Adios NFL – At least for now

***TUESDAY UPDATE – As expected, the 2024 Super Bowl game set a new TV ratings record with 123.4 million viewers.

The greatest marketing show in America is finally over.  Many fans reading this today will not be feeling very well after a Sunday afternoon and evening filled with excessive food and beverages.

For San Francisco 49er fans, you will undoubtedly question why your team decided to take the ball first during overtime on Sunday evening after winning the coin flip.  What was the San Francisco head coach thinking by allowing the best quarterback over the past five seasons (Patrick Mahomes) a chance for his team to know exactly how many points were needed to tie or beat you in overtime?

For Kansas City Chiefs fans, you had to sweat it out again (a normal occurrence during 2023).  However, your team rallied from behind and won in overtime 25-22.  Chiefs Kingdom has grown accustomed to winning several nail biters this season.   The KC dynasty has now captured three Super Bowl rings in the past five seasons.  Not bad!

If you had the numbers 5 and 2 on your Super Bowl final score squares (an extremely unlikely combination), you should be happy no matter which team you may have been rooting for.

Happy post-Super Bowl Monday!

No, I didn’t watch the festivities.

I spent Sunday night working on a family ancestry history project.  While I might have been watching football, I discovered a newspaper article from the home city of my deceased Mom.  The news story announced her engagement to a US Navy gent – just 18 months before the date she would marry my Dad (an Army veteran of WWII).  That certainly would have been an interesting conversation to have experienced prior to her passing a decade ago.

Back to the football game, I did listen to portions of it on the radio.  My lovely wife (who generally doesn’t watch NFL games unless the Saints or Steelers are playing) is an avid Super Bowl viewer – for the commercials.  She let me know that Arnold Schwarzenegger was now doing insurance commercials.

I’m sure Hanz and Franz from Saturday Night Live would be quite happy.

After the New Orleans Saints finally played in and won the Super Bowl more than a decade ago in February, 2010, my personal interest in America’s Big Game has been on the decline.

If your favorite team isn’t playing in the season finale, it’s getting harder to invest four hours (or more) in the Super Bowl experience.  Dallas Cowboys fans can relate.  It’s been 28 years since their last appearance in the big game.

The pre-game show on CBS started a full 4 ½ hours before kickoff on Sunday.  While that Super Stretch was underway, I watched a few hours of PGA Golf from Phoenix and a very interesting Alabama at LSU women’s basketball game.  That ended long before the kickoff at 5:37PM Central time kickoff.

The NFL’s regular season games generally conclude during a three hour TV window.  The super-sized season finale generally takes a full hour longer due to the added number of commercials and the annual “made-for-non-football fans” lengthy halftime show.

I don’t know exactly how many people watched this year’s event.  It has been widely speculated that Sunday’s Super Bowl would attract a record number of television viewers.

America was happy enough to see the match-up featuring quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against the “ground and pound” running game of the San Francisco 49ers.

Several million non-traditional football viewers tuned into Sunday’s game to see someone else

CBS (this year’s TV host) gladly obliged the young mostly-female new fans.  Numerous camera shots featured pop star Taylor Swift from her stadium suite as she rooted for her Kansas City Chiefs’ boyfriend, Travis Kelce.  The Swiftees (as they call themselves) have generated about a 10% increase in the television ratings for NFL games featuring Kansas City after she started showing up at some football stadiums this season.

It’s possible that “KC & the Swiftees Band” helped to set a new TV viewing record during last night’s game against San Francisco.

Did the NFL do anything nefarious to help get KC into their big season finale in hopes of setting an all-time television viewership record?

Let’s just say that the NFL and WWE both have three initials.  The referees in both organizations are paid by management and have been known to exert a significant impact on the final outcome of close contests.

In the AFC playoffs, Kansas City won by three points at Buffalo, seven points at Baltimore, and just defeated NFC champion San Francisco by three points in overtime.

Even if Kansas City received a little good fortune from the referees via pressure from the NFL’s home office, the 25-22 final score was good for the league.  By having such a tight contest deep into the fourth quarter and overtime, most viewers likely stuck around to watch those $7 million per thirty second ads, too.

Scripted outcomes?  Nah.  That would be preposterous!

The NFL’s dominance of the list of highest rated television programs every year recently has been nothing short of phenomenal.  Even if Sunday’s viewership does not set another record, the season finale should bring a smile to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 32 NFL franchise owners.

It’s good to be Roger Goodell!

There’s nothing that makes the NFL happier than yet another year of success at the gate and on television.  That’s why those 32 NFL franchise owners are paying Roger Goodell a small fortune to perform his job.

Roger Goodell earns $64 million per year.  That neatly works out to $2 million per season contributed by each of the NFL’s 32 teams.

For comparison, the CEO of Exxon Mobil earned $21 million in total compensation (salary, bonuses, and stock options) in 2022.  The NFL Commissioner earned three times that amount.

Roger Goodell pulls all the strings for the NFL’s 32 teams.  Sunday’s entire Super Bowl production was under his guidance.  His office was in charge of the songs being sung before the game (and who sang them), the halftime entertainment, the selection of each year’s Super Bowl site, and the week-long list of festivities leading up to Sunday evening’s kick-off.

Based on Roger Goodell’s success on the job, the NFL franchise owners are glad to fork-over the $64 million to the Commish every year.  They like this man so much that his contract was recently extended last fall to stretch through the 2027 football season.

“I think it was unified, I think everyone was behind it and it just takes a while to get those things done,” said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay in October, 2023.  “I really think everyone is in favor, everyone is excited and everyone acknowledges the job that Roger has done.  I think Roger will be in the Hall of Fame someday.”

And why not?  Roger Goodell’s job performance directly affects the franchise values for the 32 teams around the league.  Owning an NFL franchise was a much better investment than most of my stock and bond investments returned in 2023.

Speaking of good investments…

New Orleans Saints fans remember when the late Tom “Boogie” Benson paid $70 million to buy the Bayou State’s beloved black and gold NFL team in 1985.  According to one source, the Saints’ team value rose 14% in the past year and is now worth about $4 billion.

Is your house worth 57 times more than you paid for it in 1985?

Yes, it’s an extremely good time to be one of the 32 fortunate NFL franchise owners.

The NFL league office likely chuckles knowing that a growing number of football fans think that the outcomes of certain key games are predetermined.  As long as millions of people keep watching the league’s product on television, the owners of the NFL (like professional wrestling) will remain happy campers.

Monday’s only question mark is learning how many people watched this year’s Super Bowl on television.  The record of nearly 115 million was set last year by the (do you remember?) Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City game.

I will be surprised if that record is still standing by tomorrow.

Time to say “Adios” to NFL football on Sundays in 2024 – at least for the next six months

In the meantime, the league will continue to dominate the sports news.  There will be more coaching changes, player trades, and the increasing chatter related to the prospective college football players for selection by your favorite NFL team during the annual draft in Detroit coming up April 25-27.

The NFL should offer a special “Thank you” to Taylor Swift fans, too.  In fact, the NFL should thank each and every one of us (even conspiracy theorists) for our support during the 2023 football season.

This fall will find America’s attention in the middle of a hotly contested Presidential election.

Never fear!  The NFL (with its growing legion of advertising partners) promises to help take your mind off such serious matters for a few hours every week beginning in early September.

Ya’ll come back now!