Bears-Packers and Rupert Murdoch Synergy

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Chicago Bears, NFL Football, Sports
Tags: , , ,

Coming into Sunday, I had some bad juju feelings about the Bears-Seahawks game.  I was glad the Bears were playing Seattle as opposed to Philly, but felt dirty that the Packers had to win in order for that to have happened.  Then, Jim Cornelison took the microphone:

At that point, the combo of the crowd exploding and the snow flying removed all my doubt about the Bears and I would’ve bet all of my savings on Julius Peppers performing a Mortal Kombat finishing move on Matt Hasselback by the end of the first half.  (Believe or not, it’s even more of a scene when Cornelison performs at Blackhawks games.  He’s the best there is with the Star-Spangled Banner.)  With the way the Bears were clearly jacked up after that performance, I was hoping that the team would be wise enough to bring Cornelison back for Bears vs. Packers NFC Championship Game.  It’s not hyperbolic to say that this is going to be the single most important sporting event ever to be played in Chicago’s city limits – the Bears and Packers playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl trumps even a Cubs – White Sox World Series.  If there are two things that unite this town, it’s a love of the Bears and a hatred of the Packers.  I want to see the Bears come out on fire after the national anthem even more so next week.

However, a chill went down my spine earlier today.  Fox is televising the game and it is the epitome of a cross-promotional multi-platform leveraging synergisticalifragilisticexpialidocious organization.  In case you’ve avoided the 847,074 promos over the weekend, American Idol has its season premiere this Wednesday with Randy Jackson, J.Lo and the corpse of Steven Tyler.  The latest American Idol winner, Lee DeWyze, happens to be from the Chicago area.  I figured that it was almost too convenient for the Rupert Murdoch Empire.

Sure enough, moments after I had that thought, DeWyze Tweeted that he would performing the national anthem at Soldier Field (although the Bears won’t confirm it officially yet).  DeWyze isn’t terrible (here he is at last year’s NBA Finals), but as an acoustic guitar toting soft-voiced John Mayer knockoff, he’s the antithesis of the booming Cornelison.  I’ve been to midseason Bears-Packers games where both of the teams were medicore and they were still the ugliest and most nasty sniping crowds that I’ve ever seen in person (and remember that I’ve been to over 100 White Sox games, where the crowd has a propensity to attack umpires and coaches).  With the stakes this weekend, let’s just say crowd control might be an issue.  In the words of the late Richard J. Daley, “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

I say this on behalf of Bears fans everywhere: we need every edge possible this Sunday because it is either going to be one of the greatest days in Chicago sports history or touch off the most miserable offseason imaginable.  There’s no in between.  Let’s at least guarantee the day starts out right.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Image from Mike Roemer Photo)

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  1. Sportsman says:

    As long as the team from N.Y. loses (I refuse to say their name, as a Dolphins fan).

  2. Illinifan82 says:

    Bear down! I dont think I have ever been so excited about a football game ever. The fact that we get to play the packers for the –> George Halas <– trophy is like a weird dream/nightmare. I cant wait for the game! I will keep my fingers crossed that our patchwork line hold it together and our D and special teams help ease the pressure on Cutler. Rodgers is a great QB but he WONT have numbers like he had vs Atlanta. I pick Chicago 31 over Green Bay 23.

  3. Illinifan82 says:

    I hope Mad Mike stays balanced in play calling also!

  4. greg says:

    Da Bears.

  5. mushroomgod says:

    Frank, 82,Greg…..We all know what’s going to happen. Cutler is going to throw 2 killer ints, one in the first half and one in then second….that’s what he does. Pack wins 24-10.

    • Illinifan82 says:

      have you watched either Bears-Packers game this year? Rodgers is has not been lights out vs the bears tampa 2. He has been limited to taking underneath throws. Rodgers has as many INTS as TDs vs the bears this year.

      As for the Cutler picks, HOW many times can you blitz your corner before you get burned BADLY on a mismatch. if Cutler can show some poise and deliver a strike before being hit on a corner blitz it would go a long ways to eliminate the main baine of our O-line (pressure coming from the secondary)

  6. jj says:

    Here’s a good one. ESPN doesn’t understand why Michigan fans don’t want to listen to Matt Millen. If any of you guys are reading this blog – he’s basically the most hated man in the state. Get a clue.

  7. duffman says:


    No matter what happens, it is a good time to be an old guy!

    Bears vs Packers

    Steelers vs Jets

    What a great day for good old fashioned cold weather football :)

    I must say tho, my inner child would be to hope and pray for a Bears vs Steelers Super Bowl (at which point my rooting will be for the Steelers, as I like the Bears, but had ties to the Steelers folks back in the 60’s and 70’s, so they will always have my rooting interest first). Really tho, whoever wins with the remaining teams will be a good Super Bowl winner because all 4 teams have a B1G footprint! :)

    • Michael in Indy says:

      Last I checked, the Big Ten doesn’t have any schools in New Jersey or New York.

    • Richard says:

      Only way it could have been better was if it had been Bears-Packers & Steelers-Browns (all 4 old-school, intense rivals, in the B10 footprint, and represent 4 different states to boot). Of course, that would require Cleveland to be good.

  8. Derrick in KC says:

    Cornelison absolutely KILLED it with the anthem, and he should be doing it again this week. Dude had me standing at attention in my living room.
    Go Bears!!!!

    • Brian says:

      Couldn’t disagree more. Sing it as it’s written or don’t sing it at all.

      And the fans need to sing along or shut the F up.

      • jj says:

        Yeah. I have mixed feelings on that one as well. I get what they are doing, but it does seem kind of offensive. I guess I don’t even really understand why they sing it at every game.

        The Hawks anthemns loom even nuttier to me. They also booed the piss out of Chelios on his honorary night a little while back, so I guess he’s officially ours now, which is cool as we like him. His son is a fellow spartan.

      • Clearly you’ve never been to a Blackhawks game. The passion and respect the Hawks fans show for our nation with their cheering and flag waving is truly sping-tingling.

        And Cornelison sings it exactly as it was written. He drug it out a little bit at the end because clearly the timing was off on the fly over; he never does that at a Hawks game.

        • jj says:

          I never have been there (either the old or the new). I’ll give you the passion, now that the team is good and people actually show up, which was not the case for a very long time. But the respect thing, I’m not 100% sold on (see e.g. Chelios). I can tell you this, as a midwesterner, it is one of only 2 midwest venues I am not sure I would feel 100% comfortable going into with an opposition logo on me. The shoe being the other. Not saying I wouldn’t; I’d actually like to go to both sometime – perhaps just incognito.

          • The only Hawks game I’ve ever been to was about 1997, a first round playoff against the Avs. It wasn’t a sell out. I’m not talking about the passion for their team, I’m talking about the patriotism on display. Yes, people were cheering wildly. They also brought their own giant American flags that they waved off the upper deck. I’ve never seen before or since such excitement for our national anthem. Maybe it’s not strictly by the book but it sure gave me goose bumps.

          • @jj – Assuming that you’re a Wings fan, I honestly don’t think you have to worry that much going to the United Center. There’s always a relatively large contingent of transplanted Wings fans that attend every Hawks-Wings game, including one of my best friends. Heck, when the Hawks were terrible a mere 3 years ago, I went to a Hawks-Wings game where the crowd was legitimately 75% pro-Detroit. Granted, it’s different now that the Blackhawks are playing well again, but it’s never again going to be the atmosphere where fans are out for blood like they were in the old Chicago Stadium. What I’ve heard of visiting the Shoe, though, isn’t pretty.

          • Richard says:

            My thought was that visiting new Comiskey in rival colors probably would be more dangerous than attending Blackhawks home games in opposing colors…..and I remember a few people I know from UM who reported visiting Ohio Stadium; they were rather shocked by the hatred.

        • Brian says:

          So he sings it exactly as written, except he didn’t this time (and he did more than just drag out the end)? This performance is the only one under discussion, so he’s 0-1.

          It is not respectful to cheer during the anthem. It is a violation of the official protocol (United States Code, 36 U.S.C. § 301). You should be at attention, facing the flag and saluting as appropriate (civilian – hand on heart, military – salute), and singing is optional.

          • Dude, I’m all for tradition and singing the anthem straight, but you really need to lighten up. He dragged out two lines because the fly over was late. What does the official protocol say about the military not being able to get their fighters there on time??

          • @Brian – I posted this on the other thread – we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this. A quote from the one person in America that pretty much has earned the final say on this issue:

            “To be able to stand on the ice and hear the national anthem … and hear the reaction of the crowd and feel the rumble and see the American flag just waving in all of its glory at the top of the stadium was truly incredible… This is the only place that I’ve actually seen them cheer for the anthem and I didn’t know how I’d feel about that. Standing down there on the ice, I thought it was great. Everyone has opinions, I guess.”

            – Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta, first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, on being honored before the Blackhawks game on December 15, 2010



          • jj says:


            That’s hilarious

          • Brian says:


            First, you clearly are not all for singing the anthem straight since you’re defending not singing it straight.

            Second, just because you hate America doesn’t mean everyone else does too. (Kidding, in case that isn’t obvious). I never said this was a big deal. All I said was that I couldn’t disagree more when you said he did a great job with the anthem. Doing the wrong thing is not commendable just because some people like it. The singer is changing the song, and I don’t support it. The Chicago fans are breaking the law, and I don’t support it.

            Third, if you think all he did was stretch the last two lines then you don’t know the original song very well.

            Fourth, tough crap for the military. You don’t wait for them. The organizer screwed up by starting the anthem too soon.


            (response in both threads)

            He’s wrong, you’re wrong and Chicago is wrong. You don’t have to like the law, but it is the law.

          • Richard says:


            There’s nothing anywhere that says you have to sing the national anthem (or any song) with military precision except your own curmudgeonly tastes.

          • jj says:

            Brian would make a sweet prison guard. Just sayin.

          • Brian says:


            I never said or implied that the anthem had to be sung a certain way. I said I don’t like it when people don’t sing it straight, and certainly wouldn’t call it a great job.

          • Richard says:

            You said he was “doing the wrong thing”. If that isn’t implying he should be (or shouldn’t be) singing the anthem a certain way, I don’t know what would be.

          • Brian says:


            That was also about the fans. And doing anything I disagree with is doing something wrong, pretty much by definition.

  9. loki_the_bubba says:

    Dear Lord,

    Please give me a Bears v Steelers Super Bowl.


  10. I too was terrified going into Sunday, and Cornelison was the perfect man to get the crwod into it. Too bad FOX is going to cram their cross-marketing down our throats, but I guess they write the checks so they can do what they want.

    Maybe Cornelison can learn to sing Bear Down real quick and break it out during the first media tim out???

  11. Alan from Baton Rouge says:


  12. Dcphx says:,0,641557.story

    Feel better frank. AmericanIdol pushed to halftime show. Cornelison to sing National Anthem (at the Bears insistence apparently)

    • zeek says:

      “Officials said ESPN has guaranteed the $300 million, with 82.5 percent, or $247.5 million, earmarked for the university. IMG is assured 17.5 percent, or $52.5 mlllion.

      Although UT’s share works out to $12.4 million a year on average, payments will fluctuate somewhat. Powers said UT is assured about $10 million a year for the first five years or so. Depending on the network’s profits, UT and IMG could realize additional income.”

      This stabilizes the Big 12 pretty much for as long as Texas wants to keep it alive. Even though Scott says the Pac-16 is compelling, there’s no real reason for Texas to consider it with this kind of media deal.

    • Brian says:

      Yes, but only $247.5 million for TX with the rest to IMG ($12.4M/per year average). Plus, TX is giving half the money to academics for the first five years (unknown split after that). So it’s more like $5 million per year for the first 5 years before starting to escalate. Not chump change, but not the $15 million it sounds like at first.

      • Richard says:

        Huh? Money to academics isn’t money? So if B10 schools give $5M of it’s total $22M conference take to academics, do we start saying the B10 payout is $17M?

        Oh, and $12.4M is pretty close to $15M.

        • Brian says:

          The only relevant money in terms of CFB is athletic department money. The academic money is great for TX but nobody is discussing academic budgets here.

          12.4 may be close to 15 (< 5/6), but it's closer to 10. Would you object to someone classifying it as $10M per year? Neither is very accurate.

          The net result is that the athletic department is making an extra $5M to start, not the $15M that the headline implies. That's good money, it's just not as big as it sounds at first. Not sure why you have a problem with that.

          • Alan from Baton Rouge says:

            Brian – $5mm/yr is a little more than what LSU is making with Cox, and less than what Florida makes with the Sunshine Network.

            This deal sound great for the school, but it doesn’t sound like a game-changer for the Athletic Department.

          • Brian says:

            Exactly, Alan. By choice they have limited it to a fairly normal revenue stream. If athletics kept the whole $10+ million it would be a different story.

          • Richard says:


            However, the football budget isn’t the only relevant component to a school president. You don’t seem aware that athletic departments pass surpluses back to the school (or get subsidies from the school) in all schools. You don’t think that the president of Texas, ND (or any other school) when considering joining a conference, independence, or a TV/media deal wouldn’t care about extra money for the academic side? Again, if B10 schools pass $5M of their $22M annual conference payout to the academic side (and I know that several B10 schools actually pass back more than that in surpluses), would you start saying that the B10 schools only get $17M?

          • Brian says:


            I’m not as ignorant as you seem to think, but thanks.

            If we were all presidents, then we’d be discussing total budgets. Of course the $5 million is important to the president, especially in this economy, but it is still a tiny fraction of his budget (~$2 billion for ’10-’11). Since we’re CFB fans discussing CFB, though, the $5 million going to academics is largely irrelevant, especially when discussing a new revenue stream for the school.

            The main concern is how this deal would impact the contentment of the Big 12 schools relative to Texas, and only Texas will care about the $5 million. You could use it as a minor point for Texas to consider in terms of conference alignment, but the money is not big enough to trump the bigger picture issues the president would consider.

            If B10 schools contractually passed the money to academics, yes only the $17 million would be relevant here. But we’re talking about the size of a new revenue stream for the athletic department and how that could impact the rest of the Big 12.

          • m (Ag) says:

            This deal does give other schools political cover to look at other situations. And yes, money that the Longhorns put towards academics does count. They were almost certainly going to be putting money back into the university anyway (probably more than $5 million) so this just seems a meaningless statement to mollify the public.

            Now, only Oklahoma and A&M have a chance of bettering their situation (unless the Big Ten looks to Missouri again), so we’ll see what happens. Both of those universities will put any excess monies back into the university. If they could get a $10 million dollar a year boost, it would be substantial.

          • Bullet says:


            Texas in recent years has generated significantly more revenue than any other school. You can only spend so much on your existing sports and Texas isn’t going to try to add another 10 sports to have a program like Ohio St. But they do have those resources if they need them.

          • Brian says:


            Yes, I agree with everything you just said. Did you think I disagreed with some part of that?

          • Richard says:


            So basically, what people are saying is that making a distinction between whether the new money is going to academics or athletics is immaterial.

          • Brian says:


            You can all say what you want. You’re welcome to be wrong.

            If we were discussing other issues, the total would be relevant. But we’re not, so it isn’t. Just like the money going to IMG also isn’t relevant here.

      • Bullet says:

        Reading the article, they are just committing the athletics department to giving $5 million to academics, which is consistent with what they have given in recent years. The non-athletic value is zero stand-alone and its only projected to be about 3 hours a day. So its $10 million guaranteed 1st 5 years with $12.4 average over the contract in addition to the $10 million from IMG in the separate contract. Texas is getting $22.4 on top of its Big 12 contract. It will be quite satisfied to stay in the Big 12.

        The 20 year term is significant. ESPN is tying up Texas. They would have to be bought ought if Texas were to join the B10 and its Fox run BTN or the P12 with its own Fox run network (as seems likely but not certain). And Texas has no interest in being associated with the SEC due to academic snobbery (I’ll say it nicely for the SEC fans reading) as well as the SEC’s boosters attitudes toward recruiting and rules.

    • Red says:

      the real interesting part of this is the IMG part. If IMG is selling it’s Radio and Stadium ad part to ESPN as well, than this isn’t all that amazing of a deal at all.

  13. HerbieHusker says:


  14. Playoffs Now says:

    A potentially huge element of the ESPNUT deal is being overlooked, the Texas high school portion of the channel:

    ESPN has already dabble in HS football, and Texas is a goldmine heartland of such. If ESPNUT becomes the state high school channel, that’s both a huge recruiting bonus for UT and more potential content for ESPN. ESPN will build an Austin studio with a staff of 50-100, could be a potential site for a recruiting news staff. OU wants to form a similar channel, so what if ESPN creates channels with say USC and U.FL? Footholds to potentially dominate recruiting info and reporting, with multiple HS games per week for their various ESPN channels.

    BTW, if anyone wants to go off on how unfair it is for one school to have their own channel, please note that originally U.TX pitched this as a Lone Star Network with aTm as co-owners. The Ags foolishly turned down the opportunity, leaving the Horns to pursue it alone. So now U.TX will reap the windfall while aTm bitterly cries. Methinks their AD Bill Byrne would have also passed on the Louisiana Purchase.

    But could there be unintended consequences? The SEC door appears closed shut, but could aTm move to the BEast? That would nail down the Texas markets, how much would it increase BEast $? Enough to approach B12 money for aTm? Would a pay cut be worth it to get out of the Horns’ shadow, in a conference where they have a better chance of excelling in (TCU notwithstanding?) Why wouldn’t the politicians let aTm leave, it shouldn’t kill the B12 if BYU can simply replace them. Lots of the old assumptions of why the P16 won’t happen don’t necessarily apply here.

    Not a prediction, just throwing out food for thought. But given the complete meltdown of all things Aggie today, the Arch Duke may have been shot.

    • Richard says:

      Aggies may not have to take a paycut if they’re hellbent on getting out of UT’s shadow. I’d wager the BE would offer TAMU close to half of the new league’s TV payout just to get them. I’m not sure A&M really wants to escape UT, however.

      • @Richard – I’m sure a lot of A&M alums and fans would like to escape UT. The school’s leadership, on the other hand, is a different matter.

      • m (Ag) says:

        I think we’d like to escape the Big 12, though we’d also like to continue playing the Longhorns.

        I don’t see any way joining the Big East as a full member makes sense for A&M.

        In the grand tradition of off the wall ideas on this blog, I could see A&M going independent in football and joining the Big East in non-football sports.

        Now, it’s really unlikely to happen, but if Fox was serious about moving big into college sports, A&M would make a nice supplement if they get a Big Ten and Pac 12 package. They could promise A&M, say, 4-5 national football games on Fox or FX, with the other games at least on Fox Sports Southwest in Texas. They could also buy the rights to A&M’s other sports that aren’t covered by the Big East contract for FSS.

        A&M would not get as much money as the Longhorns, but they could be competitive. Almost as important, they would improve their exposure nationally and in Texas.

        The Big East would get value for their non-football package. It would make a lot of geographic sense as well. Teams could play a 2 game Texas trip at TCU and A&M one year, then not play in Texas for a year or 2.

        • Richard says:

          I don’t see why the BE would want TAMU without football. TAMU basketball isn’t anything special, and TAMU certainly isn’t ND.

          • m (Ag) says:

            It wouldn’t affect the viewers they get in most of the country, but it would make the Big East package much more appealing in Texas, which matters a lot.

          • Richard says:

            Without football? I doubt it.

          • Brian says:

            Agreed, Richard. The last thing the BE wants is an 18th school and still needing to add more football programs. What if Villanova says no to football? They have to add a 19th school?

            The only way the BE wants TAMU is if it gets football. The BE would be happy to let the rest of TAMU’s sports be independent.

  15. Playoffs Now says:

    More B12 profiles in courage:

    Texas Tech drops TCU from their fall schedule, despite still have an open non-conference date.

    • Brian says:

      A typical SEC move from Tommy Tuberville. The worst thing is that they waited so long to drop it. If ESPN doesn’t help TCU find a game, they’ll be stuck with a crappy team.

      I like that the MWC is going to vote on switching the TCU/BSU game to BSU for schedule balance reasons. BSU was supposed to just replace Utah in the existing schedule, but apparently that isn’t fair somehow. Payback for leaving sucks.

  16. gobucks1226 says:

    Frank, any thread coming about how this new ESPNUT channel could affect the realignment landscape when the Big Ten and Big 12 TV contracts come up for bid?

  17. Michael in Indy says:

    From that same article:

    “Texas Tech… opted to keep its games against New Mexico and Nevada and drop TCU.

    Of course they did. Way to man up, Tech. You don’t have to face Nebraska anymore but get games against Kansas and Iowa State every year now, yet you still feel the need to keep one of the worst teams in all of D-1 instead of TCU.

    Sure does stink for TCU. Boise State replaced Utah on their schedule, but TCU still has to replace the BYU game with a non-conference team, and now they have to find a replacement for Texas Tech as well.

  18. Bullet says:

    Too much equity in NFL, especially NFC. 10 different NFC champs in 10 years and 11 in 13. Everyone would guess Detroit would be one of the 5, but Dallas, SF, Washington and Minnesota? Those 4 won 21 of the 26 NFC titles from 70 season through 95. And the Packers won for the 1st time since 96 and 97. The other 10 won the 12 titles from 98-09, with only the Rams and Giants winning twice.

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