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SPORTS: Football Field Runs Red – With Ads

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Turf ads ire NFL fans.

Our days of allegiance to the red and gold have come and gone, we’re afraid, selling off the season tickets and choosing not to make the drive to that other place down south. We weren’t sure we’d made the right move until this new TV ad thing surfaced.

We watched with interest this week as the NFL, which has a reputation for embracing product placement ads like hotel groupies throwing a move on the Hot QB-du-jour, trotted out cgi-generated turf ads. We don’t know what else to call them, but you watch the game and then – blip – a huge chunk of the field converts to an ad for a car brand we’ll never buy again. It was enough to make us toss the guacamole and chips.

They’re calling it the “Toyota Red Zone” and while they say it was a trial run trotted out during preseason there were plenty of flags called on the play at the household where we sat watching the 60-inch MegaScreen. The first time it flashed on the screen there was silence and a collective blink among the guys on the sectional, everyone presumably wondering if the next guy was seeing what they were seeing and that maybe it was time to lay off the Corona.

But no, there it was… and sandwiched in between all the lettering and promotional lingo was the home team. We think.

“What the heck is that?” one fan growled, not really saying “heck” but, you know.

“It looks like a Japanese game show,” someone spat.

“It looks like CNN,” someone else supplied.

“It looks like heck,” finished our host and, no, he didn’t use “heck.”

Since the home team was getting a thorough drubbing Toyota’s Red Zone became Football Topic No. 1 for the rest of the night, with guys predicting the end of football as we know it and every square inch of turf covered by ads within ten years.

It’s not a big deal to us because we don’t watch much of the game any more, preferring the food and company of others to two hours of commercials wrapped around a football match.

We’ll take ourselves out of the argument (except to say what we saw really, really sucked) and put it out to you. Have we just been treated to a glimpse of the future, or the beginning of the end of “America’s Game?”