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

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

That Was Some Suspension!

That sure was some suspension served by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston during Saturday night’s prime time game against Clemson. He had more face time than Bill Cowher, who seemingly is shown every five minutes on every television channel espousing the benefits of Time Warner Cable. Much more face time than if he had actually played the game.

Granted, what he said most likely is said many times in college and pro locker rooms throughout America, if not the world. Or in garages, for that matter. However, for a Heisman Trophy winner, playing on the number one ranked team in the country, ignorance was exhibited by his audacity to think he could jump up on a table in his school’s student union and shout something obscene, no matter how popular the phrase currently is, without the whole country hearing about it.

Winston may not have played a down, yet he was everywhere Saturday night.

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

Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

As collegiate football got underway this past weekend, it did not take Allstate Insurance long to update their good hands, good deed declarations during games to assert that they have now donated $3.4 million dollars (a paltry increase of two hundred thousand dollars over the past year) to fund college general scholarships during the past ten years, 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 during the year will game announcers proclaim to its viewers that Allstate has donated $3.4 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, 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 $3.4 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

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