Mark Cuban on NFL - Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered

OK, this is a change of pace from the political discussions. This is an article from seven years ago when Mark Cuban said that the NFL was getting too greedy and that it would come back and bite it in the rear-end. His ten-year time frame seems a bit fast, as does his armageddon scenario, but aside from that I can’t disagree his basic premise that the NFL has been getting way too greedy.

First, as Cuban mentioned, they are saturating television. The NFL was always great on Sundays with the Monday night game when I was growing up. I remember when I was in college they had a few Thursday night games but tanked them when they had low ratings. Now they have Thursday night football every week, meaning every team has to play one game on three-day’s rest. That leads to sloppy football. Does it matter to the NFL? No, it is one more way to get the NFL on TV and bring in more money.

Next, the NFL just expanded the playoffs to fourteen teams. This past year the mediocre Chicago Bears made it in, where they proceeded to lose to the New Orleans Saints, who would have had a week-one bye under the old system. Did the NFL really gain anything by having the Bears in the playoffs - besides one more game on tv and more television money?

Now, the NFL is expanding the season to seventeen games. Does anybody think there is any real demand for a seventeenth game? The way I see it, it is just one more week, which means a lot more meaningless games in week 17 and one more week for players to get worn down and injured prior to the playoffs. Again, more television money.

Then, of course, there is the talk of putting a team in London. Never mind the logistical issues and salary cap issues with the higher taxes and cost of living in the UK, both of which would put a franchise there at a competitive disadvantage. It is more money for the NFL.

Would the NFL consider adding more teams as well? On one hand, they could rake an immediate windfall with expansion fees. But, on the other hand, they would have to divide the television revenue by more teams. Would the NFL take the short-term or long-term view here.

Either way, I agree with Cuban that the NFL is getting way too greedy and could very easily have this come back and bit it in its rear-end. This reminds me of the old game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” That started out on prime time once a week and got king-sized ratings. Then, ABC expanded it to three times a week and the ratings tanked. ABC got greedy and didn’t stop to think that offering too much of that show could end up hurting the demand.

Any other thoughts?

Mark Twain’s words about his obituary comes to mind

Perhaps. I remember in the late 1980s when somebody wrote a book called “The League: The Rise and Decline of the NFL” I had to Google it to find the exact title:

I remember that was the last time the NFL was in a rut. I remember another writer saying the NFL had fallen to number three in the US sports pecking order behind Major League Baseball and the NBA, and that was not an exaggeration at that time. This followed what I consider the NFL’s first golden era, which covered the time from the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 through the early 1980s.

Even then, I remember thinking that the doom and gloom predictions in that book were exaggerated. Of course, once the 1990s came around the NFL took off again and has been soaring ever since.

At the same time, I also remember where Major League Baseball was back then in terns of nationwide popularity compared to where it is today. I wonder how many people back then would have thought that MLB could end up where it is now.

He said this years ago. I believe this article was 2014.

To meet his guess, we have around 3-4 years.

I don’t watch football. I’ve always found them greedy, the players overpaid and unbecoming and didn’t find the games interesting.

I do watch hockey but only in person. I would say all the sports have become greedy. Going to one game sets me back 300-500 dollars. That’s for two people.

I think the politics is what is doing them in. I watch sports or something similar to ignore the real world. I don’t care If they support my views or are against my views. I just want to see then play a good game.

I was reading an article about Disney have some financial issues because sports became political which cut their espn revenues.

I have said for years the nfl will implode but they haven’t. So far people want the product.

Other thoughts would be that with the CTE concerns, the NFL may go the way of boxing. A lot of parents don’t want their kids playing football anymore. HS and college football are still popular, for now, but Title IX means football makes a huge dent in the gender ratios too. The pipeline could start drying up.

When I talk about it going the way of boxing, I mean only poor kids playing in 30 years because middle and upper class parents may not want anything to do with it.

Yes, I forgot about CTE. And, regarding boxing, there is another good comparison. I remember when I was really young when even the biggest fights were on network television. Then they all moved to pay-per-view. That may have brought in more money for boxing, but it shrunk its fan base.

Similarly, if the NFL every decides to put the Super Bowl on pay-per-view, that will be a big indication of where things are going.

I did say that it was from seven years ago and that his timeline seems really fast and his Armageddon scenario a bit extreme. I don’ think the NFL is on the verge of falling off of a cliff. I can, however, see it going the way of Major League Baseball.

One big indicator will be if cities are willing to pony up money for new stadiums going forward. So far the NFL has largely succeeded in getting this, though they have failed to get public funding in some places like Los Angeles and San Francisco. The next test will be my favorite team, the Buffalo Bills. Their stadium was built in 1973 and is behind the times, and the NFL is on their case to get a more modern stadium. I expect them to end up renovating the current stadium as the cheapest option and that some public money will be spent.

IMHO political correctness is killing the NFL as well as NASCAR. Time will tell.

I think professional sports have sold their souls to TV. Games are scheduled according to the schedule set by TV, so we get back to back to back to back games, games played in the morning, games on multiple stations. I think they are often used by networks as a space filler when they have nothing else to show. Somewhere, they crossed the line from practically no exposure to great over exposure.

Since I am likely older than most here, I recall there being one NFL game broadcast on Sunday, sometimes two. That was it until the AFL came along on another network. Hopefully your home game was a sellout, otherwise it would not be broadcast. Living in Detroit, that usually meant spinning the antenna and hoping you could get the Toledo or Lansing station. That’s one reason MNF was such a big hit in 1970. MLB was on Saturday and/or Sunday (not much sense in broadcasting the afternoon day games that drew 5-7,000 people). NHL games were only telecast in Canada, on Saturday night. Fortunately, we were across the river from Windsor and easily got CBC and could watch Hockey Night in Canada.

Today, I rarely watch an NFL game because they take so long with all the ads and reviews of ref calls. I also hardly ever watch a MLB game, becasue they just seem to drag. I was a baseball fanatic in my youth but they lost me along the way. I do subscribe to NHL Center Ice and watch most Wings’ games (which also takes a lot of patience these days).

I think the answers lies some where between what it was in the 50s-60s and today, but I honestly don’t see that happening. There’s too much money for the players, the networks and the the teams. I am interested to see what happens when most teams start allowing larger crowds. The current situation has done away with much of whatever home field advantage existed, and I don’t like that. I expect that initially there will be sellouts but I wonder if they will continue.

Personally I am not a fan of the counties (cities) putting up money to support a team. They’re a for profit business and shouldn’t need handouts.

Now I wouldn’t mind if the rents covered the cost but I doubt they would or if they had a rule to make the tickets affordable.

Sports use to be affordable to the middle class. I just don’t seem them being affordable anymore. We use to go to baseballs games weekly because we’d get the tickets for free and food wasn’t insanely expensive.

DVR. Record the game, watch it in 2.25 hours, not 3.

That would require me to buy a DVR and I am not sure that the NFL is worth it.

I am not quite that old. My memory goes back to the days when CBS had the contract for the NFC games, NBC for the AFC games and ABC for Monday Night Football. If you lived in a non-NFL market as I did, on Sunday you got three games. One network had a double-header and the other had only one game. Monday Night Football was more than just a game then - it was an event. People would watch the game just to curse-out Howard Cosell and throw rubber bricks at their televisions. Monday Night Football halftime highlights of the previous Sunday games were also a big part of the show. That was before there was ESPN or CNN Sports to show the highlights on Sunday.

Monday Night Football is an example of how things have changed with the times. It is now on cable. I could see the NFL someday putting the Super Bowl on cable if it thought it could get more money. If they tried doing that today I am sure there would be a big outcry. The same could have been said about the World Series in the 1980s. Now, if Major League Baseball said it was putting the World Series on cable TV I doubt most people would care. I wonder if the NFL gets to that point.


DVR. Record the game, watch it in 2.25 hours, not 3.

I don’t watch the NFL as much as before.When I do watch it, I will record it Will start watching about 2 and 1/2 hours after kickoff. Can watch the whole game in about 45 to 50 minutes.

This is actually a big issue, but will take a little long to take effect.
In the suburbs there are more kids playing other sports besides football.

I think that a concern but not a huge concern for most parents.

Soccer has become very popular. Everyone I know has their children playing soccer. Football when I was growing up was common. I don’t know anyone who has their kids in football now days.

There must be some powerful political statement being made. A game lasts a couple of hours but people feel that 15 seconds on a knee that isn’t shown on TV, and that if you are looking at the sidelines to see it so you can be offended rather than looking at the flag, you aren’t being patriotic either, is the reason people are being turned off to the NFL.

That’s true, I’ve seen a lot of parents talk their kids out of playing. The other thing that may speed up the NFL’s decline is this year’s season wasn’t the same because of Covid and other issues. A lot of people looked forward to Sunday and watching the games at house parties or the bar and that didn’t happen, many of those people found other things to do.

TV viewers were down 9 million this year and the Big Game had the lowest RTG (rating?) since 1969.

I didn’t realize the game was down this year. I would have assumed the best rating ever as people are wanting things to do.

I know a lot of people who didn’t watch one game all year. Same with the NBA.