The NFL wants your money not your loyalty or patronage

The Miami Dolphins Gorillas - Image by Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins Gorillas - Image by Brian Miller /

The NFL is a billion dollar business who is about ready to face a cold reality. Their popularity may not return to what it was a few years ago.

Already the NFL is facing an issue with television rights. ABC and NBC have both pulled out of the Thursday Night Football package negotiations because they want to pay less than what has been paid in the past. Only FOX has stayed in the picture with a higher offer.

This will change should FOX be the only bidder in future years. The other two networks have said they do not see a product on Thursday night that will recoup the money. This should be worrisome for the NFL.

A few days ago, FOX News reported that the NFL declined AMVETS, and American veteran association, an ad spot during this years Super Bowl. The “Please Stand” commercial was deemed a political piece and the NFL said they don’t want politics in the game or in the commercials. This didn’t sit well with a lot of veterans or their families. Especially given the fact that last year the NFL allowed a series of “Dreamer” commercials to air during the final game. A commercial 100% political.

Many fans have already been turned off by the NFL’s allowance of players kneeling during the National Anthem. The NFL has pretty much shut their mouths about it and it continues. Regardless of reason, positive or otherwise, fans found it disrespectful. Whether as a result or not, NFL game telecasts were down in viewership in 2017.

Add into that the coddling shown towards the NFL’s prized franchise, the Patriots, the horrific refereeing that has plagued the league for the last several years and continues to get worse, the inability to define what constitutes an actual catch in the league and the NFL has become nothing more than a money grabbing corporation led by Roger Goodell. Goodell was once good for the league but like any long-term executive there comes a time when his opinions begin to become detrimental.

Now we can add the disdain for the fan-base as well.

On Sunday the NFL played the Pro-Bowl in Orlando, Fl. A week-long hype of dodge-ball and connect four games that would lead to the ultimate “no-one” really cares game that wedges itself between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

Another thing happened on Sunday as well. Three guys, two Dolphins fans and one a Seattle Seahawk fan were told to leave the stadium because of their attire.

Let’s be clear here for a second. These guys were not drunken trouble makers or verbally abusive to other fans. I actually know two of them. Well enough to call them friends. The Gorilla suits are part of the Miami Dolphins game day experiences in Miami as anything else.

Outside Hard Rock Stadium the Gorilla’s pose for pictures with fans of both teams and chat it up with anyone who wants to bend their ears. During the game they are found just up from the end-zone in the “Deep-End”. They are passionate fans who spend their money on the Miami Dolphins and the NFL.

According to a Tweet from Gorilla Luke, they were told that the “NFL doesn’t want fans like that there”. What kind of fans do they want there? The corporate kind who pay for the big luxury boxes and suites? When I contacted the NFL this morning regarding the issue they declined to comment.

When I spoke with Gorilla Luke this is what he told me happened..

"We were approached by security 1 1/2 hours after we went threw security and we were already inside the stadium and the reason they told us was the NFL doesn’t except costumes and masks"

Did you ask to speak to someone else regarding the issue?

"We did ask to speak to someone and the person on the radio wouldn’t come down to talk to us they just told the guy over the radio get them out of here so then a police officer escorted us out."

Prior to being asked to leave were their any problems? What was the atmosphere like for the three of you? T

"he atmosphere at the pro bowl was all of us taking pictures with fans and people who work at the stadium. NFL personnel and Miami Dolphins personnel soaking in the expirence."

Did you change clothes and watch the game or did you leave?

"We left, got refunded, but that was an issue too until I went ape-shit on them. They didn’t even wan to refund us but they finally did."

Anything else you would like to add?

"They where very rude to us. We were just taking pictures with fans, we where not drinking or causeing a disturbance and we also went to the Pro-Bowl last year and had no problem at all. There were several fans that had costumes and masks on representing there teams and they never got approached or asked to leave we were definitely targeted."

The NFL is turning off and tuning out the casual and now the die-hard fans and it doesn’t appear that it will get better any time soon. The NFL needs to realize that without the fans, they have no product.

Players can come together and make a stand across the league or in the most recent cases taking a knee. Fans have no way of joining forces across the league to protest the NFL and it’s decisions. You won’t get fans to stay home or to stay in the parking lot for kick-off. You won’t even get fans to stand up for the opening kick-off and turn their backs to the field.

Those would be major statements for certain but fans, soon enough, are going to start hurting the NFL where it matters the most, in the wallet. Viewership will continue to shrink and networks like NBC and ABC will not pay the NFL what they want. Then FOX will tell the league they won’t pay it either because no one is bidding against them.

From there the cap shrinks because the increase in revenue starts to shrink, the players won’t see an annual increase in cap space and that will impact their contracts, and before you know it, it will be 2020 and a new CBA will need to be agreed on amid so much uncertainty.

Yes, the fans do have power and as this continues, fans are going to walk away, some of them for good.