The serious troubles that have befallen the National Football League demand serious action, but has Roger Goodell interfered with the game of football for the sake of ratings?
That’s what many fans have been asking themselves throughout the entirety of the 2017 season.
Those who were once diehard American football fans have spent the last year and a half attempting to send a message to the Ivory Tower at NFL headquarters: We will no longer support this brand so long as the league and the owners allow players to protest the National Anthem and the flag. For their part, the NFL and Roger Goodell have all but told the fans where they can shove those complaints, and have even vowed to increase the league’s “social justice” outreach in coming years.
This, of course, has led to a massive boycott that sent NFL ratings and ticket sales plummeting.
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Now, as the Super Bowl shapes up to be yet another coronation for golden boy Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, an odd phenomenon is occurring: Americans are tuning in a bit more just to root against the world’s most hated quarterback.
“A dominant team is hardly bad for the NFL’s business. Sure, the NFL is built on parity, but having a king on the mountain also has a certain appeal.
“The most-watched game of the NFL season, when TV ratings were down about 10% overall, came in the AFC title game when the Patriots rallied to beat the Jaguars. Nearly 48 million viewers tuned in, curiosity and drama surely stoked as the Jaguars flirted with a monumental upset.
“On Sunday, NBC is aiming to top the all-time record it set in 2015, when 114.4 million viewers watched the Patriots sting the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
“’You either love them or you hate them, but you have to pay attention,’ Al Michaels, the venerable broadcaster who will handle play-by-play duty for LII, said this week. ‘I don’t see someone waking up Sunday morning and saying, “It’s the Patriots again. I’m going to the movies.”‘
“No, the NFL and the networks probably don’t mind the hate … as long as people are watching.”
This, however, opens up a whole new line of questioning based on previous evidence of possible collusion between the Patriots and the NFL.
Of course, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have both been caught with their hands in the cookie jar before, with Brady all but admitting to his role in deflate-gate, and Belichick’s long history of sign-stealing and video-taping other teams’ practices. With both remaining in the league despite their offenses, this has led to many Americans rightfully questioning the legitimacy of the league as a whole.
Even during the AFC playoffs there were more than a few instances of referees celebrating with the Patriots – something that has infuriated America.
Is the Patriot’s constant help from the officials part of the NFL’s plan to prop up the most hated team in all the land in order to boost ratings? This tactic, perfected by the world of professional wrestling, wouldn’t be out of the question for Goodell and crew, who are far more interested in perfecting their marketing scheme than pleasing the fans outright. Could this be good, old fashioned collusion for the sake of hitting the budget?
Only time will tell, and Sunday’s big game may bring us yet another iota closer to solving the mystery of Brady’s status as a Goodell’s Gridiron God.