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Cameras in NFL Locker Rooms


RUSH: We're talking about the NFL a lot lately.  The NFL has a problem, a standard marketing problem. It's not the 75 player arrests and not the players ganging up and murdering people. None of that.  The NFL has a problem.  The in-home experience is so good now with high-definition, sometimes 3D TV -- with the bathroom right nearby when you have to throw up, the kitchen right nearby when you need the snacks and stuff that are gonna make you throw up when you get drunk.

It's all climate controlled in your house. You don't have to go to the stadium to enjoy the game.  So what they're trying to do in the NFL is ramp up the in-stadium experience.  Because people pay a lot of money for those seats.  It's amazing how much just a family of four pays, and what the average seat in a football stadium costs.  They're trying to ramp up the experience 'cause it's not climate controlled (unless you're at a dome), and you don't have the benefit of TV announcer color commentary to explain to you what you just saw, and the replay system.

While they have replay boards and big scoreboards and big video screens, sometimes they don't show replays as fast and as in detailed a fashion as they do at home on TV.  And sometimes with so many people gathered in one place, your cell phone shuts down. Your ability to text people or call people is hampered.  So the NFL is taking a number of steps to improve all of this. 

They're not lowering prices.  Well, some teams are in a minuscule way, but they're not attacking it that way.  They're building bigger scoreboards, bigger video boards.  And one of the things that they're gonna do, is they're gonna put cameras in the locker rooms so that what goes on in the locker room will be exclusively viewable by fans in the stadium.


RUSH:  The story is in the Wall Street Journal.  "The NFL locker room is considered one of the mysterious frontiers of sports. In movies and legends, it's where the secrets come out, where the players reveal their true character and where fights go down, not to mention the words of spine-tingling inspiration that come pouring out of godlike coaches."

So this year the NFL "is taking unprecedented steps to please clamoring fans and reporters, all of whom are presumed to be dying to see what goes on in the locker room."   Teams will now be "required to install cameras in the locker room, for all in the stadium to view," because they're trying to ratchet up the in-stadium experience, make it unique, to get people to come out there instead of staying in the comforts of their homes. 

"Players have spent the last few weeks publicly and privately lamenting this loss of privacy. But really --" I don't know who wrote this, but it's in the Wall Street Journal.  I'm reading what somebody wrote here, it's an opinion piece.  "But really, they are concerned this move might reveal one of football's most guarded secrets: The modern NFL locker room is about as interesting as an insurance company call center.

"NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, 'fans have called the NFL the ultimate reality show. For those fans in the stadium, we're providing them with even more access.' McCarthy added the league is not expecting a 'win one for the Gipper' or a Lombardi run through the walls speech, but rather we want to provide an inside look as the players get ready to come out to the field."

Now, they talked to a bunch of people, John Harbaugh, for example, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who said there's nothing that goes on in there.  This is gonna be one of the most boring things in the world.  There's nothing that happens in a locker room but a bunch of people getting dressed.  There's nothing said in there that's meaningful.  There's nothing done in there, maybe some horsing around, but there's nothing in there that happens. 

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I used to work for the Kansas City Royals, and I've been in locker rooms. I've been in many, many locker rooms, and they're not as boring as this story and some in the league that are not happy with the move would have you believe.  There is interesting stuff that goes on.  It would fascinate you.  I think it's gonna stop.  You know, one of the things about cameras -- and I know these cameras are gonna be ubiquitous, and eventually people forget they're there.  But you take your average street corner anywhere, just any place, and people are coming and going, and living and doing whatever they do.  You put a camera there that they know is there, and it changes everything.  The last thing you get is reality. 

The reality TV shows are not reality.  The only difference in a reality TV show and a regular TV show is that the writers on the reality show are not union.  That's it.  I've been on a reality show.  A reality show ought to take whatever length of time it takes to do whatever you're doing.  The reality show I was on took two days to tape a 22-minute show.  There are takes, there are retakes, there are overdo's, there are changes in the lighting, every number of things.  You put a camera anywhere -- you know this as well as I do -- you put a camera anywhere and people start playing to it.  And if they're rank amateurs and start playing to it, it becomes its own circus. 

Now, the players, knowing that the cameras are there, a bunch of different things are gonna happen, at first.  After a while they'll forget the cameras are there, but at the beginning, they're gonna be aware and some of the players are gonna play to the cameras, try to horse around and take it to the limit, and others are gonna run away and not even be seen on the camera.  Others are going to play pranks.  I imagine one of the many things that will be tried is players trying to take nudity to the edge, 'cause if that happens, I'm sure there's gonna be a delay in the stadium. If somebody does start wandering around that way they can cut it.  But it's all about the league trying to provide things for people in the stadium to get 'em to come out, something there that is not happening at home. 

But the point of this story is the management people trying to say the players, I mean, they're just like boring people.  Just because they've got great athletic skill doesn't mean that they're fascinating people.  They're introverted.  They have their phobias.  That's not altogether true.  But I can tell you what goes on in the locker room is not boring.  It's it's own world.  It's its own universe, and it's a man's world, which is another thing that, you know, men's anything in our culture is not valued right now.  And it's not wussy man's world in there.  This is gonna be fascinating to me.



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