Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

September 7, 2016

As collegiate football got underway this past weekend, it did not take Allstate Insurance long to start bragging about their good hands, good deed declarations during games to assert that they have now donated millions of dollars to fund college general scholarships during the past twelve years. Up until two years ago, the insurance conglomerate always told viewers the exact dollar amount of their donations. However, starting last season, they only state the amount is millions of dollars. I do not claim that my measly blog is responsible for Allstate realizing that for all the free advertising it receives all season long in lieu of donating a couple hundred thousand dollars each year, as I have been posting this piece for several years, but I have yet to see or hear any other person criticize the corporation for having the audacity to boast about such a trifling dollar amount considering all the free advertising it receives for its generosity.

Anyone who watches college football knows all to well that the Allstate Good Hands logo is placed advantageously in a great many stadiums across the country in the middle of the netting that is raised behind the goal posts on point after touchdowns and field goal attempts in order to prevent the kicked football from going into the stands. At first glance, it appears that Allstate is doing a great deed by donating money to fund college scholarships. However, when you consider all the free publicity the company receives all season long, generosity might not be the best word to describe Allstate’s publicity stunt. How many times are these logos shown during the course of each season for every college and university stadium that allows these netting logos? How many times during the year will game announcers proclaim to their viewers that Allstate has donated millions for college scholarships? Every time the logo-laden netting is raised or the announcers make the declaration, it is the equivalent one more free commercial for the insurance conglomerate.

I know not what a thirty-second commercial airing during a typical college football game costs, let alone that of a bowl game or the national championship playoffs, however for all the free advertising that it receives every year; Allstate should be embarrassed that it has donated only a few million dollars over twelve years to fund college scholarships. Allstate should have donated at least ten times that amount, if not one hundred times more than it has before it boasts of its good deed.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Football Players

December 26, 2015

On Christmas day, Sony Pictures released the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin. Based on the 2009 GQ expose “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, the movie deals with not only the serious impact that concussions have on football players but also the scandalous claim that the National Football League has been doing everything possible to cover up the health issue for years.

Just days before the annual Thanksgiving marathon of three pro-football games televised from noon to midnight, former New York Giants star Frank Gifford’s family announced that he too, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) before he passed away on August 9th of this year. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is found in individuals who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Yet, not once during the twelve hours of football games played on three different networks, did I hear any of the game announcers or studio analysts speak of Mr. Gifford’s injuries.

Having spent Thanksgiving with family, it is possible that one of the announcers did address this issue and I missed it, however, for the seriousness of the issue, a lengthy discussion during each game would have been hard to miss. Moreover, not once since then have I heard anyone involved in the televising of NFL games discuss the problem. With the movie raising the issue that the NFL has been covering up the issue for years, it does not take a conspiracy buff to deduce that the league has instructed everyone involved not to address the issue.

During the past five years, the PBS television network has aired two really good documentaries regarding the seriousness of injuries received by young men while playing what has become America’s new national pastime. During the first documentary, one person interviewed, and forgive me for not being able to recall what their occupation was, but they opined that when young children play organized football, when their helmets collide, which happens on every single play not only during games but also during every single practice, that their brains are being shaken around, similar to that of shaking a bowl of Jell-O. This is shocking. While watching these two documentaries, my thought was every parent who has children playing organized football should view these programs.

When growing up, I played football all the time. However, the only time I wore a uniform was my sophomore year in high school when I played on the reserves football team. Now days, children begin playing organized football at a very young age. Concussions are a very serious issue among football players; however, I was alarmed when the gentleman referred to children’s brains being shaken like a bowl of Jell-O.

My son played a couple of years of organized football when he was in middle school. Knowing what I now know, I like to think that peer pressure among my son’s friends would not have swayed my thoughts toward letting him play a sport he too, like me loved and that I would have had the cojones to just say no.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol Only To Rich People?

September 9, 2015

An open letter to Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, regarding its new policy of selling alcoholic beverages only to the wealthy elite;

September 8, 2015

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

I was surprised to read in last week’s Columbus Dispatch that alcohol will now be sold in Ohio Stadium. That is, only to rich folks. It was only a few years ago that alcoholic advertising was banned from all NCAA events. I guess the organization decided that, despite multi-billion dollar television contracts, it was no longer making enough money and caved in to the almighty dollar. I was also shocked to learn that alcohol was being sold to patrons in the Schottenstein Center ever since it first opened. Again, being sold only to those fans who pay top dollar for their seats.

I assume the rationale for this decision is the supposition that rich folks are much better behaved, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages. Even if true, you are punishing the masses for the behavior of only a few. I think there is no dispute that the working man and woman are far more zealous fans than their wealthy counterparts. This is why Value City Arena, for most games is a dead arena. Selling seat licenses for prime seats and seating students up in the rafters led to no home court advantage for Coach Matta and his BasketBucks. I will give you credit for moving some students down behind both benches. However, the huge eyesore of a black ribbon behind several rows of students, roping off three or four rows of prime seats is an insult to the great job that Matta has done. The reasoning given for this black ribbon is that fans in those seats might actually have to stand to watch the game.

This new policy does not affect me, as I gave up drinking some thirty-five years ago and I stopped buying alumni football tickets a decade ago not only because of the cost of a ticket but also your asinine policy of not informing alumni what game you are purchasing tickets to. I have far better things to do with $150 than waste it watching the Buckeyes beat up on Podunk U. I find it astonishing that it is much cheaper to go to a professional game than it is to a college game, played supposedly by amateurs.

College sports long ago sold its soul to the devil that Big Money is. Selling alcohol to rich people is just the latest example. The lust of money is leading to the demise of capitalism, and thus America itself. Your policy of selling alcohol only to the wealthy elite reeks of elitism. The Ohio State University should be embarrassed by this act of discrimination.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

The Final Four

April 5, 2014

I have long thought the NCAA Final Four tournament the best sporting event going. To me, the much over-hyped Super Bowl doesn’t compare to the sixty-four (or is it sixty-eight?) team, single elimination tournament for the national championship in men’s basketball. There is nothing better in sports than a small school, Cinderella storied run, beating the so-called “big boys” along the way, very much like Dayton this year. I do not know if its old age creeping in or Final Four popularity rising to fever pitch, but I do have a long history of liking something less the more popular it becomes. This has been especially true in my musical tastes. Most artists that I think are great, most people never heard. Even the musical genre I love most, the blues, is a dying art form that nobody listens too.

Appealing to the masses, to me just causes anything to lose its edge, whatever “it” may be. The recent ruling that Northwestern athletes are employees of the university will revolutionize collegiate sports. Athletes no longer play for the love of school, but for the want of money. The ironic thing is that these employees/athletes/students will probably pay more in taxes than what they will earn in pay, once their tuition, room and board are counted as earnings on their W-2s. Athletes eat very well, and a lot. It must cost a fortune to feed a football team. Paying taxes on this “income” will become quit expense.

What I also do not understand is why basketball is the only sport in which the players’ uniforms are getting bigger and bigger every year. In every other sport, players wear as little as possible. Even cheerleaders wear as little as possible. For the past twenty years, basketball shorts have more in common with women’s culottes than they do with being “short.” Doesn’t all this extra material hinder both running and jumping? Now, the latest fad is for players’ jerseys to have sleeves. Football players’ jerseys actually look funny because they no longer have sleeves, except for maybe an occasional quarterback.

Another irritating thing I have with both football and basketball uniforms is the recent trend of the so-called throwback and/or specialty uniforms. I find most of these uniforms very hideous looking. Why do teams allow the apparel companies to dictate what they wear? The answer is simple, money. Teams receive millions of dollars from the various apparel companies to wear their uniforms. Replica jersey sales is big business, and these companies realized several years ago that having more than just the traditional home and away jerseys mean that many more they can sell the adoring public.

It’s bad enough that each piece of uniform, sock and sweat band shows its corporate logo front and center, however, I find it both rather ridiculous and irritating the sheer number of NCAA logos everywhere during the Final Four tournament. I wrote NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert last year after watching the first two rounds (or is it three, since the play-in games now count as round one), complaining about the numerous NCAA logos. I made a list while watching one game to back my argument and found the total number most pitiful. The following is the list, and most likely is not all-inclusive:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Three logos on top of each backboard,
Two, sometimes three logos on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board,
Two logos on the bunting along press row behind the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the floor in front of the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on every coach’s suit jacket,
One logo on every referee’s shirt,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
One logo on each team’s shoe scuffing pad,
One logo on every bucket of Gatorade,
One logo on every cup of Gatorade,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when every reply is shown,
And one logo is flash during every commercial break on the television screen as the score of that game is given.

I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different NCAA, network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

As always the case in America, money governs everything in modern society. We are brainwashing our children by the constant bombardment of advertising that affects seeming every aspect of modern life. And sadly, no one cares.

Steven H. Spring

Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

November 8, 2013

Since Allstate has updated their good hands, good deed declarations during college football games to assert that they have now donated $3.2 million dollars to fund college general scholarships, it is only right that I update and repost my blog criticizing the insurance conglomerate for having the audacity to boast about such a trifling dollar amount considering all the free advertising it receives each week.

Anyone who watches college football knows all to well that the Allstate Good Hands logo is placed advantageously in a great many stadiums across the country in the middle of the netting that is raised behind the goal posts on point after touchdowns and field goal attempts in order to prevent the kicked football from going into the stands.  At first glance, it appears that Allstate is doing a great deed by donating money to fund college scholarships.  However, when you consider all the free publicity the company receives all season long, generosity might not be the best word to describe Allstate’s publicity stunt.

How many times are these logos shown during the course of each season for every college and university stadium that allows these netting logos?  How many times every year do game announcers proclaim to its viewers that Allstate has donated $3.2 million for college scholarships?  Every time the logo-laden netting is raised or the announcers make the proclamation, it is the equivalent one more free commercial for the insurance conglomerate.

I know not what a thirty-second commercial airing during a typical college football game costs, however for all the free advertising that it receives every year; Allstate should be embarrassed that it has donated only $3.2 million to fund college scholarships.  Allstate should have donated at least ten times that amount, if not one hundred times more than it has before it boasts of its good deed.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Should The Buckeyes Play All Their Home Football Games At Night?

September 30, 2013

Watching the Ohio State-Wisconsin football game Saturday night in prime time, it didn’t take a life-long Buckeye fan to feel the exuberance radiating throughout Ohio Stadium all game long.  For some time now, I have been opining that the OSU-Michigan game should be played under the lights as well.  However, many Buckeye and Wolverine fans will say that tradition dictates The Game be played at noon.  I say hogwash, that Big Money has long ago replaced tradition as the driving force in a sport that likes to think itself as being amateur in all things, despite earning billions of dollars annually.  It doesn’t take an economist to realize that the NCAA’s basketball and football programs are semi-pro, minor league developmental leagues for the NBA, WNBA and the NFL.

The following is a copy of my letter to OSU athletic director Gene Smith and head football coach Urban Meyer in which I express this sentiment.

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

September 30, 2013

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

While over at my 87-year-old neighbor’s apartment watching the Browns beat the Bengals Sunday afternoon, I glanced at her Springfield newspaper’s sports section during halftime, as we were eating dinner.  Wanda, who loves the Browns, is the biggest football fan I know.  Earlier this year, she called to tell me that the Nebraska spring game was on the Big 10/14 Network.  She even watches arena football, for crying out loud.  If there is any type of football game on television, she watches.  A couple of years ago, she was disappointed when I told her I do not listen to Cleveland preseason games on the radio.  She once told me that the only item on her bucket list would be to attend a Browns game.  While reading her paper, an article about the OSU-Wisconsin game caught my attention when I read how much Coach Meyer loves night games, as do I.

The atmosphere in the Horseshoe Saturday night was electric, and was so throughout the entire game.  The newspaper article said the coach believes night games help in recruiting, as evidenced by the large number of recruits in attendance for the game.  Every single one of the high school players must have walked away from the game on cloud nine, envisioning themselves playing in such an emotional and exciting environment.  If Woody Hayes had been on the sidelines, even he would have to admit it doesn’t get any better than that.  However, one game in particular would be even better, maybe even twice as good, that being against that reviled School Up North.

Having every home at night, might be asking too much.  However, I firmly believe home games against quality opponents such as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State and especially Michigan should be a must.  I know some fans will be adamant in saying tradition dictates that the Michigan game be played at noon.  However, we both know tradition is long gone in collegiate sports.  When was the last time the Buckeyes and Wolverines both wore their traditional uniforms during The Game?  Playing games against the teams listed above at 8:00 p.m. means the entire nation would be tuned in.  A noon start for the Michigan game means half the country is just getting out of bed, while the other half is out running weekend errands.  When you consider all the other games being played that day, Ohio State-Michigan is just another game for most sports fans.

As electric as the crowd was for the Wisconsin game, imagine what the atmosphere would be like for Michigan.  It would be the biggest spectacle in all of sports!

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

C.: Coach Urban Meyer

Ohio State Vs. Michigan

August 26, 2013

I couldn’t agree more with Columbus (Ohio, USA) Dispatch sports writer Bob Hunter, who opined this past Sunday that having Ohio State and Michigan playing twice in one season is a great concept.  I think the Big 10/14 made a huge mistake by placing the two schools, the conference’s biggest perennial national football powers, in the same division beginning next season, thus preventing them from playing each other in the conference championship game.

Since the Big 10/14 championship game is now far more important than one of the nation’s oldest and biggest rivalry games, a rivalry that many consider the biggest in all sports, I would think the conference would want these two teams playing for its championship on prime-time television.  And, because you would not want the teams playing each other in back to back weeks, it makes sense to move The Game to the middle of the season.  Logically, this makes far more sense, since common sports wisdom dictates that it is almost impossible to get a team “up” for a championship game just one week after your biggest game of the year.

Many sports fans will cry out that tradition commands The Game be the last game of the season, with a noon start.  I say hogwash!  College football long ago sold its soul to the television networks and the almighty dollar.  I say The Game would be even bigger if played under the lights as the only game on prime-time national television.  The stadium would be electric, after the lucky hundred thousand plus fans that had tickets spent the day tailgating, pumping themselves full of their favorite spirits.

This scenario would be magical!

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87