This probably isn't going to be received well, and most Bro Councilers won't agree with what I have to say, but here goes anyway; The NFL – with a Dr. Kevorkian-like assist from ESPN – has officially become too much and eventually they may pay for it.
Before you start parading me through town square and unleash a barrage of stones my way, just hear me out.
In 2011 ESPN and the NFL inked their most recent TV deal. These are some of the highlights:
500 additional hours of coverage:
- NFL Countdown – extended from 2 hours to 3 hours
- NFL Live – extended from 30 min. to 1 hour
- NFL Kickoff – new show
- NFL 32 – new show
- Audibles – new show
- An additional 30 ESPN programs must enhance their coverage of highlights for the NFL
Maybe it is just me becoming increasingly pessimistic toward the big boy sports network (ESPN), but I just can't help believing they are over saturating us with the product. I understand I am probably alone on this so don't be surprised when I turn into a recluse and start hanging out by myself in a 10×10 Idaho cabin with ESPN ramblings written on my walls.
The point is we are being fed too much NFL. It's hard to believe that could even be possible because of the popularity of the sport and insatiable appetite that we have for it but personally I'm over it. I used to spend my day frequenting message boards, trolling NFL sites for articles, and texting friends to break down games and now I can't even bear to see it.
There was a time that it was a treat to see the highlights of your team from the week before because you never knew when you were going to catch a re-run of NFL primetime and ESPN only showed a quick 30 second highlight. Now all I have to do is turn on NFL Live at 11:00 am, but if I miss that there is no doubt NFL Kickoff will cover it at 1:00 pm, and if I'm so unfortunate to miss both then I know I can get all of the info I need from the enhanced coverage on Around the Horn or PTI – which, by the way, are both absolute jokes.
It's not even so much that there are too many shows covering the sport, it's also that they never advance the topics, they cover the same thing all day with the same exact people on different shows. If you pay attention, you'll see Mark Schlereth on the morning program covering the hottest topic from the previous week; he'll then head over to the NFL Blitz booth and cover it again – saying the EXACT same thing. It is a move that ESPN openly acknowledges doing.
Seth Markman (ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer): "I understand that most people see parts of one show or both shows... The way audiences are, people flip around the TV. We want to make sure that people aren't missing a good topic."
If you think I am crazy, just look at the ratings. Both NFL Live and NFL 32 experienced decreases of 45% and 49% in viewership. Overall, the enhanced package has resulted in less viewers, they call that a bad investment.
The fact of the matter is no one wants to see the same thing over and over again, it actually does get old. The reason the NFL has so much success versus the other sports isn't because the game is that much better, it's because it is on less. If baseball, basketball, and hockey were moved to a 16 game schedule and played once a week then every game would become can't-miss TV too. By overextending their coverage, the NFL is in effect decreasing its biggest advantage over the other sports.
The question is; will it ever affect them to the point that they lose their grip as the King of North American Sports? No shot, but they have lost much of the interest of this guy.
Feel free to discuss in the comments below.