After the Hail Mary debacle on Monday Night between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers the five month stalemate between the NFL and Referee’s Association was resolved in time for the Thursday Night game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, who had lost nine straight to the opposition.
The NFL referees returned to a standing ovation from NFL fans and hugs and slaps on the back from the Baltimore Raven and Cleveland Brown players. Many will believe that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell conceded due to player safety, threats of boycotts by players, pressure from picketing fans or the urging of our Commander-in-Chief,President Barack Obama.
This could not be further from the truth, the real reason the commissioner and his billionaire pals decided to finally give in was because it was a great business decision. Lets first be clear that with either referee officiating the games that the NFL was never at a threat of losing a cent of the $25 Billion Dollars that it collects annually. As with any top Fortune 500 company how one is viewed matters very little especially since companies such as the NFL are only fueled and driven by opportunities to increase capital gain.
The miscues from the Monday Night Football game sparked a media storm that the NFL only received on Super Bowl Sundays. Everyone from the avid fan to my nine-year old niece who does not even know what a touchdown is had an opinion regarding the referee’s blown call in Seattle. Every local new network around the country spewed their discontent with the replacement referees from Al Roker, the weather man on NBC’s Today Show to Bill O’Reilly on Fox New’s No Spin Zone. Others may mistakenly view such attention negatively but the NFL seized on this opportunity of being in the headlines and saw it as an opportunity to increase viewership and ultimately regain the $30 million dollars that they had agreed to in their negotiation with the NFL Referee’s Association.
In business one never passes on an opportunity to increase profits and the NFL is no different. Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young did not need his law degree from BYU to see that everything comes secondary to the opportunity to make few more million here or there. The game on Thursday Night posted record numbers nearly doubling what was initially projected with a total of 8 million viewers.
Tomorrow after you loosen your tie, take off your suit jacket or exchange your church blouse for a jersey consider how many more people will be tuning into the game, not out of interest but merely curiosity to see the return of the NFL referees. These new viewers are the true reason the NFL finally conceded. More viewers means new fans which of course causes higher ratings that ultimately results in more money.
While most who watch do so for the joy and love of the game NFL owner watch it for different reasons but since it takes $107 million to run a NFL franchise each year can you really blame them? As you waive your terrible towels or put on your favorite NFL team jerseys stay tuned to the madness that is the NFL…I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)