The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

Fans Want Great Games

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The old adage that defense wins championship but offense puts people in the seats applies only during the regular season. When it comes time for the playoffs, great games are what the fans want to see, what moves people to watch games, and are the games that people will ultimately remember and talk about.

During the regular season, the typical NFL fan loves the excitement of great western shootouts, where offensives rule the day. Fans love to see the great duels of Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath and Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady, and these games tend to result in great ratings for the league and the networks.

However, come playoff time, when championships are on the line, the fans want to watch great, close games, not necessarily high scoring games. At the end of the day the NFL and football is the greatest human chess game played out in vivid high definition color on the television. Fans want to watch great chess masters -- the Bill Belicheks and the Mike Shanahans, Buddy Ryan's great Bear defenses versus the Niners of George Seifert and his great offenses.

These games now are referred to by names like the "The Ice Bowl," "The Drive," "The Catch," and "the greatest game ever played." None of these games were high scoring affairs -- they were akin to the World Championship chess matches of Bobby Fisher versus Boris Spasky, where every move, every thought, every action held the anticipation of a world wide throng of fans. Every play mattered and the opponents probed and proded to find the one weak link, the one tired player, and the one missed opportunity. The end was in doubt right up to the last whistle, the last touchdown, the last play.

The score is irrelevant, what keeps the fans in front of their televisions, keeps them talking about the games long after the final whistle, and ultimately is the reason that the fans love the NFL are the epic battles where the great defenses match wits, talent, effort, and heart against the great offenses. We as NFL fans are quite fortunate that this weekend presents four such potential epic battles with the Giants vs. Eagles game the most likely contest that will some day go down in history with a name attached to it; and I am not referring to the "Miracle at the Meadowlands!"

By Peter Schaffer  |  January 7, 2009; 8:26 AM ET  | Category:  New York Giants , Peter Schaffer , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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