Get Set For The World Series …

I don’t know about you, but back in March I did not have the Rangers/D-Backs as the participants in the 2023 World Series.  Congratulations to both teams.

  • The Rangers outlasted the Astros in the ALCS in a series that put the lie to Dorothy’s mantra in the Wizard of Oz.  Home teams did not fare well at all in that series; the visitor won all 7 games.
  • The D-Backs just kept grinding and somewhere between Game 5 and Game 6, the Phillies’ bats went AWOL.

Should be an interesting World Series starting Friday night in Texas …

Last week, reports said that Roger Goodell has signed a contract extension that will make him the NFL Commissioner through the end of the 2027 NFL season; he has been in that position since 2006.  Roger Goodell is not a “fan favorite”; there have been lots of times and lots of issues when a large measure of the public’s reaction to something or other has resulted in Goodell being the figurative punching bag.  It is almost as if he is the guy they put in the stocks in colonial times for screwing up something or other.  Reports say that in his current deal, he has made $63.7M annually – – and that number infuriates the people who “hate” Roger Goodell.

Make no mistake; I have disagreed with some of his decisions and his edicts over the years; I am not a “Goodell acolyte”.  Having said that, he deserves the contract extension and whatever salary is included in the deal – – presumably north of $63.7M per year.

Roger Goodell is employed by the 32 owners of the NFL teams; his job description does not really include “keeping fans happy all the time” as a key element of the job.  As I see it, he has 3 major roles to play:

  1. He is supposed to grow the business of the NFL
  2. He is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter in discipline cases involving players, teams and/or owners.
  3. He is to “take the heat” when fans get their dander up over something or other.  He is the buffer between owners and angry fans.

Let me look at those three things separately:

  • The NFL “business outlook” is rosy.  The latest round of media rights deals will bring in just under $110B after all of them run their course.  NFL games dominate TV ratings in the US and the game is growing overseas; London games sold out in less than a day when tix were made available last Spring.  The last two times a franchise changed hands, the price tags were $4.6B and then $6B.
  • He has been the league’s head disciplinarian for almost 20 years now and has had to “preside” over some dicey issues.  Lots of people “took sides” in matters involving Bountygate, Tom Brady, Spygate, Ray Rice, Colin Kaepernick, Ezekiel Elliott, Myles Garrett and Deshaun Watson; those are the ones that come off the top of my head; there have to have been hundreds of other discipline cases in his time on the job that generated far less agita than the one’s mentioned here.
  • He has been the one pilloried by some fan faction or activist group in lots of those matters acting as a human shield between angry people and the 32 owners who are the ones keeping him in their employ.

The bottom line here is that Roger Goodell is not expected to behave in ways that make fans happy; the NFL product is what makes fans happy.  So long as he grows the business and shields the owners from scorn, he is a success.  Remember, the owners are the ones paying him something north of $63.7M per year – – not the fans.

Another report from last week should provide some tangential benefit to the NFL in terms of “growing the fanbase”.  The IOC decided that flag football – – along with some other sports – – will be part of the 2028 Summer Games to be staged in LA.  Yes, I am aware that flag football is not NFL football, but the premise of the two games and the “strategies” of the two games are closely aligned.  Making this an Olympic sport can only bring flag football and NFL football greater exposure in various parts of the world where it is largely ignored today.

Are there areas of the world that meet these two criteria:

  1. There is a high standard of living there such that many folks have “disposable income” – – AND – –
  2. Folks there would “take to” American football if they were ever exposed to the product.

Putting the game in the Olympics could be a good way to find such areas of the world so that the NFL might slowly cultivate the interest there and begin to exploit it.  I think this is a decision that might provide a huge business benefit to the NFL – – as if it needed one.

There are some reports that say current NFL players want to be on the US Flag Football Team in 2028.  Of course, that is their right, but I do not think that is the best thing that could happen for the NFL from a business standpoint.  Yes, the NFL could field a “dream team” in 2028 and crush the other competitors.  Maybe that is not the best way to “introduce” the game to lots of folks around the world?  Whatever …

Finally, let me close today with an observation by former Notre Dame coach, Lou Holtz:

“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



5 thoughts on “Get Set For The World Series …”

  1. “Remember, the owners are the ones paying him something north of $63.7M per year – – not the fans.”

    I’m sorry, but I think this is a serious misunderstanding of how ticket, merchandise, and concession sales, along with the unrelenting stream of ads we are forced to watch during football games, actually work. It’s called trickle up economics, and it’s how the fans ultimately pay for everything.

    1. Matt:

      Your point is valid – – except … The owners could choose not to pay him that amount and hire someone “cheaper”. But because the growth in revenue has happened on his watch, Goodell gets (probably) more credit than is his due for that increase. Hence he gets paid.

  2. Likely to see resistance by the owners on NFL players playing – didn’t they have a flag game, maybe for rookies, at the Pro Bowl a few years ago and someone sustained a very serious injury? maybe a knee they never really fully came back from?

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