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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Start NFL Games Later? Brilliant!

Once again proving why football is run better than any of the other major sports, the NFL and the television networks that carry it unveiled some new proposals concerning scheduling, with the goal naturally being to rake in more viewers and consequently more advertising dollars.

Of course, this is good for the fans. If the NFL is looking at moves that will bring in more viewers, and they don't involve changing rules around, only the schedule, then it has to be good. Think about it: What the NFL is saying is that they're going to make it easier for Joe Fan to tune in. Football is already the sport that translates best to TV; making it more accessible to viewers is, as the "people" in the Guinness commercial would say, brilliant!

And yes, beer is one of the reasons some of these proposals are good. The best proposal that was thrown on the table was that Sunday afternoon games would be moved back an hour, so instead of 1 ET and 4 ET starts, games would start at 2 and 5. This is better for two reasons that I can think of right off the top of my head.

Number one, that's an extra hour of tailgating. Secondly, it lets fans sleep in on Sunday morning, and believe me, that's important. Even on the East Coast, I've missed some kickoffs sleeping past 1:00. If you're on the West Coast and you follow an East Coast team (this could apply to me next fall, so this could be good), then you'd have to be up at 10 in the morning on a Sunday. That ain't right. Give me that extra hour of sleep. I want to take full advantage of Saturday night.

Another idea in the air is the thought of moving Monday Night Football to Thursday, or just adding another prime time game on Thursday night. I'd prefer just moving MNF to Thursdays, because it's a lot easier to stay up late on a Thursday than a Monday. It just screws with your week if you're up too late on Monday. Besides, Thursday's a much better night to watch a game at a bar than Monday.

Knowing the NFL's power trip, though, they'd move MNF to Thursday night, and then insist on changing the names of the days so they could keep "Monday Night Football" as the name of the game. Your NFL calendars would read, "S-T-T-W-M-F-S." Maybe it would catch on. Maybe they could just completely rename Thursday. "Thursday" is getting kind of stale, anyway. I'm sure a company would pay for the naming rights. "Comcastday," perhaps?

***

Not that anyone cared, because it's the Oilers and the Coyotes, people (I like prefacing hockey commentary in this way, because I take a certain measure of personal pride in caring about games as obscure as this one), but Edmonton just flat-out embarrassed the 'Yotes. Brian Boucher, who was the darling of the hockey world for a bizarre shutout streak earlier this season, played terribly, and was relieved by Cornellian Jean-Marc Pelletier, who also played like his mask was on backward.

In fact, when Pelletier entered the game, he was greeted with a chorus of boos. Not sure if those were for him or for Boucher's miserable performance. But it got worse than that.

Home crowds around the NHL are known for cheering sarcastically when an underperforming goalie makes an easy save. This, though, was something even I'd never heard of. Apparently midway through the third period, JMP made a routine stop, prompting the scoreboard operator to flash a "great save" graphic.

That must sting, getting jeered by your own team's employees.

***

My apologies for going two days without posting a column, but I promise I'll make up for it. How? We're going big-time.

Just Off-Camera is going to get its own domain name in the near future (www.justoffcamera.com, of course). Also, I'll be dropping the hyphen from the name of the site when I make the change, because I've decided it's grammatically incorrect. Bear with the changes that will be coming, and keep spreading the word about the site.

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