The NFL coaching association is now backing the players and their legal fight to end the lockout. Basically now, coaches and the players are in the same spot because teams throughout the league are starting to cut coaches salaries…and I gotta tell you something about the NFL.
Basically Roger Goodell is the commissioner and he’s in a tough spot. He’s basically in a really pricey divorce and he is the attorney for the rich guy – the owner. He is going up against a less rich person, the players, being the woman. There is no question that Goodell, as commissioner, needs the rich guy – who he’s representing. But he can’t ultimately control him and so Roger Goodell has got no vote on this thing. He is paid for and hired by the owners, so every commissioner in the history of sports – when you think of Bud Selig, don’t you think he’s tied to the owners first? Of course! Don’t you think David Stern is tied to the owners first? Of course! You have to be as a commissioner…that’s not a debate.
But Roger Goodell admitted last week that there is now proof the NFL is losing some of you! “It’s clearly had an impact on our fans already. You see that in our various metrics we have, whether their ratings or traffic on NFL.com, there are also financial consequences to that. I don’t think you can ever underestimate, because the fans are still going through difficult financial challenges, just in the general economy here. Those challenges continue to impact on their decisions and rightfully so.” TV ratings….down 4 million people for the draft, NFL.com traffic….down, ticket sales….down!
People forget that one of the great things the NFL did – and MLB has lost this because they have no salary cap, so the hotstove league is really just New York/Boston league. It’s more of a microwave, than a hotstove….there’s only two evolved and it’s very fast, there’s one guy out there and they bid on him. So the off-season for baseball is not nearly as interesting as it use to be. Frankly, we take baseball off for 4 or 5 months…even in baseball crazy cities!
But the NFL, over the last 3 years, look at the off-season stories…its become a 12 month sport! Vick controversy/imprisonment, Favre to the Jets, Favre to the Vikings and Big Ben controversy. The NFL, in my lifetime, has become the only sport to become an 11 to 12 month sport. This year, their giving prime real estate back to the NBA, MLB and NHL. In Japan, they had an economy called “the lost decade” this has been the “lost off-season” They’ve given all that beach front real estate right to MLB and NBA. Now, the NBA is better than MLB at creating headlines – it has been, since David Stern took it over.
You have to realize that newspapers no longer dominate sports – sports radio is much bigger and more popular than newspapers. Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd and Jason Smith have more radio listeners than any columnist could have for their writings – those days are just over. Right now, I’d be ranting about football…and I’m not! The metrics numbers are showing up! NFL.com…down! Tickets…down! Ratings….down! They gave it up! I’m not saying it’s a “lost decade” but it’s for sure a “lost off-season”
Now, maybe they get it back – they do surveys at places like ESPN, Fox Sports, Sportingsnew.com, SI.com etc. Almost 100% of sports fans listen to sports radio, when you think about it….do you know how much advertising they gave football over the past couple of years in the months of June and July? The controversies were actually good for business…they talked about the NFL! It wasn’t good for the Steelers during that Big Ben saga, but it was great for the league…It was great business! The media loves urgency and urgency sells, controversy, urgency, hate…they all sell! This is a business; these are not “.org’s” nor “non-profits”.
So baseball doesn’t give you a ton of urgency, the NBA gives you some in the playoffs, the NFL was giving us more urgency than any place else!