A while back I commented about the NFL’s asinine policy regarding leaving games at their most exciting (during overtime) to watch a bunch of men in suits talk about other games going on. Mike Hunt and others pointed out the reason for this policy, which makes sense but is still stupid.

In any event, the last several days I’ve been hearing more and more complaints about this. James Joyner, for instance:

Now, I’ve got NFL Sunday Ticket and am therefore able to watch whichever games I please. But it’s simply idiotic of the NFL not to allow some small leeway to their affiliates to show the closeout of tight games. I understand that the networks alternate double headers and that going late on the early game takes away from the audience of the network with the second game. But, come on, missing a few minutes of the first quarter isn’t a big deal.

I don’t know whether I just tuned them out before or whether there is building resentment towards this policy. The NFL (along with the other major sports) receives anti-trust exemptions. The cost of that ought to be putting an end to these stupid profit-maximizing rules. And, of course, expansion.

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7 Responses to NFL Rules, Redux

  1. Maria says:

    OT, but I’m gloating obnoxiously today about the Harbaugh deal with the 49ers. Stanford’s resurgent program is destroyed, and the 49ers finally get a decent coach at the same time.

  2. trumwill says:

    That was my thought when rumors of Harbaugh’s imminent departure became louder. But the folks on ESPN were saying that the Stanford folks actually feel really good about where their athletic department is and feel that someone else will be able to pick up the torch.

  3. Maria says:

    Well what did you expect them to say Will? They are not going to admit that their program has been set back at least a few years. 🙂

  4. David Alexander says:

    In contrast, in America’s de facto third league, the NBA’s broadcasters will simply delay coverage of upcoming game if the first game runs late, or ESPN will simply start the game on an alternate channel.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    Let me start by saying I do not work for the NFL, although I would like to.

    The NFL (along with the other major sports) receives anti-trust exemptions.

    It is important to note that only baseball has a blanket anti-trust exemption. The NFL has it to collectively sell its regular-season and post-season rights and to operate as one league, instead of two distinct leagues. In order to get these exemptions, the NFL had to give a little too. Do you think New Orleans REALLY deserves a football team? Of course not. Except that in 1966 Russell Long and Hale Boggs* were very powerful and demanded one in order to grant these exemptions.

    Also, I feel the NFL is the most fan friendly league when it comes to television. If you live in the DMA of an NFL team, you can see EVERY away game of that team on free television. If they sell out more than 72 hours before kickoff, you can see all of their home games on free television as well. If your DMA doesn’t have an NFL team, then you can see four games on free television every Sunday: 1, 4:05, 4:15, 8:20. No college team, not even Notre Dame, is on free television as much.

    Futhermore, all 11 post-season games are on free television. In baseball, only 14 out of 41 are. The other major sports are even worse.

    This year I could have seen the Giants play 16 times, the Jets play 18 times, and Rutgers play once on free television.

    The NFL, by eschewing these cable opportunities, is already leaving money on the table and isn’t maximizing its profits. The NFL would LOVE to play on Friday and Saturday nights all year long. So why don’t they? They agreed not to as part of their anti-trust exemption, in order to protect the gate at high school and college games.

    The hole you can poke in my argument is that “everyone” has cable. My counter-argument is that the NFL has had these rules long before universal cable. Furthermore, cable isn’t as universal as everyone thinks, especially with the second television in the house, outdoor televisions, tailgating, etc.

  6. Mike Hunt says:

    *Boggs is the father of Cokie Roberts

  7. trumwill says:

    I’m not sure how much money they’re really leaving on the table with cable opportunities with Sunday Ticket and the exclusive arrangements with the broadcast networks. The former only recently came into existence, of course, but it’s noteworthy that the NFL is the only professional league that restricts itself to only one provider. One assumes that they are not losing money by declining to sell to Dish Network. Exclusivity, I think, is very much a part of their profit-maximization strategy. Also, it’s kind of easy to show all home games when you’re dealing with 30 teams instead of 120 (who are sometimes playing another set of 120 or so teams), and when you’re dealing with 16 games instead of 162.

    Even so, you do make some really good points. The centralized nature of NFL’s TV dealings (compared to the fractured NCAA) does have its benefits to the consumer, I suppose.

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