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Nebraska Trades Football Victory for Television Money

Updated on December 1, 2017

Back in the good old days we had to listen to Nebraska win football games huddled together around the radio in backrooms and offices and living rooms and even out in the fields with the volume up full-blast. We rallied and rooted our boys with colorful descriptions given out on each play by loyal announcers trumpeting our successes and bemoaning our failures just like the rest of us Husker faithful.

Tom Osborne, and Bob Devaney
Tom Osborne, and Bob Devaney | Source

But nowadays we’re relegated to watching them lose on TV, accompanied by talking head sports analysts with zero allegiance to Nebraska tradition and pride and to whom it’s just another game in a long schedule of out of town layovers in flyover country USA.

So what happened? Somewhere along the line television executives decided watching the all-powerful and nearly impossible to stop Nebraska running game was just not exciting enough to warrant display in time segments where selling underwear, Coca-cola, and beer brought in the advertising dollars critical to television networks. They decided that regardless of how dominating the offense was on the field, they felt they simply couldn’t attract enough viewers to satisfy their corporate sponsors.

Tommie Frazier
Tommie Frazier | Source

We have now entered dawn of the new era attempting to reform the tried and true, vaunted and feared, Nebraska rushing attack into a more diversified television display, a passing game choreographed to please the viewers at home across America sucking down the beverages, pizza, and chips, and eager to impulsively exercise their debit cards on whatever was tracked across the boob tube between plays.

I think many of us are thinking that someone in authority, likely several uppity-smucks controlling the University, decided we should switch our nearly 40 years of constantly threatening the college football world with rushing numbers near the top of the rankings, and constantly on the verge of that sacred national title by way of scaring the beejeebers out of teams across the country, daring anyone to stop our unstoppable wave of crashing backs exploding out the I-formation or the frightening option extravaganza.

Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan, and Harvey Perlman
Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan, and Harvey Perlman | Source

These folks in authority decided that chasing the monied rainbow of television contracts promising untold riches would benefit the University more than winning football games. They succumbed to the greed. They undoubtedly counted on the loyal Nebraska fans standing by the team win or lose, and they were of course correct. They sold out our winning tradition and football excellence reassured in the fact Nebraskans would support the team in spite of mediocre performance on the field.

What they didn’t count on was the fierceness of the fans in not settling for losing seasons when we have (had?) built the greatest football program unmatched anywhere in the country, that the fans wouldn’t easily accept nor stomach for long their acquiescence to losing as the cost of selling t-shirts, life insurance, and having actors talk us into wasting our money on their outrageously overpriced interest credit cards.

In my opinion, if it takes losing ballgames to watch Nebraska on TV, I’d just as soon go back to listening to them win on the radio. Remember there are three things that happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad. Let’s bring back the run, and bring back Nebraska tradition, and maybe even get a little “Frosty.”



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