Packers Claim CBS Forced Hand In Preseason Game Being Played Opposite HS Games
The Packers will play the Seahawks at Lambeau Field in a preseason game at the same time the "majority of area prep football teams open their season," the fourth time since '09 the team has "gone head-to-head with area high schools on a Friday night," according to Mike Vandermause of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. However, the Packers "had no say" in when the game would be played as it is being broadcast nationally by CBS. Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy said, "The league just says, 'This is when you're playing.'" Murphy said the team is "sensitive" to preseason games overshadowing high school games. Vandermause wondered if it is time the NFL "stopped playing Friday games out of deference to prep teams." Murphy said, "It's a good goal but to have a set policy would be really hard because of TV and some of the other issues, in terms of teams and putting together their schedules" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/22). Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Exec Dir Dan Brunner said, "In a perfect world we'd certainly prefer to have Friday night being held sacred for high school football." He added, "A few years ago, we wrote a letter to the NFL asking them to try to hold Friday nights for high school football. We really didn't get a lot of cooperation from the NFL along those lines" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/22).
EXPANDED SPOTLIGHT ON THE PREPS: USA TODAY's Jim Halley examined the growing trend of high school football games airing on national television and noted between ESPN and FS1, there will be high school games "on every weekend through Nov. 1, including games each day of the week except for Tuesday and Wednesday." Halley: "Is all this exposure good for high school sports?" Joe Kinnan, the coach at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla., said, "The whole landscape of high school football has changed because of television." Manatee has played games on ESPN networks in two of the last three seasons, and Kinnan said, "It's great notoriety for the kids and you program. It certainly doesn't hurt your kids' marketability as far as recruiting. The TV games help us at the gate. I really think a lot of people come because of the excitement of being on national TV." But Harry Welch, the coach of California's Santa Margarita High School, "worries TV games encourage misplaced priorities." Welch: "We're almost prostituting ourselves putting high school gmaes on TV. ... It's supposed to be something for the family and friends and people to come to have a good time" (USA TODAY, 8/22).