Friday, February 2, 2007

NFL (No Fun League)

Fall Creek Baptist Church wanted to host a SuperBowl Party. They were going to play the game on their mega screen and host a venue for their church members to enjoy the game. Undoubtedly, someone not affiliated with the church would have come out to enjoy the experience too. It was a tremendous outreach opportunity. For a league that saw more references to God for the championship games than 4 letter profanity options...I would have thought this was an easy one. Go Colts! Ummmm, not so much.

The NFL contacted the church to tell them to cancel the party. They sighted their Neilsen ratings, their copyright on the term, and displayed in the course of it all why dignity and character are rare in pro sports. You can't make me believe that this one party would have mattered that much. How many central Indiana residents were going to leave their Neilsen boxes at home to go to the church - few if any I'd bet. The NFL has simply taken this to an extreme.

All across America we'll be watching the game, at least many of us will. If you want to go to a bar, hang out in a club, get your drink on - have at it. If you want to go to the church to watch it though - beware. The NFL has enough time on its hand to edit church displays of the game while we get treated to ice times - pictures and stories about how many diamonds the players have on any given day. Instead of watching what the churches host on their coveted day, they would do well to invest in image control the other 364 days a year. After all, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are the exceptions to the rule. They are not the norm in a culture that practices hero worship for poor behavior, monetary excess and stud behavior by athletes far and wide.

I understand image control and licensing. The business of sports is not lost on me and I appreciate what the power of this one event can do in a community after attending the Detroit SuperBowl festivities in 0 degree weather. I just can't help but believe that the NFL should pick its battles more wisely. God is given the glory on the sidelines and I would just assume that watching the game in His house shouldn't have been the issue that it was. I would rant more - this is absolutely ridiculous - but I'd hate to take away from the dignity of those who have elevated the game atleast for this week. Fall Creek Baptist Church had the right approach - and maybe those who have dignified the game this year can add some balance to the NFL and their choice of who to shut down. Somebody that they listen to should whisper in their collective ear - this isn't just about the ratings. How about some display of compassion for a people who would bring more of a following with their licensed shirts, themed party merchandise and love of the game than the NFL can stand to lose. One more example of cut nose - spite face.

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