This morning, on Mike and Mike in the Morning (a morning talk show on ESPN radio), the hosts, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, raised the question as to how tonight’s season opening NFL game between the NY Giants and Washington Redskins would affect the Republican Convention. Kickoff for the game, which will be broadcast on NBC, has been set for 7:00 p.m EST. Normally, night games are set for 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. However, NBC has set the earlier time so as not to interfere with John McCain’s acceptance speech, which is scheduled to occur some time after 10:00 p.m.
Mike and Mike raised the question as to whether McCain would hold off on his speech until the end of the game. This is particularly relevant if there is an overtime period. What does NBC do if the game isn’t over and McCain decides to go ahead with his speech? They would have to cut out, almost in a repeat of the Heidi fiasco of long ago, irritating the general public of viewers watching the game.
So what if NBC does cut out? In addition to the general public, NBC risks annoying New York and D.C., two areas voting for Obama anyway. They risk annoying the “mainstream” press, a group that has nearly all of its various headquarters in New York, many of its people in Washington, and is also voting for Obama.
So the risk gets back to annoying the general public: the fan that wants to watch the game but that doesn’t really have a rooting interest for either team. For these people, McCain will wait. If OT occurs, McCain will be rehearsing his speech for the nth time until it’s time to go on. Besides, he’s a sports fan.
In this discussion, Mike and Mike missed one point: the Democratic contender, Barack Obama. Obama is finally ending his boycott of Fox News, agreeing to an interview with Bill O’Reilly. The interview will be scheduled over two shows. Obama’s price for the interview: the first portion is to run the night of McCain’s acceptance speech.
It’s hard to ignore this. Candidates traditionally stay quiet during an opponent’s convention. McCain bought three commercials during the Democratic Convention, all congratulating Barack Obama. On the other hand, Barack wants an hour on Fox News. This could be called gamesmanship and payback for McCain announcing his VP choice the day after the Democratic Convention. It could also be called narcissism.
However, the real testament to what it is shows here. O’Reilly’s show, The O'Reilly Factor, begins at 8:00 p.m., one hour into the NFL broadcast. Obama is setting himself up to compete against the NFL.
And that’s nuts.