It is one thing for the NFL league office to be arrogant and out-of-touch. It is quite another for them to openly antagonize their own fans. We have seen a lot more of the latter lately, which in part has helped contribute to lower ratings across the board. It was hard to narrow it down to three, but I chose a few recent examples to illustrate how delusional they are. They must literally think that people will keep watching no matter what they do.
1. Jags-Titans on Thursday Night Football
Are you kidding me? On their new marquee night that the league is trying to make into appointment viewing, they match up these two teams in a prime spot in the first half of the year? When they are trying to promote their new deal with Twitter to stream these Thursday games live? It isn’t even up against the World Series! If it wasn’t for fantasy and gambling the ratings for this game would be minuscule. They may be anyway. By scheduling this game the NFL is announcing that they have no respect for their regular viewers and that they view them as brainwashed zombies that will watch anything involving a spherical pigskin.
2. Giants-Rams Start Time
After throwing LA fans a massive bone by “guiding” the Rams back from St. Louis, the league goes ahead and schedules their game versus the Giants in London for 6:30am local time. 6:30am on a Sunday! If there was ever such thing as the opposite of prime time, that would be it. Even accounting for the time difference, this game could have kicked off at 9am or 10am or 11am or 12pm or even 1pm in La La Land, but the NFL needed it’s precious additional time slot before the early games started, so they told the fan base of the second-biggest city in the country to go screw. Great business!
3. Penalties for Celebrations
Look, if you want to throw a flag for guys who either A) Go out of their way to embarrass opponents, or B) Delay the game with endless celebrations after meaningless plays, go for it. But otherwise, leave the players the hell alone. Forgive me, but I watch the NFL to be entertained, not to find role models for my (at this point theoretical) kids. Plus, if I was watching the NFL to find role models for my kids, I would be a hell of a lot more worried about the message being sent by Josh Brown beating his wife repeatedly, but barely being punished, than Antonio Brown shaking his ass in the end zone.
Welcome to the modern NFL!