P.R. concerns are influencing too many NFL decisions

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The NFL has beefed up its public relations expertise in recent years. Inevitably, P.R. concerns now seem to be driving the NFL’s decisions.

For example, the softening of the No Fun League stance on celebrations, with certain snow angels acceptable (despite the rule against going to the ground to celebrate) and certain red-kettle leaps permitted (despite the rule against the use of props), likely arose from a desire to soften the potential fan and media backlash to what would have been get-off-my-lawn-style punishments. The problem, of course, is that the league has opted to disregard its own rules on a de facto basis, opening the door for any of its rules to be shaped or twisted or distorted or ignored whenever doing so will result in fewer people criticizing the league and/or more people praising it.

With the walkie-talkie situation involving the Giants, the NFL clearly altered its planned punishment based on the strong negative reaction to the weekend trial balloon that the team would face only a fine. If the news of no intention to alter the team’s draft picks for 2017 had been met with a collective shrug, the Giants wouldn’t be facing a drop of up to 12 spots in round four. (While on the surface that may not seem like much, even the slightest futzing with a team’s draft picks creates major consternation, because there’s a theoretical chance that every player taken between where the Giants would have picked and where they actually pick will become Hall of Famers.)

Once again, P.R. likely played a role. While it’s nice to know the league is listening, it would be nicer to know that the league has in place a set of fair and equitable procedures that are applied on a consistent basis in all cases with a confident and clear explanation for the outcome.

That’s where the P.R. expertise should apply, in communicating the reasons for a decision. “What will they say about us?” should never be part of the equation. When it is, what they’ll say is that the league office is bastardizing its rules in the name of maximizing external praise and minimizing external criticism.

49 responses to “P.R. concerns are influencing too many NFL decisions

  1. Stop having and enforcing rules like it is the 1950s. Stop catering to the desires of the “no fun” demographic. Quit listening to the “it’s a privilege to play in the league” idiots.

  2. .
    If you have a compliant media, PR concerns are your only concerns. We’ll find out more when the NBC news with Lester Holt leads its nightly broadcast with a detailed account of the incident and subsequent investigation.
    .

  3. Oh… you mean like not fining Elliott for jumping in the Salvation Army bucket?

    I have no problem with Elliott jumping into the bucket. I do have a problem with him not being fined for it.

    The Salvation Army is a wonderful organization. I have no doubt that alone influenced the league not to fine Elliott.

  4. There’s a direct correlation between how much you care about and how much can go wrong. The NFLunder Goodell micromanages every single thing about the league, no matter how small. And more often than not, when something goes wrong, Goodell and company handle it poorly and it blows up in their face. Almost everything that has blown up in Goodells face could have been easily avoided by a semi-competent commish.

  5. They get a few right, like the cleats for a cause (prior years players were fined)

    I can same them a lot of PR consultant money – BE Consistent. Most of what they get hammered for is lack of consistency. (When is a snow angel not a snow angel?)

  6. John Mara and Roger Goodell, two hypocrites of “integrity”. Josh Brown domestic violence gets covered up by John Mara and the Giants, Goodell gives him just a 1 game suspension despite new domestic violence suspension rules Mr. “Integrity?” Roger Goodell made a minimum 6 game suspension and all is ignored by the media(just like deflategate 2) and now this slap on the wrist. Karma can’t get these two fast enough!

  7. skol4life says:
    Dec 20, 2016 6:07 PM

    Soooo the media is complaining that the NFL is making too many decisions that are designed to make the media happy. Got it. Thanks.
    —————————–

    No, Florio is complaining that Goodell is too arbitrary and capricious.

  8. It’s so random, they should just make it into a game show:

    “WHEEL… OF… PUNISHMENT!”

    The offending player spins the wheel and gets whatever punishment the wheel lands on. The ratings would be better than Thursday Night Football.

  9. The problem with this approach is that the media and, as result, public perception is all NYC-centric. NYC controls the message, the perception and, therefore, the response.

    When NYG have an issue with a division rival like DAL or WAS (or the NYJ with NE)…

    1) The NYG (or NYJ) cry to the media
    2) NFL HQ supports their cries to the media (even spicing up the story as necessary)
    3) With NFL HQ’s blessing, the media frenzy ensues, as they put their “they’re cheating us NYers – and you too” outrageous spin on it
    4) The media repeatedly broadcasts (with daily updates) that (spiced-up) outrage across the nation
    5) The outraged nation demands justice
    6) NFL HQ doles out a heavy-handed punishment.

    But … when it’s the NYG/NYJ that are the guilty party, step 2 never happens. Instead it’s “nothing to see here folks. Move along.” And, as a result, steps 3, 4, 5 and 6, never see the light of day and only a token punishment is imposed.

  10. Instead of focusing too much on whether a decision will turn into bad PR, why not dismiss the individual(s) making bad decisions which in turn become negative PR?

  11. .
    @connfyooze

    ” It’s so random, they should just make it into a game show:

    “WHEEL… OF… PUNISHMENT!”

    The offending player spins the wheel and gets whatever punishment the wheel lands on. The ratings would be better than Thursday Night Football. ”

    ———
    You are onto something! I’d watch the show every week because the Patriots would be the stars.
    .

  12. Look I’m a Giants fan. Grew up 4 miles from Giants stadium. Wellington Mara was one of the classiest men in the business.

    As much as I hate to admit it, something should happen. If I’m going 55 miles per hour and I’m pulled over for speeding, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t know the speed limit was 35. I was still speeding and should get a ticket.

    I was watching the game. I think McAdoo is a good guy who tried to (honestly) overcome a time-critical problem. I truly think it was done without malicious intent. At the time, I thought it was a smart idea. I also remember the announcers talking about the fact that McAdoo was resorting to using a walkie talkie. They never mentioned that it was against the rules.

    That being said, once I found out it was against the rules I wondered what the punishment would be.

    Do I think there is a difference between deliberately video taping another team and this? Yes I do.

    One is premeditated. The other was a time-critical decision that turned out to be an illegal one.

    Do I think they should both be punished? Yes I do.

    If I kill someone, I deserve to go to jail. However, whether I meant to kill someone makes a difference. There is a difference between me inadvertently running over a pedestrian in a crosswalk and planning to kill someone because I have something against them.

    Bottom line, the Giants should be punished. But the punishment needs to be proportional.

    What I don’t understand is the attempt to vilify the team. I didn’t understand it with deflategate (and the Pats) and I don’t understand it now.

  13. Yeah, it’s time to stop referring to the Giants as anything other than what they are: wife-beating protectors, walkie-talkie using cheats, just a typical opportunistic NFL franchise. As much integrity as Goodell, which is none.

  14. deuce2222 says:
    Dec 20, 2016 6:55 PM

    deuce222

    While I appreciate your well thought out comments on this topic, I do find it incredibly hard to believe that McAdoo had NO idea that using the walkie talkies was in violation of the league rules.

    Coach to QB communications are notoriously troublesome — it is well documented though out the league, there is at least one game a week where the communication system fails. The NFL’s solution is to have the communication system shut down on BOTH sidelines until it is resolved.

    Bill Parcels himself has commented on this very topic and the need to have signals and other systems in place because communication failure was almost always a guarantee.

    Now, do I think McAdoo was doing something nefarious? I hope not, but claiming ignorance is laughable. Ignorance of a law or rule is no excuse — and in this case McAdoo is treating NFL fans everywhere like idiots, or maybe he just wants fans of the other 31 teams to think he is an idiot.

  15. Listen to all the anti-NY dummies and their tin foil hat theories. We’re just camping out in your heads aren’t we. waaah. I live in a flyover state and my team don’t get privileges. waaa, waaa, waaa.

    You know you wouldn’t even have a team if it weren’t for the Maras right? They were the only voice and big market to vote for revenue sharing to keep your sorry teams alive instead of going the way of the USFL. True story.

  16. The irony is that NE is perceived by NYers as being arrogant “cheaters” approriately disciplined (i.e., screwed) despite the fact that the NFL admitted they had no real evidence of NE wrongdoing. And now, with NY blatantly cheating as seen by everybody on national TV, it is the truly arrogant NYers that consider the Liars Club’s “nothing to see here” ruling with a slap on the wrist as sufficient. Ironic indeed.

  17. You know you wouldn’t even have a team if it weren’t for the Maras right? They were the only voice and big market to vote for revenue sharing to keep your sorry teams alive instead of going the way of the USFL. True story.
    ———-
    So, it’s OK if the NYG cheat to win?

  18. Terrible public relation to keep the PSI information from the 2015 season form the fans of the NFL. This one decision alone makes the NFL look 100% corrupt.

  19. All these controversies are laser focused on the actors and get so overblown. The WT was used for only 5 plays – seems more like a mistake than cheating. But we keep having these controversies…

    Time to point the laser at NFL Game Day Ops. They are the common thread in these controversies and their procedures need to be scrutinized and enhanced.

  20. mypostsalwaysseemtogetdeleted says:
    Dec 20, 2016 7:46 PM

    While I appreciate……

    ——————————

    Maybe I’m becoming too idealistic (I’m a realist at heart, I swear), but I truly think that McAdoo was trying to work through an issue the best he could. .

    I truly don’t think he was attempting to gains competitive advantage (I hope not, seeing that the 5 plays he used it for resulted in an interception).

    I do agree that he should have had the foresight to have hand signals as a backup, but intent is key here. It was a poor decision, bit the intent was not malicious.

    That doesn’t excuse the fact that he did it. As a result, he should be punished.

    However, I don’t think he (or the team) is a villain. And I don’t think the calls for a public execution are appropriate in this case.

  21. The nfl owes TB12 an apology, needs to give Mr Kraft his $ million back and restore the remaining draft picks.
    Just imagine the outcry if Bellichik used walkie talkies, which is why the Pat’s practice hand signals in case the communication , that the NFL controls goes out.

  22. I don’t picture Goodell going anywhere, and even if he did nothing would change. Goodell is extremely good at his job, which entails nothing more than doing the owners’ dirty work and taking all the heat for the dirty work.

    Goodell is SO good at his job that you’re all calling for his head, while giving the real villains (the owners) a pass. Cris Carter would be proud.

  23. By profootballtalk’s own draft value chart, dropping 12 spots late in the 4th round is equivalent value to a late 6th round pick. Don’t give us the crap about how those 12 guys could all be Hall of Fame players. That’s more ludicrous than the slap on the wrist the Giants got.

  24. Mara was behind Washington and Dallas getting punished for going over the cap in an uncapped year and then personally approved of the Brady suspension. Same guy who got Josh Brown’s automatic 6-game suspension limited to one and then had his team illegally test the Steeler’s game balls. Big deal – he gets a slap on the wrist and moves down 12 spots in round 4. Wahhhhh!!!!!!

  25. “…what they’ll say is that league office is bastardizing its rules in the name of maximizing external praise and minimizing external criticism.”
    ==============================
    No. We all know that the league office is bastardizing its rules in the name of settling scores and forcing parity to increase profits.

  26. Plays too much of a role in some situations and not enough in others.

    Patriots were unfairly punished because of PR and Giants got out with what is essentially just a fine for their blatant cheating which was seen on national television.

    I wish all NFL players outside of the Giants would protest the probowl to show their displeasure with Goodell letting them skip into the playoffs as cheaters. This season and any success within the postseason will be a biggest asterisk the NFL has ever seen next to it. There is zero evidence the walkie talkies were only used for 5 plays

  27. No dog in this fight(Uh oh, PC Principal), but, it’s pretty funny to see coaches and players being given the benefit of the doubt in terms of whether or not they knew that what they did was potentially illegal/wrong, yet the Zebras are crucified on sight. Not saying they deserve a pass, just saying how comical it is.

  28. The pathetic handling of this issue just provides more proof that Lying Roger is completely in over his head and has no business runing a high school cafeteria, let alone the NFL.

    I would have paid to hear Lying Roger call his boyfriend Mara and tearfully apologize for reducing his 4th round draft pick by up to 12 whole spots because the big bad national media was callimg him out.

  29. Do I think there is a difference between deliberately video taping another team and this? Yes I do.

    One is premeditated. The other was a time-critical decision that turned out to be an illegal one.

    ———-
    It is obvious you have no idea what spygate…I mean camera position gate was all about. You do realize that every single team in the league still video tapes opposing team’s signal callers right? There is no rules against filming your opponent, the only thing that was in violation was the spot of the camera.

    It is laughable that you think using Walkie Talkie communications are an innocent mistake, but video taping outside of the “camera zones” is a heinous act of cheating.

  30. mmack66 says:
    Dec 20, 2016 6:33 PM
    skol4life says:
    Dec 20, 2016 6:07 PM

    Soooo the media is complaining that the NFL is making too many decisions that are designed to make the media happy. Got it. Thanks.
    —————————–

    No, Florio is complaining that Goodell is too arbitrary and capricious.
    ===========================
    No, Florio is not complaining at all. He simply copied and pasted the text the NFL PR department provided.

  31. Do I think there is a difference between deliberately video taping another team and this? Yes I do.

    One is premeditated. The other was a time-critical decision that turned out to be an illegal one.

    ———-
    It is obvious people have no idea what spygate…I mean camera position gate was all about. Every single team in the league still video tapes opposing team’s signal callers to this day, there is no rules against filming your opponent, the only thing that was in violation was the spot of the camera.

    It is laughable that people think using Walkie Talkie communications are an innocent mistake, but video taping outside of the “camera zones” is a heinous act of cheating.

  32. LOL…one of the lead rabble-rousers is complaining that the NFL is kowtowing to PR concerns.

  33. I also remember the announcers talking about the fact that McAdoo was resorting to using a walkie talkie. They never mentioned that it was against the rules

    And there’s the issue in a nutshell.

    Set the WABAK to NE vs Pitt game 1 2015. Collinsworth nearly wet himself with excitement when he saw an opportunity to show off his anti patriot bias when something went wrong with NFL controlled headsets.

    There’s more proof of cheating here than in spygate and framegate combined.

    Notice how the certain NY fan comments are starting to sound like NE fan comments from 2 years ago? Funny how perspective changes things. Good thing they don’t have any issues with hypocrisy.

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