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Report slams ads that air during NFL telecasts

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Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based company that rates and reviews television programming, took a hard look at televised NFL games over the past season. And to the surprise of nearly no one who watches football on television, CSM discovered a large percentage of ads that aired during games were hugely inappropriate for a family audience.

Over the course of the NFL season, the CSM team watched some 50 games and more than 5,000 commercials that aired during those games. When the numbers were crunched after the season ended, CSM found 40 percent of the game telecasts included at least one ad for an erectile dysfunction drug, and 46.5 percent of the house ads that networks showed for their own programming featured pronounced sexual overtones or excessive violence.

The CSM hopes the study will prompt the NFL and the networks to reconsider what kind of ads are allowed to run during football games, when many kids are included in the viewing audience. "When I go speak to groups, invariably someone will ask me why no one is doing anything about this," said James Steyer, founder and CEO of CSM. Steyer also indicated he has spoken to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the questionable advertising aired during games, but no indication yet what the football league or the networks might do about the matter.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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