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Sports Commentary 2/4/14 – The NFL, A Higher Power

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8.

Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey (Credit, Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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A HIGHER POWER

Anyone who ever doubted that the National Football League is blessed, operating under powers all it’s own, should know now to never again doubt those powers.

For months there was speculation about what kind of weather event would spoil the NFL’s first Super Bowl venture into an outdoor stadium in a cold weather clime.  The old reliable “Old Farmers Almanac” predicted the worst of winter, including blizzard-like conditions, would zero in on the northeast just in time to spoil the NFL’s party.  Few forces in the universe would dare to so challenge the most powerful sports league on the planet.  All the NFL needed was a small window, and that’s just what it got.  The week before the Super Bowl saw “Polar Vortex II” overtake the region with temperatures plunging into single digits.   Less than four hours after the closing ceremonies at Met Life Stadium snowflakes started forming as a portent of what may be the snowiest single week so far this winter.  By sunrise Super Bowl travelers found themselves stranded in New York by the conditions, but the game went on unmolested, with dry conditions and temperatures in the 40’s.  A half inch either way on the Doppler maps and the NFL might have faced a major catastrophe, but even the forces of Mother Nature have learned, it’s not nice to fool with the NFL.

Even if nature cowered before the power of the National Football League there were other fates determined to have their way.  The game may go on, but not even the NFL would be likely to survive the worst of all television ratings disasters, the blowout, which would surely cost broadcast partner Fox millions of dollars in ratings induced refunds to second half sponsors who paid the same premium prices as those who bought time in the first half, with much less bang for their buck.  The gods of ratings disasters delivered with the worst blowout in 21 years.  If the game wasn’t out of reach by halftime it was over 12 seconds later, when Percy Harvin’s kickoff return for a touchdown made it 29-0 Seattle, enough to have any football fan reaching for the clicker and no one would see Chrysler’s marathon Bob Dylan commercial and Fox would get it’s just reward for Bill O’Reilly’s rude pre game treatment of the president.

A record 111.5 million tuned in for Super Bowl XLVIII, eclipsing the record number that tuned it to see David Tyree’s miracle catch in 2012 by 1.3 million.  Even the forces that created a three touchdown advantage for the Seahawks at halftime couldn’t chase them away.  Bruno Mars, another stroke of NFL genius, as the league flexed it’s muscles with the prime target audience, drew an all time Super Bowl half time ratings record.  When the overnights came in and only five percent of the average audience had vacated the T-V wasteland at the finish and more than 25 million stuck around for the post game sit com, Fox could keep it’s money in it’s bank account with all advertisers going home happy.

If you hadn’t learned before, you know now, don’t ever doubt the power of the National Football League.  11 days to pitchers and catchers.

With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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