By Phil Hecken, with assists from Thomas Clark & Teebz
Last New Year’s Day, the NHL held it’s third annual Winter Classic, a pairing of the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers in Historic Fenway Park in Boston. Building upon the successes of the previous two matchups (the inaugural Winter Classic, held in Orchard Park’s Ralph Wilson Stadium and the second Winter Classic, staged in classic Wrigley Field in Chicago).
The first matchup featured the Pittsburgh Penguins, sporting their gorgeous powder-blue throwbacks versus the Buffalo Sabres, also sporting vintage inspired uniforms. The return engagement seemed even better for uni-enthusiasts, pairing the hometown Chicago Blackhawks (again, in vintage-inspired unis) and the Detroit Cougars (wearing this gorgeous getup).
Ratings for the first two Classics were, relatively speaking, quite good, since both games were played on New Year’s Day and were up against Bowl Games. Hoping to fill a void in it’s programming black hole, NBC (which owns the rights to NHL games along with Versus) rolled the dice and decided viewers (especially casual viewers who might not otherwise care about hockey) would be thrilled with the premise — outdoor hockey (old school) with teams wearing throwback (or vintage inspired) uniforms. Great idea — a uni watcher’s dream — but was it a gimmick or a well planned and executed alternative to viewers accustomed to nothing but football at the mid-day hour? The early ‘success’ led us to believe that the Winter Classic was destined to become a New Year’s Day staple for years to come. Surely, the third Winter Classic would eclipse the first two, at least in the only important demographic to network executives — the Nielsen ratings.
Well, the results are in, and as I had predicted and feared — they’re NOT good. But really, is the Classic losing steam, was this just a one-year blip, or were there other factors that had viewers seeking alternatives to hockey on January 1? Is there a crack in the ice?
I’m going to be joined by Thomas Clark, who has at least two passions in life, both of which are pertinent here: he loves hockey and he follows (and has been following) the Nielsen ratings for the game for years. I’ll also be joined by Hockey Wing President Teebz, with whom I worked diligently on last year’s Winter Classic article, and who I had asked to do a write up on this year’s contest while I handled the Rose Bowl with Larry Bodnovich and Michael Princip. They will offer their analysis and opinion on this year’s Classic, and to help us judge if the event is as strong as ever, if it’s dying (so to speak), and what the NHL and NBC can do to bring it back stronger than ever next year. With that, I’ll turn it over to Thomas:
First, an explanation of the Nielsen Ratings (Not to be confused with the Leslie Neilsen Ratings) and then a direct analysis of the numbers:
Rating = 1% of all televisions owned in US.
Share = % of all televisions in use during the time of broadcast tuned to that broadcast
2008 Winter Classic: National 2.6 rating/5 share.
Buffalo Local 38.2/58
Pitts Local 17.7/30
2009 Winter Classic: National 2.9 rating/6 share.
Detroit Local 10.5/21
Chicago Local 11.8/21
(Of note these two ratings were the highest Local DMA’s nationally)
2010 Winter Classic: National 2.6/? share
Boston Local 14.4/29
Philly Local 6/11
As far as personal opinion/observation on the 3 WC’s here’s my take:
2008 – You had the novelty of the outdoor game, people were excited at the mere idea of an outdoor professional game in the US. You had star power in Crosby and you had two very supportive hockey cities. For a local share it was perfect, there were no other games involving local teams on the same day. Though the Michigan-Florida game was a marquee matchup with large alumni bases that drove the ratings in the time slot.
2009 – Though the novelty of the game itself had worn off we got two big draws, this year the game was at Wrigley and it featured a rivalry. Detroit and Chicago are large cities relatively supportive of hockey. Arguably this is the best pairing possible for a WC without including Canadian teams or a repeat team (Crosby/Ovechkin is still likely the best layman’s draw). The numbers showed either the strength of the matchup or the relative weakness of the bowl games on the day. Michigan State did play Georgia in the Capital One Bowl, which again won the time slot.
2010 – A relatively weak matchup on several levels. The Flyers-Bruins is not viewed by most of the country as a rivalry, neither team has a truly marketable star for the average joe, and a baseball field had been done before. Fenway was a big draw, and did help pull some people in and you had two very large TV markets (both Top 6) that would help carry the national share based on the local share. Both are relatively supportive, though I would argue that both are merely sports towns vs being highly supportive of either individual club.
Thanks Thomas, and with his follow up, here’s Teebz:
This year’s Winter Classic was accurately described by Thomas above, but that doesn’t mean that there was any reason for the numbers to drop. And, in fact, losing 10% of the overall viewership doesn’t do the NHL a whole lot of favors.
However, there are reasons why they didn’t generate the same television numbers as the Chicago-Detroit game, and most of those reasons have to do with the state of Pennsylvania. Or rather, Penn State.
Football is the top dog in the sporting world in the US. There’s no denying this. Penn State was playing in the Capital One Bowl at the same time as the Flyers were playing the Bruins, so something had to give. Being that the Flyers are somewhat horrible this season, it seems reasonable to suggest that only the hardcore Flyers fans tuned in from the “City of Brotherly Love”. And even some of those people may have decided to watch Penn State play LSU.
Looking at the numbers, the Flyers-Bruins game had lower numbers in Philly than the Capital One Bowl game, but that was to be expected. But why are we focusing solely on the TV numbers as a negative when this game was the second biggest TV draw for hockey on NBC in the last decade?
If you want to measure success, things need to be kept in context. This was still the second-best showing for the NHL in the last decade on US television, and that says a lot. For a “realtively weak matchup” and a game that featured no truly marketable stars, the 2.6 says a heck of a lot of people outside of Philly tuned in watch. Had the Philly numbers not been so low, we might be talking about a 2.9 again.
Perhaps the NHL should have told NBC that Washington is a better choice when it comes to ratings. Alex Ovechkin‘s high-flying offence probably would have been more fun than the NBC ratings-induced choice of Philadelphia. However, NBC learned from this, and there is no doubt that Alexander Ovechkin will be playing on New Year’s Day within two years.
The Nielsens ratings also don’t take into account the number of people in Philly and elsewhere across the US that may have DVRed, PVRed, or TiVoed the game. As reported in the New York Times, ratings of a show can actually increase between 7% and 12% with some “increasing by as much as 20%”. The average increase seen by the networks was approximately 10% when DVR numbers are factored in – the same amount the NHL lost on this game. So while Penn State was battling LSU, there may have been a number of people in Philadelphia and elsewhere across the USA recording the Winter Classic in order to watch it after the Capital One Bowl game. Since this game was on a Friday and on a holiday where some people tend to overdo their social imbibing, the chance of this game being recorded is very high. The chance of Nielsens factoring in the DVR factor? Very low.
Secondly, the NHL made the most money it has ever seen off a Winter Classic this season. With over $8 million generated in ticket sales and over $3 million generated in television advertising, this was the best Winter Classic financially for the NHL since they started. And that includes 71,000 people that packed into Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. In fact, this year’s Winter Classic had the lowest attendance total of the three games, yet the NHL still made the most money off ticket sales. 38,112 fans packed Fenway as compared to the 41,818 fans in Wrigley Field and the 71,217 fans in Ralph Wilson Stadium. That has to be a sign of success, no?
When the NHL begins losing money off this venture, then we’ll talk about changing the event. If they make 10.3% less next year than they did this year, we have a reason to examine the viability of the Winter Classic.
Finally, we need to view this from a marketing perspective, and the NHL reportedly did very well on that front in Boston this year. The fans at Fenway Park had rave reviews of the event, the media were enamoured with Fenway’s history and nostalgia, and the NBC broadcast was good if not great. Overall, things were done well, and, after three shots by the NHL at this outdoor game stuff, this one should run like clockwork. For everything said about it, the glitz and the glamour did not tarnish once people stepped through the gates at Fenway or turned on NBC at home. And that’s exactly what the NHL wants.
While there are still things that the NHL needs to improve – finding a better matchup, perhaps – this game was an overall success. If you’re interested in just the TV numbers, the overall number is disappointing when compared to previous years, but that’s due to a large number of people in Pennsylvania watching Penn State in the Capital One Bowl. Of course, the NHL cannot predict which NCAA team will be playing in which bowl, so we’ll call this a case of bad luck, not bad planning.
However, if you look at the money that was made, the numbers don’t lie. This game was a resounding success. And to be honest, the NHL cannot be unhappy with 2.6. It is, after all, the second-best hockey telecast in the USA in the last decade.
That’s gotta be a sign of success, isn’t it?
Thank you both gentlemen. We’ll have some parting words from both Thomas and Teebz momentarily. I realize the 2010 Winter Classic could be considered a major step back for the NHL, but I want this to succeed — I’ve really enjoyed the past three Classics, and I’m hoping to enjoy many more in the future. I don’t necessarily fault the NHL or NBC for picking the locale or the two teams — they were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle a second time by repeating the formula for the highly successful second classic…old baseball stadium, throwbackish uniforms, one of the “Original Six” teams…hell, they even jettisoned the ridiculous “Where’s Waldo” contest they had last year. Unfortunately for them, possibly due to the factors mentioned above, this one was a step back. Certainly not enough of a step back to warrant scrapping the game, but if the downward trend in the Nielsen’s continues, 2011 could be the last game.
Ah, but it doesn’t have to be. Looking forward, I’ve asked Teebz and Thomas to suggest a game and location for next year, as well as possible throwback uniforms for the teams to wear. If the NHL can really make the Winter Classic a New Year’s tradition, they’d better pick it up a notch in 2011. (As a side note, the following three “predictions” for 2011 were made completely independently from one another — so if they look alike, that’s purely coindidental.) Now then, here is Thomas with his vision for next year:
2011 and Beyond:
There are two things that are certainties for the future of the Winter Classic: The NHL wants one in New York and Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will be involved somehow. The creation of the Yankee Bowl for the 2010-2011 bowl season has really thrown a wrench in any plans the NHL had of hosting the Winter Classic at New Yankee Stadium for the next few years. It is still possible for it to happen if the Yankee Bowl is played on Christmas Day, but that is a stretch. If the NHL is merely concerned about the host city going forward and not the venue we could very likely see a game at the new Giants Stadium (which would cause some scheduling headaches for sure) or Citi Field. The game would most likely feature the Rangers vs the Capitals.
Two other options that I can see happening is a Penguins vs Capitals game most likely hosted at Beaver Stadium. The other possibility is a game hosted by the Minnesota Wild. The issue with Minnesota is that their national brand isn’t very strong so the opposing team would have to have a strong pull which would make finding a logical opponent difficult, but the Wild are pushing the NHL very hard on this. Colorado, Washington, or Dallas would probably have to suffice.
For our Canadian friends I suspect you can look forward to a Winter Classic (Heritage Classic) of your own in the next two years, most likely anchoring Hockey Day in Canada on CBC. This would of course feature two of the six Canadian teams.
I’m a bit young to have a good handle on throwbacks, but here’s my best educated guesses for possibilities:
Rangers (this or this): These two designs are different enough from their current sweaters to drive sales.
Capitals: I would actually expect a fauxback in this case. Most likely this would allow the Caps to create an alternate jersey and debut it on a national stage so Ovechkin can drive sales.
Wild: Either a variation of their current third or a pre-black North Stars sweater.
Thanks again Thomas. And now, here’s Teebz with his parting shot:
Personally, if the NHL has gone through Boston, New York City has to be thrown into the mix. The problem is that there aren’t any places of history that the NHL can use to its advantage. Old Yankee Stadium is done. New Yankee Stadium hosts an NCAA Bowl game. Rockefeller Centre just won’t hold 40,000 people. So where do you put the game?
My choice? The brand-new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The surface is FieldTurf and it will still be brand-new. That means there will be no middle hump in the field like the ice-makers had in Buffalo. Secondly, it will hold 82,500 people, creating the opportunity for the largest crowd ever to take in an NHL game. Lastly, you provide the opportunity for all Americans to take part in something they are used to at football stadiums: tailgating. They did it in Buffalo, and it was a huge success, so why not bring it back? Get NBC out there in the parking lot, and show off how much fun the EVENT portion of the game is, and stop worrying about the game so much. I truly believe this is entirely why the NFL is so popular – it’s an entire event, not just a regular season football game between 2-12 and 4-10 teams.
I’d like to see the Washington Capitals in their old white uniforms take to the ice in the game. The Rangers, while remaining fairly constant in their look, should use a look from their historic past. While the 1946-47 look would be neat to see, the Rangers should use their look from 1994 with the vertically-arched names.
Capitals vs. Rangers from the Meadowlands with 82,000 other people? That’s a heckuva New Year’s Day party if you ask me!
Thanks Teebz. And now, here’s my parting shot:
The Rangers (and the New York market, which is generally devoid of a ‘hometown’ football team) would seem a logical choice to play in, if not host, the fourth Winter Classic — one of the “original six,” great tradition (if not cups) and one of the most recognizable sweaters in the game. I would think the NHL would jump at the chance to get both the Rangers and New York in the next game.
Were they to select the Rangers, I would love to seem them “throwback” to this vintage 1932 sweater, featuring the iconic diagonal wordmark that still exists today. If that’s not “far removed” enough to move merch, they could always don this 1946 vintage beauty, with the radially arched wordmark. Either one of these would be a fine uniform selection.
If the Rangers are selected to host (which, although not my personal choice, not that I’d want the Isles in their Fisherman unis either), then there isn’t an “obvious” venue — NYS (New Yankee Stadium) may be out, due to it’s probable hosting of the “Yankee Bowl” for college football, OYS (Old Yankee Stadium) met the fate of the wrecking ball, which leaves New Shea or either Giants Stadium or Meadowlands Stadium (the new stadium is finished, btw, that’s an old photo); to my mind, none of these venues is perfect.
Citi Field Shea would be a lousy place (no history, and baseball fields aren’t generally fan friendly for hockey games due to poor sightlines), and Meadowlands Stadium would likely not be available — the Jets and Giants may need it, but they would have to keep it available in any event; that leaves Giants Stadium, which might be the best venue, and it seats a boatload of people which would help with the NHL’s revenue stream. Is it ideal for an outdoor hockey game? Probably not, but it’d be no worse than Ralph Wilson Stadium, and (assuming there are no plans to dismantle it before New Year’s Day) it could be prepped and host several different hockey events (like Fenway Park has done) over a week or two.
Opponent? Hmmm. Despite the “star power” found in Ovechkin, I believe the NHL would be making a big mistake in trying to feature one player (who might be injured and not even play), and the Rangers versus Caps isn’t exactly hockey history at it’s best. Nay, I think the NHL should make the Original Six/Canada connection, and set up the Toronto Maple Leafs as the opponent. The Leafs also have a strong uniform history, and could sport a white version of this classic, or go waaaaaaay back and sport this 1927-28 gem, or throw even farther back and become the Toronto St. Pats (which has been done before — love the brown breezers). For you non-hockey history buffs, the Toronto St. Pats started as an amateur ice hockey organization. In 1919, the club purchased the Toronto National Hockey League (NHL) franchise from the Arena Company and the NHL. The club renamed the franchise the Toronto St. Patricks club and operated the franchise until 1927, when it was sold to a partnership of Conn Smythe and Toronto investors — the rest, as they say is history. If the NHL won’t allow for a color-on-color game, they could still wear this version.
Would a Rangers/Leafs Winter Classic be the best matchup? Probably not, from a pure hockey standpoint, but I would think it might be the best from a marketing standpoint, and really, for the Classic to remain a viable alternative on New Year’s Day, they need to try to bump their ratings back up to what they achieved in 2009. Alternative venues and teams will I am sure be discussed, but I think an outdoor game, in a large stadium with decent sitelines and a possibility for snow (but likely not EXTREMELY frigid temperatures) could lead to a huge gate…and the Rangers/Leafs with awesome throwbacks might just be the springboard the NHL needs to keep the Winter Classic going for years to come.
There you have it. A look at the past Winter Classics and three separate (but very similar as it turns out) visions for the 2011 edition. What say you, Uni Watchers? Where, whom, and what unis? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Because I inadvertently forgot to report on the greatest hockey uniform matchup in history yesterday, I humbly will do so belatedly today. On Friday, January 8, 2010, the last two men’s NCAA National Champions ”“ Boston College and Boston University ”“ battled it out on the frozen infield in historic Fenway Park. The game marked the 248th meeting of the historic rivalry between the Boston College Eagles and the Boston University Terriers, which dates back as far 1918. I have to admit, I didn’t see the game, and I was remiss in not mentioning it yesterday. But the uniforms were pretty sweet — although certainly nothing earth shattering. For your viewing pleasure, however late, here is a gallery of pics from that historic evening.
Guess The Game From The Scoreboard: Today’s Game comes from reader Steve Uhlmann, who’s got a bit of a setup for us today. “Its worth noting that (one team) had more errors than hits that night. Bonus points if they can name the obscure pitcher who had a no-hitter through 8 innings of this game.” So there you go. Ready? Guess The Game From The Scoreboard. Date, location and final score, please, and be sure to link to your answer. And, as always, if you enjoy the game, please send me some new scoreboards! Drop me a line. Thanks!
Ricko’s always trying to convince me to do on-line dating. Um, no. But if I ever were to do so, the ad might sound something like this. Here’s Rick with the setup:
You’d think it would be a piece of cake to find a female-type football fan to hang out with you at Bub’s to watch the Wild Card Games, right? Nah, life ain’t EVER easy…
And with that, here is your Sunday Benchies.
As we continue with the NFL playoffs, I bring you another set of NFL uniform tweaks/revisions/concepts from the readers.
Starting off today’s show is Jeff Shirley, who has four teams he’s tweaked:
I really enjoy the blog, keep up the great work!
I really think the Cardinals need a redesign, so I incorporated black a little more into their color scheme. The white helmets in their current set tend to look like eggs, so I changed them to cardinal red with black stripes, which I really thought went well with the uniform. I added the Arizona flag to the shoulders, reminiscent of the Pat Tillman Days. I tried to leave as many of their current stripes as possible, although the pants needed a complete overhaul. And while I don’t think they’ll ever even consider the blue uniform tribute to the Arizona flag, I just threw that in for fun. The blackout uniform could be used as an alternate, although it would be difficult to have a black helmet just for the occasion. Overall, I think these adjustments would go well for the Cardinals and their team. Of course, I’m no graphic designer, and may get scoffed at for these designs, but it’s all in good fun.
My next is for Atlanta, with just a few tweaks that eliminate all the nonsense going on with their uniform. Next, is the Bills, with a return to the classic stripes along with the classic shade of blue. Lastly, I wanted to see what the Eagles would look like with a return to kelly green and silver. Just a note, I always loved seeing the Eagles with their black shoes, that’s why I included them along with the socks.
Next up is the Former Dirt Dart, aka Walter Young, who’s taken quite a liking to this “redesign” thing. Here he is with a multitude of concepts:
I’ve become addicted since my original Jets tweaks. Being a huge fan of Ricko’s “comp sleeves” I’m continuing to use them in my tweaks. Not being a huge fan of the monochrome uniform look, I prefer a single pants uniform color which doesn’t match either home or road jersey. I have no qualms about “violating” traditions, since all of these teams have done so at least once already. Maybe, by the start of spring training I’ll have wreaked havoc on all of the NFL teams.
Bengals: Pre-81 helmet, but with newer script logo, early jersey style and striping, with brown pants (lightened sienna) which seems to work well with the team orange.
Chargers: Old Chargers logo replaces helmet “Bolts”, home jersey in old powder blue w/ a twist on the “bolt” sleeve striping & current number font, old gold pants.
Eagles: Old Kelly helmet w/ Eagles alternate logo, Old Kelly green jersey w/ current number font and mid-60’s sleeve striping, late 70’s ”“ early 90’s silver pants.
Falcons: Current helmet color w/ new logo and striping inspired by pre-black helmets, old red home jersey w/ 80’s inspired sleeve striping & current number font, pants in old silver
Jets: Been posted before but now combined in one picture, Tweaked logo on helmet, jersey loses shoulder stripes, olive/khaki pants.
Packers: Twist on the ’94 throwback w/ green rather than blue, and a colored road jersey
Rams: Return to old blue & gold, Rams head logo and stripes replace ram-horns motif on helmet, jerseys lose shoulder stripes but gain sleeve striping, pants in old gold w/ same helmet/sleeve striping
Ravens: helmet w/ winged “flag” shield and more traditional striping (from current pants striping), black home jersey replaces purple, pants in teams gold color.
Titans: Helmet w/ teams Sword logo, replaces flaming ball, and more traditional striping, shoulder tops color becomes solid yoke and sleeves, navy pants
Vikings: A return to dark Viking purple, Viking head profile replaces helmet horns, old style jerseys with old sleeve striping, pants in team gold.
Washington: Loses Redskins name and all native motif, TV numbers on helmet, jerseys w/ 70’s sleeve striping, pants in 60’s gold
Next up is another multiple team submitter, Tj Cunniff:
Got bored and did a bunch of them
Cowboys — wanted to make all of the blues match and make the road uniform the opposite of the home uniform instead of a different uniform
Vikings — never cared for purple doesn’t look to bad blue
Broncos — switched colors and uniforms
Browns — brought back the orange pants
Colts — lightened the blue brought back the blue facemasks and added another color
Eagles — changed one of the shoulder patches to the old logo — old colors in the current uniform
Falcons — black jersey replaces red — red helmet
Giants — tweaked the mid 70s helmet logo — added sleeve stripes to the blue jersey — got rid of the gray pants
Jets — found an old afl jets logo and used the yellow color on the 80s and 90s uniform
Rams — current colors on the old uniforms
Saints — changed the gold to the old shade
Seahawks — old colors on current unis
Redskins — yellow pants
Texans — curious to see what the Oilers colors would look like
thank you for looking at my tweaks
and thank you if you post them
Our final submission, just one team, comes from Alex McIntire, who has a suggestion for the Patriots:
With the 50th anniversary of the AFL teams this year, the NFL subjected us to some classic looks, as well as some that were more debatable, I got to thinking about mixing past and present styles and colors. The Broncos were quite successful at the end of the 90’s at finding a great way to hold on to the orange and blue that kind of symbolized the John Elway period, but at the same time updated the look to something more modern and flashy. Being from New Hampshire, I’m naturally a Pats fan. While Pat the Patriot is timeless and remains everyone’s favorite, it is most likely gone forever as the main logo of the team. The Flying Elvis leaves little to get excited over in the way of design but has become the image of a dynasty and a symbol that has become synonymous with phrases like champions and winners.
So if they aren’t going to bring Pat back, there must be some way to bring another part of the past to today. My idea is basic at best, but I think that bringing red back as the main color, but with the same design as the current uni could look great and capture some of that nostalgic, classic Pats look. Other subtle but classic changes were adding the white red white red white strip pattern to the socks, and doing away with the silver on the pants and helmet and bring back the white and adding the double red stripe down the helmet. All the lines on the jersey and pants look great so I would keep those. Just some color change.
Keep up the good work,
OK, folks, another round of uniform tweaks, concepts and submissions in the books. If you have a suggestion, we’re going to be transitioning into the NBA and NHL, but we’re still open for NFL business. Send your stuff to me. Thanks.
Sunday Morning Uni Watch: No real uni surprises in either Wild Card game yesterday, with both teams opting for their standard gear. The Jets came out in their snow white ensemble (complete with the wrong socks), whilst the Bengals countered with their white over black — I mean black with REALLY WIDE white stripe over white unis. … It was quite cold in the Queen City yesterday — even some of the big burly men wore masks. But not T-Rex that is — he went with a white turtleneck & black vest. You can bet he’ll be wearing that next weekend in Indy (or San Diego). … Not much notable on the uni front EXCEPT TAFKAOC…who didn’t see many balls thrown his way…but was wearing the new fabric Rbk jersey (notice the different sleeve pattern, with Chad’s sporting orange bands around the biceps — also notice the Chris Henry tribute gloves). Bernard Scott was also wearing one. Here’s a closeup of the new jersey. Like the other new Rbk jerseys, “OCHOCINCO” appeared quite low on the back and was in much smaller fontsize than the ‘regular’ jerseys (sorry, no pics or screen grabs). … Oh well, sucks to be him — not only does 85 claim to have great moves, he got a really small truck for his birthday. … Wonder if either of these guys had a jersey that read “Dirty” underneath their ponchos.
The Cowboys and Eagles didn’t provide any real uni surprises (or drama, for that matter), with the Boys wearing white and the Eagles wearing
shame green. … Fans inside of Jerryworld sure had lots to cheer, especially those in the good seats who took full advantage of the buy one get one free offer from Mr. Jones. … Like the coach of the other playoff team in green yesterday, Andy Reid wore black (see?). In Andy’s defense, it’s an official color and he always wears black. … But Jerry is a good owner who never shies from the camera, even letting the unemployed share his box. … The national anthem was performed by the NRA president. If you don’t recognize him, here’s another pic. Still no? How about now? … Anyway, the best uniforms of the night were not worn by either team — in Dallas, these are always the best unis. … Congrats to the Cowboys — the last time they won a playoff game, this guy was still in high school.
I ended the day with a 1-1 record — perhaps I should have picked the Cowboys (since it was a virtual uni-tossup), but I let my blind hatred of both teams cloud my uni selection judgment. Today will be better. I fully expect the Ravens (and they better NOT wear black leotards, or all bets will be off) and Packers to triumph.
Have a great Sunday, everyone. Enjoy the games.