Late last week, billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made an apocalyptic prediction on the future of the NFL. “I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion,” Cuban said. “I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you.That’s rule number one of business.”

Cuban was referencing the NFL’s efforts to expand its weekday television coverage, which has already grown to cover Thursday night in addition to Monday night for one game each week. Given that the NFL already dominates the ratings on Sunday and Monday, Cuban sees potential expansion, both to Thursday and beyond (most likely to Saturday nights next) as not conducive to the NFL’s popularity. “It’s all football. At some point, the people get sick of it,” Cuban said.

Cuban also cites inconvenience to fans who are used to planning for their favorite teams playing Sunday as another problem and mentioned the decline of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” after it expanded to five nights a week as a sign of what could happen to the NFL.

You will not find a bigger fan of Cuban and the acumen he brings to sports than me, but he is perhaps overstating the influence of television expansion in the NFL. Overexposure can certainly have a negative impact for any media product, but with all due respect to “Millionaire,” it is not and never has been the NFL. Football is simply too big to drop off simply from overexposure; the product would need to be diminished in some way to have the disastrous repercussions Cuban predicts.

Cuban may be right about the dangerous path the NFL finds itself on, just maybe not for the reasons he outlined. The NFL is indeed getting greedy, and such greed has introduced some troubling ideas into discussion. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statements earlier this week concerning the possibility of playoff expansion in the near future highlight the type of greedy thinking that could diminish the NFL product enough to drive away interest.

At 12 teams, the NFL playoffs are already big enough. More than a third of the teams get to advance to the playoffs, and the wild card system balances the rewards of winning the most games with the hedge of protecting good teams with the misfortune of being stuck in a particularly stacked division. It has worked well, and there is absolutely no reason to expand the system for competitive reasons.

But money has a way of trumping the product. Owners see a chance to make more money by introducing more playoff games while also making money off of the added fan bases still gripped with the excitement of a playoff run. Adding more teams to the postseason would ultimately diminish the accomplishment of making the playoffs. And while a miracle run by a late-qualifying team might amuse fans without a championship contender, fans of teams who were elite all season long will sour on the notion of their consistently superior team losing to a streaking team. Fans will lose interest in the regular season because they know mediocrity is rewarded just as much as consistent dominance in the long run.

Another troubling idea gaining support and interest from greedy executives is the installation of an NFL franchise in London. The sheer distance between London and any of the current NFL teams would create a logistical nightmare. Teams placed in a division with the London franchise would be livid at the catastrophic effect the jet lag would have on adjacent games, and thus their seasons.

Playing one game in London is already a hassle for the teams chosen to compete there each season, but as a one-time deal, teams are willing to accept the complications in order to give the growing NFL fan base in England a chance to watch a game live.

This generosity most certainly would not hold up for an eight-game home team schedule. The team that is moved will leave behind bitter fans, and free agents will almost certainly accept much less money to go to teams stateside in order to avoid the crippling jet lag, creating a far inferior product in London. All reason points to placing a franchise in London being a terrible idea, but once again executives are looking at the rapidly rising fan base in England with big dollar signs in their eyes.

The NFL is an extremely strong product. It is exciting from an entertainment perspective, and resilient from a cultural standing. But just like baseball before it, football is not invulnerable as the national pastime. Executives are already raking in more cash than they need. Reaching for more at the expense of the fans and the product that got them here will only yield losses.

Darius Majd is a junior in the College. The Sporting Life appears every

Friday.

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