Monday, January 23, 2006


One other sports note

OK, just real quick-like, Our Man in LA wants to sound off on the Super Bowl, coming to a TV screen near you in just under a couple of weeks. Who wouldn't want a sound-off from the likes of me, a guy with rudimentary viewing knowledge living in a city without its own team?

Not to mention a guy who is greedily disappointed that one of his teams didn't make it to the big game. Nope. No Bengals here. None of my wife's Panthers. But whatever.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks will face off from Detroit (Garden Spot of the Midwest) in a couple of weeks to determine pro football majesty. And it just makes me think that this game shows exactly how bulletproof the NFL really is. Think about this. Can you come up with two smaller, more essentially blase markets in professional sports than these two.

Well, OK, I can too. But work with me on this one. Before you bitch to me that a Cincinnati fan has no room to judge Pittsburgh and Seattle, I'll already concede that you're right. Still, I beg that you listen.

The point is, that the Super Bowl will feature teams not from one of the big, interesting, powerhouse markets. There won't be a New York team, a Washington or Dallas team, a Miami or Chicago or San Francisco team. There will not be the kind of team that comes from an area with millions and millions of TV viewers. But the Super Bowl will still do boffo in the ratings.

It'll be huge.

No other sport could pull this off. In baseball this year, a team from the third largest market in the country (the White Sox) played a team from the fourth largest city in the country (the Astros). The result? A 30 percent decline in the ratings from the year before.

Let's be honest. If the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, or Cardinals aren't playing, baseball fans just don't tune in in droves. Even in the World Series.

Well, OK, I know the Cubs are never in the World Series.

Ditto basketball. You know what TV execs and NBA staffers call last year's pretty interesting Championship series between San Antonio and Detroit? That's right. They call it a disaster. And it was, ratings-wise. Folks don't tune in.

People look at Tim Duncan, arguably the best basketball player of this era, and you know what they say? "He's boring. And he plays for San Antonio. Small market teams are boring."

Not in the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger will QB the Steelers on Super Sunday. Great young player. Can you tell me much about him? No. Does it matter that he's boring? Not if his play is exciting. Ever heard of anyone on the Seahawks?

Ever heard of the Seahawks? They're 30 years old.

Nope. But you'll watch. And so will everyone else.

Bulletproof, I tell you. Bulletproof.

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