NFL Offseason Schedule's Proposed Changes Will Only Increase League's Popularity
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The NFL will reportedly make changes to its offseason schedule, aiming to increase the league's already dominant popularity throughout America.
NFL is proposing to overhaul its calendar, pushing back the combine to early March, free agency to early April, and the draft to early May.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2013
Want to know one more reason why NFL wants the draft in early May? TV sweeps are in May. Bigger ratings, bigger dollars.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2013
This is quite an interesting move on the league's part, because it already destroys the competition in popularity. Check out these statistics of Americans' favorite sports, as found just before Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers (2012 poll percentages courtesy of Harris Interactive via NFLcommunications.com).
|Sport||% Cited As Favorite|
This virtually replicates the incredible gap between the NFL and every other sport shown the previous year (2011 poll percentages courtesy of Harris Interactive via SportsBusiness Daily).
|Sport||% Cited As Favorite|
That is a sizable disparity in favor of pro football. As Schefter reported, more cash for the league will likely result from those potential offseason changes. Should they happen, these percentages can be expected to increase in the NFL's favor.
But there is one roadblock: the NFL Players Association.
The NFL Players Association, which fought to shorten offseason workouts and limit spring practices, doesn't like the idea, according to a person informed of the thinking of the union's top executives.
The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the NFLPA has yet to speak publicly on the matter, said the players wouldn't want the offseason to linger any further into the summer than it already does.
Without question, pro football essentially has a popularity monopoly during the season. However, between the Super Bowl and training camps, pro football isn't nearly as present in the national consciousness.
Of course, every NFL draft garners much attention, as does the NFL Scouting Combine. However, take the current level of demand and stack an altered offseason schedule on top of that to increase year-round relevancy, and the league's popularity would reach astronomical levels.
What do you want?
We already have the NFL Network for constant TV coverage every day, but include a big event for each month of the offseason, and pro football becomes that commercial that never goes away.
If you're a football fan, this is obviously what you want—though people interested in other sports won't be nearly as happy.
Then again, those not fascinated by the intrigue of pro football are few and far between these days.
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