NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is still trying to figure out what to do with six months of dead air after the Super Bowl ends and pre-season begins. That kind of gap is money left on the table, unforgivable from a business and fan standpoint. It’s territory Goodell has yet to fully explore but needs to figure out before expanding the NFL into overseas markets.
For years he’s tried to get NFL fans vested in the Combine and Draft but they simply lack mass appeal. The Combine is setup for teams scouting players. If I want to see how a guy runs or throws a pigskin I’ll watch regular season college ball. And the draft? That’s why god created the internet. Both are painful reminders that football is seven months away. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
What if Goodell showed his moxy and brokered a deal to create a joint NFL – CFL offseason league? What if the NFL got the CFL to reconfigure its regular season schedule to start two weeks after the Super Bowl and end the last week of July?
Goodell could bundle the Combine, Draft and new league into a tight post season package that would be “must see TV” providing the NFL network with programming other than “A Football Life,” “NFL Access” and their boring top ten shows.
How about nine teams stateside to match the nine in the CFL and place the whole league under the protective confines of the NFL umbrella with four divisions, two in Canada, two here. Canadian weather would be a factor but there’s a workaround for every contingency, especially when you’re partnered with Goodell and the NFL.
The CFL is the second oldest operating football league in North America. Aside from a few rule differences Canadian football looks and plays like a standard NFL game. That’s a plus since most Americans crave familiarity and don’t handle change well which might explain why Arena Football has remained a niche sport – it doesn’t look or behave like the NFL product we’re used to.
Realistically it would take years to develop this league and build a strong fan base but with the mighty NFL marketing machine convincing us to watch and buy into it, it could work. The merchandising, TV deals and cross-branding potential would be insanely lucrative with everyone making money – players, owners and the league.
Here’s a big plus – The addition of more fans to the game translates to more profit which would appeal to Goodell whose goal is to bring the NFL to the 25 billion dollar mark. The pressure to modify the current NFL schedule in terms of more games, etc. might be alleviated with the development of an NFL – CFL offseason league.
The plan to go first and ten with the offseason is laid out here. What do you say Roger, can we take a meeting and knock this out?