older) men. Rich men usually aren’t rich men because of dumb luck. They’re able to see and pounce on an opportunity, and this one is slapping them straight in the face repeatedly. As we learned during Roger Goodell’s state of the league press conference last week, playoff expansion is still under discussion, a talk that will continue throughout the offseason. But once some Benjamins grab the mic, it’ll be dropped shortly thereafter: it’s estimated that two more playoff games would reel in upwards of $100 million from one of the NFL’s TV partners.
If they add those two more playoff teams and two more playoff games, we’ll watch, even though it saturates and cheapens a system that was just fine. Despite the initial chastising we do when each team is eliminated from the playoffs, the fact remains that merely qualifying for the post-season is still an accomplishment in the NFL. With a 14-team system that becomes less so, and the league will creep closer to the NFL and NBA, where not making the playoffs is damning and doing that repeatedly feels impossible.
But you and I are watching, and we won’t ever stop watching, which gives Roger Goodell and the owners he answers to little reason to care. Eventually the same will apply to the two games they’ll add to the regular season. That fight may have quieted a bit for now, but if numbers like the ones we saw Sunday night continue, the idea of adding two more games and two more opportunities to dip into sweet, sweet cash would as well.
It’ll all our fault. We like football too much.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Oh, and about those Super Bowl records
Here’s one more…
New Super Bowl Betting Records: Nevada sports books took $119M in bets (a new record) and won $19.6M (a new record).
— WagerMinds (@WagerMinds) February 3, 2014
John Schneider is an American Hero
Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin really, really like babes
And by that I mean hookers. Every day, all day, all the time. All about dem hookers.
I’m going to walk out on a creaky limb here: the over 1,000 text messages shared between the two and released yesterday by The Big Lead normally wouldn’t be all that out of the ordinary for two young and rich athletes who have plenty of disposable income, and seven months of free-ish time on their hands each year. But of course, since late October we’ve know there’s nothing normal about the Incognito-Martin relationship.
After reading through most of them and laughing far too much at Martin telling Incognito that his “Norwegian is here”, at first my opinion of the entire ordeal didn’t change much. Though it’s clear the two have a close friendship and camaraderie, it’s not far fetched at all for someone to befriend the meathead bully who treats him like dirt in the locker room, because the target feels as though he has little choice.
And maybe that’s true. But the more I read, the more I thought this: I know nothing.
That was always true, and at the time back in early November the Martin-Incognito issue was used as a springboard into a much larger and healthy discussion about locker room culture, one that exposed an archaic rah rah toughen up you sissy attitude which sadly still exists. But now that we can see the texts and how the two interacted, it really cements the notion that there’s likely (still) far more at play here than we realize.
You’ve made it, Russell Wilson
Just stop now, Russ. Retire and start a banana stand or something.
— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) February 4, 2014
In the not-so distant past (2007), Jared Lorenzen was the Giants’ backup quarterback. He was always a larger human, but his rotundness was usually confined within what we would consider the limits of a quarterback body. Yeah, about that…
— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) February 4, 2014