Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The City's New Game?

Hey, did anyone catch the score of the Columbia-Fordham game?

New York Giants QB and Super Bowl XLI MVP Eli Manning is fronting a new effort by the National Football Foundation's Gridiron CLub to boost interest in college football in the New York City area.

Eli's dad Archie is a long-time active member of the NFF, and he said it best:

"We all know, the New York media market is heavily dominated by professional sports, and a concerted effort to promote college football in the area will be challenging at first. However, with the many leaders and CEOs in New York who had formative experiences on the college gridiron, we believe we'll rally significant support for our efforts. College football has provided so many opportunities for my family, and Eli and I are certainly happy to be a part of this unique initiative. "

I was very happy to read that Columbia athletic director Dianne Murphy was at the event last week kicking off the efforts, along with Rudy Guiliani; CBS The Early Show Anchor Harry Smith; Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano; Arena Football League Commissioner Dave Baker; executives from ESPN and CBS; 1992 College Football Hall of Famer and former NFF Chairman Ron Johnson; 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Syracuse Don McPherson; athletics directors Bob Mulcahy of Rutgers and Francis McLaughlin of Fordham.

I have a lot of friends who are rabid sports fans who never lived anywhere other than New York City. I always have trouble convincing them that they haven't seen anything until they go to a key Big 10 football game, or an SEC rivalry game, etc. It's intense and New York City is missing out on creating its own traditions... or should I say "recreating them?" Columbia and Fordham are responsible for a lot or early college football lore, and if the media gets behind these unique student athletes, we can do it again.


At Tue Jun 10, 11:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be great if the NY media helped in creating this regional rivalry again. There are some good players in the Ivies and could use some "ink" for their scholastic as well as athletic accomplishments. Listen up major media: If you want to help shape the Country's youth, then feature regularly the student athletes from the Ivy League rather than the neer do wells from Major D-!programs. Put a spotlight on the real players (not "playas"). The Neckman.

At Tue Jun 10, 11:30:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Great comment Neckman!

I too am sick of the major media focusing only on big BCS programs and then spending almost as much time decrying the commercialization and sometimes criminal nature of those sports. If they want real students to be college athletes and vice versa, then covering the Ivies and playing it up would make a lot of sense.

Of course, they'll come back to you and say no one cares about the Ivies and that would hurt the ratings. An even more honest sports journalist might admit that the "bad behavior" they complain about is good for ratings so covering the Ivies more would be too vanilla.

After 13 years in TV news, I can say there are some truths to that argument. But I can also tell you that what the news media choses to play up, the public usually responds to in some way. If the local papers and local TV news programs in the Ivy cities decided to do more coverage of say, Ivy football and basketball, (and not just "day of" coverage... a little preview coverage is essential), then attendance would go up and the ratings would not suffer.

At Wed Jun 11, 06:31:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

I agree Jake and Neckman, these kids I feel deserve some hype for being the kind of people that we can all be proud of as Americans. Sure, the level of play and interest nationally is not on par with major conferences but their story is a great human interest story. Athletes that have a high skill level and tremendous determination to achieve as players and students. A story that should be more ballyhooed by the news media and held to light as role models for other young people.

At Wed Jun 11, 09:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you've said. One thing about the media: even when they're pandering they're teaching. Their selection of and emphasis on stories tells people what they -- the news experts -- think is important, and what the public should find important. It has an effect on people's perceptions. It may take a while, but a change in media emphasis away from pro and quasi-pro sports to real amateur sports would affect people's priorities. Given the economics of the media business, the print media have to lead the way. Will the Times step up to the plate?


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