Mark Cuban keeps throwing darts at the NFL

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Donald Trump and Mark Cuban surely don’t think they have much in common. Observers of both would say they are alike in plenty of ways.

And they definitely have one thing in common: They don’t like the NFL. Possibly because neither has been able to secure membership in the most elite country club in America.

Cuban, who coined the “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” line about the looming demise of the NFL, continues to throw darts at the league in which he doesn’t own a team, in an effort to support the league in which he does. (#asexpected)

“Our demographic keeps on getting younger,” Cuban said, via the Boston Herald. “The NFL and baseball, they keep on getting older. And I think what we’re doing with [the] NBA 2K is brilliant. And in the bigger scheme of things in terms of building fans for the future, what do you want your kids to play? I mean, of all the sports out there, do you want to go to a baseball game, or do want to watch your kid play basketball? Do you want to worry about him a whole football game, or do you want to watch your kid play basketball? [Editor’s note: Yes, because serious injuries never happen in basketball.] Do you want him to get healthy from running the court, or do you want to watch him play football and worry about collisions?”

Cuban believes that the NBA benefits from the fact that people know who who the players are.

Tom Brady, [Rob] Gronkowski — how many other football players, if you saw them from the Patriots, would you know?” Cuban said. “Maybe [Julian] Edelman? . . . And that’s the thing. In baseball, of the 25 players, you might know two or three. Kids play 2K, watch a game, watch TV; you know every player. That’s a huge advantage because our players have brands. Our players have platforms. Our players have voices. LeBron [James] tweets, and more people see it than our politicians.”

But that supposed advantage has always been there for basketball. And there are really only two currently transcendent talents in the NBA — James and Steph Curry. One those players are gone, the NBA will be in the same boat that it was after guys like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan left the game.

“I hate to just keep banging on the NFL, but the saturation was a symptom of a bigger problem,” Cuban said. “That’s when I said that ‘pigs get fat,’ because you see how they handle controversy. They don’t know what to do, and the players can’t really deal with it. Here our players have a big enough voice that if we screw up, our players correct us. . . . I don’t think people realize that talent drives this game. Personalities drive this game. We are the only league where talent comes first, and that’s a critical distinction.”

I can’t fault Cuban for promoting his league, but football remains king. The NBA plays too many games, there are too many teams that have no chance whatsoever at competing for a championship, and most of any given game (even in the playoffs) is a back-and-forth exercise in target shooting, where the target is hit far more often than it isn’t.

My dad told me when I was five (or four) that if you watch any more than the last four (or five) minutes of a basketball game, you’re wasting your time. It was true then, and it’s true now.

For football, there’s always been a reason to watch the game from start to finish. And even though the NFL currently is dealing with some short-term challenges, there’s a reason football has consistently grown and grown and grown. The fact that the NFL continues to thrive even with so many blunders and bungles proves how strong the game is, and how strong it will continue to be.

Cuban knows it. And if he had an opportunity to buy an NFL team, he would.

Indeed, only seven years ago, Cuban threw a bunch of money down a hole by supporting the UFL, one of the more recent failed alternatives to the NFL.

“The idea of coming into the business of football and taking on the NFL, that’s about as exciting to me as you can get,” Cuban said in September 2010. (Less than four months later, he’d sue the UFL for $5 million.)

It would be even more exciting for Cuban to own an NFL team, but the NFL didn’t want Cuban, just like it didn’t want Trump. Which gives these two natural foes a common enemy.

60 responses to “Mark Cuban keeps throwing darts at the NFL

  1. Cuban is correct especially because of NBA 2K is brilliant and original. I mean there isn’t a video game franchise for the NFL that produces a game each year that kids clamor for. If only someone thought that up! If they thought about it, they could even name it after a famous coach/announcer. I bet that would catch on.

  2. My dad told me when I was five (or four) that if you watch any more than the last four (or five) minutes of a basketball game, you’re wasting your time. It was true then, and it’s true now.

    —————–

    i would argue you can watch the first 5 and last 5 minutes of any nfl game and not waste time. see what tone is set early, and see if the other team can respond by the end… i.e. steelers/bengals last meeting.

  3. That’s nothing new for the NBA… It was amazing in the 80s and 90s. It definitely appealed to young people. Michael Jordan trying to overcome the odds and beat the Celtics, Lakers and Pistons. It was amazing. The challenge with the NBA now is there is no parity and you usually watch the team in your local market that likely has no chance to win the Finals.

    It’s making the regular season very boring for most markets.

    I will turn it on when the finals start between Cleveland and Golden State. In the mean time the NFL is meaningful and exciting every single week like 20 weeks of playoffs.

  4. It’s funny that he mentions recognizable players and younger demographics… The Dallas Mavericks are terrible. How many players can the average person name on that team besides Nowitzki, who is 39 years old?

  5. I enjoy Cuban’s remarks from time to time, but dude, enough already. Your act is getting old. The NFL will always be far superior to the NBA. No matter how much Goodell ruins it.

  6. The NBA ratings are up while the NFL’s are down. As long as that stays true Cuban can say anything he wants and be right.

  7. Kids play 2K, watch a game, watch TV; you know every player.
    ——
    Madden video games helped make the NFL what it is today. I guess with the youngsters the EA soccer games are doing the same thing.

    Not to speak for everyone but to me, what’s hurt more than anything with NFL football has been all the fiddling they have been doing with the rules. The game use to be extremely clear cut. Now the game is so subjective. As a fan you have to temper your excitement during and after the play to see if the play is even going to stand. That doesn’t make for the best spectator experience.

  8. Well, the NBA has also never truly been caught fixing games either. We know it happens, we know they tell the refs to alter games without making it obvious, but that is because it’s easier to hide with the way sport of basketball is. Fouls are incredibly subjective in basketball, so no one thinks much of it.

    IN the NFL, when you see phantom penalties on 3rd downs to extend drives to try to keep games closer for ratings purposes, it’s very obvious. And, this is why George Iloka’s punishment was overturned, why Bobby McCain got no suspension, or AJ Green, and why Gronk got suspended, even though no one has ever been suspended for a late whistle hit with a forearm shiver before.

    For 35 years, I’ve seen linemen lose it, fly into a pile with a forearm to the head, and it’s a personal foula nd maybe an ejection. But, a suspension never came of it. Because it’s Gronk, Goodell moves the goalposts, excerises Article 46, and voila, now it’s a suspension.

    Where was Article 46 with Ray Rice? He didn’t even need it there, but where was it? lmao

    I am 41, watched football for 35 years now, and I know for a fact that this stuff NEVER happened under Rozelle and Tagliabue. Ever.

    SUre, you get your one-off really bad call, but it was never a weekly ordeal like it is now. it’s literally a game to game thing, and from Goodell’s point of view, it’s “No one is feeling sorry for the Pats”, so he uses that to whip up a frenzy for the Haters, and voila, no one wants to know what happened to White, happened to Amendola, literally the game before.

    I mean, I am not defending Gronk, but the source of his frustration is tied DIRECTLY to this issue.

    Goodell moves the goalposts on every single topic and is so drunk with power, he and the owners apparently don’t get that THAT is what has caused the ratings drop. THAT is the problem. Not a small group of people with faux outrage over kneeling or the one Thurs night game that proves over-saturation. Those are issues, but not the MAIN issue.

    The main issue is Goodell is a cheater and admitted in a federal court Article 46 is his reason to be able to d it, as whacked as that is. The owners doubling down, extending his contract, is a massive slap in the face to the customer, so expect more ratings drops.

    I mean, I could write a thesis paper on this topic very easily, loaded with sub-topics that support the premise of the demise of the NFL and the WHY it is.

    A cheating commissioner has never happened before, and it’s a clear failure for an approach. But, we know it’s all in the name of GREED.

    Greed isn’t good. No, no it isn’t.

  9. That is because he is in the NBA. And jealous of the NFL. I, for one, cant stand the NBA. Boring to watch. College basketball will always be more exciting. NBA is way too lopsided. I’m a Bucks fan. They may get good in the near future, but will never complete for a title.

  10. You may not like the messenger, but the message is pretty much on point. Yes, the NFL ratings are great but they’ve been much better. More to the point, the game as a whole has been better. And while the NBA has some bottom feeder teams, let us not pretend that the NFL is fraught with contenders every year. Of the 32 teams 4-6 teams at most have a shot at winning it all. It’s why the talking heads love to trot out the stat of teams that start 0-2 or 0-4 rarely making the playoffs or whatever.

    The NBA has been leagues ahead (pun intended) of the NFL in terms of going global with their sport. NBA League Pass has been available globally for a long time. International players have been apart of the league for decades. The sheer economics of the sport (you just need a ball and and a hoop) make it much easier to play. The NBA has always been the more progressive of the two sports, female refs, black head coaches, a fully realized minor league / farm system.

    Sure, there are some terrible injuries, but the elder statesmen of the sport go on to GM teams or into the booth with their full wits about them and not eating from a tube or the subject of some tear jerker of a piece on HBO Real Sports.

    The NFL will always be king, but to be so dismissive of the NBA is naive.

  11. The NBA is also kind of a joke. It’s 82 games and the first 40-60 games veteran teams aren’t even trying that hard. They have to save their energy because the playoffs spill over 4 different months. Talk about over saturation!

    At least in FB every game matters.

  12. He might want to temper down on his nonsense too because they do well when they have a Jordan-like superstar who is Lebron James right now who also has the added benefit of being hated by as many people who love him. Go back to after Jordan retired. There were a lot of sleepless nights for David Stern and owners because until James came along, no one was putting butts in seats like that. When he retires in the next 5 or so years, who is going to fill that void? There is no natural to do so as of right now, and I don’t see anyone on the horizon. The NFL’s problem is simple. They have a quality issue, and it started with the last CBA along with all of this schedule tweaking the owners have done that has made many games unwatchable.

  13. Giannis, Russ, Durant, Anthony Davis, Kyrie, Porzingis, KAT, among many others – the NBA is a league of stars right now, like in the ’80s and early ’90s. NFL still has a lot going for it but you sound like a Goodell mouthpiece with this take. The idea that Steph and LeBron are the only reasons the NBA has gained popularity is inaccurate, and does not at all address the very real challenges faced by the NFL.

  14. I don’t disagree (or agree) with everything Cuban says about the NFL, but it seems pretty clear at this point that he’s angling for (even more) attention (than he already gets), because he’s addicted to it.

  15. Cuban is a dope. Nobody follows the NBA. The games are so heavily rigged by the officials it is disgusting. As bad as the NFL officials are, at least they are trying to get it right. NBA just wants close games no matter what.

    As for not recognizing the players, that is because you aren’t a fan, Mark. It might also have something to do with the players wearing a helmet over their face when they are playing? Or maybe that there are about 4 times as many players on every team?

    Sheesh!

  16. “how many other football players, if you saw them from the Patriots, would you know?”

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    If I saw them in just street clothes? Probably around 40 or so…

    Any other team? I dunno, if its a good team or division rival I think I’d name most of there skill position players and a few other standouts…

    NBA? Maybe a handful of the big names but that’s about it…

    But then again, I’m a football fan, not a whingy billionaire…

  17. If the NFL cared about their fan base and quality of their product, Cuban would just be blowing hot air. But when the NFL does things like extend the contract of a dishonest and incompetent Commissioner, they turn Cuban into a profit.

    Lying Roger is goin to lead his greedy pigs right to slaughter!

  18. The NBA is unwatchable. If I want to watch basketball, I’ll catch an NCAA game and not waste my time with the pros. I’ll say one thing though – pro football is trending in a similar direction for me. Other than my Pats, I haven’t watched a full game all season. Usually I’m doing something around the house and I’ll catch a few minutes of RedZone at a time. Can’t stand MLB either. I’d rather mow my lawn and then watch it grow back again. NHL is where it’s at right now for team sports, IMO.

  19. @Rdog says:

    It’s funny that he mentions recognizable players and younger demographics… The Dallas Mavericks are terrible. How many players can the average person name on that team besides Nowitzki, who is 39 years old?
    ===================================================================================
    Hilarious TRUTH. But they do have Steph-lite as in his little brother, if that counts. That’s why they always use S. Curry so the uninformed think it’s Steph and not Seth.

  20. If you’re rich you get to speak your mind and people listen … if not then you’re just the annoying guy at the end of the bar.

  21. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, college basketball, college football, college hockey, college baseball .

    My hierarchy of sports needs

  22. “My dad told me when I was five (or four) that if you watch any more than the last four (or five) minutes of a basketball game, you’re wasting your time. It was true then, and it’s true now.”

    I agree. But I would cut it down to only two minutes.

  23. I dislike Mark Cuban and am really not a huge NBA fan, but he made the fat hogs comment when the thought of the NFL struggling seemed impossible. Now it’s happened. Also you’re kidding yourself about the NBA… “But that supposed advantage has always been there for basketball. And there are really only two currently transcendent talents in the NBA — James and Steph Curry. One those players are gone, the NBA will be in the same boat that it was after guys like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan left the game.” You mean like when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson started getting old and then Michael Jordan came along? And then when he started getting old it was Kobe & Shaq, and before they got old it was LeBron, then Steph and KD (Harden, Westbrook, now The Greek Freak). The NBA will always have transcendent stars and right now they probably have more than they ever have before. Cuban may be bitter that he doesn’t have an NFL team, but that doesn’t make him wrong (about this anyway, he’s wrong about a lot of other stuff).

  24. To be clear, Mark Cuban did not coin the phrase “pigs get fat while hogs get slaughtered”. That’s an old investors axiom, but I think he’s applying it well.

  25. People know NBA players because they don’t wear helmets and fans see games up closer than the NFL. The NFL still can do a better job than it does in promoting its players. What do they do instead? Demonize them with very questionable suspensions of Brady and Elliott. Neither of those HAD to happen.

  26. “The NBA plays too many games, there are too many teams that have no chance whatsoever at competing for a championship, and most of any given game (even in the playoffs) is a back-and-forth exercise in target shooting, where the target is hit far more often than it isn’t.”

    The NFL will soon play too many games, there are too many teams that have no chance whatsoever at competing for a championship, and most of any given game (even in the playoffs) are forgettable, where even the most exciting game is far more often ruined by an officiating call.

  27. One other point, the NBA commissioner has flat out said that he’d like to see legalized gambling on sports. Ask Goodell this same question and it’s a unending word salad of nothingness. I love the NFL and I love the NBA. To me, they are both fantastic sports to watch. But long term, the NFL can learn a lot from the NBA.

    And yes, Madden was a fantastic game at one time, but it has pretty much been built on the same engine for an eternity. NBA 2K is such a great game, NBA Live (EA’s version) took a hiatus to figure out what they were doing wrong.

    Cuban can be a tool. The NBA may not be for you, but it’s global market share is too big too ignore.

  28. I already miss college football. Only one game of non-protest football to watch this weekend. Time to paint the kitchen I guess.

  29. In sports talent comes first. It’s not exclusive and foremost only to basketball. Sports is a level playing field where a person’s value to the enterprise is judged objectively. As for name recognition, aside from Curry and Lebron who else are closer to their fame now in basketball? I think there are more name recognition in football than basketball. That’s just an opinion though. It’s not just QBs who amass followers. Cuban is right about management of the NFL. There is no consistency nor firmness. Goodell allowing the players to kneel and letting it become a distraction hurts the sport. If Cuban is so confident about the supramacy of basketball, why does he have to step on the other leagues trying to elevate it?

  30. Of course it’s easier to name players on an NBA team. There are what, 10-15 guys? An NFL team has 43. Five NBA players are on the floor and 11 NFL players are on the field. There are constant substitutions in an NFL game. Only a couple here and there in an NBA game to give stars and those in foul trouble a rest. Apples and oranges, Marky.

  31. Arguing over why people may or may not like a certain sport is like arguing over why they like rap, rock, or country music. It’s not about the marketing plans, the owners involvement, the players likeability or the way the wind is blowing that day. It’s about whether people like the sport itself (first/foremost) and if their favorite team/players happen to be competitive. All of this other nonsense is noise to anyone other than the most extreme fringe fan. If you don’t like the sport, you don’t watch or care about the sport (except for maybe the Superbowl). It’s really that simple.

  32. blah773 says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:16 am
    My dad told me when I was five (or four) that if you watch any more than the last four (or five) minutes of a basketball game, you’re wasting your time. It was true then, and it’s true now.

    —————–

    i would argue you can watch the first 5 and last 5 minutes of any nfl game and not waste time. see what tone is set early, and see if the other team can respond by the end… i.e. steelers/bengals last meeting.
    *****************************************************
    That’s a really poor argument, there’s no comparison.

  33. tremoluxman says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:50 am
    Of course it’s easier to name players on an NBA team. There are what, 10-15 guys? An NFL team has 43.

    —————-

    An NFL team has 53

  34. Where was Article 46 with Ray Rice? He didn’t even need it there, but where was it? lmao

    I am 41, watched football for 35 years now, and I know for a fact that this stuff NEVER happened under Rozelle and Tagliabue. Ever.

    Better yet, where was Article 46 with Ray LEWIS? But that wasn’t Goodell’s watch, so it doesn’t fit in with your story, huh?

  35. NBA is terrible… Phantom calls and rigged/fixed games (like the NFL is blatantly doing now).

    I loved how Lebron left Cleveland and then Cleveland gets 3/4 next first picks of the drafts.. And Lebron magically returns!

  36. I’ve been steadily watching less football over the past few years because of the way the nfl caters to the offense as well as all the flags for nonsense but you couldn’t pay me to watch an nba game. Total waste of time.

  37. Couldn’t disagree with this article more. The NFL is garbage. It’s as back and forth, no teams with a shot at winning, nothing new happening as basketball. If you don’t have a QB, you’re just as screwed as if you don’t have a LeBron. No hitting. Flags. Inconsistent calls/rulings. It survives and thrives because half of our country is braindead. iPhones, fantasy, uneducated, fighting in the stands over entertainment (can you believe that silly that is??) mopes. Praying baseball keeps making a comeback for the more sophisticated / articulate fan. More of a thinking man’s game where the suspense is 4 hours straight.

  38. While nobody really takes Cuban seriously except for Mark Cuban, there is not questioning that the nba has done a better job making basketball a global game. The NFL owners have and continue to be shortsighted in globalizing the game. NFL Europe needs to come back because now there is no bridge between the college and the pro game and there is no option for kid who have talent but won’t make it in college.

  39. NFL hasn’t hit bottom yet. Wait till Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Rivers, Big Ben, Stafford, Ryan leave the game. Not to mention too many injuries in the NFL.

  40. nhpats says:
    December 7, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    tremoluxman says:
    December 7, 2017 at 11:50 am
    Of course it’s easier to name players on an NBA team. There are what, 10-15 guys? An NFL team has 43.

    —————-

    An NFL team has 53

    Ooops. Thanks for the correction, my mistake. My point is even more telling.

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