Horrific Ads During NFL Games

I have, in the past, always felt pretty strongly opposed to censorship of any kind for television programming, whether it be for shows on cable or network channels. The main reason I’ve always felt this way is that I’ve just figured if people don’t want to see swearing/violence/sex/etc. on tv, they don’t have to watch the show, and why should the picky ones get to ruin for the rest of the nation if more viewers want to watch it than not?

Lately, however, I’ve been considering becoming one of those annoying letter-writers who contacts the networks, the NFL, and really anybody involved with the recent practice of inserting all kinds of horrific advertisements during commercial breaks for NFL games. These are particularly insidious because there’s no way to know what you’re in for. You think you’re sitting down with the family to watch a football game where the most risque thing will be a mouthed curse word or a gyrating cheerleader. Instead, you get to see a graphic ad for Saw III or The Hills Have Eyes or whatever slasher-rape-fantasy-horror flick is coming out next.

Traditionally, watching NFL football on TV has been a family-safe activity. It’s even on during daytime/primetime when networks tend to keep the racier shows off the air until the later hours when the young kids are supposedly in bed. Now, however, it seems like every NFL game is sullied with graphic and disturbing commercials for the latest Hollywood slasher gore-fest. And I have to either hope I get the channel changed before my young kids are given nightmares for the next week, banish my kids from the room when football is on, or choose to not watch it. And that sucks.

I’m not against the crappy slasher films being made if that’s what people want to pay to watch. I’m against the graphic commercials for these movies being aired during otherwise family-friendly programming in the middle of the day on a Sunday or smack-dab in the middle of Prime Time on a Monday evening.

Maybe becoming a parent has turned me into a bit of a prude, but I don’t remember ever seeing the level of depraved violence being graphically portrayed during NFL commercial breaks as there have been this year. ESPN, Fox, and CBS are all equally culpable. Has anybody else noticed this and, if so, agree with my objections?

I completely agree. We use the Tivo to get around this. The shouldn’t do this sort of thing with family day time programming, but it’s so easy to FF past all the commericals and I am so lazy about writing letters, etc, that I don’t even bother to complain.

Yeah, I don’t mind DVR-ing (I’m still bitter Comcast doesn’t have Tivo) the “off” games but some games just have to watched live, like the Seahawks and the Playoffs.

Tune in to the live broadcast, but then put it on pause for ten minutes or so before you start watching.

Or, if you have a neurotic wife that has to have the game playing on the kitchen radio as your watching in the living room, just hit the pause button at the start of each commercial and listen for the game to commence to keep everything in sync.

Agreed 100%. I don’t like these images being put before me one little bit. The NFL has let their lust for money overcome their prior well-known desire not to cheapen their product by associating it with prurient products.

I’ve had to change the channel numerous times while watching NFL games. It’s not only the movies from Hollywood though, it’s the night-time dramas like NCIS and CSI that are sometimes even worse than the movie ads.

Specifically, I think it was NCIS advertised during the CBS game this week that showed a cadaver cut open on a table. The rest of the ad wasn’t much better.

The networks are taking advantage of it too. It’s not just Hollywood.

You’re right, Dave – I remember that ad because I had looked away from the television for a moment and my kids both shouted “EWWW GROSSS” and “DADDY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO WARN US ABOUT THE YUCKY COMMERCIALS!”

BTW, NASCAR broadcasts aren’t much better when it comes to network ads. I’ve seen some nasty ones on Fox during a NASCAR broadcast too, and I think they get a similar amount of young children tuning in for that.

That’s the only good thing about being an open wheel fan nowadays, nobody’s watching IndyCar/Champ Car on TV so the ads are pretty tame. :)

Well thank your government representatives that there weren’t any boobies in with the graphic decapitations.

Wow Ryan, you nailed my thoughts on this exactly. Spooky.

The ad that sticks out in my head was for the movie Black Christmas. That one sent me diving for the remote several times. Thankfully it started out pretty tame, so I had a few seconds of lead time.

I for one would much rather see a beer ad with a scantily clad woman than a slasher flick ad. And that’s not for asthetics, either. Not being a parent, I’d imagine I’d be a lot less disturbing and scarring seeing something you could easily see on any public beach or public pool in the summer than something you wouldn’t see unless you were in a very horrific situaton. Hell, don’t little kids typically see their parents naked sometimes (when they are really little, like 3)? But you’d never show a three year old how to butcher an animal.

I know the standard answer is Puritanism, but how did we let ourselves become such prudes about anatomy and such raving lunatics about violence? The same things applies over and over and over again, in all forms of media in the US.

Were the Puritans fixated on violence as well as prudish about showing skin?

It’s unnatural and very counterintuitive. Although I dearly love the US, I think Europe is our clear superior when it comes to self (and state defined) media censorship.

The short answer is: yes.

Wikipedia tells me that our watershed is your safe harbor, and is FCC-enforced - aren’t these broadcasts covered?

Does anyone else find it somewhat ironic that you’re complaining about violent commercials airing during a fairly violent sporting event?

Completely agree. Some of these ads are way too graphic to be shown during daytime broadcasts.

I’m also greatly looking forward to the day when my daughter asks me, “Daddy, what’s an erection, and why is it bad if you have one for 8 hours?”


The violence in the event is entirely different from the graphic horror violence depicted in the commercials.

You obviously don’t have small children at home.

Are you honestly comparing trailers for Saw III to an NFL game in terms of violence?

An erection is when a construction company builds a large building like the “Freedom Tower” and it’s bad if it lasts more than eight hours because union rules specify only 7.5 hours worked per day.


If I had small children at home, I wouldn’t be having them watch football, much less any of the commercials broadcast during it.

Hey, why don’t you go all the way and just throw the “I wouldn’t let kids watch TV since I’d be a responsible parent” card on the table?