Is Prime Time NFL Football Going to Hurt the League in the Long Run?

Joe_Flacco (3)There was a time not that long ago when pro football was a game played on Sunday afternoons. Then in 1970, ABC got the bright idea to televise a game on Monday night, and from there the NFL has grown into a prime time driven league. Any night of the week is now fair game for the NFL We have Sunday Night games, Thursday Night games, someday we may have a game on every night of the week.

The new NFL Schedule is out and of course, there are some great prime time games on tap starting with the Baltimore Ravens at the Denver Broncos to start off the season on Thursday Sept 5.

Also on that first weekend in prime time on Sunday we have the New York Giants at the Dallas Cowboys and two Monday Night games, the Philadelphia Eagles at the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at the San Diego Chargers. If you have something you have to do on Sunday afternoon that first week, you can still catch four games.

You say, well that’s great! The more football the better! But is that really the case? There is after all, something called “too much of a good thing”. It works that way with everything else. Food is good. Too much food, not so good. Beer is good. Too much beer, bad. Sex is good. Too much and with too many, bad. So why wouldn’t the same hold true for the NFL?

If the league keeps televising every game on different days of the week, pretty soon fans will stop watching. Look at baseball for example. There was a time when you got one baseball game a week on Saturday afternoon on NBC and on Monday night on ABC. Those Saturday afternoon baseball games were “can’t miss” TV. So was the Monday Night game. Monday Night baseball was almost as big as Monday Night Football.

Then along came cable TV and TBS, WOR and WGN. Pretty soon, baseball was on TV all the time. You’d have every Atlanta Braves game on, every New York Mets game on and every Chicago Cubs game on, no matter where you live. Then throw in ESPN showing baseball games three of four times a week and you still had your network game on Saturday, and baseball got to the point where it was always on TV. Did this help with baseball’s popularity?

Most would say that it did not help. While all this seven day a week baseball blitz, where there are probably three to four games on to pick from has been going on, the NFL has taken off and left baseball in the dust as far as popularity. If more is always better, why isn’t baseball killing football?

What about the NBA? The NBA is on TV as much as baseball is. You have the local teams always on one of the FOX Sports channels. TNT and ESPN are doing double hearers a couple of nights a week. The NBATV network does games when nobody else has them  on. You can watch the NBA whenever you want. Why isn’t the NBA more popular than football?

The answer is, when there are games on all the time, it isn’t a big deal. Part of the great thing about football is there is normally a three or four day wait until the next games are on. You have time to take a break from the games of last week, re-charge the batteries and get excite for the games next week. Now, with games on every Thursday, the most you have between games is two days.

I find myself, and I am sure many fans also do the same, not watching games because I’m just “footballed out” With all the college games that are on Saturdays, and there are six games on at a time from noon to midnight it seems, and all the Sunday games, by the time Monday night rolls around, I’m done. Many times, I don’t even watch the Sunday night game.

The NFL might be smart to cut back on the number of prime time games. If you want to have the Thursday Night game on NFL Network, then get rid of the Sunday Night game on NBC or the Monday Night Game on ESPN. Sometimes less is more.


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