SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies


          Headlines in Sunday's Sports sections of the ATLANTA
     CONSTITUTION and the HARTFORD COURANT asked, "What's Wrong
     With The NFL?"  In Atlanta, Len Pasquarelli wrote that fans
     "are expressing their displeasure with the game by tuning
     out NFL telecasts," as ratings are "down considerably
     overall."  Pasquarelli: "The game is confronted by a reality
     that eventually could erode its unprecedented popularity:
     While the players are better than ever, the overall product
     has regressed.  The standard of play in the NFL is lower." 
     Today's NFL sees more player turnover as teams have "less
     patience" in player development.  Pasquarelli lists "dearth
     of quality at quarterback" and owners who "are increasingly
     less patient with head coaches" as two other reasons for the
     quality of play (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/1).  In Hartford,
     Dom Amore: "Has the caliber of play declined? ... If the
     future is so bright, where are the new stars?" (HARTFORD
     COURANT, 11/1).  In Phoenix, Dan Bickley: "The NFL is
     hearing the whispers: Bad games.  Bad teams.  Bad football. 
     Eight weeks into the season, and the King of American sports
     rests uneasy on the throne" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/1).
          RATINGS TREND? In Chicago, Ed Sherman notes the
     declining ratings and cites "poor matchups," as well as a
     "big-city slump" among "major-market teams."  The Redskins,
     Bears, Eagles and Lions have "been struggling."  Fox Sports
     Exec Producer Ed Goren: "There's no question (big-market
     teams struggling) has an impact."  Sherman also cites "bad
     football" as a reason for the ratings dip, noting that there
     "aren't enough quality teams and quality players" (CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE, 11/2).  CBS Sports President Sean McManus: "There
     will be weeks and months, or even years, when NFL ratings
     will be better or worse than we hoped.  But the NFL is a
     healthy product, and we're getting the results we hoped for"
     (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/1).  NFL Commissioner Paul
     Tagliabue is quoted in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE as saying, "The
     polls show we're more popular than ever. ... We're still the
     best sports product on TV" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/1).  
          NOT JUST FOOTBALL? Media buyer Paul Schulman notes that
     all four networks' primetime ratings are down this year, and
     there are "no apparent hits so far among their 37 new
     primetime shows."  Schulman: "Sports ratings may be low, but
     look at everything else" (USA TODAY, 11/2).  The N.Y. TIMES'
     Bill Carter looks at the state of NBC, noting that with the
     loss of the NFL and "Seinfeld," the net's "biggest losses
     have been among younger men" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/2).  

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