With the NFL preparing for the shortening of the regular season, reducing the season from a 16 or 18 game schedule down to 8 games, well, at least there is a very little sliver of hope of something coming to fruition at all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell however still intends on playing a full season. On the other hand, the owners of the teams are less than optimistic and more than silent regarding the subject. The Super Bowl is still scheduled at Lucas Oil Field Stadium in Indianapolis on February 5, 2012 with contingencies for a reschedule on February 12, 2012, if need be. In light of this, a shortened season will benefit some and not benefit others.
- NFL Players. Before you say that, they would be victims in a shortened season. Although financially they wouldn’t receive as much money overall for fulfilling their seasonal contracts, they would risk less physical injury in a shortened season. This would immediately benefit most quarterbacks and running backs, particularly those prone to injury, into the regular season realistically. Detroit Lions Javhid Best and Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick would be two that would benefit from a shortened season as both are prone to injury.
- NFL Fans. Although this would seem like a downfall for the fans, at this point, something is better than nothing in my opinion. While a full schedule consisting of either 16 or 18 games would be great, an 8 game regular season schedule will do. However, there is something amiss which I will discuss in the spoils.
- Television Networks. Whether it’s the NFL Network, ESPN, Fox or any of the other television networks carrying the sport, any amount of playing time in football is better than nothing. Without football, they bear a drastic loss in revenue from the television advertisers. Additionally, it would mess up the fall television schedule for the standard television networks, and it could potentially spell disaster in ratings. With less ratings come less advertising sponsorship, and with the way this economy is free-falling, anything is better than nothing.
- Television Advertisers and Their Products. Whether it’s beer, chips or aftershave, these advertisers would take a hit. Although an eight-game season would help make up some of their losses, at this point, they should be grateful for any season whatsoever. However, they should be able to recoup their losses in the Super Bowl.
- Concession Owners and the Like. Those who work seasonal jobs in the stadiums and those who own concessions in the stand with their overpriced foodstuffs, they will have jobs in this economic recession. Any employment is better than none with the 9% unemployment rate.
- The Playoffs. It could potentially be a multiple-team horse race, even more than last season. Even “bad” teams could potentially win the Super Bowl.
- Standard and Roto-Style Fantasy Football Players. Although these fantasy football players will be playing for a shorter season, if they play their cards right in their draft, they can still have a sufficient season for bragging rights. Those who play roto-style fantasy football will have more excitement in this shortened season, but the betting will be intense as their star player could be injured at any moment and cost them the season.
- NFL Team Owners. This would be a lost season for profits in their billion dollar industry. With less time, they would have deal with some frustrated NFL fans who would otherwise purchase memorabilia, jerseys and such if there was a full season.
- NFL Fans. Although some fans will still attend, there remains a question on the price of season tickets. Will they be reduced pro rata since it is an eight-game season? Or will they attempt to recoup their losses by still keeping it full price or at least close to it?
- NFL Players. Some rookies and second and third year players will have their growth potentially stunted. Also, they could remain bench material for an eight-game season despite their talent.
- Super Bowl. As this relates to the team owners and the NFL in general, the Super Bowl itself could potentially be less of a spectacle (no more Black Eyed Peas!) than last year as the influx of money would be reduced. With less money comes less draw potentially, and the Super Bowl halftime show could crash and burn even more than last season.
- Standard and Dynasty Fantasy Football Players. With a shortened season, if someone had a bad draft in standard fantasy football, there would be insufficient time to pick the waiver wire and remain competitive. Additionally, an early season injury or injuries could potentially ruin the season in one fell swoop. Additionally, dynasty fantasy football players would be hit as their players would have insufficient time to develop.
Although there hasn’t been any progress to date, at least, both sides are talking about the collective bargaining agreement and attempting to flesh things out. However, blind optimism won’t work in this valley of legalities and courtrooms. Realistically, we still have ways to go.