The NFL’s PR Dramas

Last week the NFL was able to muster more PR coverage than it generally does during the height of the playoffs.  Last season not only was Time Tebows’ jersey the number two selling jersey in the league (you’ll have to look up number one); his story captivated a good deal of the season media coverage.  Tebow was covered on nearly every media outlet.  YouTube was filled with videos of people throughout the globe hitting the famed one knee Tebow stance.  For many who had just a passing interest in the sport, Tebow not only was football, he eclipsed football.  He certainly was the main topic of conversation in Denver.  He was their quarterback and was bringing Denver back to its glory days.  Well, what a difference a few months makes.  Tebow is now a backup quarterback in New York and Broncos are Payton Manning’s team.

The Denver quarterback drama wasn’t that hard to figure out.  It would be difficult for a team to pass on one of football’s best quarterbacks for one who is learning the robes and has so many question marks.  The real drama was in San Francisco, where Alex Smith, who nearly took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, discovered that for several days he was in the same position that Tebow was.   Yes, he’s back with the Niners.  But considering how his team was flirting with Peyton Manning, it will be hard to go back to things as usual.  A three year, $24 million deal helps to ease the pain, but still, it can’t be easy to know that the powers that be were that close to letting him go.  True, Smith isn’t Manning, but last season much was made of how, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh backed Smith at every turn and stated that Smith was their quarterback for the long haul.  At least until a Peyton Manning shows up.  But Manning goes with Denver, Smith stays in San Francisco and who knows what anyone really feels.

The NFL certainly received more than enough media coverage during the Manning frenzy.  It was PR heaven for the league.  A perfect film scripted media relations blitz.  The same can’t be said for the other high profile NFL story that buzzed through the media.  The New Orleans story was more of a PR nightmare than a public relations dream.    On Friday, Saints coach, Sean Payton offered an apology.   In Payton’s first formal statement since the NFL announced his season-long suspension, he explained that he took “full responsibility” for the bounty scandal that led to unprecedented league sanctions against the New Orleans Saints.

Still there are also PR benefits to the Saints bounty story.  Although initially it can be seen as a media relations black eye, the league acted quickly and decisively.  The penalties handed down deliver a clear message that the NFL will not tolerate bounties. The severity of the penalties is unparalleled and media-wise that works in the NFL’s favor.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

“Petyon Manning Tim Tebow.” Photo. Fan IQ. 21 Mar. 2012. 26 Mar 2012. <http://www.faniq.com/blog/Peyton-Manning-and-now-Tim-Tebow-Blog-45962&gt;

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