Roger Goodell’s NFL just can’t seem to get out of its own way this season.
The league has its premiere game on Sunday afternoon with the New England Patriots visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a showdown between two teams that have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl more times than any other over the last decade or so.And what happens the game ends on a highly questionable replay wiping out a game-winning touchdown by the Steelers and then a turnover to seal the Pats victory.
Understanding, a referee’s call is not the league’s call, however it still shows just how convoluted the season has become. The game probably had the best TV ratings of the season in the prime late Sunday afternoon time slot and left many with a bad taste in their mouth.
The day did not start out so well for Goodell with news that Carolina Panthers founder/owner Jerry Richardson was being investigation for alleged workplace misconduct including sexual harassment and making a racist comment to a black scout.
By the middle of the day the Sports Illustrated story had prodded the NFL commissioner’s office to say they were taking over the team’s internal probe and before the Sunday night game kicked off Richardson said he will sell the team after the season.
The 2017-2018 NFL season will be a watershed event for the sport. It will show a continuing erosion of TV ratings and will probably mark the apex of league revenues as Goodell will come to the end of being able to slice and dice content to new digital platforms for more and more money.
But anyone who reads this column regularly knows in 2016 I wrote in a New York Post column: “In 10 years — perhaps less — professional football will be out of business as we know it today.”
Today, I would say that I’ll take the under on the 10-year line.