Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who framed Roger...

So I sat down to watch Rich Eisen discussing issues with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and my heart sank. Partly that was down to Akamai, the company that was supposed to deliver world class HD video to, but instead have delivered the kind of amateur hour service that would occur if it was left to someone like me to put up the videos. For a big organisation like the NFL, I'm stunned that they continue to use this shabby product. But that wasn't the main reason. The mention of the 'Enhanced' season is what really got me depressed. You can just tell by the way the Commissioner is talking about it that it's a done deal. There is no choice in this matter for the NFLPA. It will be slipped into the next Collective Bargaining agreement whether they want it or not. If they don't take it, then there won't be a deal. And I hate it. I understand the official line, that pre-season games are boring. But tough. First of all, it's one of the few chances that some teams get to play regular games against rival teams. San Francisco/Oakland is a clash that the local fans would otherwise only get to see every four years. But most importantly it's a chance for lesser players to catch some attention and try and break into the roster. Far from being as detrimental to players as the League would make it out, in the long term four pre-season games gives talented players on the fringes of rosters their best chance to shine and get themselves a deal. Which is important for coaches as well. I know from experience how difficult it can be to get a proper look at someone who is a borderline starter. There's never the right time, it's always too close, or the game is too far gone/too far behind/too far ahead etc for the performance to be considered useful as an evaluation. Pre-season games are the perfect place for this to take place. Hungry young players and embattled veterans on both sides of the ball looking to cement/save a roster spot. The competition is there, it's just that the big names aren't. And that's the key to this matter. Money, again. No big names equals no big TV payday. More regular games = higher fees for future TV deals. Forget any posturing or posing. Forget the rhetoric about it being good for the game etc. The 'enhanced season' (carefully worded to imply that it will definitely be better) is designed to do nothing more than 'enhance' the revenue pocketed by the league. That much is pretty damn obvious and I just hate all this prancing about trying to pretend there are loftier motives involved. It's about lining peoples pockets with cash, plain and simple. And it stinks. But if we've learned anything lately, it's that what Roger wants, Roger gets. Have a great day everyone.

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