Roger Goodell is at it again, unfairly using the fans to support his agenda of expanding the regular season to 18 games:
"We started this with the fans," Goodell said. "The fans have clearly stated that they don’t like the preseason. We have a 20-game format, 16 regular season games and four preseason games, and the fans have repeatedly said the preseason games don’t meet NFL standards. And that is the basis on which we started this 18-game concept, taking two low-quality preseason games and turning them into two high-quality regular season games."
Clever usage of the English language by Goodell there. He says "the fans have repeatedly said the preseason games don't meet NFL standards," as opposed to something more blunt along the lines of "The fans want an 18-game schedule." While the statement itself is semantically honest, the message is dishonest. The commissioner and the owners want the 18-game schedule because it will generate a boatload of money, not because it's what the fans want.
I wrote this back in August when Goodell was spewing similar rhetoric on the topic, and my feelings remain the same now as they did then. In the spirit of countering these "fans" that Goodell speaks of that "repeatedly" complain about the preseason, allow me to "repeatedly" convey my displeasure when what I want as a fan is dishonestly used to support the agenda of the greedy. The following is simply copied and pasted from my piece in August - Apologies if you've already read it, but there's just something about this issue that just completely irks me:
"All the questions and almost all of the discussion was focused on, um, how do we do it in a way that it's fan friendly? How does it make sense for fans? As we've all said and the clubs have gotten the same reaction, the fans want less preseason and more regular season..."
Bullshit. Excuse my language, but that's the most accurate response I can think of. Bullshit.
I'm a "fan." I have no financial attachments to the owners or players. I wouldn't really even consider myself part of the media. I don't have a degree in journalism. I'm not a great writer by any stretch. Hell, I get paid nothing to write for this blog. Nothing. I'm an NFL fan. I'm in four NFL fantasy football leagues. I own all kinds of NFL paraphernalia. I have to scratch and claw my way into obtaining tickets to go to games, and yet I manage to attend a few Eagles home games every season, and even the occasional away game. I'm a fan. Nothing more, nothing less.
So Mr. Goodell, as just one fan (and I want to be careful not to speak for the masses as you've chosen to do), allow me to go on record and make a few things crystal clear on what I (again, a fan) want, and don't want...
- I don't want "less preseason games," as you are suggesting. I just don't care about the preseason. The preseason is a time for the players to work out the kinks and get ready for the regular season. Would I miss them if they were taken away? Probably not. But do I actively want them taken away? No. I just don't care.
But I'm not a season ticket holder. Season ticket holders despise preseason games because they're forced to purchase them at regular season prices. I certainly can't blame them. For those of us that enjoy pizza, we know that a large pizza will typically be cut into 8 slices. Let's say you live in a town with only one pizzeria, and there are no other pizzerias within 200 miles. Now let's say you love this pizza. Your 8-slice pizza costs $16, but as part of the deal you also have to buy 2 additional slices that fell on the floor and the busboy spit on, for an extra $4. You're still happy you got your pizza, but you leave that pizzeria a little pissed off every time you do business with them. If your motivation is really to be more "fan friendly," maybe you just don't force your customers to buy the pizza that fell on the floor at the same price as the tasty pizza.
- I don't want two more regular season games. Personally, I don't see the correlation between preseason games and regular season games. If the NFL thinks that preseason games are so horrible, by all means, do away with them. Again, I probably wouldn't miss them, but that doesn't mean I'm clamoring for more regular season games to fill that void. We all know the pros and cons of the 18 game season by now, as it has been beaten to death in media outlets all over the country. I have my own reasons why I don't like the idea. But just for the record, Mr. Goodell, as a "fan," I'm not on board.
- I don't want to have to subscribe to DirecTV's horrible cable service to be able to watch the NFL Sunday ticket on the TV in my living room. Major League Baseball offers their version of the NFL Sunday Ticket on multiple cable providers. So does the NBA. So does the NHL. So does any league that truly wants to be "fan friendly," as you say. But hey, when $4 billion is on the table, "fan friendly" kinda goes to the back burner, doesn't it?
- I want NFL Network. Hey, that's catchy. Have I heard that before? Well, because the NFL has long-standing, money-related pissing contests with various cable providers, NFL Network isn't available to all fans. Is that "fan friendly?"
- I don't want the Super Bowl in Europe. It's a stupid idea on so many levels that it's not even worth diving into that topic. However, the financial aspects of a Super Bowl overseas could be very intriguing from the owners' perspective, but is it "fan friendly?" Not to me, it isn't.
So please, Mr. Goodell, while I understand that a major aspect of your job is to make the NFL as profitable as it can be, I respectfully ask that you remove the phrase "fan friendly" from your vocabulary when pitching the 18-game season. It's not your motivation, and it's infuriating to learn second-hand exactly what it is that "I want."