Whomever decides what NFL games we see in the Triangle ain’t from ’round these parts

redskinsfalconsLast week, someone with WRAL/WRAZ decided that people in the Triangle rather see the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Cincinnati Bengals than the Washington Redskins vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. This week, someone decided that we’d rather see the Seattle Seahawks vs. the New York Giants rather than the Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons.

In addition, someone decided that we’d rather see the New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams than the Green Bay Packers vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Packers-Cowboys!? Did you hear how the Packers won that game late 37-36? Too bad you couldn’t see it on local TV.

Whomever is making the decisions ain’t from around these parts – or either they are simply going with their personal preferences because anyone from the Triangle area knows that people here would rather watch the Redskins, win or lose, than any of those teams.

For years the Redskins were shown each week on North Carolina stations. In fact the Redskins – before the days of the Falcons and the Florida teams – were known as the Team of the South. Each year there used to be a “North Carolina Day” in Washington where a high school band from NC played at halftime of a game and the governor of North Carolina was in attendance. Those on each team from North Carolina were singled out and photographed together.

The argument could be that since Charlotte has a team now that people don’t care about the Redskins here. Well, facts don’t prove that out. The Redskins still have a presence on local radio. Plus, a DirecTV study just a couple of years ago listed the Raleigh/Durham area as having more Redskins fans than any other market in the country (except the DC market of course).

When asked online about the decisions, the response from WRAL/WRAZ was “we air games with potential playoff implications over games of regional interest.”

Well, the Seahawks-Giants game wasn’t exactly a game with playoff implications. The Giants are out of it and the Seahawks are in. Ok, so the Seahawks quarterback is former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson. But that trumps 50+ years of Redskins tradition here? Plus, Wilson’s last team was Wisconsin, not NC State.

While the previous week’s Bengals-Colts game had playoff implications, the Chiefs would argue that their game with the Redskins had playoff implications for them. That game – especially with many big plays in the snow – was at least as interesting as the Bengals two-touchdown win over the Colts, which wasn’t really even that close as the Colts scored late.

And to choose the Saints-Rams over the Packers-Cowboys? The Rams, despite playing well against the Saints, don’t have a chance at the playoffs while the Saints were in win or lose. Meanwhile both the Packers and the Cowboys are fighting for a playoff spot. Plus, it’s Packers-Cowboys. That’s almost like not showing the Redskins-Cowboys game because Arizona is facing Detroit in a game with playoff implications.

I suppose the thinking was that Panthers fans would be interested in the Saints game because a Saints’ loss could help the Panthers get the division lead (but only if the Panthers also defeat the Saints next week). Plus, the Panthers were playing at the same time on their sister station. I don’t think you air a game just so Panthers fans can switch over during commercials to see the score. Besides, the scores run continuously on the screen during all games.

If I had to guess the rankings of the interest from local fans, especially in years when Charlotte’s Panthers aren’t good, there are several teams that would rival the Panthers in number of fans. Not only are there a great number of local fans of the Redskins, Cowboys, Packers, Patriots and Steelers, for instance, their fervency is greater than most Panthers fans in this area. Not sure if it’s because the Panthers are still relatively new and people don’t switch allegiances easily but it just is.

A new generation of young fans in the Triangle likely are following the Panthers but they are statistically less likely to watch the games. Studies show the young kids are playing NFL video games more than they watch the actual games.

I’m not sure how many Falcons fans there are here but it is a regional team and surely has more followers than the St. Louis Rams. In fact, the DirecTV survey showed that the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC / Asheville, NC market is the Falcons top out of market area.

But as it turns out even the beer-bellied football fan who watches whatever game is on would have preferred to see a 27-26 Redskins-Falcons game determined by a failed two-point conversion in the final seconds than a 23-0 Seahawks shellacking of the Giants.

Last week, I asked WRAL/WRAZ if they would share their ratings. I wanted to see how well their decisions were received but I got no response.

By the way, WNCT in Greenville, just to our east, also aired the Seattle-New York game rather than the Skins-Falcons but WNCT did show the Redskins-Chiefs game rather than the Colts-Bengals game the previous week. Perhaps the benching of RG3 entered into their decision this week, not sure.

But I do know fans of the Triangle’s most popular teams better plan on going to sports bars or getting DirecTV Sunday Ticket because the “big-city,” nationally minded folks at WRAL/WRAZ just don’t get it.