A few weeks ago, we ran a chat I had with Mike Tunison, the author of the book The Football Fan’s Manifesto. At the end of the chat, I announced plans for a contest among Cafe members, giving them an opportunity to win a copy of the newly-released book. Today, we’ll run Mr. Tunison’s answers to the three winner’s questions. Each Saturday this season, we’ll be running a mailbag, helping fantasy owners with some advice for the upcoming slate of games. Send your questions to email@example.com, and we’ll give you our take on your situation. Now, on to the questions.
How much longer will it be before we see stands with fans who sit on their hands when the home-town heroes score, and players that blandly hand the ball to the zebra and walk back to a sideline debriefing? — moochman
MT: I don’t think it will ever be that entirely complacent, but there are a lot of stadiums, especially those in the more affluent markets where you get a great deal of fans in the lower bowl who frankly aren’t that wrapped up in the game. Unfortunately, if owners follow Jerry Jones example and try to get billion-dollar stadia, it’s only going to be more and more like that. But if it ever gets too sedate, people will stop going. The main draw for the live experience and dealing with the hassle of getting to these places, is the palpable energy within. In terms of the players, hopefully the league doesn’t see fit to crack down on celebrations any more than it does. As much as people complain about the missed call on Santonio Holmes’ celebration after his Super Bowl winning catch, do you really want a championship game decided because of a celebration (and his was fairly tame anyway)? A signature celebration for a player creates innumerable marketing possibilities. Without him going over the top, that can be good for the league.
I can see why you’d like to open up a few elements regarding the NFL, but I’m just not a fan of Twitter and its foreseeable implications. Do you think that it’s possible that by letting players ‘tweet’ during the game it might actually take away from the game itself? I’m there to watch football, not read half-baked comments like ‘ocho scorez agaaaaaain!!1!!’. Also, the way news travels, coaches and players might have to deal with a mid-game off-the-cuff tweet by a disgruntled player. That’s just not what one should be focusing on during a professional ballgame. — PuntinFool
MT: You’re probably right about Tweeting from the sideline. It would be a distraction. But once the league starts imposing policies like that, you know the teams themselves will start more rigidly policing whether players on the roster ever use Twitter. And some players actually have more interesting things to say than “WOOT! I TOOK IT TO THE HOUSZZ.”
How do you think the UFL is going to affect the NFL? Will they further the product by becoming a “AAA” league for the NFL? Will they compete with the NFL and eventually force a merger? Or will they simply co-exist? — buffalobillsrul2002
MT: I think, if done right, it can complement the league nicely. Even already Roger Goodell has mentioned that he would like it to become a developmental league for the NFL. A lot of the superficial decisions that have been made so far, however, from the uniforms with the same design but different colors to now agreeing to have StubHub advertisements on the helmets is lending too much of a substandard Arena League quality to the whole enterprise. I also don’t understand why there are teams in markets that already have NFL teams. You could say it’s a cheaper alternative for them, but UFL franchises would be better draws in places far afield from pro teams. It’s never going to fully compete with the NFL, but bringing in NFL level talent to launch it only to not actually smartly think out the league’s overall presentation could turn off a lot of people before they even get around to giving it a chance.
Thanks to Mr. Tunison for again taking some time out to answer our questions. Remember, if you want your fantasy questions answered and potentially shown in this column, send ‘em in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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