"The exposure you forfeit because of the blackout pales in comparison to the advantage you have of a full stadium." ...Commissioner Paul Tagliabue

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NFL: Back To The Dark Ages IV

Posted Monday/October 23, 2001; 7:47 p.m. PDT

Foot isn't a studio sport? What did I mean by that?
Rozelle's Hall Bust

"Football isn't a studio sport. The worst thing that can happen to football is for it to become a studio sport." Pete Rozelle's words. The same Pete Rozelle who was the genius behind making pro football the first BIG TIME sport on TV. That vision ultimately led to the Super Bowl, Monday Night Football, the Pro Bowl, NFL Films, NFL Primetime, NFL 2Night, NFL Match-up, NFL this Morning, NFL Today, Inside the NFL, and John Clayton DAMMIT! Unfortunately Pete didn't add, "If football becomes a studio sport, then make sure you pump it out everyway you can!" Thirty years later, FOOTBALL IS A STUDIO SPORT, yet NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is adamantly holding on to Rozelle's statement, as the main philosophy behind the league's Blackout Rule. Given the NFL's current state, wouldn't Pete Rozelle pound the NFL on TV, like a fullback up the middle? Wouldn't the Pete Rozelle we knew, laugh at how misguided his own words have become? Great visionaries aren't ALWAYS right. Thirty yeas later, Tagliabue is now wrong, but thinks he's right being great, by holding on to what Pete was wrong about all along. How did a simple matter get soooooooooo complicated?

Football CANNOT become a studio sport
Paul's policy is a bust.

Will someone PLEASE tell the commissioner, "TV timeout" means football IS a studio sport? A TV timeout's ONLY function is for the STUDIO to "play a commercials," while "holding the play on the field!" THAT'S really the end of the debate, isn't it? The NFL sells tickets for live games, to Fans who are forced to tolerate interruptions in the action, so the league can sell products to Fans at home. So what difference does it make how many people are at the stadium? SOLD OUT GAMES on TV are loaded with times where everyone on the field is just hangin' around, looking like football IS a studio sport. Then there's "Updates," that "go from game to game…to game…to game…to game… to game…to infinity," with highlights and scores, in "the MIDDLE of a game!" It's pretty conclusive that the late, great, Pete Rozelle was wrong, isn't it? Football IS a studio sport, but it's the BEST thing that could have happened to the NFL! Thank goodness Rozelle was wrong.

No one (including Paul Tagliabue) may ever know what Pete Rozelle actually meant about "studio football." But the reality is, something that "sounded good in 1971," isn't "working good in 2001." Whatever Pete Rozelle meant, he sure as hell DIDN'T mean, "keep teams from being seen by the Fans in its market, during an era when every 'current NFL city' is doing EVERYTHING it can to prevent its team from leaving." Blackouts DON'T make football a "non-studio sport," nor do they help cities do EVERYTHING they can! So it's up to NFL Fans and the NFL Blackout "Turn ON The Lights, The Party's Over" Petition to simplify the complication.

Part 3 : Part 5










tell him!

"There's been a lot of reviewing and a lot of thinking that has gone into why it exists. It has proven to work over the years." ...NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.