Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Superbowl is not the greatest show on earth

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North Americans call it “the greatest show on earth” but in reality not much of the world is really paying attention to the Super Bowl.

Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints will be broadcast in 230 countries and territories but the evidence indicates that in most parts of the world few people will be organizing their days around the game.

Once regularly described as having a “potential global audience of a billion,” conjuring up images of sports bars around the world packed with NFL fans tucking into chicken wings, the figures indicate something different.

The annual survey by Initiative Futures Sports and Entertainment showed last year’s Super Bowl was beaten into top spot in annual sports events, for the first time, by the final of European soccer’s Champions League. Last year there was no soccer World Cup or Olympics which regularly beat Super Bowl.

Pro Bowl Bust?

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NFL cheerleaders perform at the AFC-NFC NFL Pro Bowl football game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry(UNITED STATES)

The NFL Pro Bowl is supposed to showcase the game’s biggest stars on the same field, but this weekend’s annual event is just going to interfere with the momentum of the playoffs and ultimately fall short of delivering the star-studded lineup it is intended to do.

Instead of having the best players from the league’s AFC and NFC conferences play each other in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl, the league decided to schedule the uninspired exhibition game in Miami a week before the Super Bowl. So the teams that take the field will be without some of the game’s best players.  It may be a tough sell for the NFL.

from MediaFile:

No Super Bowl blues; expect big TV ratings

colts1The U.S. economy might be weak, but the Super Bowl still scores with consumers.

The CBS broadcast of the National Football League's championship game on Feb. 7 between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints should draw strong TV ratings, possibly challenging viewer levels not seen since the late 1990s.

"We're looking at a big rating," said Neal Pilson, former CBS Sports president and head of his own sports consulting firm. "The fact that the two conference championships got better than usual ratings usually indicates that there's a lot of public interest."

from Shop Talk:

Auto show-Super Bowl TV ads don’t score for Mazda

nfl1Advertising during the Super Bowl doesn't score for Mazda.

While the Japanese automaker plans to boost its marketing budget this year as it launches the Mazda 2 small car, running TV ads during the National Football League's championship game in February won't happen.

"You're never going to see us on Super Bowl," Mazda North American chief Jim O'Sullivan said at the Detroit auto show. "We're not going to spend that kind of money on that kind of property because, yeah, you get a lot of impressions and stuff out there, but the fact of the matter is, do you really get to the target you really wanted? That's more of a feel-good ad for a lot of people."

Super Bowl or bye-bye for McNabb?

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb acknowledges the crowd from the side lines in the fourth quarter of their NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Bradley C BowerPhiladelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is a top-notch player who holds many franchise records, but talk that his future with the team could be in jeopardy unless he leads them to a Super Bowl victory next month is heating up.

McNabb’s first road block to the elusive Super Bowl win is Saturday’s matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, where the Eagles were shutout 24-0 last week in a game McNabb threw for 223 yards and had two fumbles.

Not just another passing fancy

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The Green Bay Packers defense tackles Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson during the first half of their NFL football game in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 5, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes“You’ve got to run the ball in this weather and play defense, and we do that better than anyone,” New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said after his team beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to grab the last playoff spot in the AFC.

And with that statement, Ryan helped perpetuate one of the most worn-out myths in the NFL today, that teams must run the ball to be successful in the postseason.

The pursuit of perfection vs the goal of a championship

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Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell watches his team play against the New York Jets during their NFL game in Indianapolis December 27, 2009. REUTERS/Brent SmithIndianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell stressed all season that his goal was a Super Bowl victory, not an undefeated season. He felt his team had a better chance at capturing the Lombardi Trophy if he could keep them rested and healthy.

With their place atop the AFC secured, Caldwell pulled many of his key starters in the third quarter against the New York Jets two weeks ago. The result was a 29-15 loss, ending any hope of the Colts joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL team to go undefeated for an entire season.

NFL Week 17 Blog picks

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RTXS2W7[1]NFL.jpgWell, here we are at the end of the regular season staring at a .500 record. Let’s go out with a bang.

PICK OF THE WEEK

Chicago Bears (6-9) at Detroit Lions (2-13) (Line Bears minus 2 1/2)

End of season games between two teams with nothing to play for are always tricky but I can’t imagine the Bears losing this one to their NFC North rivals.

NFL Week 16 picks

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Well the Lineman hopes everyone is having a good holiday and would like to add to all the good cheer with a winning Week 16.

Happy Holidays and may all your picks be winning ones.

Record: 47-43. Last week 3-3. Pick of the Week: 8-7

PICK OF THE WEEK
Dallas Cowboys (9-5) at Washington Redskins (4-10) (Line Cowboys minus 6 1/2)
The Dallas Cowboys finally put an end to talk of a December swoon — for one week at least — after rolling into the Big Easy and taking down the unbeaten Saints last Sunday. After three tough contests against the Giants, Chargers and Saints, the Cowboys get a doormat for Christmas and it could be the perfect gift.

NFL, NHL tackle head injuries

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Big Ben
A phone survey commissioned by the NFL last September reported that diagnosis rates of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related diseases among former players appeared to be much higher than in the population as a whole — five times the national rate for men aged 50 and above, and 19 times for men aged 30 to 49.

The NFL’s response was to point to the limitations of that telephone survey, saying its own study on the long-term effects of concussion would provide a much better picture, but facing growing criticism from outside experts, the players union and members of Congress, the League’s stance now appears to be somewhat different.

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