Roger Goodell has turned the NFL into a money-making machine, but it never seems to be enough.
Just look at what has been going on in Goodell’s NFL recently.
He has decided that teams should be flexed into playing Thursday night games. Even though Goodell was two votes shy of getting the proposal passed at the recent meetings, he usually gets what he wants and it will probably pass in May. The owners did agree that teams can now play two Thursday night games instead of one.
This is a bad idea for several reasons. Fans who make plans to watch their team play a Sunday night game on the road can have those plans ruined if the game is flexed to Thursday. And the Thursday night games are a safety issue for the players, no matter how much Goodell denies it. And by putting better games on Thursday night, it means they get less exposure because games are streamed on Amazon on Thursday nights, and only subscribers to Amazon’s expensive Prime service can watch.
But it is another sign that the NFL is more interested in the fans who watch on TV than the fans who actually attend games. And Amazon is willing to pay a billion dollars to a league where cash is king.
And then there are the layoffs at NFL Media. The departure of Jim Trotter, one of the most respected reporters in the league, got the most attention. He had asked Goodell the last two years at press conferences about the lack of diversity in NFL Media. Goodell said that had nothing to do with Trotter’s departure, but it wasn’t a good look for NFL Media.
And the layoffs show that in the 20 years since it started, the NFL Network has not been the money-making success the league thought it was going to be. And even though the NFL is hardly strapped for cash with its billion-dollar TV deals, Goodell apparently can’t accept the idea of using NFL Media as a promotional tool for the league.
Meanwhile, Peter King reported the league is going to partner with Skydance Media to create movies and documentaries. But will they make the kind of money the league wants? We will see.
As we know, Goodell cares only about the bottom line. He is so popular with the owners that he is going to get a contract extension that will take him through 2027.
Goodell’s obsession with the bottom line is not a surprise. But we’ve just gotten another reminder of what Goodell cares about.