LOS ANGELES, November 17, 2011 — Before getting to the games this week, today is a day to reflect on a game that took place 44 years ago this day. The “Heidi Game” will forever be part of football lore.
On November 17, 1968, the New York Jets led the Oakland Raiders 32-29 with 1:05 to play. The clock struck 7p.m., and NBC switched from the game to show 10-year-old Jennifer Edwards in the movie “Heidi.” Enraged football fans lit up the switchboard in protest. Only those at the game in Oakland saw Darrell “Mad Bomber” Lamonica and the Raiders storm back to defeat Joe Namath and the Jets 43-32. Ever since that night, football games are now shown in their entirety.
One lesson that never gets talked about is that network executives for years have tried to come up with counter-programming to the National Football League, usually centered around women. The most offensive attempts were when shows such as “Ally McBeal” and “Designing Women” were created. They have been consigned to the ash heap of history while the National Football League soldiers on. The NFL has done a fantastic job reaching out to women, and many women do watch football. The number of men watching the counter-programming remains small and undetermined since none of them would ever admit it.
Football Injuries, No Lauging Matter
On a sadder football note, last week was quarterback concussion week as several top signal-callers got knocked senseless with various ailments. In Chicago, Jay Cutler went down and was replaced with Jason Campbell. Philadelphia was already reeling when Michael Vick got knocked out. Now the Nick Foles era begins. Pittsburgh saw tough guy Ben Roethlisberger get belted and leave with an injured shoulder and rib. Roethliberger’s situation is so severe that the rib injury risks pressing against his aorta and killing him. So he will not be practicing.
Football is a different game from when Bill Parcells would say things like “Don’t tell me about the pain, just the deliver the d@mn baby.” He would ask players, “Are you injured or are you hurt?” He reminded them that it was acceptable to come out of the huddle, but “when you go out of the huddle you may not know who is coming into the huddle.”
Now player safety is paramount. For those worried that injuries will tarnish the game, gain some perspective. In 1999, Trent Green went down with a season-ending injury in preseason. The St. Louis Rams put in a backup nobody had ever heard of named Kurt Warner. They went from a 4-12 team to Super Bowl champions with the “Greatest Show on Turf.” In 2001, Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of a game as the New England Patriots fell to 0-2. A sixth round draft pick named Tom Brady came in and the rest is dynastic history.
Football can survive any individual player, even a great one. What it cannot survive is the integrity of the game being tarnished. So hopefully the NFL will continue to crack down on teams that try to let concussed players back on the field.
The NFL survived Jennifer Edwards, Dixie Carter, and Callista Flockhart. The future looks bright. Now on to this week’s games.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (2.5) was the Thursday night game.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons (9.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.5) @ Carolina Panthers
(Upset special, Panthers win outright)
Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys (7.5)
(Cowboys win but fail to cover)
Green Bay Packers (3) @ Detroit Lions
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (15)
(Texans win but fail to cover)
Cincinnati Bengals (3.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs
(Upset special, Chiefs win outright)
New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams (3.5)
(Rams win but fail to cover)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins (3.5)
(Redskins win but fail to cover)
New Orleans Saints (5) @ Oakland Raiders
(Saints win but fail to cover)
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos (7.5)
(Broncos win but fail to cover)
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots (9)
(Patriots win but fail to cover)
Baltimore Ravens (3.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers is the Sunday night game.
(Upset special, Steelers win outright)
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (6) is the Monday night game.
(49ers win but fail to cover)
Read more: NFL 2012 Week 10 Wrap-up | Washington Times Communities
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Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian who is obsessed with the National Football League. There is no offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” When not watching football, his only other hobby is Republican, Jewish women. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Read more: NFL 2012 Predictions | Washington Times Communities
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