Goodell’s season-opening letter to fans ends with stoking of plausible hope

AP

Teams will say success in the NFL is measured by winning Super Bowls. Under that standard, even the Patriots would be pissed off more often than they’d be satisfied.

The real goal for every team (and for the league) is to be relevant to the postseason chase for as long into the regular season as possible. This keeps fans of each team fully engaged for as long as possible, ideally into late December. That process begins in September, with an effort to persuade every fan of every team that plausible hope exists that this year could be the year.

Not the year to win it all. But, for starters, the year to get to the playoffs. Then, when only 12 teams remain and the format is single elimination, maybe it really will be the year.

Commissioner Roger Goodell knows that maximum success for the league comes from maximum fans thinking that their team can make it to the postseason this year. He concludes a season-opening letter (touting changes to officiating, health and safety, celebrations, and pace/presentation enhancements) with this reminder to all fans: “Continuing a decades-long trend, we had numerous teams that missed the postseason in 2015 — Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, the New York Giants, and Oakland — advance to the 2016 playoffs. Who will it be this year? Will it be your team? It’s time to find out. Let the show begin!”

It begins on Thursday night, with the defending champions hosting one of the other final-eight teams from 2016. And Goodell is right; since the playoff field expanded to 12 in 1990, a trend of 50-percent turnover has emerged.

That’s good news for the 20 teams that didn’t make it last year, bad news for the 12 that did, and great news from a league that thrives when there’s a perception that any year can be the year.

Except, of course, this year, when the Patriots apparently will get their fingerprints on a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Well, for the rest of the league maybe next year will be the year.

14 responses to “Goodell’s season-opening letter to fans ends with stoking of plausible hope

  1. “The real goal for every team (and for the league) is to be relevant to the postseason chase for as long into the regular season as possible.”

    Ok, fine. I will root for the Browns for TWO weeks this season…

  2. “Except, of course, this year, when the Patriots apparently will get their fingerprints on a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

    Well, for the rest of the league maybe next year will be the year.”

    Not since the Super Bowl repeat champion 1986 Chicago Bears and 1990 San Francisco 49ers has another championship been as pre-ordained as it is for the 2017 New England Patriots

    2008 Patriots also looked great going into the season – then week one against the Chiefs happened to Tom Brady

  3. The problem is that Goodell has no credibility with fans. There are fans of a few teams that have a rabid hatred of this guy, but those fans aside he still has a problem. When I saw the headline, I rolled my eyes because it is obvious that he, and by extension the owners he represents, do not care that most fans feel the game has deteriorated to be nearly unrecognizable from the game played in even the 1990’s. Let me be clear, I know that about 20% of fans think Rodger is doing a good job, but there is no other product in all of capitalism that could sustain that level of customer satisfaction and still somehow make money. I begrudgingly admit that a fan boycott is unrealistic, but this guy has got to go. I hope the NFLPA finds a way to force him out during the next CBA negotiations.

  4. and hence why parity is
    so vital ratings and their greedy expansion overseas

    the pats are literally blocking the nfl from growing

    lots of bad teams, many mediocre ones and very few teams close to their level (if healthy)

    ratings dropped 12% last year and outside of the opener
    tomorrow night for clowndell night at gillette, expect ratings to not
    improve

  5. tylawspick6 says:
    September 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    ratings dropped 12% last year
    __________________

    No they did not. Ratings through November were down 12% but final ratings were down 8%. Playoff ratings were down 10% some of which is attributable to the bulk of larger market teams bowing out early and Atlanta not being much of a sports town. The truth is damning enough without stretching it.

  6. “2008 Patriots also looked great going into the season – then week one against the Chiefs happened to Tom Brady.”

    Oh get over it. You’re bringing up first game of the season 9 years ago? Come on, you can troll better than that. Did the Chiefs win the SB that season? And while I’m at it, “The Hawks looked great in the Super Bowl then 28-3 happened to Shanahan.”

  7. atlantacynic says:
    September 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    2008 Patriots also looked great going into the season – then week one against the Chiefs happened to Tom Brady

    —-

    …then in 2014 week four against the Chiefs happened to Tom Brady.

  8. Players play for cheaper contracts than their marker values are worth with the Patriots… essentially a monopoly in today’s NFL. The NFL is getting more and more like the NBA every year and that’s not good.

  9. “That’s good news for the 20 teams that didn’t make it last year, bad news for the 12 that did…”

    Since there is a 50% turnover rate in playoff participants, those teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year have a 6 of 20 (30%) chance of making the playoffs this year. Of those that did make the playoffs they have a 6 of 12 (50%) chance. That sure seems like better news for those that did make the playoffs last year versus those who did not.

  10. translation:

    we will continue to lie, cheat and steal in thus far futile attempts to prevent the Patriots from dominating and mocking sacred parity.

    If their fans humiliate me again at the opener, I’ll get with the loser owners to come up with another rat scheme.

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