4 Bold Suggestions From a Pats Fan To Roger Goodell
I would like to give a few suggestions to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as a thank you for his contribution in helping The New England Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl Title. As a Patriots fan who lives Massachusetts, I would like to seriously and sincerely thank the commissioner.
He was able to provide motivation to the two people on earth, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who need need any additional motivation to succeed. He was able to give Brady a break to start the season which contributed to him being sharper and fresher throughout the season, culminating in a healthy Super Bowl appearance. He allowed The Patriots to showcase their back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Brady’s absence, which will allow The Pats to undoubtedly trade Garoppolo for a first round draft pick. He even allowed the team to see what they have in their third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
And going forward, this issue will never end in Brady’s mind, which will continue to burn at him, driving him to continue to dominate the rest of the league. So thank you, Commissioner Goodell.
4 Ways To Improve the NFL Even More
Here are my suggestions for you, Mr. Commissioner, to improve the league and generate more revenue over the next 10 seasons and beyond.
This past year the NFL generated $13 billion in revenue. You’ve stated wanting to double that figure to $25 billion by the year 2027. That is an aggressive goal. To do the same old, same old, will not accomplish that. And, a few games here and there in London and Mexico City won’t make a dent to get to that lofty number. Bold moves need to be made, especially in a year which saw ratings dip.
Make Must-See TV Again On Thursdays
People have said that the Thursday Night Package is killing the league’s popularity. I disagree, I believe terrible and unwatchable matchups are hurting ratings. The rule to have every team play a game on Thursday Night has to change. I realize trying to determine which games will be exciting to watch with good matchups six months in advance of the game is an inexact science, but for the most part, you know that a Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars tilt will realistically be a dog of a game.
Without doing anything, if ticket prices, clothing revenue, ad revenue, and television contracts increase by 2% each year, that would get the league to about $15,800,000,000, which still leaves almost $10 billion to go. How does the league get there?
Expand Abroad and South of the Border
The NFL has been talking about expanding the league into London for awhile, and they are now playing games in Mexico, and I have to believe they are looking to play games in Canada, too.
Why not do it all?
Start by adding two teams, one in London and one in Mexico, which will increase the league to 34 teams and increase the amount of games by 16, (one extra game per week). The London team can be placed in either the AFC or NFC East, and the team in Mexico can be in either the AFC or NFC West.
Aside from the expansion, periodically play games in Toronto and Montreal to see if there is a market for a second layer of expansion five to 10 years from now. Currently, there are 256 total games played in the regular season. Those additional games represent an additional 6.25% of games. If that’s translated to revenue, the increase will get the NFL to just under $16.8 billion -- we’re getting closer.
Players Won’t Play In All of the Games
Another thing the NFL has been pushing for is an 18-game schedule. For anyone who loves football, the more games the better. The argument against this is the health and well-being of the players. I have a solution for this. Treat the season like Fantasy Football players do: each week Fantasy players have to decide which players to play and which players to sit.
Have NFL coaches make the same decisions, and only have each player active for 16 of the 18 games. Of course, many players will miss two games due to injuries anyway, but regardless of health, make a coach be required to sit every player for two games. This may require rosters to be expanded.
But think about the added level of strategy that would go into the decision making process of who and when to sit certain players. Expanding the season to 18 games will stretch the season resulting in playing the Super Bowl on the Sunday before President’s Day. With a holiday the following day, many people will have the day off from work, which will increase ratings…Ratings equal dollars.
So now we’ve increased the league to 34 teams and increased the amount of games to 18 per team. The amount of games in the regular season would swell to 306, which represents an increase of 19.5% over the current amount of 256.
The increased games will bring revenues to almost $18.9 billion. We’re still short. How do we get to another $6 billion?
Possibly adding another layer of playoffs could help, and, a second expansion with two more teams bringing the league’s total to 36 would help, too. The final result of adding four more teams and increasing to an 18-game schedule by 2027 would produce a final result of about $20 billion -- STILL FIVE BILLION SHORT!
OK, I said I wanted to help, and I do. I said we must be bold to get this done, and I meant it. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately considering who our new president is.
Around 35 years ago, President Trump owned a professional football team in the USFL. ESPN did a terrific 30 for 30 documentary titled, “Who Killed the USFL,” basically accusing Trump for the demise of the league. Back then, the NFL was the competition.
Here’s my final bold idea:
Create the NFL SPRING!
The USFL was a successful league which had a following and was growing. It could have succeeded if it stayed what it was, a niche league with no delusions of grandeur of trying to compete with the NFL. But hubris doomed the league. Build on what was started 35 years ago, and make it your own. Being a part of the NFL, with the logo and affiliation lends an immediate credibility to the product.
One of the biggest flaws of the USFL was its phoenix-like rise. It was unsustainable. Remember what the goal is; simply creating a niche product to generate an additional five billion dollars of revenue for the league. Get 16 existing owners in good television markets to develop a spring team, (Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones…etc), who will play in their stadiums.
If you want to include a team from cities who recently lost a franchise like San Diego or St Louis, that would make sense.
Start the season a couple weeks after the Super Bowl, the first weekend in March. Play a 12-game schedule followed by a playoff schedule which will end in The SPRING BOWL during Memorial Day weekend, maybe a Friday or Saturday night game.
Think of when the games are being played. There is a vacuum left after the Super Bowl. The baseball season hasn’t started yet in March, with teams just beginning spring training. And the hockey and basketball seasons are trudging through the second half of their regular seasons. The biggest thing to contend with in March is NCAA basketball, and April is the start of the baseball season, but those are usually cold and rainy days. As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come.
The NFL earned a television package of a little over $7 billion last season, and although “NFL SPRING” won’t generate that kind of television money, it will still be lucrative. Either the existing networks who carry the NFL will want to expand and show those games, or a network which can’t afford the NFL could swoop in to show the spring games. With only half the teams playing fewer games the package will be nowhere near seven billion, but I’d be shocked if you couldn’t negotiate a package of a couple billion dollars. Realistically, ticket sales would generate 250-300 million dollars per year. When added to the new revenue stream of 16 new team logos on hats and shirts, etc, the total revenue of this newly formed spring league will be $3 billion. We’re still $2 billion short.
Finally, the current television package ends in 2022. When the new package is created, I am confident that the extra two billion will be generated due to the expansion of the league, as well as the further expansion of streaming and digital opportunities.
Again, thank you Mr. Goodell, for our fifth Super Bowl. I hope you utilize my suggestions, I really want to help you in any way I can, considering how much joy you’ve brought to Patriots fans.
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