I love complaining, but unlike hater nation I don’t get any pleasure from a boring NFL season. Some people use the NFL’s depleted TV ratings as redemption against Roger Goodell. And as a Patriots fan, I have every right to join that cause, but here I’m just laying out some facts as to why the NFL is going slightly downhill, and some ways to make it climb back up.
Notice how rare it is to hear a fan complain about the flow of hockey or soccer games. Even the NBA, with all the fouls and timeouts, has a decent game flow (except for the last two minutes).
Then you watch an NFL game. The game starts and there’s a kickoff, which takes five seconds, and immediately we’re taken to a two-and-a-half minute commercial. So we’ve just invested nearly three minutes of our lives to this event, and only seen FIVE SECONDS OF ACTION.
Let’s say the team has to punt. That’s about a 10-second play, followed by another commercial. Oh it’s the two-minute warning? There’s another commercial. Oh, there’s a review on the field? Commercial. Injury? Commercial. Tom Brady forgot to put on his makeup? Commercial.
Here’s what the NFL has to do. Instead of commercials scheduled based on the plays, schedule it by the time on the clock, just like the NBA.
For instance, in the NBA, once the six-minute mark hits the clock, it goes to commercial on the following whistle.
The NFL would also benefit from replacing some of its TV-ad spots with digital ad images in the corner of the screen during game play (soccer games do this a lot).
Overall, the amount of time it takes for the game to play out must be reduced to an average of two and a half hours. Currently it’s at 3 hours or longer.
Around the late 1990s and early 2000s, the NFL instantly became a league of parity with teams like the Titans, Rams, Ravens, and Buccaneers making the Super Bowl. It was a great thing for the NFL because fans, other than from Cleveland, truly believed their team had a chance to win the Super Bowl heading into the season.
From my four eyes, I noticed that the quality of play is reduced because of the following reasons:
Absence make the heart grow fonder, yet football is in our faces 12 months a year. It’s nauseating to hear about domestic violence cases, PED usage, and strip club incidents in the springtime. We need a break from football. Let baseball have its 15-minutes of fame for a few months before you rape my eyes with 24/7 coverage.
We’re tired of the ridiculous costs of cable TV from Comcast, Verizon, or any other overpriced provider. It’s much cheaper to watch through internet streams through European and Asian sources (God Bless Russia, but not Putin).
Can the NFL, cable, and internet providers track those streams as views? I’ll assume not. Maybe that’s why the ratings seem down? Maybe the ratings aren’t down after all?
Refs are supposed to officiate the game. Not dictate the game.
The most frustrating thing to watch is a 3rd-and-25 play when the ref calls an egregious five-yard defensive holding. What happens? Automatic first down! FAAACK YOU! Even if it was a penalty, what a crock of crap to give an automatic first down
Can we change that to 3rd and 10, maybe? Can we not give the offense a free pass at every opportunity?
Can we also rethink that penalty they call on a cornerback during a 50-yard bomb to the end zone? Do we really have to give the ball to the offense on the goal line on that penalty? At least put the ball at the five or ten yard line to make things interesting. Even if there is NO FOUL on the play, it’s so unlikely that a receiver makes that catch anyway.
If there’s one league that handles scandals appropriately it’s the MLB with their recent steroid fines and suspensions. I respect the MLB’s suspensions because they follow a structure:
These set of rules give us a sense of justice for Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams against the cheating, lying likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Alex Rodriguez. But how does the NFL handle PEDs, criminal charges, and any type of on-field cheating?
Well, the answer is everything is interpreted on a weekly basis. There is no structure. You either get some obscurely figured fine ($4,371) or who knows how many games? The exact same offense could get you suspended 5 games one day, and the next day it could be 1 game.
Personally, when a players get in trouble with the law, I don’t think it’s fair to hold the NFL responsible for disciplining them. Law enforcement should. But if you’re going to set a precedent by suspending Ray Rice or Tom Brady, then why aren’t you doing it to other players and sticking to your guns? Why do you create a media frenzy about the Patriots, but Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning took PEDs, and you don’t care?
Out of all things mentioned, the dwindling of stars (Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson) and the lack of good teams (those Steelers and Ravens from the mid 2000s, those Saints from 2009-10) has truly made every weekend less interesting. There are VERY FEW match ups that intrigue the average fan. There are only 4 to 5 good teams.
That being said, more people watch the NFL than any other sport. So let’s wait it out and see if the low ratings of late is just a temporary lull for a couple years.