Re: Replay of Dirty Incognito vs Antonio * Suspended all preseason and season opener
The nature of the media is to generate emotion by elevating people or knocking them down. Bonus ratings when done sequentially to the same person.
Right now, Antonio Smith is the villain, and the national audience is supposed to get mad. "What the hell?! Suspend him five games! Typical dirty Texans!" (I have already read those exact comments).
Emotions then slightly cool, so phase two is to knock down Incognito by rerunning slow motion video of him wrenching Antonio's helmet, while they discuss his history as a dirty player. Even though Incognito's actions were apparent from the beginning, the media didn't acknowledge them during phase one because that would have neutralized anger at Antonio, and anger equals ratings.
Phase three starts with garnering sympathy for Antonio, because how else is a guy going to protect himself if the officials aren't going to regulate dirty players like Incognito? Let's get mad at the officials now. And this Antonio Smith guy is actually quite a character. He calls himself a ninja? That guy's crazy! We all like him now. Maybe the NFL should allow him to play game 1 after all.
The league, being 80% a PR organization, decides that Antonio's appeal has merit, and it totally has nothing to do with public opinion and it totally has everything to do with lapses in officiating.
Fast forward to the season premier of Monday Night Football. What is going to motivate national viewers to stay up to watch the late game? It's the showcasing of the publicly vindicated Antonio Smith and his crazy ninja obsession. That guy's crazy. The media that knocked him down has now elevated him, so people have to watch.
If you think I'm being cynical, then consider how the above narrative benefits both the media and the league. Plus, this is the most interesting story of the pre-season. ACL tears happen every year, but not using a helmet as a weapon. They're going to create layers by reporting it in phases. So don't get mad.