October 18, 2016
Excuse me if I am not at all upset at the NFL ratings dropping by what is estimated to be a whopping 10 to 15 percent.
In fact, it’s about time something happened to make the league and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, think as though it can do no wrong. The NFL under Goodell has become one of those companies that quite simply thinks that it is too big to fail.
The NFL has steamrolled everything in its path. The nation is captivated by the sport and the league has turned most other games into local attractions.
The NFL commands huge amounts of money from anyone it thinks it can monetize. Huge sums of money literally fall out of the sky from satellite TV networks, while other media conglomerates line up to hand out massive fortunes just for the rights to broadcast the games.
At the same time, the NFL demands everything short of changing the names of cities in order from them to have a franchise. The league helps pave the way for cities and states to use public monies to build stadiums … all the while stockpiling ridiculous cash amounts that make Ivy League endowments look like lunch money.
Up until now, the arrow of interest has appeared to point, up, up and up.
In an effort to continue to capitalize on the popularity, the NFL added and added … and then added some more. The elite status of Money Night Football turned into Sunday Night Football and now, Thursday Night Football.
In the background, there were warnings that all of this was going to come at some kind of price. There was even a warning shot by noted financial shark and NBA owner Mark Cuban that the NFL was on the brink of reaching the old cliché – that it was getting too big for its britches.
Cuban rolled out the old economic theory that pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered.
And the NFL has become hoggish.
Indeed, there are many contributing factors to the drop in ratings.
The NFL has pointed to the absurd presidential election for its ratings drop off. And rightfully, so. The daily output of lunacy from the camps of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can make the NFL – or even Saturday Night Live – look boring.
And there are the never-ending social issues, the latest of which is the whole storyline of Colin Kaepernick. There are those who have turned off a sport where players openly protest our national anthem.
The league has also surged because it is a quarterback-driven league. The stars of the NFL have been players like Brady and Peyton Manning, who now stars as a pitchman for a pizza chain ... and there are many times his commercials are a lot more interesting than the game they are showing.
Beyond that, many fans are simply fed up with the bad acts, like those players who have domestic violence issues but still continue to play.
In the meantime, the league spent endless time and energy chasing Tom Brady ‘round-and-‘round the courtroom.
Speaking of Brady, the league has also surged because it is a quarterback-driven league. The stars of the NFL have been players like Brady and Peyton Manning, who now stars as a pitchman for a pizza chain ... and there are many times his commercials are a lot more interesting than the game they are showing.
Cam Newton is struggling with the Panthers.Ben Roethlisberger is injured, which takes the prestige out of this week’s matchup between the Steelers and Brady’s Patriots.
Tony Romo is out, but there is hope – especially here in Philly – that the next chapter in great quarterback rivalries will be right here in the NFC East between Roo’s replacement, Dak Prescott, and the Eagles’ Carson Wentz.
The latest issue that has people turning channels in droves is the overabundance of penalty flags. No matter which game you watch, there are great plays being called back because of call after call after call.
Like they never even happened.
Meanwhile, the league seems more concerned about deflated footballs, players wearing the wrong color shoes or socks, or some over-the-top celebrations in the end zone.
One lurking issue is the very nature of media. To fans under the age of 30 or so, the idea of sitting and watching a single game from beginning to end is just plain boring. Blessed with smartphones, tablets and who knows what other types of platform, the fans can watch several games at once – and they no longer have to be just football.
Bottom line, the NFL is learning it is not too big to falter. And that is a lesson that it really needed to learn.