|February 2, 2009|
|NFL Looks for Super PR Lift|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The National Football League sure could use a PR boost from Super Bowl XLIII, set for Sunday in Tampa. |
Unfortunately, that is not in the cards. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals could play a game for the ages, but nobody is going to be watching the contest between these small market clubs.
NBC is peddling discounting ads for the game. The marketing geniuses at Kraft Foods are having second thoughts about their Velveeta "cheese" parties promo set for the game.
The NYC media hype machine for “43” has been turned off. Big Apple sports parochials were rooting for an all-city (apologies to the Garden State) Giants vs. Jets contest. Or at the very least, a battle between the Manning boys. Instead, we get Kurt vs. Big Ben.
The NFL needs a lift. Commissioner Roger Goodell is cutting staff by 10 percent to reduce costs. The Commissioner says the NFL, which in September was touted by Forbes as “the richest game,” is not immune to the economic downturn. Ticket prices for the playoff games were cut, and the league frets about `09 sales.
Note to Goodell: if you want to save money, get rid of the Pro Bowl, a meaningless game that serves only as a junket to Honolulu.
The Steelers are favorites in the Super Bowl by a six-and-a-half point spread. This blogger is going to take a tip from President Obama, who grants waivers to his tough lobby rules. The vagabond Cardinals receive a waiver from my rule of never rooting for a team that switches cities but keeps the old name. The Cards were established in Chicago in 1898 and moved to St. Louis in 1960. After a 27-year stint, the team absconded to Arizona.
The Cards should have made a clean break from the Midwest, dropping the bird heritage for a name that made sense. The Arizona Gila Monsters would have been a fine choice. The Glendale Saguaros and Phoenix Tumbleweeds also have nice rings to them.
All is forgiven. I am rooting for the Cards in memory of Pat Tillman, the former Cardinal safety whose friendly fire death in Afghanistan was covered up the Army.
To their credit, the Cardinals erected an eight-foot bronze statue of Tillman outside their stadium in Glendale. They will need all of Tillman’s toughness to knock off the physical Steelers on Sunday.
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