Obama, McCain: Are You Ready For Some Football?

Ryan HoganCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2008

This Monday night, on the eve of the biggest presidential election of all-time, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are planning to appear on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

If their schedules permit, the candidates will record one-on-one interviews with ESPN’s Chris Berman. Those interviews will air during halftime show of the Washington Redskins-Pittsburgh Steelers game from Washington, D.C.

“We worked with our partners at the NFL to schedule a Monday Night Football game in Washington on this special night, and this presents a unique opportunity for John McCain and Barack Obama to reflect upon the last few months and address a large primetime audience on the final day of the campaigns,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president.

I appreciate the NFL and ESPN for scheduling a game in Washington D.C. the night before Election Day. I appreciate the NFL and ESPN for acknowledging this historic presidential election.

However, I don’t want politics involved with my football.

That’s why I watch football, to get away from politics, to get away from the real world. I watch football to escape reality, not to be enlightened.

Last year, NBC turned off the lights in the studio during their Sunday Night Football halftime show as part of the network’s “going green” week. I was so furious I sent the peacock network a scathing email (they never replied).

I didn’t need NBC Sports preaching to me about the environment. I needed analysis, stats, and highlights.

Of course, it’s obvious why the campaigns and ESPN are cooperating.

The candidates want airtime on the most watched cable series of all-time. MNF’s average weekly television audience is 12.2 million viewers. ESPN wants to create hype and increase viewership by showcasing the two candidates involved in the most followed campaign in our country’s history.

Still, both parties should resist the temptation to exploit fans and refrain from mixing politics with football.

After all, this is a very serious time for our country. We don’t need to be distracted from important matters by politics? Especially when I don’t know who to start in my fantasy league, Santonio Holmes or Santana Moss?

The Redskins Rule
According to Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, for the past 17 president elections: If the Redskins win their last home game prior to Election Day, the party that won the popular vote in the previous election wins the White House; if the Redskins lose, the party that lost the popular vote in the previous election wins.

Steelers win: Obama victory.
Redskins win: McCain victory.