Cory’s Corner: NFL Network should own the weekend

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The NFL Network began in 2003 and Thursday Night Football started in 2006. The NFL wants to add another Thursday game due to sagging ratings
The NFL Network began in 2003 and Thursday Night Football started in 2006. The NFL wants to add another Thursday game due to sagging ratings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Football League is always looking for ways to gloss the shield.

And they really don’t have to try very hard because the NFL product is by far and away not only the most watched pro sport in this country but also the most beloved.

For example, NBC aired a mediocre Washington-Dallas football game which usurped Game 2 of the Detroit-Boston American League Championship Series. Wait, let me rephrase that, the NFL didn’t just usurp the MLB postseason, it obliterated it. The Redskins and Cowboys had 19.3 million viewers compared to just 8.3 million for baseball.

Recently the NFL said it wants to have add another Thursday football game to the schedule because it is disappointed in the sagging ratings. Now, I know that when the NFL Network was rolled out in 2003 at a cost of $100 million, the end goal was to get legitimate games (which of course means sans preseason) on the station.

And three years later, it happened. Thursday Night Football was born. It began as a novelty that started after Thanksgiving, but since 2012 it has shown Thursday football from Week 2 through Week 15.

But despite the NFL’s gorilla shadow over the rest of the sports world, as of August 2013, only 62 percent of households with TVs get the NFL Network. I’m glad I didn’t subscribe this season because the games have mostly been discarded waste that none of the networks wanted.

And the reason the games lack energy is due to the fact that players have none. Players are only getting a maximum of three days off after taking a physical pounding. And coaches must burn more midnight oil than they ever have in order to make a quick turnaround and hope to not get humiliated because of something that was missed in haphazard preparation.

But after showing its disappointment with the NFL Network, the NFL opened the door for another cable channel to cover the best meal ticket to be put on HD. And they even teased the idea of having Netflix, YouTube or another Internet carrier stream the game.

Now you know the moment streaming an NFL game happens, all the AARP card-carrying folks will be incensed. The majority of those folks aren’t savvy in the world of binary code and unless they have a nice neighbor or family member nearby, an entire age group will be lost.

Just think if the Packers play on Thursday right before deer hunting season opens. You can’t tell me that all of the tiny bars and taverns way up north in Wisconsin will be prepared for a streaming NFL game.

I don’t have a problem with the NFL wanting to expand its NFL Network brand. They do a good job with analysis and pre and postgame coverage. However, if the games are stinkers and/or the players and coaches don’t have adequate time to prepare, it doesn’t really give them a lot to talk about.

My recommendation would be to wait until late November. The college football season is nearly over and the high school season is over. Have games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Own the weekend and have Friday and Saturday games on the NFL Network and make sure that there are a few solid games scheduled.

The players and coaches would be happy because they would be getting a few extra days of rest and research. The owners and league would love it because fans would be more amped to watch or attend games on Friday-Sunday as opposed to just an isolated Thursday. And let’s not forget that Thursday is known as the best night for TV with the networks rolling out their heavyweight lineups to show off for the ad executives.

But like your side view mirror, pay-per-view sports are closer than they appear. Granted, the NFL may be sheltered longer due to its overwhelming popularity but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Super Bowl telecast on pay-per-view only because the NFL knows it wouldn’t just grab the two teams’ fans and overall football fans. The Super Bowl gets the Holy Grail of consumers: the casual fan. The person that watches maybe a handful of sporting events a year but relishes in the socializing and entertainment aspect the Super Bowl provides.

I was bummed to give up my Sundays seven years ago for Thursday. Unfortunately, it’s never going to be the same. Putting average games on TV with guys that aren’t getting adequate rest just seems like an unnecessary risk.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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  • Curley

    As a long time night shift worker, I’d like to voice my displeasure over increasing the games I’m not able to watch. Thursday is the worst because I can’t even take the night off and get a 3 day weekend out of it.

    The NFL really should look into moving the Super Bowl to a Saturday.

    • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

      Amen brother.

    • Stroh

      Or you could always look for a job that has different hours. Is it written that your current job is the only one you can hold or that your current job couldn’t be w/ different hours? You make your life, don’t let your job make your life.

      • Curley

        I’m just a regular joe, Stroh. There are millions of us who don’t work the day shift.

        • Stroh

          Just trying to help you empower yourself. Like I said YOU should make your life, don’t let your job make it or control it. If you like your job that’s great, there’s jobs out there to be had if you look for them.

    • Savage57

      Curley, I have a job where I get yoinked all over the place with little or no notice, so no matter when the games were on Murphy did his best to make sure I missed them.

      The fix? A DVR. No more missed games.

  • Ed Schoenfeld

    Did you ever notice how good teams seem to be able to prepare adequately in 4 days? That is, if they don’t have a half dozen preferred starters on the Injury report :-)

    The suggestion for Friday night games makes some sense, except that doing so will requires an act of Congress (literally — the laws that allow the NFL to negotiate a single TV contract specify that the League will not have games on Fridays or Saturdays in fall, so they could only do Friday night football after Dec 21.)

    I think there might be more of an agenda here than just getting extra games to show on NFL network. That is important, I agree — if there are 2 games on Thursday, they can get regional interest if the games are between lesser teams and/or pick the most competitive one for national broadcast.

    But there is also the fact that teams that play on Thursday have 10 days until their next game. The so-called ‘mini-bye’ may be a helpful feature if they are going to switch to an 18 game regular season. With 2 games every Thursday each team needs to play twice, so they would be able to get 2 ‘mini-byes’ and one true bye while only adding two weeks to the regular season schedule.

    But I keep getting the feeling that the NFL is really close to ‘jumping the shark’ — the moment where an entertainment franchise saturates its audience and starts to lose people’s interest. I see more and more youngsters (17-25 yr olds) whose reaction to the NFL is kind of ‘meh,’ and that’s in the heart of Packers country. What’s it like in places without longstanding franchise loyalty and with crappy teams (I’m looking at you, Jacksonville)?

  • the real russ letlow

    I’ve been paying to watch the Packers for 18 years (NFL Sunday Ticket) and it seems that every year I pay more and get less. They did drop the $$$ this year, but more games are on Thursday and that is not covered on NFLST. The NFL is a business, and the owners are businessmen looking to make a profit. I really, really hope it doesn’t come to pay per view for playoffs or the Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. And if the Packers are playing, I’ll pay up and watch the game.

  • http://allgbp.com/ Chad Toporski

    The NFL is just another company trying to force the flow of the market instead of working with it. You can’t increase your ratings through artificial means.

  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    Just one more reason why the Packers are the best organization in all of pro sports. No single owner trying to use his team as a personal expense account. Yes, they are a business. But they are a non-profit. 100% of extra revenue goes into a “rainy day” fund that the BOD has to approve ANY use of. The only reason Mark Murphy tows the line with the other owners is because he is expected to.

    • Savage57

      Bearmeat, if it was spell checker my apologies, if not please take this in the spirit it’s offered.

      It’s ‘toes’ the line, as in step up to a mark that denotes a common, shared way of thinking or acting as opposed to jointly pulling a rope.

      That said, spot on post.

  • Richards

    Why does the NFL sanction extortion?
    How much does Roger goodell get of the monies extorted from rookies.

    We know he knew of these acts and did nothing. Why one should ask. Answer he got paid.