First it was making extra points 43-yard kicks.
Now there’s talk about expanding the playoffs.
It should be obvious to the owners and NFL commish Roger Goodell that the National Football League is hands down the best professional sports product on the planet.
Sorry Premier League, but the NFL continues to get eyes glued to its games. For the fourth time in five years, last month’s Super Bowl has set viewership records in the U.S. And that was for a pretty much blah game with a final score of 43-8.
And so I ask you, why for all that is holy is the NFL even considering tinkering with its untouchable product? Leagues like the NHL, MLB and NBA would kill for the exposure, which allows the financial floodgates to be opened to the tune of over $39 billion just for broadcast rights.
Many might say you have to change or reinvent yourself in order to stay on top. That’s a valid argument but it doesn’t hold water when there hasn’t been any evidence of the NFL eroding. The game’s popularity has only exponentially grown thanks to things like fantasy football and the Madden video game, which continues to cultivate a younger audience.
Actually the NFL has changed. It has added things like replay challenges — even though a certain Lions coach really never understood how it worked — the two point conversion and less clutching and grabbing from defensive backfields.
The game is much more open now. The quarterback may still be protected a tad too much, but I’m willing to live with all the minor tweaks the shield has made over the years.
But seeing a kicker have to boot a 43-yard extra point in December just to secure a playoff berth seems a bit preposterous. And adding two more playoff teams into the mix sounds like a great idea right? It’s the simple math of more teams, the better.
However, all it would do is just dilute the postseason to NBA levels. How many people care or watch the 8th seed get trounced by the No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs? Yes, I know Dikembe Mutumbo and the Nuggets bucked the trend by beating the Sonics. But that never happens — and worse yet, hardly anyone watches or cares.
Right now, 6 of 16 teams in each conference make the playoffs. Do you really want half of each conference in the playoffs? The biggest reason I don’t is because it would devalue the regular season. The NFL has had a big enough problem selling its terrible Thursday Night Football lineup on the NFL Network. How many times will fans see starters sit even earlier in the season because teams know they have one of the eight playoff teams already wrapped up?
Football is the best sport going right now. Pending more injury research, it’s bound to stay that way. But if the NFL keeps trying to fix something that isn’t broken, they’re going to end up creating a problem and possibly even alienate fanbases.
You cannot buy traditions and history. The NFL has a vintage reel of both. But you cannot keep them both if you’re too busy trying to change the present.——————
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