Way back on August 24th, as the Carolina Panthers were playing the Miami Dolphins in an NFL preseason game, the announcers came on to tell us that one lucky fan would be going home that night with a car. How else did they plan on keeping an audience, with the starters long gone and no one in their right mind wanting to tune into the rest of a boring game?
As it turns out, I heard that announcement, and it did pique my interest, but I fell asleep anyway. That’s the risk you run when you start a game at 7:30 on a school night. But there were those who didn’t fall asleep, and they lasted until there were a little less than two minutes left in the game, when they saw Tony Siragusa present Greg “Catman” Good with a car. Not just any car, mind you – a Porsche. Unfortunately, it was a toy car. The whole thing was just a joke gone horribly wrong in an attempt to keep viewers until the end of the game and make sure advertisers were happy.
Being the sport that he is, the Catman thought it was a symbol of his win, and he rejoiced on television at his good luck. As that luck would have it, the toy was all he would get. Even if you don’t know Greg Good, if you’ve ever watched a Panthers game, you may have seen him. If you’ve watched any football at all, you may have seen him. He’s the guy with the blue hair and a cape and he is arguably the #1 fan of the Panthers.
He’s had the same seats in the front row of the stadium for years. He has apparently been there for every home game. He drives a minivan with well over a hundred thousand miles on it. He helps underprivileged kids. He laid out his own money so that he can have his own bobblehead dolls made (he apparently has plenty left – you can send him an email if you want one). If you want someone to win for being a good guy and a great fan, this is the guy.
By all accounts, Fox Sports made a mistake on this one. What’s worse, they got caught by a national television audience and offered a meek apology by way of correcting their error. After an editorial appeared in the paper yesterday about the story (and also appeared on Digg), roughly a thousand emails and phone calls were received in eight hours – and this doesn’t include responses sent directly to Fox Sports.
As a result, the Catman has now been given a real car (well, a truck, and he doesn’t actually get it until tomorrow). Maybe they blew it, but you have to give them credit for at least coming through in the end. Chances are a large company like Fox won’t even notice the blip on the bottom line that a new truck will cost them. They should have done it long before the public outcry. But at least they did it.