Monday Night Football Fallout Was "Heidi Game" For Mitt Romney

Monday Night Football Fallout Was "Heidi Game" For Mitt Romney
This week was "The Heidi Bowl" for Mitt Romney

It had all come down to this.

Two bitter rivals squared off, with an embattled home team vulnerable to defeat after numerous losses and taking shots from opponents squarely on the chin. The visitor appeared primed to win, ever looking the part as if Hollywood created the perfect sculpture.

The visiting opponent rode a wave of momentum and even the fans of the home team were weary of an impending defeat. Lump after lump to the home team came until a series of fortunate events arrived – and changed the stakes for good.

The home team got its mojo back and scored a touchdown. The visiting team fumbled the ball. The home team instantly returned the giant mistake for a touchdown, winning well beyond the margin of victory expected.

The visiting team in its attempt to get back in the game blew coverage and fumbled a kickoff. The visitor even tried to change strategy only to lose. Why? The visitor never saw what was coming and was blindsided by a superior team and fumbled efforts to get back into the game in the end.

Well, there was a moment the visitor saw what was coming, but everyone who would tune in was glued to a fiasco which overshadowed the contest.

The year was 1968.The visiting team was the New York Jets. The home team was the Oakland Raiders. The fiasco was Heidi, interrupting an entertaining contest to the fury of football fans against the National Football League. Or was it?

The Raiders recovered a fumble for a touchdown to secure a victory against the Jets...but no one saw it. (NFL Films)

The year is 2012. The visiting team is Mitt Romney. The home team is President Barack Obama. The fiasco was Monday Night Football’s replacement referees making the wrong call to cost the Green Bay Packers a game against the Seattle Seahawks igniting fury against the National Football League.

After a long series of tough weeks for the Mitt Romney campaign, including an overseas trip gone wrong, the Todd Akin “legitimate rape” controversy, a dull GOP Convention where Clint Eastwood arguing with an invisible chair received more attention than Romney’s speech, mistimed remarks over Libya, campaign infighting, and discovery of footage of a private fundraiser where Romney criticized 47% of the American population, Romney seemed to become an inevitable vanquished foe.

Romney has sought to redefine himself in Ohio this week. (David Richard / AP Photo)

The very week Romney decided to go to battleground states like Ohio to retool his message and prove he cares about middle class citizens and possibly display a more positive message, his campaign now has a wasted week because the entire news cycle has been dominated by coverage over the NFL Referee Lockout in the NFL.

Next week the news cycle turns to the first presidential debate between Romney and Obama on October 3. Any chance the Romney campaign had to help define Romney to the American public before then has eroded.

Although Romney only has himself and a couple of elephants to blame, I’m sure he’s tossing some blame around to a few zebras as well.


Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney, media personality, syndicated writer, Fortune 500 speaker and peak performance strategist, author, philanthropist, and sports business and law blogger for ChicagoNow. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.

(c) 2012, Exavier Pope

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  • I'll tell Mitt: "If you don't even know what your message is, and you can't control your message, it doesn't really matter."

    As you imply, and other have also on Chicago Now, he lost control of his message by the time of the Republican Convention, not only being upstaged by the Clint empty chair, but not having a message other than "if you regret voting for Obama 4 years ago." As I pointed out to a YR here, Reagan, the great communicator, did not base his speeches on "if you regret voting for Jimmy Carter."

    After all, I don't think that the political junkie media was wall to wall NFL, except that "anti-Union Scott Walker even wants the unionized refs back."

  • Jack,

    The NFL Referee Lockout was on the front page of every paper and website. Every major news program devoted significant amounts to time to it (I watch every political show...other than sports its all I watch).

    No one really cared about politics this week. They cared about the Hail Mary Russell Wilson heaved into the Green Bay end zone and two referees signaling opposing calls.

  • In reply to Exavier Pope:

    Your fellow blogger Richard Davis, who admits to having Swiss bank accounts, and his like have already made up their minds and don't care what Romney's message is. I suppose it is also the case on the other side.

    Romney finally got his tax return out last week. That doesn't seem to have been ignored by the media, but didn't get much analysis either.

    So, if nobody cared, I'm sure that the lockout was marginal in that regard. Maybe it is more like that Illinois and about 30 other states are not in play. Heck, other than the 8th (where I don't live), Congressional candidates haven't even advertised on TV.

  • Keyword Jack: "down ballot"

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