Stole this one directly from ESPN. What can I say, it’s a slow news week (hopefully followed by an incredibly fast news week).
The premise is as follows: if you were the NFL commissioner for one day, what rule would you enact, change, or remove? It’s inane for any number of reasons (not the least of which being: the NFL isn’t a dictatorship; I’m pretty sure these rules are governed upon by a body of owners, and wouldn’t they also have to be ratified under the Collective Bargaining Agreement), but we’re just going to ignore the gap in logic here. I’m King Steve For A Fucking Day, and I decree that the NFL blackouts are an abomination!
I mean, they just make no sense, you know? Which teams are the ones suffering blackouts? They’re likely the worst teams in the league; or they’re the teams in cities unfit to host NFL games. I remember all throughout the 90s, blackout after blackout of the Seahawks’ home games. All just so the NFL can lord its power over the fans who’ve made it what it is today.
Let me ask you this, wise ass: how are you going to generate interest within a fanbase if you don’t allow that fanbase to watch its team? These games are pure advertising for the NFL; you want people to watch so they can say to themselves, “You know, I’d like to be a part of that. I should get tickets!” Granted, there probably isn’t a lot of that going on if your team is horrible, but look at it this way: your horrible team is eventually going to turn it around. They will perform better on the field and start winning more ballgames. However, if their games are still blacked out, then how are their fans going to witness all the excitement that’s going on? You’re shooting yourselves in the foot with this delay. The Seattle blackout wasn’t lifted the instant the Seahawks started winning more games; the Seattle blackout was lifted the following year when there was a proper amount of buzz generated in the offseason. Take away the blackout, and perhaps that buzz will generate quicker.
You know why the NFL has the best ratings it’s ever had? Because it’s still one of the few things most people choose to watch live, rather than on DVR. Likewise, the ratings are astronomic because most people don’t subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket. They watch whatever’s free on their home TVs.
So, to take that away from a city just because there are a few thousand tickets still available to their home team’s game is just cruel. This game on Sunday, for some people it’s what they’ve been looking forward to all week. Whether their team is crappy or not, all they want to do is sit down and root for the good guys. And, if they ARE bad? That just means that home game is the best opportunity you’re going to have to witness a win for your team!
Finally, I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how detrimental these blackouts are for recruiting the younger fans. When your team is bad AND you’re not allowed to watch their games AND you’re 15? Guess what, in all likelihood you’re going to look elsewhere. Maybe you become a fan of another city’s team, because you’d rather be a fan of a winner than be a fan of a phantom organization you’re not allowed to see half the time. I have to imagine that’s how cities like Dallas and Pittsburgh have so many fans who’ve never actually stepped foot in Dallas or Pittsburgh. Or MAYBE you just give up on the NFL altogether. It’s not totally crazy. The baseball season runs right into basketball and hockey season; if you’re a sports nut you don’t necessarily NEED football to survive.
The blackout rule is just bad business, plain and simple. Isolating and irritating the fans you depend on for all those billions of dollars you make … that CAN’T be what they teach you in those fancy business schools you attended!
Also, on a semi-related note, while I’m still in charge of things:
I don’t know what they call it exactly, but I’m sick and tired of being forced to watch these crappy AFC West games (or crappier NFC West games) when my Seahawks aren’t on television JUST because I live on the West Coast. It’s fucking BULLSHIT! Too often, the Seattle market gets screwed out of the marquee morning or afternoon game (depending on when the Seahawks play) just because the NFL has a bug up its ass about playing regional games in regional markets! Oh, are the Patriots going to play Packers? Sorry, there’s this 49ers/Bears game you simply MUST see!
And if I think it’s bad in Seattle, just imagine how they feel in the Bay Area, or in the Capital. People in San Francisco get their 49ers in the morning, then they get stuck with the Raiders in the afternoon! And Redskins fans get stuck with the Ravens as their companion game … fuck me!
How about, instead of the shitty regional game, you give us the two crappy teams with no defense? You know what has been traditionally one of the most exciting games on the calendar? Cincinnati/Cleveland. Two bad teams with two nothing defenses who do nothing but march up and down the field. Give me THAT. Don’t give me the Cardinals and the Giants!
And finally, I totally, 100% agree with Sando: no more 10am start times for West Coast teams playing back East. There’s no reason why an East Coast team can’t have its game start at 4pm their time.