Among the NFL’s new additions to the 2012 Super Bowl weekend is tonight’s NFL Honors show. The league’s major year-end awards—MVP, Coach of the Year, etc.—will be presented in a made-for-TV ceremony hosted by Alec Baldwin.
It’s easy enough to understand why the potential award recipients would jump at the chance to be a part of Super Bowl weekend (especially if, like Rookie of the Year favorite Cam Newton, they’re still several years away from playing in it). Much less obvious is why TV audiences would choose to sit through the proceedings.
For all that Baldwin has the broad-spectrum fan base and outsized ego that seem to go with hosting gigs, he’s certainly not going to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. The awards themselves are repetitive (two distinct Rookie of the Year honors on top of the Offensive and Defensive versions) and the recipients will be decidedly out of their element.
Most awards shows—Oscars, Emmys, Tonys—present their trophies to people whose job is to be charismatic and watchable. Tonight’s awards will go to people whose job is to throw a tight spiral or collapse a pass pocket, skills that don’t often translate into engaging podium presence.
Yes, there will be some entertaining highlights of the players in action (much like the movie or TV clips one would find at other such ceremonies), but the night itself is about the players in the seats and at the microphone. That’s not what these guys are good at, and not what fans pay to see them for.
Baldwin, opening act Lenny Kravitz and the producers will do what they can, but the very nature of these awards is going to make them must-flee TV.