NFL opener creating the wrong kind of fuss

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- It just ain't the way it's done down here.

In an effort to make the opening game of the 2010 NFL season this Thursday between the visiting Vikings and the hometown Saints an all-Hollywood production number, the NFL and NBC are trying too hard -- and stepping on a lot of toes.

It's so mucked up you might even think they consulted the deep thinkers at Rogers Broadcasting who brought you the whole Sportsnet One mess.

They are building a mammoth stage down at Jackson Square, one so big it has kicked out local artists who have set up shop there for decades over to the other side of the park. Because the concert featuring the Dave Matthews band and the 'I Can't Sing a Lick' Taylor Swift, is of course not a free event, they've even asked the local eating and drinking establishments across the street to close their businesses.

The locals told them to "Stuff it" -- they would stay open and only close if they were provided serious compensation. The TV types backed off.

If NBC and the NFL could get their way they'd probably want the city of New Orleans to stage a mock Mardi Gras event for their TV package that will show what a party city New Orleans really is and how the fans are so in to it.

It's so stunning to think that they believe they'd have to make it up.

Hey folks, it's already genuinely there and in New Orleans it's all about the spirit of the moment which makes all the we'll-jam-this-down-their-throats phoniness of the planned events so out of character.

Here it's about spontaneity, not forced rehearsal.

In Tuesday's edition of the Times-Picayune, features editor Mark Lorando penned an open letter to Who Dat Nation.

It read in part: "With all respect to the NFL ... a victory party for a team that is 0-0? Really? Isn't that like going on your honeymoon before your first date?

"Nice gesture, but the reality is that on game day, True Dats only want to be one of three places: in front of a TV, inside the Dome, or outside the Dome, wishing they were inside.

"Same goes for the pre-game concert in Jackson Square. Nothing against Taylor Swift and the Dave Matthews Band. It's just that these sorts of slickly produced made-for-TV concerts, with their crowd-control wristbands, lack some essential New Orleans mojo.

"We're not a follow-the-script kind of town. We're an onside-to-start-the-second-half-of-the-Super-Bowl kind of town. Do something crazy and unexpected and let a little magic happen. No wristbands required."


Videos

Photos