Opinion: NFL cares more about money than player safety

By Tanner Jubenville, @TMJubenville

The National Football League’s concerns with player safety and lust for profit remain incompatible.

The league continues to schedule Thursday night games which forces players to compete on less rest. Players who play on Thursday face a higher risk of injury than those who don’t.

Several players, both current and retired, have spoken out against Thursday games.

“Go get into a car accident and play two days later. That’s how it feels,” says former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson.

“It’s definitely an issue in terms of health and safety,” says Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.

Studies have shown players who play on three days of rest risk a higher chance of injury than players with six days rest.

The higher risk raises the question of why the NFL would make players compete on less rest.

Money remains the answer.

This year, the league averages $26 million per game just through allowing networks to broadcast the games. Just two years ago, the NFL averaged roughly $15 million per game. This means in just two years, total TV revenue jumped from $4 billion to $7 billion.

Thursday games bring in an extra $250 million in revenue for the league. Yet a plan to bring more money to the league lingers.

John Ourand of the SportsBusiness Journal says the NFL plans to sell a package of eight Thursday games to a network such as CBS, Fox, NBC, or ESPN. Ourand says this would mean $700 million in revenue for the league.

Like any true capitalists, the league, owners, and Goodell simply want to expand, promote, and make more money.

However, if the league wants to put player safety above money, like it claims to do, it will not implement any more Thursday games.

Goodell and the owners accept equal amounts of blame. However, Goodell takes the blame publicly for wanting players to play on less rest. While he wants more games in order to expand and make more money, the owners do not object.

Although, Goodell does make out nicely at the end of the fiscal year. In 2010, Goodell made $10 million. At the end of 2012, he made $29.5 million, with almost all of that being a bonus.

Take note of the increase of Thursday night football games in that time span. Eight games in 2010 to 13 games in 2012.

Why haven’t any of the owners spoken against the increase? Because when Goodell and the NFL make a lot of money, the owners also make a lot of money.

Why would the owners object to more money? Some owners, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, says he could see Thursday night doubleheaders in the future.

That’s why you’ll never hear any owner criticize the league over Thursday games. Money must be more important than the health of their players.

jubenvtm11@bonaventure.edu

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One thought on “Opinion: NFL cares more about money than player safety

  1. Thursday Night Games have been around since 1920 if you want to count Thanksgiving. Weekly games have been here since 1986. If the weekly games were really that big of an issue the NFL players union has had more than ample time to make it one during contract negotations during the last 27 years.

    Good article and well thought out but the argument that Thursday Night Football is just about TV revenue I think doesn’t add up. I can’t watch the Thursday night game because it’s not on broadcast TV. I have to listen to it on the radio.

    However this talk of a Thursday Night Double Header I am against because at that point I agree it does become a safety issue. The NFL should keep it the way it is, one game on Thursday and once a year for a team. There is nothing wrong with it.

    Changes in the name of “safety” are already starting to be a bit too much as it is. Please no more! When will we be allowed to play defense again? The illegal contact calls are starting to get clownish. I would say comical except the BS calls against my Seahawks in recent weeks have been no laughing matter. The refs’ are throwing flags at everything on reflex now.

    I’m sorry, but having to wait for a one hour delay because there was some lightning spotted in Seattle while hosting the 49ers was crazy. Rain and lightning in Seattle? In an outdoor stadium? Who would of guessed.

    If there is a one hour delay during an NFL Game then I better see zombies, locusts and a swath of destruction from a rogue meteor in between live clips of cheerleaders getting the crowd to applaud rescue workers. And then still expect to watch the final half of the game once the stadium’s backup power generators kick in.

    It’s the NFL, they aren’t out there to play patty-cake, let the teams play. And yes, even on Sunday, Monday and Thursday Nights.

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