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NFL has fumbled decision to not run ad

No nudity, no reference to gaming, no images of a casino. And still the NFL has said no to an ad from Las Vegas to be televised during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The National Football League contends it has an image to protect as well as a policy not to be affiliated with messages that condone sports betting.

We suggest the NFL, starting with Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, take a look at this sterling image they seem to have of their organization. With headlines of recent years, there really ought be a song with the lyrics, “Momma don’t let your sons grow up to be professional football players.”



We are not here to attack the NFL as a whole, but instead to say its decision not to run an ad from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is ludicrous.

ABC is getting $2.1 million for each 30-second spot. Las Vegas had no problem writing a check. The NFL said don’t bother.




The ad is titled “Mistress of Disguise.” It shows a sexy, but not sleazy, woman getting into a limo headed for the airport. She flirts with the driver, tussling his hair. The divider goes up. Next you see him opening the door at the airport. Out steps a businesswoman with her hair up, talking on a cell phone.

The visitors authority is selling an image — the image that you can be whoever you want to be in Vegas, that things happen there that don’t happen other places, it’s a place to figuratively and literally let your hair down, a place where you can live your dreams.

Not one casino is in the ad. Not one reference to gambling is made.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, an attorney by trade, is contemplating legal action. The odds are not good that a temporary injunction will be handed down to force the NFL’s hand to air the ad.

Nonetheless, the mayor’s office has said it may pursue a defamation suit because “the NFL has insinuated that anything to do with gaming is underhanded.”

Lawyers are looking into the infringement of free trade as well.

“(Tagliabue) better get his house in order before he talks about us because there will probably be more betting in the stadium in San Diego than all of Las Vegas,” Goodman said.

The difference of course it that the betting being done in Vegas and throughout Nevada is legal. No other state allows sports betting. The NFL is naive to think people are not going to throw money on either the Oakland Raiders of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In betting terms, the Super Bowl has the biggest handle of any event. There are more bets made and revenue generated from this football game than any other sporting event. The Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, when it comes to sports betting.

Las Vegas is a city worth visiting. People throughout the country ought to be able to see an ad promoting it. The NFL is so out of touch with reality it makes you think the people who made this decision are the same ones who missed the call last year that kept the Raiders out of Super Bowl XXXXVI.


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