In losing a Saturday doubleheader, we gained a Monday doubleheader. It’s a reminder that, in time, Monday doubleheaders will be far more common.
The driving force will be gambling. Specifically, gambling facilitated by the eventual arrival and implementation of technology that sends images from NFL stadiums immediately to monitors and computers and tablets and phones, giving everyone the same 40 seconds to place bets on the next play.
Run or pass? First down or not? Over/under 6.5 yards? Field goal, good or not? Two-point conversion, successful or not?
That’s just the beginning. The collection of odds and options will be more convoluted than the felt of a craps table, and they’ll constantly change and shift as each game unfolds.
Each game will bring a virtual football casino into every bar and home, transforming the viewing experience in the same way fantasy football did. This change likely will be even more dramatic. To maximize the effect, the NFL will need more stand-alone games.
Two on Mondays. One on Tuesdays. Maybe one on Wednesdays. All days are fair game, except Fridays and Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and the second Saturday in December. That’s a vestige of the broadcast antitrust exemption, which could be revised or, frankly, moot if/when the model pivots to streaming. (That’s a separate can of worms for the league, but any can of worms eventually can be used to catch a whole lot of fish.)
It’s coming. Last year’s postponements showed that it can be done. While it may require some elbow grease when it comes to scheduling, money always finds a way. And there will be gigantic money for everyone in more stand-alone games and more opportunities to wager and more wagers made and more money for all and more and more and more. And more.
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered, right? Maybe, but the hogs will be living pretty damn well until the butcher shows up. Perhaps by then, the hogs will be able to steamroll the guy with the cleaver and run free.