Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.
There was a time, not long ago, when Americans could rely upon advertising during sports programs for advice on what beers and cars to purchase, what films to see and perhaps an innovative multiple-blade shaving system to try.
All that is over now, what with the NFL season opening this week and the sports media marketing industry having been overrun in a bloodless coup led by a pair of fantasy sports sites: FanDuel and DraftKings.
Where have you gone, Anheuser-Busch? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, because if we have to hear another ad promising daily fantasy riches we are going to turn off sports talk radio and televised baseball games and find safe haven watching "House Hunters" on HGTV.
Some have wondered how all this possibly can be legal, given that Vegas-style betting on actual games remains forbidden in most of the country.
There are quirky, archaic legal reasons for it that have to do with fantasy sports being defined as a game of skill while betting on the outcomes of games apparently is not. Read all the murky details elsewhere on the Internet if you are so inclined.
But the distinction is Orwellian nonsense. Everyone in the sports business assumes that in the reasonably near future legalized, traditional betting on sports will be widespread -- as it long has been in much of Europe without society unraveling.
The only real question is how to divvy up the money. New Jersey wants a cut and has been battling in court for the right to become Vegas East. So far, no dice, a position backed by major sports leagues.
Eventually, though, the leagues will come aboard -- a revolutionary stance led by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. All that needs to happen is for the new flow of incoming dough to get sorted into the appropriate pockets.
Social opposition to gambling is crumbling by the minute. ESPN has become far more open about betting lines in covering college football, to the point of including "cover alerts" in score updates.
In the meantime, leagues, teams and media companies across the continent have deals with either DraftKings or FanDuel, generating a mutually beneficial marketing orgy.
Madison Square Garden has a marketing deal with DraftKings that includes the company's logo adorning the Liberty's warmup outfits and game jerseys.
But the sheer volume of advertising this week has crossed a line from promotional to just plain annoying.
Season-long fantasy leagues, which often involve money but also involve quaint notions such as social interaction, are being shouted down in the advertising din for daily games.
How do these companies have anything left for winners' payouts? Apparently they do. So far. After taking their cut, of course.
But instead of that dude in the Patriots jersey seen celebrating his winnings a thousand times over in TV ads, the real celebration is happening among TV, radio, Internet and print ad salesmen.
Sigh. Where are the Clydesdales when you need them?