The way the West was won was not the way the Cowboys played tonight. Yeah, I know that the Cowboys and Redskins play in the NFC East, but I just can’t wrap my brain around the Dallas Cowboys being considered an eastern team. Regardless, these two teams facilitate one of the greatest sports rivalries in history (Cowboys and Indians, go figure); which, is part of the reason that they were able to snag the first week of Sunday Night Football.
Sunday Night Football is a program that is trying to achieve the same level of standing and stature that has been graced to its brother, Monday Night Football. With football becoming increasingly popular (see, the highest rated Superbowl EVER last season, mixed with the highest rated primetime kick-off football game in fourteen years on Thursday), this shouldn’t be a problem. You’ve seen how many people hang out on Facebook on Sunday nights, there’s nothing to do. We’ll see tomorrow if the NFL has successfully found something to occupy America’s time.
If NBC wants to make Sunday Night Football a must-see week in and week out, they’re going to need more than Bob Costas and a couple of old guys that have talked about football for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bob Costas, but there’s nothing fresh about football; at least, not in the way NBC is portraying it. Knowing your stuff is important, but just as important is knowing how to say it. There’s no excitement, no enthusiasm, nothing to get my blood pumping the way a good sports game should. I should develop an attachment to one of these teams within the three hour window NBC has my attention; because if I don’t, it’s their failure, not mine.
Football is “The World’s Greatest Reality Show” according to Thursday Night Football - and if that’s true, I can start holding NBC to those standards, to a degree. I’m not looking for Top Chef-esque drama, but if they can figure out a way for Tony Romo to steal Donovan McNabb’s pea puree, all the better. The game just ended, and the Washington Redskins beat their arch-rivals 13 - 7 with Dallas threatening in the last twenty seconds. I pulled for Washington all game long, and had it not been for my ability to vest myself into any sports game at any time, I wouldn’t have felt a thing. I don’t like calm broadcasters. I like my sports commentators loud and out of control, with one guy holding the whole thing together.
As television and film fans, you probably know that tension can add a lot to any media production - and football is no exception. Camera angles that flash from fans, to coaches, to players on the sideline can build tension and make big plays even bigger. I did not see that kind of tension being created from any source during the season’s first Sunday Night Football, and I can only hope that improvements will be made to next week’s edition.
Since NBC can’t control what goes on during the game (like the producers can in your standard reality television show) they have to attack from a different perspective. They have to strive to make the 42-7 blowout seem interesting; they have to get their announcers to yell at the audience, they have to depict stress and build tension by showing the faces of concerned players and fans. NBC has to heat things up and stretch things out (get it? tension?) if they want their program to grab the uninitiated into the fray.
Check out some of the stats below and let me know what you though of tonight’s game and broadcast in the comments!
Donovan McNabb completed fifteen out of thirty-two attempts for a completion percentage of only 47%. McNabb passed for 171 yards with no touchdown passes.
Tony Romo, on the other hand, was able to complete thirty-one out of forty-seven passes for a completion percentage of 66%. Romo passed for 282 yards with one touchdown.
The Cowboys passed and rushed for more than the Redskins, but a myriad of stupid mistakes cost them the game.
The Redskins only touchdown came from a fumble by the Cowboys in the last seconds of the first half; this touchdown cost the Cowboys the game.
McNabb is still getting used to throwing in a Redskins uniform, but his defense did him plenty of favors by holding up Romo’s Cowboys.
A blown field goal attempt by the Cowboys was just one example of a team that blew it on easy plays, didn’t take advantage of great field position, and just did not have their act together all evening. They lost the game more than the Redskins won it.