Anyway...the NFL (or National Football League as idiot announcers like to remind us 40 times a game) has seen ratings decline. Is it because of the election? Because of players protesting the national anthem? Me, I think in part it's because the game has gotten to be so shitty to watch. People complain that baseball is slow but every football game is 3-4 hours between commercials, injuries, and plays being reviewed and the stuff between all that often isn't great. So here are some suggestions to fix things:
- This comes from the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column that used to be on ESPN: eliminate DirecTV's monopoly on Sunday Ticket. That's the satellite package where you can see most every NFL game instead of the ones on your local airwaves. That would allow cable subscribers to get the package and watch more games.
- Along with that, give more people access to the "Redzone Channel" where you can see scoring plays. That's a big thing for fantasy football so the more people who have that the better
- Thursday football should be reserved for Thanksgiving only. The Thursday Night Football games are usually a dumpster fire with bad matchups and crappy "Color Rush" uniforms. (BTW, attention Packers, white is not a "color" really.)
- Just have 1 London game if you must. Having one football game on at 9:30am is neat but when you do it 3 or 4 weeks in a row it starts to get lame. And why has it always been London? Why not some of the other former NFL Europe cities? Though Amsterdam might have too many players failing drug tests. Zing!
- End tippy-tappy penalties. Stop killing scoring drives with "holding" penalties that cost 10 yards and 90% of the time stop a drive dead. Either dial it down to 5 yards or say fuck it and let them hold all they want. As well, end "block in the back" penalties on kickoffs that take away great returns.
- Simplify Catches. Use the college rule that only one foot has to be down and enough of this "process of the catch" bullshit where a receiver has to catch the ball, fall down, get up, and do a fucking tap dance without juggling the ball. No one likes sitting around debating what is or isn't a catch for five minutes.
- Speed up reviews! This crap of waiting 5 minutes to review the spot of the ball is so ridiculous. Lower the number of challengeable plays and get those replays in there faster so we don't have to wait forever.
- Go full college OT. A few years ago the National Football League changed overtime from sudden death to a half-baked system where if the first team who gets the ball gets a touchdown they win, but otherwise the other team gets the ball. Just use the more exciting college system where each team gets the ball on the 20 and try to outscore each other.
- For NBC only: stop with the stupid player introductions. We got bored of this on Monday Night Football years ago and there was no need to transfer it to Sunday Night except maybe Al Michaels is too lazy to read names. Sorry, players, but we've heard every variation of your jokey introductions: using high schools, junior highs, elementary schools, or made-up schools like "The school of hard knocks" and we're sick of hearing THE Ohio State and THE U. It's especially sad for 30-something players to brag about where they went to college. You got a stupid college ring to show while you're at it?
- Let some fun in, but not too much. I was as sick of Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, etc.'s inane touchdown celebrations in the 2000s as everyone else, but as usual the NFL took things too far by fining players for wearing different-colored socks or refusing to let Antonio Bryant wear shoes with Muhammad Ali on them. Hidden Sharpies and mooning crowds are bad but no one cares what socks the players wear.
- Speaking of, stop letting Commissioner Roger Goodell be judge, jury, and executioner. The punishment system of the NFL is a joke. A kicker gets suspended 1 game for beating his wife but smoking a joint gets you a 4-game ban? 2014 was a dumpster fire of a season for NFL punishment as Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson were suspended for abusing a girlfriend and child respectively only AFTER the word of the crimes got out to the press. Goodell should have lost all power then, but for some reason he's still calling the shots and the system is as inconsistent as ever.
- This is cruel but: get injured players off the goddamned field! I know it sounds mean and it risks legal action to do but look the NFL is in part like NASCAR: people come to watch the wrecks as much as the race. Let's not pretend like we really give a shit when some poor guy goes down on the field. Sure we all gasp and applaud when he's carried away, but then guess what? We applaud the next bone-crushing hit. Football is a gladiator sport only the bodies are weapons. Let's stop pretending we're worried about their collected health and just keep the game going. Are you not entertained!? And especially if the dude just has a fucking cramp or something wimpy, push him to the sideline and keep going!
- Stop "freezing" kickers. One of the lamest things coaches started doing in the 2000s is calling a timeout right before a kicker would kick a field goal at the end of the game or half. Much of the time they would wait until just before the ball was snapped so the kicker would get a practice kick. To me it's as lame as the dude who goes on The Price is Right, sees the highest bid is $900 and bids $901 just to be a dick. Make it so you have to call the time out by the time players are set instead of when the ball is hiked so we have less fake kicks. And it would eliminate those ironic moments when a coach "freezes" a kicker who misses the first time and nails the second attempt.
Those are just some ideas, some good and some maybe less good. The idea is speed things up and eliminate some of the bullshit that makes watching a football game such a chore.