The National Football League (NFL) kicked off its regular season this past Thursday and let me tell you it was one hell of a dog and pony show.
The pre-show is the second one of its kind, honoring America’s Heroes with over 25,000 U.S. troops in attendence. Last year’s kickoff concert featured Bon Jovi in Times Square celebrating the American spirit one year after the Sept. 11 attack.
This year, people nation-wide tuned in to see the New York Jets play the Washington Redskins in the first game of the 2003 season.
Maybe they tuned in just to see artists such as Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige strut their stuff in the three-hour NFL Kickoff Live 2003, one hour of which was televised by ABC and presented by Pepsi Vanilla – broadcast from the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Pepsi shelled out $2.5 million in order to be the presenting sponser. Coors, Reebok and Sony sponsored on a smaller scale.
Britney was the ringleader of this pre-show circus in a commercialized attempt to attract a broader audience base. Think about it. Hot pants, belly-jersey, lip-syncing to teenie-bopper pop music, that not only got the middle-age beer-gut viewers ready for some football, but their teenage daughters got to spend some quality time with dad before he started yelling obscenities at the television. For the ladies, there was Aerosmith’s Joe Perry (Yeah Kate).
The Super Bowl is the biggest non-holiday event on the calendar, except for those certain portions of suburban New Jersey where NASCAR’s Daytona 500, Mountain Dew Southern 500 and The Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 are heatedly followed.
It would be the NFL’s wet dream if the season kickoff could sack the kind of ratings that the Super Bowl does. Is it going to happen? In my opinion . nah.
I’m sorry National Football League, you are going to have to buy time from a few more scantily clad celebrities to make that dream a reality.