Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to a 31-team league

NFL Network has been airing these mildly amusing ads promoting its coverage of preseason games. The running gag is that there's a weatherman delivering a preseason forecast. "It'll be 21 in San Diego and 54 in Chicago," he says, giving the numbers of LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Urlacher. Or he syas there's "a 100% chance of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the Midwest, and you see Peyton Manning's and Brett Favre's heads pop up on the map.

The latest spot has the weatherman in front of a U.S. map with NFL logos peppered across it like the familiar "sun" "cloudy" and "rain" icons from your local news. Stop to count the logos, however, and you come up two short. There are 32 NFL teams, but only 30 logos visible on the map:

Obviously, you can't see the Broncos, because the weatherman is standing directly in front of Colorado. The Cardinals' logo is mostly obscured, but you can still see it peeking out from behind his bum, and the teams at the extreme corners of the country -- the Seahawks and Dolphins -- are cut off but still visible. That means one NFL franchise was left off the map completely.

One's first guess would probably be the Raiders, becuase of all the conflict between Al Davis and the commissioner's office. Or perhaps the Bengals, because their off-field activity has brought so much disrepute upon the league. Or the Lions, because their on-field activity has brought so much disrepute upon the league. But nope, the Oakland, Cincinnati and Detroit logos are there. Maybe the Bills or Jaguars, because the league might not be in Buffalo or Jacksonville long-term? Or the Redskins, because Dan Snyder is such a prick? The Falcons, woof woof? The Vikings, splish splash? The Patriots just for being so damn perfect all the time? They're all there.

But what have the Philadelphia Eagles done to piss off the league's image makers? Go 75-37 since 2000? Make the playoffs six seasons out of seven? Go to the Super Bowl, but just not win it? Have a stable front office, a capable coaching staff, and a long-term plan that guarantees excellence year after year?

Or maybe it's the domino effect: The Redskins logo takes up most of Maryland, which pushes the Ravens logo up into Eagles territory in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, which leaves no room for the Philly logo. In which case, as with everything else wrong with the NFL, this would be Snyder's fault.

You know, once upon a time the NFL could get away with stuff like this. But not anymore. Not with Down and Distance on the case. Because we notice these things. And we're always watching. Especially now that this has turned into some kind of photo blog. What the hell is up with that?

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