NBC’s Green Political Football

As I’ve written numerous times at OTB Sports, NBC and ESPN have combined to ruin late night NFL telecasts. ESPN, which now has Monday Night Football, is the worst of the lot, treating every game as a preseason exhibition, constantly chattering about whatever random thought comes to mind, moving away from live game action so that their sideline gal can interview whatever C-list celebrity happens to pass by, and so forth. NBC has at least been showing the games, they’ve just decided to annoy hard core football fans with the insipid Faith Hill intro and the inclusion of Keith Olbermann, the former sports guy who’s now the most shrill leftist commentator on television, in its studio coverage.

Last night, though, NBC made its bid to surpass ESPN by “going Green.” Their logo was green. They turned the lights out in their studios and held flashlights up to their faces. They sent Matt Laeur off to the Arctic for some reason. All in the name of highlighting the need to save energy.

I’m all in favor of turning off lights you’re not using, building more energy efficient machines, and that sort of thing. But, as Bryan Preston notes, people tune in to football games to get away from this sort of nonsense. We don’t want an After School Special.

The reaction seems to be nearly universal, with all the blog coverage thus far going against NBC on this one.

  • Sean Hackbarth notes that NBC “didn’t turn off the bright lighted Toyota sign.”
  • Jimmie figures that powering down the studio set during the three hours when the game is on and the cameras aren’t on the studio set is mere common sense, rather than any grand gesture.
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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Murcek says:

    ESPN and NBC forked over the big cash, and barring precipitous declines in viewership that affect the NFL bottom line (unlikely) more of the current craptastic coverage is what we will be getting. It’s a good thing you can often turn off the TV sound and listen to radio coverage of the game, which at least seldom completely misses plays while interviewing the celebrity nitwit of the evening…

  2. Eneils Bailey says:

    Last night, I muted the sound, as I usually do during halftime of most Sunday and Monday football games. I thought they had a power failure in the broadcast booth. Then I saw Matt Lauder and turned up the sound. What the hell did all this have to do with Pro football? If I want political pandering on this issue I will watch network news every night. All three major networks do a better job of pandering on this issue than sport’s commentators who should know better. Katie Couric is my favorite panderer on this issue.
    Tonight I am going to tune in the game, mute out the sound and see if I can pick up an audio feed on my Sirius Satellite radio.

    And you are right, all of them are bad, and ESPN is the worst.

  3. Eneils Bailey says:

    Does it not make you yearn for the early days, when they had Frank Gilford, Dan Mereith, and that lovable asshole, Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth?
    If they pissed you off, it was about you disagreeing with them in the realm of Pro football.

  4. At least Bob Costas was up front and explained it was part of parent company GE’s eco promotion. It took the conglomerate that long to realize they could turn their tv networks into powerful advertising devices.

  5. Dodd says:

    They sent Matt Laeur off to the Arctic for some reason.

    Did they? He said he was in Greenland and the screen said the temp was -12, yet it looked like a badly made set, he didn’t shiver or otherwise appear especially cold, and his breath wasn’t misting when he talked. Is there some scientific reason we wouldn’t be able to see his breath at that temp (a possibility I am entirely open to) or was that just a put on?

    Also, Faith Hill is orders of magnitude better than Pink was last year. I practically wore out my mute button avoiding that garbage.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Also, Faith Hill is orders of magnitude better than Pink was last year. I practically wore out my mute button avoiding that garbage.

    No question about that. I like Faith Hill just fine, just not her bogus football anthem. Hank Jr. connotes the manly game a bit better, methinks.