Jerry Ballgame’s got some concerns to share with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Roger Goodell, along with his merry bunch of owners, apparently is not happy with $10 billion in revenue, as well as dominating the sports and social scenes for a mere eight or nine months of the year; he wants more. Rog wants to have something going every month so that the NFL is constantly in the public eye, and that’s why the draft is moving to May. Now in addition to pre-season, regular season, the playoffs, the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, the combines, the build up to the draft, the television spectacular that is the draft, and the weeks of analyzing the draft results, he is pushing for an 18 game season, not to mention international franchises. So the question needs to be asked; “Can there be too much NFL?”
Although it defies logic, and everything we know about the human condition, the answer appears to be, “NO!” This is despite the year round exposure on a multitude of major cable sports networks, in addition to an endless array of local market shows dedicated to the single purpose of reporting, interpreting, dissecting, and just plain guessing what each and every move (or non-move) the local franchise has made (or not made) throughout the year. Although it would likely take an event of catastrophic proportions (asteroid hitting the Earth jumps to mind) to even slow down the monster that is the NFL, I still think it’s possible for the Commissioner and the owners, if they aren’t careful, to do serious damage to the goose that has provided them with so many golden eggs.
For example, part of Goodell’s plan to raise league revenues from its current $10 billion dollars a year, to a target of $25 billion by 2027, involves putting a franchise in London. He is apparently encouraged by the 81,000 that pack Wembly Stadium to see their annual game held there. But I have to question whether or not that is something they could sustain for an entire season, and wonder if they have thoroughly considered all the issues that would go along with basing a team thousands of miles away. You would think the travel issues alone would be daunting (especially in a playoff scenario), and how happy would the players be to live so far away from their families and friends. (Not necessarily a bad thing in many cases.) Have they taken into account the stricter gun laws in England? There’s also the small fact that they drive on the other side of the road there. How long do you think it will take before some player is in serious trouble? I can see it now; “Our quarterback can’t play this week, he’s being held in the Tower of London.” I suppose Toronto is a viable alternative, but I doubt my CFL friends would be crazy about that…
I also have to question the wisdom of an 18 game schedule. I know it’s been talked about in conjunction with a shorter pre-season and an extra bye week, but I still have my doubts. I have to believe that you could be shortening the careers of many of your players, and subjecting your stars to an increased likelihood of injury. I do not see how that could be beneficial to the league, although I’m sure many owners won’t care as long as the revenues keep coming in. The players union should not agree to the extended season without as a bigger piece of the pie, more guaranteed money, and I would think, a baseball style Disabled List that would allow players time to heal without losing entire seasons.
I put a phone call into the league offices in NYC, to express my concerns, but have yet to hear back from Roger, or any of the other NFL executives. Speaking of which, did you know that the League Offices in New York, have a non-profit status and are therefore not subjected to federal taxes? In researching this piece I learned that because the office makes no profit and actually runs at a loss, they are able to maintain their non-profit status with the federal government, despite paying Goodell almost $30 million a year (2011), and eight other executives a combined $53 million (2009). (The 32 franchises are subjected to federal taxes, it’s just the home office that gets away with it.) Apparently, professional baseball and basketball, do not share in this status, which once again goes to show you, that when it comes to finances, the NFL has all the bases covered.
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