Part 4: NFL Network, Run By Three Stooges, Needs Serious Changes

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Who knew the NFL would actually hire the three Stooges: “Curley” Goodell, “Moe” Bornstein and “Larry” Katz to run the NFL Network in 2003. Courtesy bing images.

Today’s article is part 4, the last in this series I have done on the NFL Network. Obviously I feel very strongly about the NFL Network to do a 4 part story. Today I provide NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with a plan that lays out the drastic changes needed to improve the NFL’s pathetic network which has been a terrible representative of NFL Films, the history of the league and an awful disappointment to NFL fans. At the end of this article are the links for parts 1 through 3 in this series.

The Three Stooges of a different generation: Curly, Moe and Larry and the Three Stooges of this generation: Goodell, Bornstein and Katz are equally clueless about football and what the fans want from the NFL Network. Courtesy bing images.

The Three Stooges Of The NFL Network: Goodell, Bornstein and Katz

Curley, Moe and Larry. Goodell, Bornstein and Katz.  The Three Stooges of two different generations.  As the executive Vice President and CFO of the NFL in 2001 Roger “Curley” Goodell brought in Steve “Moe” Bornstein and Howard “Larry” Katz from ESPN to run the NFL Network which, took to the airwaves in November 2003.  Since then I am astonished over how little it seems Goodell cares about the NFL network which is the most visible representative of his league. I can’t understand how Goodell finds the programming over the past 10 years acceptable? What is acceptable about 9 actual hours a day repeated for another 15 hours? Why would Goodell think anyone would tune in to watch rerun after rerun when there are hundreds if not nearly a thousand more channels to choose from, pay per view, free on-line movies  and DVR’s? Does  Goodell care that people are turning off his network because it is almost unwatchable? Roger Goodell doesn’t need to fix the NFL Network, Goodell has to fix it.

Steve Bornstein as I imagine he would look when he is told that his incompetence running the NFL Network is no longer needed. Courtesy of the NFL and bing images.

By firing Bornstein and Katz it would be like Goodell admitting that their hiring by him was a failure. I doubt that Goodell would want to admit his mistake because his ego is too big to do that. If Goodell were to ever make the decision to terminate Bornstein, most likely Goodell would ask Bornstein to resign with the spin: “it is time to move on” to other endeavors because Bornstein has done such a great job making the NFL Network so successful blah blah blah. Whatever the reasons they want to give, Bornstein needs to go and the sooner the better, preferably right now and that wouldn’t be soon enough. Goodell needs to bring the hammer down on his inept network CEO “Moe” Bornstein and do it fast.


Fire Steve Bornstein And Howard Katz Immediately. The ESPN Shtick Does Not Work In A Film Making Company.

Replace the two “rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin'” stooges with former NFL Films Vice President Phil Tuckett or someone similar. Phil Tuckett won 30 individual Emmy Awards in 30 plus years as a producer/director/cinematographer/writer/editor for NFL Films. Tuckett poured his heart and soul into the company he help build only to leave after 36 years in disgust, calling it a “god awful network” because of what Bornstein and Katz did to it.

Headquarters of NFL Films in Mt. Laurel New Jersey where the NFL Network needs to move. Courtesy bing images and NFL Films.

Move The NFL Network Studios From Los Angeles To NFL Films Headquarters In Mt. Laurel New Jersey Where It Belongs.

In 2002 NFL Films moved its center of operations into a new $45 million dollar 214,000-square foot building that has an entire vacant third floor. The NFL Network was set up in Los Angeles to placate Steve Bornstein. It was reported by Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News in September of 2011 that when the NFL was recruiting Bornstein he made it clear that he and his wife weren’t interested in relocating from LA. Wow, Goodell changed the whole landscape of NFL Films, 40 years worth, for just one person. A colossal mistake that only a stooge would make.

Hire Someone Who Knows And Respects The History Of The NFL And NFL Films To Program The Daily Schedule. Me For Example.

8 to 10 hours a day of the programming should come from the vaults of NFL Films. No more repeat after repeats. There is enough film to not show a repeat for YEARS! The Stooges must not have figured out that most households today have Digital Video Recorder’s that can be programmed to record from anywhere in the world including from a cell phone if need be. There are no need for repeated repeats.

Under CEO Steve Bornstein the NFL Network no longer makes or televises classic shows like this anymore. Bornstein would rather be caught dead than televise an actual real classic show like this. Courtesy NFL Films and bing images.

Let NFL Films Do What They Do Best: Create Transfixing Films

Bring back the slow motion. Bring back the script writing. Take away 90% of the “miked up” garbage we have heard for 10 years now. We need more episodes of shows like “A Football Life” or “America’s Game”. NFL Films rolled out a great idea with a show called “Missing Rings” which is essentially “America’s Game” but about teams that should have won the Super Bowl but failed to. Only 5 episodes ran and they stopped. I wonder who put a stop to that? I could think of 40 or 50 more episodes of “Missing Rings” that could be made.

NFL Films classic show Oilers at Steelers November 9,  1975. Pittsburgh won on a last minute Bradshaw to Stallworth touchdown pass 24-17. Courtesy NFL Films.

Go Back To Old Standards Like “Game Of The Week”

Everyone has highlight shows. They are a dime a dozen. The NFL Networks’ highlight show is no different than any other network. Heck the Stooges network  produces less actual daily shows about the NFL than ESPN, and ESPN covers all sports. It would be no surprise to find that ESPN probably plays more classic NFL Films material than the NFL Network. But that would be because Bornstein and Katz no longer work at ESPN.  In a 2011 Philadelphia Daily News article, Ray Didinger a former Emmy-winning producer and writer who left NFL Films in 2008 said:

"“The term that  used to get kicked back at us was, ‘dinosaur television.’ They’d (Bornstein and Katz) say: “That stuff is dated. Been done before. People have seen it. We’re going to change the way football is presented on television.”                                                                                                                                          It is no surprise Bornstein tried to hire Berman and his Three Stooges shtick away from ESPN. He can’t see past ESPN. If this happened it could have been catastrophic for NFL Films as the NFL Network would have turned into ESPN 5. Courtesy bing images."

What have Bornstein and Katz done that anyone would say is different? Nothing. If Bornstein truly wanted to do something different he would have just stayed with the NFL Films program the way it was. NFL Films was always much different from everyone else. Since Bornstein took over have they become more like ESPN but with not as much NFL coverage.

NFL Films is art, classical music and poetry combined. Tune in any Sunday night to ESPN for the last 25 years and listen to Chris Berman vomit out the highlights with forgettable repetitive music in the background using his weekly infamous Moe, Curly and Larry  “Three Stooges” call:

"“He’s  at the 50, the 40, insert 3 stooges sound, 30, rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’ 20, the 10, touchdown!”"

Wow. Brilliant as in, stooge like.

Drew Pearson filled the void and scored on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Jolly Roger in the 1st quarter of Super Bowl X. Courtesy NFL Films and bing images.

The following is a descriptive excerpt from a classic NFL Films Game of the Week Steelers vs. Cowboys:  taken from the first quarter of Super Bowl X:

Slow motion field level camera shots perfectly fitting the words written by the likes of Phil Tuckett and Ernie Ernst, narrated by the great John Facenda superimposed over the awe-inspiring symphonic music of Sam Spence, all united to accent Facenda’s voice and the action taking place on the field:

"“On the very next play from the Pittsburgh 29, the Cowboys multiple movements created confusion in the Steeler defense…… Staubach’s play fake and Dallas’s decoys cleared the middle. Drew Pearson filled the void…gathered in a perfect pass from Jolly Roger…… and was free……… (Sam Spence music fully accented)………The Steelers were stunned. It was the only time they permitted a touchdown in the first quarter the entire season……A total of 17 games. The Cowboys had made it look easy.”"

NFL Films has been unable to find their own voice since the death of their great voice: Harry Kalas in 2009. Courtesy bing images.

Find A New Voice

NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, formerly of ESPN with star of CBS’s “The Good Wife” actor Josh Charles. Charles fills in admirably as a voice for NFL Films. Courtesy bing images.

Harry Kalas, the legendary voice of NFL Films for 33 years passed away in 2009. Since Kalas’s death and Bornstein’s hatchet job on the company, NFL Films does not appear to have a singular consistent voice and often uses actors like Tom Sellick, Bruce Willis, Martin Sheen and Josh Charles to narrate their shows. While all are excellent narrators NFL Films still needs a voice that belongs to them.