This is how the NFL sees Broncos fans

I’ve written before why I hate Thursday Night Football, mainly because it’s a shameless attempt for the NFL to insert itself into another weeknight just to promote it’s mediocre Network by giving you sub-par game coverage.  The NFL Network, further demonstrating their incompetence, puts together a spot where they show off their coast-bias (NFL Network is based out of LA, where ironically there is no football) against Broncos fans in flyover country.

So apparently Broncos fans are all redneck hillbilly ranchers who can’t drive to save their life.  Thanks, NFL.

At least that commercial got one thing right – you’d have to go to a bar to watch the game, as chances are you don’t get NFL Network at home.

Why Coldplay and Adele are being idiots

Read: Why Coldplay and Adele Aren’t Bringing New Albums to Spotify

If you haven’t used a streaming music service like Spotify or Rdio yet, you’re missing out on where music consumption is heading. The industry is shifting, just like it did at the turn of the century when recording artists had to come to grips with the fact that people weren’t buying complete albums and getting singles – either through Napster and eventually through more legitimate channels like iTunes.

Now a decade into the digital music age, people are moving away from the “ownership paradigm”, where instead of being limited to the songs on your iPod, you can just pay a flat fee or stream whatever you want.  When Pandora first came around, people became happy with having new music to stream – now with services like Spotify you can go a step further and choose a specific song or album.   Personally I’ve come around to this.  Those who know me personally can attest to the level of effort I’ve put towards developing my personal collection, but even I find the appeal in the ability to have any song stream straight to my phone any time I want.

Just like a decade ago, when we had artists who refused to join us in the 21st century (Metallica), you know have artists that are kicking and screaming their way into the streaming era: Coldplay and Adele, who feel that their new albums are too good to simply be streamed.  They can hide behind the notion that their album should be experienced in a certain format or fidelity, but this boils down to one of two things: greed or ignorance.  They think that people should pay more for new music – not unlike how the movie industry is delusional enough to think people are happy to pay full price for a new release rather than rent it.  For their sake, I hope they’re just being ignorant about where the music industry is going and won’t deal with the vitriol people still hold for Metallica.

Adele and Coldplay are kidding themselves if they think the purchase model is competing with streaming models.  The people who don’t purchase their music will do one of two things: steal it or worse – not even listen to it.  In terms of music discovery, people will continue to turn away from the radio and use these streaming services to find something new.  Musicians need to temporarily take themselves out of the “artist” shoes and place their feet in the entrepreneurial shoes.  More and more, recorded music is transitioning from being a product and more towards being a marketing tool to get fans further engaged.  As an entrepreneur, you need to be where your consumers are – and if you’re consciously choosing not to be where people are, they’ll either resent you or ignore you.

“I Hate* Tim Tebow**”

Tebow

“I Hate Tim Tebow”

I Twittered those words last night, sitting in a rain-soaked Mile High Stadium finally fed up with the 18th series of boo’s coming down and the 10th chants of Tebow that started no sooner than halfway through the 2nd quarter of the first game of the 2011 season.  So I posted the following to Twitter:

I hate Tim Tebow – and it’s because of all you jackasses at this game that chant his name. What about him drives you to boo your own team?

So I rang that bell – and I can’t un-ring it. Since then I’ve engaged in some Twitter discussion with Tebow supporters – some of them friends & family – about my comments and what spurred them.  While I can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube, I feel like I need more than 140 characters to explain what I said, and why I wrote what I did:

“I Hate* Tim Tebow**”

* ”Hate” is a strong word, but it’s important to understand Sports Hate vs. Real Hate.  Because of the affiliation nature of sports, you have the ability to hate a player for what they do on the field, or you hate that they’re on a team that you rival.  You don’t hate the person personally, or want anything bad to happen to them or their family – you just don’t want to see them do great in sports at that moment.

** In the case of Tim Tebow, I don’t have a problem with Tim as a player or as a guy. He’s a charismatic athlete who has found success in a conventional game through unconventional ways – it’s easy to understand why people gravitate to him and root passionately for him.  At the same time, Tebow has (unintentionally) bred an aura of mal-content and distrust amongst Broncos fans against the coaches, management and team in general.  Over the years as we have watched the team suffer some fallbacks, it seems that fandom has taken a turn for the worse.  Once unconditional supporters, Broncos fans have now become fickle, ready to turn on their team with a series of boo’s after every bad play.

This is nails on a chalk-board for me.  There are very few exceptions, but generally you should never boo your own team at home! Last night when the game started, I commented to my wife that there was a great sense of energy in the stadium that hasn’t been felt for some time – that all lasted all of 1.5 quarters, when the boo’s rang down amongst the stands after an interception was thrown.  A steady stream of boo’s persisted for the rest of the game, much like the rain that fell throughout the night.  The boo’s then degenerated into chants of “Te-bow, Te-bow” throughout the third and fourth quarter.  In the storied South Stands, fans started to turn on each other, with one fan profanely ripping into a guy for saying Orton should get the benefit of the doubt.

I hate to say it, but last night the Raider fans showed more class towards their team.  It was no surprise that they egged on Broncos fans that chanted for Tebow.  Why not root for the continued fracturing of fanbase of your rival?

I realize Tebow didn’t ask for this (at least not directly – Tebow has no shortage of endorsements, public appearances, and has written memoires at the age of 23).  Tebow didn’t ask to be drafted in the first round. Tebow didn’t ask to play for John Fox and John Elway.  Tebow didn’t ask to sit on the bench while his team is struggling – I get all that.  What I don’t think Tebow fans get though is that putting him in isn’t going to solve all of your problems.  John Fox and his staff have forgotten more about football than most fans know.  As fans we have a right to second-guess the coaches, but in the first game in the first season: the coaches deserve the benefit of the doubt. They feel Tebow isn’t the right guy to play in this situation, we should accept that.  If you don’t agree with that – fine, then don’t cheer Orton – but to boo the guys that put their health on the line to ultimately entertain you – that’s classless.

The problem I have with Tebow is that his presence is turning a segment of Broncos fans into Tebow fans, who couldn’t care less about the state of the team.  All that matters to them is to see their guy play. Nevermind the other 44 players on the team. Nevermind that Tebow is currently the 3rd-string QB after a training camp where he seems to have regressed in his performance.

Orton shares in some of the blame for last night’s loss, but there’s plenty of it to go around. Orton didn’t make the running backs anemic in their 38 yard performance. Orton didn’t commit 6 holding penalties on the offensive line.  Orton didn’t drop passes.  Orton didn’t let the Raiders rush for nearly 200 years last night.  Tebow is not going to make all of this better.

I realize that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to attend home games, and that there are people far more deserving than I that don’t get to go, but it’s not fun going to the games anymore – not because we’re losing, but because being completely infatuated with a single player, the fans have lost sight in what it means to support their team.

Never forgetting.

People far more eloquent than I will write better tributes on the 10th anniversary on September 11, but a song that appropriately sticks in my head is “Tuesday” by Five For Fighting, talking about the stark contrast in our country when we went to bed on Monday, September 10 and Tuesday, September 11.  Two years ago, I wrote some reflections on my thoughts during those two days.

RIP Digsby–you’re dead (and not just to me)

When Digsby came out in 2008, I was a lost refuge in the land of IM. I broke up with Trillian, which at the time was experiencing painfully slow development during a slow Alpha Testing period.  At the time I was in the IM dessert known as Pidgin: a great IM alternative, but ugly interface. Digsby was a breath of a fresh air, combing the ability to keep myself updated on social networks, emails and of course instant messaging.  I was an avid fan of Digsby from the start, turning friends and family into users of the app.  Over the years, Digsby had its fair share of stumbles, the guys developing Digsby had made a great product and had a great relationship with their user community.

DeadDigsby

Unfortunately, like that Indie band that you’ve passionately followed, they became big and were never quite the same. In Digsby’s case, it was acquired by a company called Tagged back in April. In their blog post, Digsby claimed they were going to continue to support Digsby and they were going to determine the long-term plans for Digsby. Over three months later, with virtually no communication from their blog, in their forum or through their Twitter account – let alone any changes to their app – the long-term plans are all too apparent: there are none!

To be fair, they’ve made small bug-fixes whenever MSN changed their protocols, but the straw that’s breaking my fact is that on July 1st Twitter changed their authentication model, which broke the way Direct Messages are retrieved. I’ve submitted a bug and scoured the forums to no avail.  In fact, the only topic that is getting traction on the forum is the “Digsby Dead” topic, where other fans are concluding that Digsby has in fact died.

So Rest In Peace Digsby. You were a great product which I loved, but I’m not going to continue to use a product which is no longer supported.  At least there’s on take-away: you guys gave Trillian a swift kick in the pants and now they’re passing you by. In related news: I am now using Trillian again.

Please, prove me wrong. I’d be happy to come back.