CeCe Marizu, Account Executive

Aww, can you smell the warm beignets and powdered sugar? Can you hear the jazz music playing in the streets?  Are you planning your Super Bowl menu with the essential chicken wings, pizza and beer? Have you been glued to Sports Center and Mike & Mike in the Morning for Super Bowl XLVII coverage?

Football fans, the Sunday of all Sundays is almost here!  You may have jumped on the Colin Kaepernick bandwagon like Mike Greenberg on ESPN or perhaps you’re riding the Ray Lewis destiny train with the rest of Baltimore.  Maybe you’re the person counting down the seconds to the end of football season and all you care about is Beyonce’s halftime performance along with the commercials.  Either way America is tuning in to the TV event of the year.

From the media and fans to the NFL commissioner, former and current football players, and the President the United States, the issue of player safety has been a hot topic of discussion.  The week leading up to the Super Bowl has opened the platform for the NFL to make their case clear to media outlets on why they’ve cracked down on the rules of the game.  For instance, former football great Ron Jaworski has appeared on ESPN touting a trading card of a young football player who suffered a concussion, returned to the game and collapsed.  The football player underwent surgery, but was diagnosed with brain damage and could barely walk across the stage at graduation.  Jaworski uses the story of the young man as a constant reminder on why the game has to be safer.

The NFL agrees with Jaworski and has communicated their reasons for the rule changes.  If you’ve been watching throughout the season you’ve most likely seen an ad about the “NFL Evolution.”  The first time I saw the ad I was stunned that in 60 seconds the commercial captured the NFL’s message of why the game of football is “evolving.”

So what is the verdict on the NFL changes to the game and concern for player’s safety?

The game of football is going to change. Period. As much as we’d like to argue about the purity of the game and the fact that it’s a game of contact and “tough men,” the game is constantly evolving.  The PR strategy the NFL has taken has been so well played that people may not have even noticed that it was a PR move at all.  It’s a reminder that the game has been tweaked before and will continue to change as time goes on.

The “NFL Evolution” ad is a public relations/advertising stroke of genius.  Progressing through the history of football from the first game in Canton, Ohio in 1906 and finishing with a touchdown by Chicago’s favorite punt returner Devin Hester, the 60-second ad gives football fans a chance to enjoy an entertaining commercial about the history of the game while also educating them on the NFL’s reason for adjusting the rules.  It explains why players started wearing helmets and why the NFL instated the facemask penalty and you probably didn’t even realize what you were learning!

You might still object to the changes and the flags being thrown during games (especially if you’re a Raiders fan), but like all things in life, change is inevitable.  Ray Lewis said, “Every day of my life, I’m trying to find a different way to get better.”  The NFL is taking different steps at making each day better for the next generation of football legends.

I hope you’re ready for some football!! Ray Lewis aside, I’ll be supporting the west coast team and the Nevada alum QB… go niners!