“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s leadership and determination in bringing about a resolution to our intellectual property issue in Canada.” -- Roger Goodell
Since a running theme in my writing is how Thursday Football short-changes the fans by selling an inferior product for a few extra bucks, I thought an appropriate intro to today's column would be a story about the league disappointing a large group of fans just to make a few extra bucks.
It's no secret to anyone who follows the NFL that US President Bay Orange has been extremely critical of the league. He's insulted players, calling them names and outright lying about why they participate in peaceful, respectful protests, and he has been critical of Goodell personally over the protest issue.
So why is the crappy commissioner suddenly smooching the POTUS's ample posterior?
It should come as no surprise that NFL broadcasts are extremely popular in Canada. Canadian network CTV (owned by Bell Media) pays handsomely for the rights to show NFL games. The NFL gets huge ratings in Canada, especially for the big game in February.
For many fans, part of the draw of Superb Owl is the advertisements. Companies pay big bucks for ad time during the broadcast, and they make the most of the opportunity by creating interesting and entertaining ads. In Canada, there is a government agency, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) which enforces Canadian content laws by simulcasting Canadian broadcasts over American channel feeds.
I won't bore you with any more details, but in the past, that has meant that during the Superb Owl, Canadians didn't get to see the cool American ads. They had to watch Canadian ads instead.
And Canadian Ads SUCK!
(Basically, you end up seeing the same crappy Canadian Tire ad 42 times, plus a bunch of ads for CTV broadcasts of American shows. I know, weird.)
After years of complaints and protests that the American Superb Owl ads were an essential part of the appeal of watching the Superb Owl, the CRTC agreed, decreeing that Canadian cable providers had to allow viewers the choice to watch the big game on the American networks.
And Canadians rejoiced!
Fast-forward to this week, and the negotiation of the USMCA, the new US/Mexico/Canada free trade agreement.
Goodell and Bell Media have been unhappy ever since the CRTC made it's decision to allow Canadians the CHOICE to watch the Superb Owl on American Networks that they pay for, but the commissioner and the media giant haven't been able to do anything about it.
Until now, that is.
Apparently, old Roger and his supposed apricot adversary aren't as unfriendly as we've been led to believe. A bizarre provision of the new trade deal puts the Superb Owl advertising situation back to the way it was.
So, the NFL, the sports titan, and Bell, the mega-media conglomerate, get to make a few extra bucks.
And Canadian NFL fans get screwed.
Indianapolis at New England
One thing that these two teams do have in common is that each welcomes back a drug cheat this week; New England's waterbug wideout Julian Edelman returns to his role as Brady's security blanket, while Indianapolis adds some depth to its offensive backfield with Robert Turbin. Other than that, these two teams aren't very evenly-matched right now. Indy has put forth some spirited efforts in every game thus far, but they are hopelessly undermanned due to injuries. Andrew Luck has looked good in his return, but will have to make do without TY Hilton, ruled out for tonight's contest. Meanwhile, New England, in typical fashion, seems to be getting its shit together. Their WR situation, iffy to say the least at the start of the season, has improved; Tom Brady has begun to develop a rapport with Phillip Dorsett, Josh McDaniels has worked on finding ways to get the ball to Cordarrelle Patterson in space, and the acquisition of Josh Gordon has the potential to pay huge dividends. Adding Edelman to that mix should make New England's offence just a little more than Indy's banged-up defence can handle.
Winner: New England