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« Why not five, or even six? | Main | Lessons learned in NASCAR 2009: Hendrick still dominates »

No NASCAR provides an opportunity to watch the NFL on Sunday

By admin | November 30, 2009


By Richard Allen

I was feeling a bit under the weather this past Sunday and found myself couch ridden for much of the day. Since there was no NASCAR to watch I found myself taking in a full afternoon of NFL football instead.

Since I typically make NASCAR racing my top priority during the racing season, I usually only watch parts of NFL games until the NASCAR season ends. This past Sunday has made me wonder if my sports priorities are appropriately placed.

Living in Tennessee means that the Titans are often the game of choice in my television viewing region. Their game this past Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals was one of the most exciting sports broadcasts I’ve seen in a long time. The Titans took possession of the ball on their own one yard line with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Since they trailed Arizona by four points they had to drive the length of the field and score a touchdown to win.

The Titans proceeded to take the ball all the way down the field, after converting three separate 4th downs, and scored the winning touchdown as time expired.

After watching that I had to ask myself, can NASCAR create the same excitement?

I can think back to races that have had me on the edge of my seat but it seems as if those are becoming fewer and farther between. It seems as though most NASCAR races are dominated by one drive or another with the outcome fairly obvious from early on in the event.

Sure, NASCAR often attempts to create drama by throwing well timed ‘debris cautions’ with an appropriate number of laps remaining. However, that type of contrived ending leaves something to be desired and appears to be more of a show than real competition.

Granted, every NFL game does come down to such an ending as the Titans-Cardinals game. And, it is no doubt argued in some circles that there is a certain amount of contriving to create such scenarios in those games as well. However, my argument is that such edge of the seat type excitement is more prevalent in that sport than NASCAR.

And more, there could be all sorts of arguments as to the NFL’s playoff system vs. NASCAR’s. But to me, the real question is, can NASCAR ever truly compete with the NFL or any other sport on a weekly basis given the current arrangement in racing?

I have never watched racing for the sole reason of seeing a side by side race to the finish line. Part of what has always made this sport appealing to me is the human element of it. Over recent years the sanctioning body has seemed to do its best to remove that element and make the drivers and the machines they drive all the more similar and robotic.

Without the human element, this sport becomes nothing more than cars parading around in a circle to me. It is my hope that those in charge of NASCAR will see this as soon as possible and realize they can’t be other sports. They need to be what they are instead of what they think the mainstream public and media wants them to be. If that day does not come soon I fear that NASCAR will find itself competing with minor league sports rather than the NFL and other major league sports.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “No NASCAR provides an opportunity to watch the NFL on Sunday”

  1. Bill B Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    “No NASCAR provides an opportunity….”

    Actually with the way the racing was this past year, the lack of a compelling championship battle, and NASCAR saying everything was great even though that’s not what we fans saw, they provided an opportunity to watch the NFL on September 13th. And, judging from the ratings, many did.

  2. Alvin Davenport Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve watched NASCAR racing for over 30 years and have missed only a handful of televised races during that time. However, I must admit, with picture-in-picture, I find myself watching the NFL and NASCAR at the same time. Unfortunately, I listen to the NFL and watch NASCAR in the smaller window. I think this contrived race to the championship is a big reason. The coverage of racing has evolved into only who is leading the championship, and who has a chance of winning it. Winnning individual races no longer carries the importance it did in the past. If your favorite driver isn’t in the chase, good luck watching him on TV! Even if he’s leading, the cameras will eventually find a chase driver to focus on.

  3. Joe in Pittsburgh Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    …”NASCAR will find itself competing with minor league sports rather than the NFL and other major league sports.”

    I think that time is already upon us….thus proving what goes up,can come down–in a hurry–when led by a 3rd gen CEO qualified only by last name.

  4. Richard Allen Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Joe in Pitt,
    I agree that NASCAR is quickly turning itself into a minor league sport. The only reason I say that will soon be competing with the minor leagues rather than they already are is because of the television contract they currently have in place.

    If things stay on the same course as they are on now, the next television contract will be considerably smaller.

  5. mkrcr Says:
    December 1st, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I started watching the NFL during preseason. I love giving Brian France a message with my Neilson box. Besides, it’s far more entertaining and even Fox can’t screw it up.

  6. keith Says:
    December 2nd, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Did not read much past your headline. Yes, I am glad the Nascar season is over. The last two years have been ok at best. I guess it can only improve, lets hope. But as far as wasting a Sunday on the NFL, I do not think so. I will cherish having Sundays free for about 3 months.

  7. midasmicah Says:
    December 2nd, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Sorry Rich. Due to the lack of real racing, I’ve been watching more football, with nas$car becoming a secondary affair to be watched when long commercials come on. 25+ years has come down to this. Go Niners!

  8. midasmicah Says:
    December 2nd, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Rich..All these responses to your column pretty much sums up the state of nas$car. My ultimate feeling is sadness.

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