Texans tackle Eric Winston doesn’t think that adding two games to the regular season is the best way for the NFL to grow revenue.
He understands how important television contracts are for the league, and wonders if adding playoff games or changing the league’s Thursday night package would be a better way to go.
“If you are the NFL and we are looking for new revenue, why don’t we bid out the Thursday night game?” Winston asked during a Tuesday appearance on ProFootballTalk Live. “Thursday is supposed to be the most popular night for everyone to watch TV. They have a game that has become more and more popular.
“Maybe some of these other networks would like to get into NFL football. I guarantee that game would bring in more than $500 million alone just from playing half a season.”
It’s a terrific point by Winston, one we’ve raised in the past in response to complaints from players about playing on Thursdays. (It’s also one that will make the league feel uncomfortable.)
We understand the business strategy of putting Thursday Night Football on NFL Network. But five years after the package was awarded, it’s still not shown in New York City or on other cable packages.
Think about that for a second: The most popular television property in the country — the NFL — is aired on the most popular television night of the week, and parts of the country still can’t see it?
Television, like football, is a results business. Every year that the NFL passes up money to keep a television package that isn’t shown nationwide is a failure. The man in charge of that failure is the league’s highest paid employee.
I love the quality of NFL Network in general — it’s a great product. But they have run out of time to reasonably blame Time Warner or anyone else for not being able to get better distribution.
It’s like a coach blaming a bad call or injuries for a costly loss. It’s an excuse, and the excuse has gotten old.