Jock Talk: For the NFL Money is Everything

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Commissioner Roger Goodell is laying down the law against hard hits in the NFL yet is heavily considering extending the NFL season to 18 games. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Jesse Heussner ’11
Sports Editor

The National Football League needs to get off of its high horse.

In what was called “an effort to secure player safety,” the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell tightened its policy on helmet-to-helmet hits, and will now issue out suspensions to first time offenders of the policy.

While this ruling seems completely logical on the surface, the NFL’s actions are entirely hypocritical and a disgrace to the fans that drive the league.

See, the NFL’s primary objective here is not to prevent injuries, it is to make money. By regulating a game that is supposed to be violent—these players sign up for this and are making millions of dollars playing it—the NFL is protecting their stars, and in essence, the economic success of the league.

This of course, is perfectly understandable–until I dug a little bit deeper. Even if the NFL has an ulterior motive in protecting its players, at least there is some benefit in the decision to regulate hits. However, what is completely irresponsible, ludicrous, wrong—whatever adjective you want to use—is the fact that the NFL is seriously considering, and likely will, extend the regular season to 18 games.

Sure, getting rid of two unneeded preseason games is nice. And yes, more regular season football will be entertaining. But seriously: where is the concern for player safety now? Not only will adding two more regular season games deemphasize individual games, but it will also be a crushing defeat for the players.

It will eliminate two weeks of training camp (the preseason, essentially) and add two more grueling weeks of regular season play, which will inevitably lead to more injuries, more controversy, and oh…. more money for the NFL.

These policies—both the NFL’s decision to crack down on helmet-to-helmet hits and the possibility of extending the season—are disguised as ideas that will improve the game. Instead, they merely fatten the pockets of NFL executives. Attempting to limit injuries of big-time players will keep ratings up and adding two regular season games will increase the NFL’s revenue.

Standing alone, these policies might make sense. But where is the consistency? On one hand, Goodell is hurting the integrity of the game by placing safety over substance in a violent game. On the other, added revenue for the owners takes precedent over player safety in an 18-game schedule.

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