On Thursday, Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley phoned in to Boston radio station WEEI’s OMF radio show to talk football. These type of interviews aren’t uncommon, Steve Addazio would occasionally show up on the morning shows and talk to the hosts. But the difference has been the reaction that came after.
In the interview Hafley talked to the hosts bout his team, not caring about moral victories, and having his team’s back. He spoke with passion, he was honest, and he gave folks not familiar with BC football a glimpse into why many feel the program is in the best shape it has been in thirteen years.By the end host Christian Fauria was jokingly asking how his son (a tight end at Colorado) could transfer to BC.
If you live in the Boston market you know the reactions BC commonly gets from the listeners. “No one in this town cares about college sports”, “BC stinks”, “get this guy off the air.” Then the hosts would read the reactions and they would all get a laugh. BC was never taken seriously, and for the last twelve years haven’t deserved to be. The team has been .500 or worse for twelve years, Alumni Stadium is consistently half filled, the students have lost interest, and the fanbase continues to dwindle.
But in the past few weeks there has been a seismic shift, and it has been led by the charismatic head coach.
This is the perfect time for Boston College to step in and get more attention in newspapers, television shows and on the radio. The reaction to Jeff Hafley’s interview was overwhelmingly positive, and it wasn’t just from BC fans. The listeners flooded WEEI text line with positive responses.
On top of that, the media, who usually snubs their nose at the program, paid attention. Rob Bradford, who covers the Red Sox was blown away by Hafley’s appearance.
He was so enamored with Hafley’s interview that he wrote a whole article about BC football less than 24 hours after.
This is the perfect time for the Eagles to get more involved in the sports conversation around Boston. Because of the scheduling caused by the pandemic, the Bruins and Celtics are off for the foreseeable future. The Red Sox just finished a season in which TV ratings dropped 50%, and the Patriots are only 2-2. In their ABC game against UNC, 2.1 million people watched the game, regardless of who they were rooting for that beat out the ratings for a Celtics playoff game. Eyes are on BC.
There is a void for sports in the area, and Boston College could fill it. To their credit, BC Athletics has done a tremendous job to raise the profile of the program. Their “hype” videos created weekly bring back legendary Eagles like Mark Herzlich and Will Blackmon, and the production level is on par with a Hollywood movie. And of course the product on the field is much more enjoyable as Hafley has his team ready to battle, and most likely defeat anyone on their schedule.
But the key to all of this is Jeff Hafley. He is the face that could fill Alumni Stadium in 2021. He is the personality that could entice sports fans and the media to give BC football a chance and watch for the first time. And he could be the coach that finally puts Boston College on the map in a saturated New England sports market.
This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around Chestnut Hill very often. It is up to this program to seize the day, and for the first time since the Doug Flutie era, become a factor in their own backyard.
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Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com