Stupid Commercials ~ Direct TV (Or Is It NFL Sunday Ticket?)

September 12, 2018

It’s been a few years since I’ve posted an article about stupid commercials, not because there are no longer stupid commercials airing on television, but after buying my first new camera in thirty-three years, finally going digital five summers ago, and then buying another this past Christmas, I have been busy shooting nearly 185,000 photographs. Shooting that many photos doesn’t take long, I shot 180 earlier this afternoon in about fifteen minutes. It’s sorting through them all, choosing the best ones and then working on them that is time-consuming.

However, after seeing an advertisement for Direct TV (or is it for NFL Sunday Ticket?) the past couple of weeks, I just had to find time to comment on this rather stupid commercial. The premise of the commercial is two little girls are selling lemonade in their front yard when a lady stops by to buy a cup. All of a sudden the girls’ mother appears and grabs the biggest plastic cup I’ve ever seen from under the table and pours two pitchers worth of lemonade into it. The mother then grabs everything, including the money-box and tells the girls it’s time to go. In the closing scene, we see the girls and mom watching an Oakland Raiders football game, presumably on NFL Sunday Ticket. And assumedly, on Direct TV.

Why are the two girls getting ready to sell lemonade (the two pitchers are full, after all) if the mother knew they wanted to watch the game, but what really makes this such a stupid commercial is why would anyone have a two-gallon plastic cup?

Steven H. Spring



December 30, 2017

I do not understand why more and more draft eligible players are choosing not to play in a bowl game, fearful of injuring themselves and potentially losing millions of NFL guaranteed dollars. Granted, in the past few years, a couple of players suffered from this cruel fate, but, how does a player face his teammates?

What I really do not understand is why coaches allow a player who is refusing to play to still be a part of the team, allowing them to stand along the sidelines. I’m no coach, but if one, would tell any player who refused to play, that’s fine, but you’re staying home.

Players have been complaining for several decades now about being disrespected. The complaint become so widespread it ended up with its own slang word, “dissed.” But, isn’t refusing to play the ultimate form of disrespect? Coming of age on the south side of Columbus through the ‘70s, we would have had one word for such a player, a word now days most associated with the president.

What does this say about a player? What does this say about us as a society and a nation?

Steven H. Spring

Where Is The Outrage?

September 27, 2017

As the list of Americans, which grows longer every day, that are outraged by NFL players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, allegedly showing disrespect to our military, our flag and the country itself, I wonder how many are patriotic enough to have actually served their country? America’s two longest wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which are still ongoing, with no end in sight, and yet only one percent of Americans serve in the military, resulting in those who serve being sent into harm’s way over and over and over again. Some soldiers have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan more than a dozen times. Where is the outrage?

In addition to these two wars, America is also bombing on a somewhat semi-regular basis four other countries: Pakistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. Where is the outrage? Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every single day. Where is the outrage? We have a president who appears hell-bent on instigating a nuclear war with North Korea. Where is the outrage over a potential nuclear war that could destroy planet Earth as we know it? The president also appears more than willing to get into a war with Iran. Where is the outrage?

It appears that Russia hi-jacked our 2016 presidential election, as more and more evidence comes forth seeming every single day, yet half the country, including nearly the entire Republican Party are in denial. Where is the outrage? We have a president who seems to be more interested in tweeting all day long than running the government, a man who apparently cannot tell the truth. Where is the outrage?

I find there are far too many more important issues facing Americans and humanity world-wide to be outraged because football players are kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, in protest of social injustice. There is so much pain and suffering in this world for anyone to be outraged by players protesting the all too common murder of black men by police.

Steven H. Spring

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

Have The Cleveland Browns Ever Won An NFL Championship?

September 12, 2015

As the NFL kicked off its 96th season Thursday night with a game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, it is rather absurd that the league will also celebrate its 50th Super Bowl at the end of the year. Did the league not have a championship game during its first fifty seasons?

Well, of course they did. It was only called the NFL Championship, which is exactly what the Super Bowl represents. And, as a matter of fact, the Cleveland Browns have won four championships. Yet, they never receive the proper credit, because they all occurred prior to the championship game being called the Super Bowl.

During the Browns first decade in the league, after winning all four All-America Football Conference championships, the team played in the championship game seven times, winning three, including a championship their first year in the league. Not only did the Browns dominate the All-America Football Conference during their first four years of existence, they continued their dominant play during their first decade in the NFL. The team won its last championship after the 1964 season.

Yet, not one football talking head on television mentions these historical feats, only that the Browns are one of only four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. Granted, those championships were a long, long time ago, but I am old enough to remember the last one.

Steven H. Spring

Why Does The U.S. Government Consider The National Football League A Charitable Organization?

February 26, 2014

While reading the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch sports pages the other day, I noticed that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell received more than forty-four million dollars in compensation last year.  With nearly ten billion dollars in annual revenue, my first thought was how is it possible that the NFL can assert itself a non-profit financial entity for tax purposes, thus avoiding paying its fair share of income taxes?  The NFL is not the only sports league to declare itself tax-exempt, as Major League Baseball and the NCAA have as well.  More than likely, these three are not the only leagues to do so; they are the three of which I am aware.

Why is it that nearly seventy percent of U.S. corporations are regarded as non-profits?  According to the latest available Internal Revenue Service statistics, the percentage of non-profits has grown from twenty-four percent in 1986 to sixty-nine percent by 2008.  Why the sudden surge in the number of corporations that consider themselves not-for-profit?  This percentage is far higher when you add in sole proprietors and partnerships.

As the uproar over the alleged wrongdoings by the IRS, regarding the targeting of Republican political action committees’ tax-exempt status, has died down and with it any proven unlawful activity uncovered, Congress now needs to investigate why it was, in 1959 that the IRS changed the wording of the actual law regarding the qualifications for tax-exemption status.  I am not an attorney, nor a tax expert (who is?); however, the law as written by Congress in Section 501(C) of the tax code requires any entity not organized for profit, applying for tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization to be operated “exclusively” for the promotion of social welfare.

As a former audit supervisor with the Auditor of State of Ohio, I understand how the perception of improprieties over the IRS choosing to determine the validity of the applications (isn’t that their job?) of far more Republican PACs than Democratic groups because, judging solely by the number of commercials these PACs air during elections, far more Republican PACs have been created since Barack Obama was first elected president than Democratic PACs.  As an auditor, one cannot look at every single revenue source nor every expenditure, you must rely on materiality.  If far more Republican PACs are filing for tax-exempt status than Democratic PACs, it only makes sense that many more Republican PACs will be audited.

The real crime that comes to light over this alleged transgression though, is why, in 1959 did the IRS change its interpretation of the 501(C) code, when they changed the wording of “exclusively” to “primarily” regarding an organization’s civic duty as a promoter of social welfare.  What exactly is the kind of social welfare being promoted “primarily,” let alone “exclusively” by the National Football League and a great many other tax evaders?

My fellow Buckeye, John Kaskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, needs to be called before Congress and be informed that his agency will immediately change the wording of the code to properly reflect the actual wording of law regarding 501(C) tax-exempt status.  I also highly recommend Congress appropriate enough funds to the IRS so that it can examine the tax status of every organization that is currently avoiding its fair share of income tax.

How can an organization that pays it executive officer nearly forty-five million dollars, all the while purportedly being “primarily” in the business of providing social welfare, let alone “exclusively?”  This exemption is a travesty to the American taxpayer!

Steven H. Spring

Throwaway, Not Throwback Uniforms

November 18, 2013

Watching the very end of the Michigan-Northwestern football game Saturday, I was tempted to update my post concerning the wearing of obscenely dreadful looking uniforms by both college and professional teams in both football and basketball, but decided against it, as it was only just a few weeks ago that I had previously done so.  Northwestern players were wearing some sort of variation of the stars and stripes, I assume out of respect of this past Monday’s Veterans Day celebration.  I am not sure if being color-blind had anything to do with it, however, the uniforms did not look all that red, white and blue to me, looking nothing like the colors of this nation’s flag.

That all changed yesterday afternoon while getting ready to watch the Battle of Ohio as the Cleveland Browns took on the Cincinnati Bengals, who themselves always wear somewhat revolting looking tiger-striped uniforms.  Granted, as a life-long Browns fan, I must admit that I hate the Bengals, no matter what they wear, and have a very biased opinion regarding their uniforms. During the final minutes of the Fox network’s pregame show, the station showed the Pittsburgh Steelers preparing to take the field wearing their throwback uniforms.  Prison stripes was the first thought that came to mind when watching quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lead his team onto the field.  Seeing those ridiculous looking uniforms made me decide to update this post.

Why is it this nation’s sports teams take great pride in wearing hideous looking throwback uniforms?  We all know the answer, that being money.  Uniform makers, such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour make millions of dollars selling team jerseys, and by having more than just the typical home and away jerseys means much more revenue.  Granted, there are several pro teams whose throwback uniforms look better than what they currently wear, as the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers come to mind.  I believe the Bills have decided to switch back to their throwback uniforms as the official team uniform.  What sets these three teams apart from all other teams is that they came into existence in 1960 during the creation of the American Football League, which later merged with the National Football League in 1970.  I have yet to see a throwback uniform dating back much longer than 1960 that does not look repulsive.

Another thing many teams are doing is wearing black uniforms, even though the official team colors are anything but that.  Again, the reason is money, as athletic apparel makers know all to well that black jerseys sell.  While channel surfing in search of a good game to watch; now days you never can tell what teams are playing because of all the different uniforms being worn.  Call me old-fashioned, or just plain old, however, when I watch a game I like to be able to recognize the teams playing by their uniforms.  Not being able to do so, I might as well be watching a game between the Muncie Flyers and the Canton Bulldogs, two original NFL teams instead of two current Super Bowl contenders.

Thankfully, when the Browns, the team of my youth, wear their throwback uniforms, they look almost identical to what they currently wear.  The only thing that indicates something different is a small number on the helmets.  The reasoning for the popularity of these modified throwback uniforms, we are told, is that the players like them.  However, we all know the real reasoning for the old-time uniforms.  Authentic team apparel is big business.  That is the sole reason for throwback jerseys rapid rise in popularity in recent years.

As a nation, America long ago lost any sense of pride we have in our appearance.  It always amazes me when I see photos from the Great Depression, where men stood in soup lines wearing suits and ties.  These days, in our anything goes culture, young men proudly wear their pants down around their knees, arrogantly displaying their underwear for all to see.  One need only walk throughout a shopping mall or grocery store to see that now days, the less clothing the better.  People no longer get dressed up to go to church.

As proof to my claim that people just don’t care about their appearance anymore, one need only view the website People Of WalMart.  The first and only time I did so, my thought was this just has to be some sort of Halloween prank.  Surely, these people did not appear in public thinking they looked respectable.  However, it turns out that the photos posted were actual Wal-Mart customers.  Unbelievable is the word that comes to mind.

Steven H. Spring