Falcons-Packers: Is good football all you got?

Fri, Jan 14

Dear Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers,

A star quarterback in his prime. An up-and-coming counterpart playing with a cool-handedness that belies his age. Two explosive attacks. Two solid defenses. Two of the best teams in the NFL, squaring off in what figures to be a well-played, evenly matched playoff contest.

Mike Smith
AP Photo/Dave MartinC'mon Mr. Falcons Coach, let's shake it up a bit.

Seriously, is that all you have to offer?

Look, I don't know if you've been paying attention to anything save game plans and video breakdowns, but here's the deal: Pro football has entered its baroque, it used to be about the music, man! period. Which is to say, just putting a competent, hard-workin' product on the field while letting your play speak for itself is not enough. Not even close, really.

Well, provided you want the rest of us to pay attention.

Personal, WWE-esque call-outs. Schoolyard-style taunting. He-said, he-said back-and-forth. Graphic -- figuratively and literally -- T-shirts. Likening football games to WWIII and Armageddon. Such is the currency of the modern media age, and while forward-thinking franchises like the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets -- honestly, it's only a matter of time until "@#$@$" Rex Ryan Says" becomes a Twitterverse phenomenon -- are jumping in like early Verizon iPhone adopters, you're still lugging around one of those brick-sized cell phones last seen in "Wall Street."

Simply being professional and skilled isn't going to cut it.

You need a gimmick. A grabber. Something shiny the rest of us can blog about, yell about and then forget, because there's already something shinier coming down the 24/7 blog-yell-repeat news cycle pike. May we suggest Matt Ryan growing his hair long? Or Aaron Rodgers comparing this weekend's game to the War of 1812 taking place during the Battle of Endor? Or having Atlanta's coach -- you know, what's-his-name, the guy with the headset -- take out a half-hour infomercial declaring his undying animosity for both bratwurst and Midwest American cheese products?

Can you sell yourselves to Jerry Jones? Have LeBron James tweet about you? Sign Brett Favre to your playoff roster?

Understand: We're all for athletic virtue being its own reward. Only that can be kind of dull. No offense. So stir things up. Get crazy. Better yet, get fake crazy, like Rex's get-my-fainting-chair-I-have-the-vapors outrage over Tom Brady's sideline pointing. We eat that up, too. Just do something. Make us believe that there's a game this weekend beyond New England-New York and Baltimore-Pittsburgh.

Hey, there are only three games this weekend, right?


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