As you’ve probably read elsewhere, NFL owners decided this week to push for an 18-game regular season schedule starting in 2012, a move that either means more revenue, fewer meaningful contests, greater potential for injury or huge headaches for television programmers whose universe revolves around the league. The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman takes a dim view of the entire exercise, particularly a rumored scheme to make the two additional games part of another Thursday/Saturday package. “Here’s a better, more drastic idea,” suggests Gotham’s resident Gallagher lookalike, mindful of the NFLPA’s opposition, if not that of actual football fans. “Roger Goodell (above) should simply fold the under-performing, distribution-challenged NFL Network.”
What the NFL makes off TV now just ain’t enough to satisfy your favorite PSL-loving owners (Hello, Mr. Mara, hello Mr. Johnson). The league now rakes in a cool $3.1 billion from its deals with CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox. Those contracts are up in 2014. DirectTV pays the league another $1 billion, and the league pays itself (the NFL Network) another $400 million for its eight-game, Thursday/Saturday night slate.
That’s a lot of bread on the table. There are more loaves out there. Goodell is sure of this. He also realizes there are suits who would dive through plate-glass windows to bid on a new NFL TV package. Especially on the network side where ratings – and creativity – are stored in a sewer.
Goodell could take the eight-game package, seen on the NFL Network during the second half of the season, and add eight more games from the first half, which would be plucked from the current schedule. That would be an attractive schedule to sell to either a broadcast or cable network.
The league would be cutting expenses and making dough with one move. And players would not be at an even higher risk of suffering injuries that lead to serious health issues when their playing days end.
While I sincerely apologize for a headline which might not accurately reflect Raissman’s analysis, you have to admit, it would be pretty awesome to see him cover the Angry Samoans’ legendary anti-Rodney On The ‘Roq rant, with lyrics amended to refer to Rich Eisen.