In my latest article, I was inspired by Mark Cubans rant against the NFL. He said the NFL's a great product but they should proceed with caution going forward on how much exposure it allows itself to have as it march towards unprecedented growth. While you may not like Mark Cuban, or believe his remarks were made out of jealousy because of the NFL's popularity and the down trending of the NBA's popularity over the last 20 years, I don't think we should take what he says with a grain of salt. I plan to show you why Roger Goodell's over saturation of the NFL could lead to the demise the of its popularity eventually. I'm going to share with you my past experiences of growing up and watching extremely popular products rise and fall and what led to their demise and how that relates to Roger Goodell and the NFL and what he should do as a result.
Part 1: The Mackinaw Peach
When I left high school. I faced the decision of going to a expensive college for 4 years and repaying 80-90k of student loans after graduating or going to a community college for 2 years and then a less expensive university for my last two years and paying out of my pocket so i wasn't faced with debt soon after I graduated. I took a job as a shoe salesman at a popular clothing outlet to help pay off school debts every quarter. At the time, selling shoes seemed like a remedial task, a boring one at that, but would later lay the foundation of my understanding of the how the stock market actually works and the basic principles of supply and demand. I know this might sound funny to many, like big deal you sold shoes how does this relate to Roger Goodell or the NFL. But there was a extremely important take away that I learned from this experience and I believe Roger Goodell should heed my advice on it.
I haven't sold shoes in about 10 years and I'm not sure if its still a popular shoe anymore but 10 years ago there was a shoe that was extremely popular in the urban community called the Air Force 1. Every time we got it in stock, it wouldn't take long before most of our stock was sold out. Every fall the black version would come out, and boom it was a must have for everyone. Every spring the white one would come out and boom it was gone. Then I started to notice a trend that the air force one wasn't just a urban trend anymore. I started to notice that its popularity started to branch out. More and more I would see people of every different race, sex, and economic status come in the store to purchase the shoe. Nike, trying to realize the shoes full potential, started releasing a wide array of color choices trying to maximize the shoes value. We were making money hand over fist. The employees who worked in the store would fight over scheduling to make sure they were working when the release of a highly anticipated style came out so they could get great commissions. I mean on just a regular day, we might sell 10 maybe 11 shoes. If it was a Air Force One release day, heck we might sell 30-40 pairs of shoes in one day!!! Life was good! Then it came from out of now where. Nike stopped pumping out Air Force 1's. They announced that from now on, instead of our store being allowed to order as many Air Force 1's as we wanted, we were going to be allotted only a certain amount of shoes, and it would be based on how large of credit account each store had with Nike. Instead of receiving shipments of the Air Force 1 five to six times a year, we and all other stores would only now get a shipment once or twice a season of a certain style and a limited amount of it. When the employees and myself got wind of the news(all of us being in our late teens and early twenties), we were like WHAT!!! How could they be so stupid?!! We can't keep this style in the stock it sells so fast!!! What are they thinking? Look at how much money were making. Most of us were pretty pissed off because of the commissions alone we would be loosing because of this move. The customers were pissed. I remember customers would come into the store the following September expecting to get a fresh pair of white air force ones, and we already were sold out on the first day. How come you don't have any left? We'd then have to explain to each customer that Nike is limiting the amount of them that comes out each year....And each customer would echo what we initially said. "What, what the hell are they doing that for, I need my air force ones.!!!" It eventually became such a nauseating process we'd have a big white poster pre-made ready to post on the front of our store that read SOLD OUT OF AIR FORCE 1'S!!!!. After watching this whole process, the rise in popularity of the shoe, the insane amounts of money the store and employees were making, the anger over the limit of each shoes release, I finally realized what Nike was trying to do. It was a brilliant marketing plan.
By pulling back on the amount of supply that was being introduced into the market, Nike created much more of a demand by limiting how much of each color and style was being put out there. This was a long term business plan. Instead of over saturating the market every year by flooding it with as many styles and colors choices as possible, they made the shoe exclusive. Not as many people would by wearing it anymore not because they didn't want it, but because they couldn't get it. This would happen season after season. Instead of having 5 people lined outside of our gates before we opened the door, every season we would see more and more. Over the course of 4 years, the shoe never lost popularity, it steadily increased because its elusiveness it had. The important lesson to be learned is if you have a product that is hot and want to maintain its popularity long time than two things are important. A brilliant marketing plan is first, and secondly, at the height of its popularity, reign back the supply to keep the demand high over a long period of time. I have seen other shoes and styles that were extremely hot for a season and fade away the next season or two because when they came out, they over saturated the market with them. If you have a hot product and you want to maintain its level of popularity, then put just enough of it out that will satisfy some of the demand but not enough where everyone is satisfied.
Part 2: A New Era: Goodell takes the Reign
When Roger Goodell was appointed commissioner, I was actually pretty exited. He seemed to have a youthful approach and more of a dynamic personality than Paul Tagliabue. I was probably to young to remember much of Tagliabue's reign but he seemed to of had a laissez affair approach to governing the NFL, yet the NFL had a huge level of success and popularity during his reign. My mindset was if the NFL had such a huge level of success under Tagliabue's hands off approach, imagine how cool Goodell's going to make things by having more of a hands on approach. Heres a guy that was a football, baseball, and basketball and captained all three teams as a senior and was named athlete of the year from his school. He didn't play in college because of injuries yet had a passion for the game because soon after college he started an aggressive writing campaign to become employed by the NFL in some capacity. His plan worked and he became a intern for the New York Jets in 1983 and by 1984 was a assistant in the NFL's public relations department. Four years later, Goodell would rise to the ranks of assistant to the president of the AFC and under Paul Tagliabue's guidance became the NFL's Execcutive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2001. When he was appointed commissioner in 2006 he seemed like the perfect guy to take the reigns. Here's a blue class guy, that graduated with a economics degree so he understands the business end of things(least you would think), was a star high school player in 3 sports, rose up from becoming a New York Jet intern and in 23 years time was in charge of the most popular sport in America. I gotta be honest, as much as i dislike Goodell now, he was the perfect man to take the job at the time. But after watching Goodell over the last 8 years i ask myself is Goodells' hands on approach as commissioner of the NFL better than Tagliablues laissez affair approach to governing? While its impossible to tell now because of the continued level of success of the NFL and its ratings, I think Mark Cuban recently made a great point that coincides with my general perception of where Goodell is taking the league. "I think the NFL is 10 years away from implosion. When pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And there getting hoggy....I'm just telling you, when you got a good thing and you get greedy, it always always always always turns against you." With that said, I'd to to bring up and examine some of the changes Goodell has made during his tenure.
Part 3: Roger Goodell: His Pros Vs His Cons ( pun intended)
Firstly, I don't intend for this article to be a complete rip on Roger Goodell. He has a difficult job being the hand of the King to the owners(game of thrones reference), serving as the commissioner to the players but also serving us the fans and the media outlets. Its a constant balancing act of making all parties satisfied and not easily accomplished.
So let me give credit where credit is due first The Pros:
Game Safety: History of the NFL Helmet I want to look at the history of the NFL helmet for just a moment, because I think Goodell receives a bit too much flak when it comes to some of the changing of the rules. Before 1939 collegiate players weren't required to wear a helmet in game and it wasn't until 1943 that the NFL made wearing a helmet mandatory. I can just imagine the NFL purists in 1943, complaining that making a helmet mandatory ruins the integrity of the game!! All kidding aside, the original helmet was made of three thick leather straps that fit close around the head and was made by a harness maker. Prior to this, players had been playing without any type or form of head protection at large since 1920 and since 1869 in the collegiate league. In 1940, John Ridell invented the first plastic helmet which seemed more durable than the leather harness' players wore. The helmet came equipped with a plastic chin strap to rest on the chin instead of the neck as previously worn! As technology got better and better and the scientific community began to start becoming more advanced we saw many changes to the NFL helmet. The plastic helmet was seen as a great improvement over the leather harness. It was durable, didn't rot like leather did, and was more cost effective. Heck you could paint your team logo on the side of the helmet so from a business stand point it was certainly more marketable for a franchise to want players to wear them. But they didn't stop there. They realized even though this new plastic helmet was a technological improvement, it could be improved. The plastic helmet was brittle when hit head on and could break, and the bar hole that was used for the face mask often would break. Ridell's plastic helmet was in grave danger of becoming a thing of the past, and teams and players were starting to return to leather. But instead of scrapping the plastic helmet, Riddell sought ways to improve it, to make it safer. They realized that the helmet was too flat on top and changed the design of the helmet to resemble a tear drop which allowed a hit to be absorbed to one side or another rather than a head on collision and the web design of the helmet allowed it to be customized for the size of each players head. So instead of having a transgression in helmet safety because of a defect in the product, Ridell fiddled with the design until it became safer and in turn marked the beginning of the end of the leather helmet. They didn't stop their however. In 1955, the first face mask was introduced. It was a single bar design to help protect the players face. Funny enough along with that single bar face mask, in 1955 the first radio was placed inside of helmets to allow coaches to call in plays to their players. It was an early experiment that failed due to the fact that it was viewed as more of a in game nuisance rather than a productive innovation but none the less showed the NFL wasn't afraid to make changes to improve not only the safety of the game but also to push the game into unchartered territories its never been to before to see if it could make the game better. In 1971, Ridell introduced energy absorbing micro fitting helmets. The inside of the helmet contained compartments that allowed air to be pumped in or released so each players helmet was a perfect fit. The new design also allowed the absorbing of a blow of a hit. Back in the 1970's concussions weren't a huge issue or talking point. The scientific data on concussions sustained over a long period of time wasn't ever talked about nor was it is today. Heck I remember growing up in the 1990's playing football when a player went down after receiving a hard blow to the head it was called a stinger. "Ah hes alright, hes just seeing stars for a bit, shake it off and sit on the bench till your ready to go back in." I can't tell you how many times I remember situations like those! Funny then, but when you think about it, before NFL players had the technology they have today, concussions must of been rampantly misdiagnosed. Could you imagine a head blow at full speed with nothing but a brittle plastic helmet and a chinstrap around your neck? While its been fun going down memory lane for a bit, I'm trying to arrive at a certain point here.
The entire concussion saga and debate of the last few years and rule changes isn't something new that Goodell just decided to fiddle with because he wants to put his own on stamp on his NFL legacy. Changes to the NFL helmet and player safety has been a ongoing occurrence since the earliest days of the NFL and I only listed very few of those changes and experiments. As scientific data becomes more increasingly suggestive of the impact of concussions long term I think that the NFL is in the right for looking how to improve the game safety wise for the players and not just because the owners feel like they will become more open to lawsuits if they don't. Although as in any business, avoiding major lawsuits makes good business sense so i'm sure the prospect of mass lawsuits based on scientific data of sustained concussions isn't something lacking consideration either. Think about the roman times for a bit, the Colosseum in particular. We marvel at what a structure this was to build. Packed houses every weekend to watch gladiators fight to the death. Wild animals from all corners of the globe pitted versus fighters. Epic recreations of famous roman battles for all their citizens to watch in person. My personal favorite was they even used to flood out the Colosseum with water and have navy battle reenactments. Imagine flooding out the linc and having a famous american naval battle recreated for everyone to watch!! In the 5th century however, after the Roman empire adopted Christianity, gladiator battles began to decline. The morality of the empire changed and it was reflected in its habits and laws. I think that's very important to remember and relates to the NFL not from a religious perspective but from a human moral compass perspective. Gladiator games were wiped out because the roman people had a change in morality and that change was reflected in their laws. With all of the scientific data we have in regards to concussions sustained over a long period of time, the morality of our nations conscience towards safety starting to change therefore so should it be reflected in our laws and in the NFL's case, their players safety. Or how about even a more recent example. In 1906 Upton Sinclair wrote a book called "The Jungle." It was a book that wrote about the horrors of the meat packing industry, the unsanitary working conditions, body parts being lost and mixed in with meat, people loosing their lives to unsafe workplaces. The public outcry was deafening and while the book was a bit "yellow" in nature describing some of the practices and extreme conditions, the public demanded changes for working conditions for workplace and employees. While the two cases are very much different from one another, the change in public opinion is reflected in the laws that led to improvments in working conditions. Again, changes in the morality of a nation are reflected in its laws and I believe as studies show more and more often that concussions contribute to health disorders long term that the public outcry will demand change in player safety. Theres something very primitive about football that we love which says a lot about who we are as a people. Something about that big hit at the right time that makes us love guys like Brian Dawkins, or when Trent Cole sacks the quarterback from his blind side. And even in hockey, we love it when the gloves come off and they duke it out. We love UFC fighting and boxing where they fight until opponent is knocked out. Maybe its why we still hunting or why we glorify war movies. But the point is, we as football fans are sometimes angered when Goodell talks about player safety and making changes to the game such as the kickoff rule because we don't want to loose integrity of the game, but also because football possesses a certain level of primitiveness about it that we enjoy. If Goodell can walk the line, and find a common ground between player safety with minimal changes to the integrity of the game, then why not? I'd hate to not have the opening day kickoff, its as old and as iconic as the umpire saying "PLAY BALL!!!" on opening day. However I do think if you look at the history of the league, all of the changes and experiments it has try'd is no different than what we see today. And I don't fault Goodell with that concern, although later on I'll show you why he is a bit hypocritical in the regards of player safety.
Broadening the Audience
Growing up in the 1990's, Football was a guy thing. Al Bundy might of been the poster child for the stereotypical football fan. Beer in hand, on the couch, dont bother me, the games on. I remember from my own experiences, every family holiday the men would watch the game in one room and the one women would talk about god knows what in the other room. Thats the way it was at everyones house i knew. A women would walk in here and there and try to interact with the guys and try to get involved with whats going on with the game and then say something like "I like that team because they have pretty colors," and then were quickly dismissed and shunned. But one of the great things that Roger Goodell has done since taking over is he embarked on a very aggressive marketing campaign trying to broaden the interest and appeal to women and to those who might of not have been interested before. They've taken full advantage of social media, television, radio and many other forms of advertisement to broaden the interest. Heck, how many of us die hard fans have even broadened our own interest in other teams because of fantasy football? I was a die hard Eagles fan 10-15 years ago, but i never really watched teams from the AFC west or AFC east or any other division as closely as I have now until I became involved in fantasy football. Fantasy Football alone has most likely created more new fans than anything else. People who didn't care about football before are watching the games just because they want to see the people on their team do well. Their learning the game, their becoming more engaged in the strategies and nuisances of the game, and little by little becoming more and more of a die hard fan without realizing it to much. And I credit alot of that success to Roger Goodell and the NFL's marketing practices. And tbh, yea im not a fan of guys or girls that have 2-3 different "favorite" teams each week, but if people are truly interested and are fans of the game in general, then hell that's a good thing and something Goodell has certainly put a stamp on his legacy with.
And Now this is where Roger Goodell has gone wrong
I gave Goodell props his desire for wanting added measures for player safety. I described it more so as a natural transgression, and not as a knee jerk reaction recent tragedies like Junior Seau occur, although they certainly do add a sense of urgency when you have tragedies like his. I also gave him respect for broadening the audience. But just as Mark Cuban echoed I believe the pig is starting to get fat and now is the time to pull back a bit before the NFL becomes "myspaced." After all, once something is not cool not even Dr Frankenstein could revive it in present times. Do any of you still have myspace accounts or america online? ...cricket....cricket....cricket
I had a discussion before with someone and I argued that the reason football is more popular in America is because of two reasons. Football is the most primitive sport out of the big four(football, baseball, basketball, baseball). It brings out our inner nethanderal in us. We like watching the bone jarring hits, the diving catches, the trash talk and testosterone on the field. The tailgate parties, the beer, the cold weather, its all very tough and masculine. Another reason I think its so popular brings me back to a certain point I made earlier. There's only 16 games a year in the regular season. And if you want to watch your team play at home, only 8 games a year. That's a very limited time during the year you actually get to watch the Eagles play so there is a lot of anticipation for when the games approaches. Look at baseball, its a very slow game and they play 162 games a year. Whats that, 81 chances a year you get to watch your favorite baseball team at home? I try to make it to at least one game a year. I grew up playing baseball also so i enjoy the game. There's something very american and nostalgic about the game where i try to make one game a year, but i never get very interested into it unless the Phillies make the postseason, and even then Im half-heartedly into it. Would less of a baseball season make it more popular? I think so. How do you make a long game with 162 games more popular? In my opinion its just like the Air Force 1's, if you want to increase the demand or a product that is popular, you make less of it. Theoretically speaking, if there were only 16 baseball games every year, wouldn't every pitch matter more? What if you only had 1 game a week and it was on Sunday, wouldn't you hang on to every bit of action more closely? If the Eagles played 162 games a year do you really believe the anticipation and popularity of each new season would be such a stark comparison compared to the other 3 big sports? Whenever I go to a Phillies game, by the 7th inning I'm pretty much spent, seen enough, cool experience, saw some good hits, but lets beat the traffic home. The NHL plays 82 games a year. Its a game that has a lot of fast paced action. Its a very physical game, there's a lot of action, fights sometimes, big checks. Its the closest aggressive sport out of the big four that compares to the NFL but yet is most likely one of the least popular. The reasons I think the NHL doesn't have the same level of popularity as it does in say Canada is pretty obvious and simple. Its more of a geographical reason more so than any other. Growing up in the 1990's and 2000's there wasn't many leagues around for hockey although its starting to grow a bit with the advent of ice rinks being constructed more and more often nationwide. The Flyers Skate zone and the Flyers have done a pretty good job marketing hockey to families as a safer alternative to football which has also increased the level of interest. We would play out in the streets like most kids prolly did with a make shift trashcan as a net, and if you were lucky half the kids in the neighborhood might of had roller blades. Back in the day, there just wasn't enough exposure for kids in most parts of the country to get into hockey and considering you need ice to play it properly, not many areas of the country have the conditions to support it. I always grew up with the understanding that its also a rich sport. I mean all you need in a pick up game for football is just a ball, in baseball all you need is a bat and ball and maybe some gloves but in hockey you gotta pay someone for ice time if you don't have a frozen lake. And like i said before there are 82 games to watch the NHL, they play during the week, during the weekend, not some big Holy Grail of a date like the NFL on sundays and basketballs no different at 82 games. Another factor in the increase of NFL's dominance over all other sports is that we live a fast paced society now days. Everything is instant gratification. When we want something, we want it now. We don't want to settle for 5-10 days delivery for something we bought, we want it shipped overnight. Many families aren't cooking as much as they used and are ordering out alot more often. People are working two jobs just to get by or to afford the things they want to own. It was a different era when baseball reigned supreme. Times were much slower pre-internet and before technology has made the advances they've made today. Whats the lesson the NFL should learn from baseball, hockey, and basketball you might ask? From a popularity standpoint, NFL has the edge because if someone wants to be a fan, they really only have to watch on Sundays. Its not like other sports where there could be a game on Monday, than another on Wednesday, and hey how about a double header on Thursday. Whether you may agree or not I believe, the NFL is more popular because much like the Nike Air Force one shoes, the demand is high yet the supply is lower than the rest of the sports. So 1/4 of my argument for being against Thursday games is because it takes away from the climax of anticipating the big games on Sunday. It gives you something to look forward to after the end of the work week. "Work is done for the week, time for some beers, good food, and football." People reading this will say well you should get rid of Monday Night Football from what your saying because more is less right? Well yes and no. Monday Night Football isn't exactly what it used to be when it originally started in 1970. Monday Night Football was a event more so than a game and still is reminiscent of what it used to be. Celebrities such as John Lennon, presidents like Bill Clinton and even kermit the frog would make guest appearances during the game to liven things up. There was big half time shows were bands would come on and preform. Back then extra cameras and replays weren't a regular occurrence. Monday Night Football was letting you know this is the game of the week, it highlighted one game for the entire country to watch and this was before dish network or direct tv had NFL Redzone or gave you the option of purchasing a season ticket pass where you can now watch any NFL game you want on Sunday. Plus the game is only played one day after Sunday, so teams who played on Monday only have 1 less day to rest and prepare for their following game on the next weekend. Which leads me to my biggest problem with Thursday games. When you play Sunday or Monday night then have to prepare for a Thursday game you only have 2-3 days to rest and prepare for the game. How can the body take such a beating on Sunday or Monday but then you expect and ask of these players to come back on the field to play Thursday? The NFL wants to generate as much new money as possible by adding a Thursday game but they risk player injury in the process by not giving them enough time to heal and rest. This is where I take great issue with Goodell. I gave Goodell props on taking issue with player safety and wanting to change the game or rules to the game if it significantly improves player safety yet implementing Thursday games is the exact opposite of wanting to help and improve player safety. The fact that Thursday games don't allow players enough time to heal almost makes me feel like maybe he isn't the champion of game safety that he proclaims he and the league is. Perhaps the concern with players safety stems from legal counsel in a attempt to try to prevent future lawsuits. Maybe the NFL saw the writing on the wall and to wanted to insulate itself from having to pay out incredible chunks of money to players that have suffered long term debilitating effects caused from concussions they suffered while playing in the NFL. I mean after all, haven't cigarette companies been sued in the past long afrom people not knowing the affects of them? Could that potentially allow retired players to sue because they didn't realize the affects concussions would have on them at the time they played? After all the NFL is a mutli-billion dollar business which has just as much to loose as it does to gain. I would rather think that all the game changes that Goodell proposes is out of the good for the players benefit but you cant be a champion of player safety yet support Thursday games at the same time. Its hypocritical and naive to think that your not putting players at risk by making them play 3-4 days after they just played a game. Thursday Night Football is a money grab, a attempt to create a new market and generate more revenue for the owners and the players are the ones to suffer for it. Thursday night football does nothing but decrease the climatic build up towards Sunday and makes players more prone to injury. But it seems like to me Roger Goodell is more concerned about players safety when the owners could be at risk for a lawsuit more so than anything else and Thursday game is a indictment of just that.
Stop the London Games
This is the biggest of all insults for any cities fans. So lets get this straight. A city that has a ball club is told by the owners of the club, we want a new stadium. We don't want upgrades, we want something new. The old stadium isn't up to par with the rest of the high tech stadiums in the league and we want to be able to host a super bowl here. And here's the kicker, were only willing to provide a fraction of the cost, we want the city to pay for the rest. So the city agrees and comes up with the funds and who has to foot the bill? Yep the tax payers. So the tax payers foot the bill for the fancy new stadium that hosts 8 home games a year, possibly more if they reach the playoffs and on top of that the taxpayers aka the fans foot the bill for the tickets it costs to watch the games on sunday. So the fans pay for the stadium to be built, then have to pay for tickets to go to the stadium that they just paid for while the owners enjoy the profits....Hmmm.....sounds fair. The owners argue that the ball club brings in millions of dollars of revenue for the city in hotels, cabs, restaurants, all of which is true and creates tax revenue. So the city views it as a viable trade off. Like before I commended the NFL for trying to broaden its appeal and reach more audiences which in turn for them creates new areas of revenue. But for the NFL to strip a team of a home game and make them play overseas is a absolute smack in the face of the fans and taxpayers of which ever city its being done to that particular year. The entire reason taxpayers and lawmakers allow the city to build these billion dollar stadiums for the teams is because of the revenue it generates for the city. There are only 8 home games a year and when you force a team to go London to play a game, your broadening the NFL's popularity overseas but at the same time your robbing the areas business' of millions of dollars of business they would of had and robbing the fans of 1 of their 8 chances a year to see their team play. I have no issue with any team moving to London or Toronto as long as their financial obligations to the prior city are met, but when you tell a team that they have to play a game in London, its criminal, it robs the fans who paid for the teams stadium through tax dollars and it starves a region out of millions of which it would of profited, and all in the interest of broadening the NFL's appeal at our expense.
THE NFL DRAFT
The NFL draft is my favorite post season activity. I used to wake up hung over from the night before, barely being able to extend my hand out to reach the remote and turn on espn where i would then lay comatose and hedonistically watch an entire morning afternoon and night of NFL draft. It was awesome. Then I would go out all night and repeat the process again the next afternoon. Complete waste of two days but I enjoyed every minute of it. I was really pissed off when they moved the draft to prime time hours. They were going to ruin my yearly fun weekend of laying in bed hungover and watching the draft for two days in a row. Then I had a epiphany, instead of two days of watching the draft and being hung over, I could spend 3 nights of watching the draft and getting drunk while doing so....Hmm...This might not be bad....But Whats that? Your adding one more day to the draft instead of just two days? I thought that might be too much, I was fine with dedicating one whole weekend to watching the draft but now its going to be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It wasn't too bad after all. I mean, I realize the entire purpose of it was for the NFL to make it more of a event by making it prime time. And lets be honest, the NFL draft in the 1990's and 2000's was great for us draft-niks or die hard football guys, we loved it. But for many casual fans they simply didn't have the will or want to watch a NFL draft for 8 hours each day . Making it prime time and breaking it up into another day almost gave it the feel as if they were trying to make it some sort of american idol type of event. They marketed it well. It was going to be a red carpet black tie type of affair, something you could not feel guilty about watching for 3 hours a night, something that maybe even the wife might be interested in watching with you. It worked for the most part and I think many people liked it. You still have that one day on Saturday where it has that old school type of feel also for people like myself who miss waking up on Saturday mornings and vegetating. But now they pushed us to far. They moved the draft back two weeks from when it usually occurs and are floating the idea of expanding the draft to 4 days now instead of 3. I go back to the Air Force 1 analogy, less is more. Yes I realize that the same amount of rounds will be presented, its not like Goodell wants to add more rounds to the draft....yet. But the point is people are more inclined to watch the 6th and 7th rounds of the draft if you keep the 4th and 5th rounds on the same day. How many people are going to want to tune in for the 6th and 7th rounds when we've already been glued to the tv for 3 straight days. And once they make it 4 days, are they going to expand on how time there is inbetween picks for the later rounds to draw it out even more? I was happy with the way the draft used to be on saturday and Sunday mornings. I was skeptical of watching it become a prime time event and add another day to it. Now you move it back 2 more weeks, making coaches constantly second guess themselves and fans waiting even longer. Guess what its nice outside on May 9th. People are going to want to go out and enjoy their weekends after a long winter. I didn't mind staying instead this time of year because it was still a bit chilly outside. And now you want us to dedicate 4 days out of our week. Its too much. Keep the draft at the time it usually is and don't add another day. Less is more and if you drag the draft out to much your going to loose audience by diluting the product to much.
Expansion of the Playoffs
When I played Little league baseball, there was 8 teams in our league. The prize for winning the championship was a 1st place trophy. From a young child's perspective, that was huge. Every team wanted to be number 1, after all the winners got the trophy and everyone else got nothing. It made us very competitive, no one wanted to finished 2nd or 3rd because we got nothing in return. My team won the Little League Championship when I played and i remember i couldn't wait to line up on the field so the commissioner would hand us our trophy. We were the best, we were number 1, and now it was time to get our rewards that we fought so hard for the entire season. When the commissioner called us out of the field he called the other team as well to line up. That was a bit odd, that never happened the year before. Much to our surprise, that year they decided they were going to have 2nd place trophies. The trophies were exactly the same as ours although it said 2nd place on it. I was outraged. Suddenly having a trophy didn't seem as cool because now the 2nd place team has one as well. I suppose the league felt that the other team came so far, lets give them a trophy also to make them feel better after loosing in the championship. GRR!! What a outage!! They didn't deserve one though and by giving them one it weakened the value of what we fought so hard to achieve. There should only be one winner, there should only be on prize. Now I hear they give out 3rd place trophies, what a crock of *&^%. Hows this relate to expanding the post season? Every time you take something that is extremely hard to obtain and make more of it, you lessen the value of it, thus weakening the product. As of right now, its extremely hard to make the postseason in the NFL. Some teams haven't sniffed the playoffs in years and most likely wont for a few more years to come. Is that such a bad thing though? For the fans yea absolutely it is. But what results from that is fierce competition to get better which in turn is better for the fans because teams are forced to constantly try to get better. In the instant gratification society we live in today fans expect results quick and team owners are no different. Just Ask Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi. Unhappy fans means less seats filled at the stadium on game day, less seats filled at the game equals less profits for the owners. The entire reason free agency is so popular, or why the draft is so popular is because fans want their team to be super bowl winners and they know how hard it is to get into the playoffs, so every free agent and every draft pick is vital to its success and why thats why there is so much scrutiny and interest surrounding the offseason of the NFL. Every little move counts. That's how hard it is to become a playoff team. You can't afford to miss on a draft pick or pick a free agent not right for your scheme. By expanding the playoffs, don't we reward mediocrity? Goodell wants to raise the level of playoff teams to 14 teams. That's just about half the league reaching the playoffs every year and his sole reason for doing so is strictly for profit. More teams in the postseason equals more money for the owners and makes ratings higher for games later in the regular season that before might of not had much meaning to them. Jerry Jones was recently talking about how the cowboys were the most watched tv show in America, better than any other sitcom or prime time show out there. He left readers with the impression that its ok that the cowboys have been a mediocre team for the last 10 years as long as their number one in ratings. That alone should be enough to scare any fan. By allowing more teams into the playoffs, your not holding your teams feet to the fire for better results every year. This lowers the competitive nature of the NFL because now coaches and owners will feel as if they only have to be better than half of the league. And what about division winners, the seedings, the wild card teams, the teams with the best records in each conference. If you expand the playoffs, everything teams fight for during the regular season is worth less. Supply and demand once again. The fans demand for their teams reaching the playoffs is always high, you don't make a product better by expanding the supply or in this case the playoffs because in turn you weaken the demand and the product suffers for it long term. The same goes for when I played little league. The minute they increased the amount of trophies awarded, the demand for the 1st place trophy suffered for it. Keep the playoffs as is, the lesser the amount of teams that can get into the playoffs, the higher the level of competitiveness you will have for teams to want to get better and the fans win in that situation
Paul Tagliabue vs Roger Goodell
They both remind me of Las Vegas, the old las vegas and what it is today that is. I remember watching the movie casino, and Joe Pesci was narrating a scene where the old las vegas buildings were being torn down and wall street investors were erecting mega casinos. People marveled at all the bright lights and splendor that the new buildings had to offer.But he said Las Vegas was never the same after that. Sure the wise guys built the old Las Vegas, but there was something gritty about the old Las Vegas that people enjoyed and when wall street moved in they never were able to recapture that. I compare the Tagliabue era to old las vegas. Looking back, I appreciate the job Tagliabue did as a commissioner, his hands off approach to the game and to the business. He let the product sell itself. The NFL enjoyed a slow but increasing audience every single year. Looking back on Goodells' tenure so far it feels like what las vegas is today. He's marketed the NFL very well and i applaud him for creating such a diverse audience that the game has today. But much like a banker from wall street, he's trying to exploit and maximize profit potential of every last aspect of the NFL and in turn is changing the game from what it was into series of events. I remember 15 years ago during the half time show a great band would preform during the half time show and it was great and that was it. I can barely stomach to watch the Half time show during the Super Bowl anymore. Its looks like some sort of creation straight out of Disney World on steroids. Every year is bigger, better, more grandeur. Roger Goodell is in a unqiue situation much like Nike was when I was a shoe salesman selling the Air Force 1's. The NFL is at the height of its popularity and he has a important choice to make. Does he continue to exploit the NFL in the sake of profits by expanding the playoffs, tampering with draft day, the rest of the offseason, the London games, the Thursday games, and player safety or does he reel back a bit to maintain long term growth stability. I just recently googled Nike's top ten selling shoes for 2014 out of curiosity and even now, ten years after Nike made the unpopular decision to limit the supply of their most popular sneaker its still the highest selling sneaker they have only behind the Air Jordan. They kept the supply low enough where the demand was never fully satisfied instead of going for the kill all at once and in return have profited more from it. I believe Goodell needs to do the same. Instead of expanding the playoffs, or making the draft longer, or anything else just concentrate on letting the product speak for itself. If anyone truly believes that the NFL is invincible or not prone to economic turmoil, they should read a basic economic book about how bubbles are created. Goodells' over exploitation of the NFL in the sake of profits at the pace its going is creating a bubble. And eventually all bubbles will pop. Pigs get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered.