The Rams, the NFL and me
It started with a whisper – a lyric found in a popular song these days but that band can’t claim those words. Good for the St. Louis Rams because they are on the precipice of failure or defeat in a quiet sort of way. Defeat is something the Rams learned a lot about last season, and now they are whispering their way back to legitimacy in the NFC west, or possibly more importantly the NFL.
There was a time not long ago – not long ago at all actually – that the Rams were considered a bye week. Now opponents of the Rams realize that they need to ‘lace ‘em up’ when they go to The Edward Jones Dome or the Rams come to town; the offseason activity of the refreshed leadership in St. Louis has assured this. Some things still remain however, in that the St. Louis Rams will continue to not be a featured game televised nationally – even when they were playing in London. Instead in many major markets we are subjected to snoozers like Detroit, Tampa, Miami vs. whomever – I’d rather watch the LPGA.
I would not go as far to say that a bias exists – supposedly those who make these programming decisions are answering to the demand of the viewers, but how does an international game (London) not get national attention? How does the promotion in Europe of the most popular sport in the USA not garner national coverage – particularly when the equation involves solid teams, the upstart and re-energized Rams vs. the Brady-dynasty Patriots?
So it’s another Sunday and the Rams are facing the visiting Jets – you know, that team with Tebow, the team we hear so much about for whatever reason; while we continue to hear nothing about the Rams. Bradford in his first grasp of the ball takes the Rams offense 86 yards for a score on fourth down but that apparently is not worthy of a ‘game-break’ on reporting NFL networks. Despite the loss at home against the Jets, never has there been a club less covered – with playoff potential and a World Championship in recent memory. Instead here on the west coast we hear about, and have televised the Green Bay – Detroit contest; why? Who in Seattle or LA gives a crap about GB or Detroit? There are a few because we are a very mobile country, but a very tiny minority is being pleasured by reporting networks for reasons unknown, at least to the public whom they answer to.
There is a preference in NFL reporting which generally leans in favor of the team selling the most jerseys, but there is also a market-denominator which allows particular local affiliates to air what they would presume to be most desirable to their market-area. In other words, place the game thought to be viewed by the most people – meaning presenting the best market presence for those advertising during that game. From there it is a matter of demonstrating to the advertiser that they are in the laps of those who that advertiser wants to be in.
All that is understood, but not appreciated by a guy in Seattle who simply wants to watch his team and not pay extra cable fees or go to the bar at 10 AM to do so.
Brent Bakeman is an NFL writer for TPF and can be contacted at BBakement@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.