Tom Lewand: NFL has to be mindful of “limit to how much we can be out there”

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made some headlines last month when he said that the NFL was overloading the market with its product.

“I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion,” Cuban said. “I’m just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way.”

There wasn’t much public agreement from around the league with Cuban’s comments at the time, but Lions president Tom Lewand doesn’t sound like he views things too differently than Cuban. While Lewand didn’t predict doom in a decade, he did say at a Monday meeting with season-ticket holders that it is good to be involved with such a popular league but that the NFL has to be mindful of overdoing it.

“It is, but we have to be careful, too,” Lewand said, via the Detroit Free Press. “It’s still about the game of football, and there’s an old saying that pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. I think we have to be mindful of the fact that, particularly in a place like our city, where the fans mean so much to us. We have to show them that respect back. And I’m a big fan of this expanded Thursday night football package that’s coming on CBS this fall, but there’s also a limit to how much we can be out there, and we want to make sure that it’s a game that people can enjoy, and they can enjoy it in a way they want to enjoy it.”

Expansion to more days of the week during the season is impractical in terms of both the quality of games played with short turnaround times and because of antitrust exemptions that keep the NFL from playing on Friday or Saturday, but hearing the line about hogs getting slaughtered from someone firmly entrenched in the league sounds different than it does when it comes from the owner of a team in a different sport. The NFL isn’t likely to start rolling anything back, but overreaching should be something on the mind of decision makers as the league continues to try to grow in both the United States and around the world.

11 responses to “Tom Lewand: NFL has to be mindful of “limit to how much we can be out there”

  1. If the NFL went into this Thursday night without any caution there might be some point here to be made but they didn’t. They built the night up on their own channel and than sold it to CBS. Same thing with the London franchise. They will soon have 4 games there which will make the same amount of a teams to make the trip as a regular season would and they selling out. The market is a very viable one.

    You now what also dies, things that stand still and don’t change. Yes there are limits but the NFL is learning how to test those limits before they go with the idea.

  2. I find it ironic that an NBA owner is talking about being mindful on how often games are played when you consider the NBA season starts in October and playoffs finish in June and there is a game on every night between them.

  3. Lol, Cuban says it and he is crazy. An NFL guy says it and we should start to take notice.

  4. I think any owner would tell you the same thing…that you have to be careful not to over-saturate the market with the product. What football has on its side is that it is such a physical sport that we immediately know when it is time to scale back. The Thursday night games are pretty telling in my opinion. They need to figure out a way to give each team a bye week prior to their Thursday game, even if it means having two bye weeks each season.

  5. I’ll give the NFL an idea of how to increase revenue without ticking it’s fan base off or changing things radically. I’m pretty sure most fans would be on board with the idea too. Provide a streaming service in the vein of netflix and hulu that gives fans access to NFL films videos past and present and access to every game that the NFL has from the past. They could include it with game rewind or make game rewind a current season thing and have a different streaming service for past games and NFL films.

  6. WAYYY too many ad breaks during a game, particularly noticeable when you are at the game. Gotta cut them back to keep people going and watching.

    Also, try to watch some video on and its non-stop breaks to slip in an ad between highlights. I bounce to another website at that point.

  7. I love the NFL as much as anyone but Thursday night games quality is not as hight as a week for fully rested teams. You can over do it plus the amount of changes made to rules every year by the Godell regime their over doing it. They can keep this pace of making tweets and changes to the game that wasn’t broke and not expect backlash and negative results.

  8. I agree the market can/could get over-saturated. The popularity of fantasy football is propping up the current, and most likely long term interest level. In the end attendance at the games will suffer the most from the abundance of over televising the games.

  9. The NFL WILL drop in popularity in the future just like MLB has due to greed. The main reason is that it is too expensive for the average citizen to take their wife and kids to an NFL game. Even “nosebleed” seats are $50/ticket. Thus kids don’t get into football from an early age, they don’t play peewee football, many don’t play High School ball and thus 20 years down the road your fan base drops. Oh the NFL will be around just like MLB but it won’t be as popular in the future. NFL teams really need to make the upper decks affordable for families or Mark Cuban’s words will come true.

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