Wednesday, October 8, 2008


If you watched any of ESPN's pre-game show before the Saints/Vikings game Monday night, you might have seen the results of their online poll that asked visitors to vote on who they thought would win the game. Only four states didn't believe that the Saints would win: South Dakota (which was split 50/50), North Dakota, and, of course, Minnesota, were all pro-Viking.

The fourth state was Oklahoma, which the analysts attributed to the presence of Oklahoma alum Adrian Peterson. I thought that made good enough sense, at least for one night and one game. Given a choice between rooting for your favorite college player or a team that you had no particular tie to (New Orleans), why not root for the college guy?

But it looks like it's not just a one-game trend and that ESPN isn't the only network to notice that NFL fans in Oklahoma still carry AP's torch. It seems that even the networks that broadcast the games are taking note of Peterson's popularity in his home state and are doing their part to convert the "Okies" to "Norsemen."

It started when I looked at the NFL Distribution Maps site for this week's games. Detroit/Minnesota isn't exactly a prime-time matchup, so it didn't surprise me to see that the game would only be covered in the upper Midwest -- and most of Oklahoma? Huh.

Let's flip back to week 4, the last time the Vikings played on Sunday. There it is again. Vikings/Titans are seen in the upper Midwest, Tennessee...and Oklahoma.

Week 3 against Carolina
. Again, OK gets the game.

The week 2 matchup against Indy was seen throughout most of the nation, including about 3/4 of Oklahoma, with the other 1/4 getting Kansas City's game. And in week 1, of course, the Vikings played on Monday night.

This just strikes me as really, really odd, that the NFL would seek to schedule its games so as to appeal to the fans of a college where a pro player used to play, and I'm not sure I've ever seen it before. Does Tennessee get a disproportionate number of Colts games (for Peyton Manning)? Does SoCal get a lot of Saints games (Reggie Bush)? Going back a ways, did Oklahoma State alum Barry Sanders make it so that Oklahoma got Lions games for 10 years? (If so, I'm sorry.) If there are any Oklahomans out there who can offer their input as to this phenomenon, or any other resident of a "college town" who frequently sees his alumni on the NFL gridiron, I'd appreciate some input.

It's especially weird considering how close Oklahoma is to the NFL's darling, the Dallas Cowboys, though it should be noted that the Vikings and Cowboys have yet to have a game at the same time, thus forcing the Oklahoma TV networks to choose between the two. That'll change in week 7, when the Cowboys and Vikings both play an early Sunday game, so it'll be very interesting to see how the maps shape up.

I don't know how Oklahoma will vote in the upcoming election, whether it will be a red (Republican) or blue (Democrat) state. But what happens when you mix red and blue? You get purple, which seems just about right, at the moment.


Anonymous said...

Are the Vikings and Cowboys games in week 7 on the same network? If not, OK could get both.

Jason said...

Yes, they are. Dallas plays St. Louis and Minnesota has Chicago.

Other Vikings/Cowboys/same network conflicts the rest of the year are on weeks 12 and 17. It's almost too eeriely infrequent to be a coincidence.

Lester's Legends said...

Sooner nation is strong.