Friday, April 25, 2014

Roger Goodell (@nflcommish), What Are You Doing To Me?

First of all, if you're not an NFL fan then you may not understand (or care about) half of the things I'm talking about in this blog post.

Every season the NFL tries to secure more and more television revenue and it's killing me as a fan.  At one time in my life, I could reach back and pull memories out of my mind of many games that most people had forgotten.  Not any more.  It's too much.  The NFL is overloading my senses and I'm starting to see a familiar pattern that I saw the NBA take 25 years ago.

The Schedule

I absolutely love football.  If it were up to me, I would attend a high school game on Friday nights, watch college games on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays.  But, the NFL has made that next to impossible for me to do regularly.

I have a job as a PA announcer for a high school football team.  For at least six Friday nights out of the Fall, I'm calling their games.

I'm a Michigan Wolverines fan when it comes to college football.  Every Saturday I try to watch them play along with other major match-ups in the Top 25 and SEC.

My Sundays during the NFL season consist of me sitting in my man chair at 1 PM Eastern Time and pretty much remaining there until the night game ends around Midnight Eastern Time.  Then I watch the Monday Night game the next evening.  Now the Commissioner has installed another night (Thursdays) for the NFL and it's just too much for me.

If I were a college student with a ton of free time then this would be absolutely great!  But, as a grown man with a full-time job and a lady who has teen kids it's a problem.  I can't block off Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for four months.  Very few people can.  But, that's what Roger Goodell is asking the die-hard fans to do.

Last year I missed more NFL games than I have ever missed since the invention of the NFL Sunday Ticket back in 1994.  I had to make decisions each week to either sacrifice the Monday game or the Thursday game because I just didn't have time to do both.  Then the worst feeling that a die-hard fan could have came over me towards the end of the season: I started to not care.

I would look to see who was playing and if it wasn't a premier team then I would find something else to do and miss the game entirely.  It's the same attitude that I developed when the NBA started coming on every single night thanks to TV money.  When the NBA was limited in its viewing I would bite, scratch and kick to see a game.  Now I won't even watch any more than a handful of games before the 2nd round of the playoffs because it's on every single night.

The saturation of the NBA did that to me over the course of just a few years and now the NFL is doing the same. A guy who could watch the two worst teams play because of his love of the game will now miss the first half of a divisional rivalry game because his life can't accommodate football four days a week.  There's just not enough time.

The Draft

Back in the day, the NFL Draft occurred in late April on a Saturday and Sunday morning.  The Draft consists of seven rounds (three rounds were on Saturday and four were on Sunday) and is completely boring to a casual fan, but an amazing event to a die-hard.  On April 20th, 2002 I had one of the best days of my life.  I was married at the time and on my honeymoon.  The NFL Draft came on that Saturday morning and my late wife gave me the entire day to watch it.  I sat in an over-sized chair and watched the first three rounds of the Draft within full-view of the ocean.  For a true football fan, it didn't get any better than that.

Fast-forward to today and what do we have?  The Draft now isn't until May (for May Sweeps) starts on Thursday night during primetime.  So, now I have to get home from work and get things done prior to the Draft starting instead of having a weekend day to relax and ease into it.  But, it gets worse: Thursday night is only for the 1st round of the Draft.  If I want to see the 2nd and 3rd rounds then I have to tune in on Friday night.

Seriously?  And then on Saturday you pick the 4th through the 7th rounds?  A three day event?  Then there's a headline today stating that Goodell wants to make it a four day event and get Sundays back in the mix?  Sorry, but I can't...


I've reached my limit.  Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks) was right.  The NFL will burn itself out in less than a decade at the rate they're going.  Guys like me will eventually start to pick and choose which games interest us and ignore the others.  It's not because we want to, but because there's just not enough time in a week to have a life and meet obligations with the NFL on three or more nights a week.

Eventually, the NFL will be on seven days a week like the NBA and MLB.  You're laughing right now, but don't say that I didn't warn you.  Just like an 18-game schedule, franchises in Canada and London, and more teams being allowed in the Playoffs, it's inevitable.  There's just too much money on the table for it not to be.


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