Major media companies are probably just like the New England Patriots these days.
This past weekend, the Patriots, already beating the Buffalo Bills 42-7, decided to throw for a touchdown on the fourth down. They made it, which fostered much criticism against Pats coach Bill Belichick.
But there's a silver lining: "I think he showed restraint by not going for two," quipped Dan Le Batard on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."
Big media companies may feel in control -- in no hurry to do a deal to solve the writers' strike (even if they have scheduled some new talks). All of which says they want it all. Why? Have you seen the stock prices of any media company recently? There's a race there. Which will hit bottom first -- low-rated TV shows or low company stock prices?
Is it wrong to get the most out of your football team -- or your media company? Surveys show the public believes the writers' strike is the proper action. Running up the score? The only losers might be sitting with a gin and tonic and a couple of tickets in a Las Vegas sports book.
Media companies will monitor the public closely. Will there be consumer backlash come February if "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI" are still in reruns? The companies are betting there won't be, especially when there are lots of entertainment distractions to make up the slack -- cable TV, video games, the Internet, as well as a load of TV reruns yet to be seen by most TV viewers.
Using the entertainment glut as leverage, one wonders if media companies won't go for it all -- just like the federal government did back in the 1980s when they fired all the air traffic controllers, never to hire them back again. All to change the dynamics of union activities. The government did it to prove a point. Will the networks do the same?
Think about this: The biggest TV show in the country, "American Idol," doesn't have one writer in the writers' union.
This doesn't mean to say TV networks are abandoning scripted programming. But considering the new entertainment environment -- a crazy explosion of media and platforms that are well out of the control of big media -- those big entertainment companies are acting as if they are being backed into a corner.
And, if they have the chance, you can bet they'll be running up the score.