NFL Magazine: Just a Dumb Idea from a Digitally-Dumb League

Josh Zerkle@JoshZerkleChief Writer IIIDecember 22, 2011

I remember watching an interview with a man who had just bought a newspaper several years ago.

By "bought a newspaper," I don't mean that he dropped 75 cents in that little mechanical rack and pulled out a slab of off-white broadsheets. He bought the publisher, the offices, that sort of thing.

When asked why he thought newspapers would be a legitimate investment, he replied with something to the effect of, "You can go to the bathroom with a radio or TV under your arm. Until that happens, people are going to continue reading newspapers."

As anyone who has bought a smartphone in the last five years can tell you, that ship has sailed. And someone forgot to tell the National Football League.

The league, perhaps not content with this whole Internet thing, launched NFL Magazine earlier this month. The league's monthly offering promises to "Go where no other magazine can." That's great, if you're still reading magazines.

Whoa whoa whoa...Warren Sapp can write?!
Whoa whoa whoa...Warren Sapp can write?!Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Most of us have moved onto websites, blogs and whatever links we can get from the people we follow on Twitter.

Unless one is delivered to my home, I don't give a magazine time of day. Magazines are like grandparents—they take up too much of your time and prevent you from discovering more interesting things.

At least a magazine will never mention in front of your family how much weight you've gained. That is, if you don't count that two-page advertorial from Jenny Craig.

The mag's premiere offering features Tim Tebow on the cover, which leaves one to wonder if the magazine was created simply to ride out the wave of Tebow Mania that has infected the league for the better part of two months.

It includes commentary from studio folk like Boomer Esiason, Warren Sapp and Andrea Kramer. It's great to finally see voices so underrepresented in the NFL's other media getting a chance to share their thoughts. If only those people had airtime in other media to deliver their views.

Are you watching an MVP performance in progress?
Are you watching an MVP performance in progress?Joe Robbins/Getty Images

But one thing the magazine does borrow from the Internet is an eye for trolling. The mag listed—seriously—Peyton Manning as their MVP for the season.

If you've been living under a rock for four months, Manning hasn't played a single down in 2011, and until last weekend his team hadn't won a single game. The logic is nothing new: Peyton's absence was so crippling to the Indianapolis Colts that no other player could possibly be so valuable to his team as Peyton was to his.

This just strikes me as dumb, but let's go with it to prove a point. Could Peyton Manning legitimately be considered "most valuable" in a season where he demonstrated no value at all?

Let's answer a question with a question: Would you consider the Archduke of Austria the MVP of World War I? Should Kanye West have been considered for Album of the Year in 2009? If you were out sick for the last month at your job, would you walk back in and demand a raise?

I didn't think so.

Maybe they do a better job of explaining their argument in the magazine. I wouldn't know—I'm not picking one up unless I'm stuck in an airport with dead battery in my Android, and maybe the NFL is content to pick up that business.

I could see Daniel Snyder basking in the synergy when walking through his Gulfstream jet with a copy of NFL Magazine sitting in the leather seat across from him, with Tim Tebow staring back at him, biceps flexed.

That makes a little sense to me. I honestly don't know where anyone else would bother reading the damn thing.

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