NFL’s top P.R. executive “unaware” of conversations about neutral-site conference championships

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
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The NFL’s top P.R. executive claims to have no knowledge regarding a topic that would be a potential P.R. minefield for the NFL.

Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Jeff Miller said during a Tuesday media conference call (I took a quick nap beforehand, and it ended up being not so quick) that “he’s unaware of any conversations about neutral-site conference championship games as a permanent fixture in the future.”

Regardless of whether conversations are happening, one or more people in positions of power have views that point toward this possibility. And the press release from 11 days ago touting the sale of 50,000 tickets to a potential neutral-site conference championship in Atlanta, issued before the NFL knew whether it would even happen, seemed to imply that the league wants to do it.

Miler, per Maske, also pointed out that “owners could consider that if they’re inclined to do so.”

Indeed they are. But the real question is whether the league office will put it on the agenda and push it.

The easiest way to push it is to appeal to their love of money. Which is fine. People love money. I love money. It can buy stuff you need, stuff you want. Get enough of it, and you can just sit around and watch old episodes of The Office all day. (Then again, I’m currently doing that.)

Money talks; home-field walks. If/when the league office makes a sufficiently compelling presentation as to all the cash the NFL would make if/when it starts selling conference championship games to cities that would pay good money for the privilege of hosting the game, that’s when owners will start voting with their wallets.

Then again, they already vote with their wallets.

24 responses to “NFL’s top P.R. executive “unaware” of conversations about neutral-site conference championships

  1. 24 votes needed to pass. Which 9 cities wouldn’t qualify for the neutral site rotation for one reason or another, and could be inclined to vote no because they won’t otherwise have the game?

    Green Bay
    New England
    New York
    New York

    I’m thinking northern outdoor venues. Is that enough to block it?

  2. First it’s neutral site conference championships, next will be international sites for those games. It’s just a matter of time!

  3. It is a terrible idea, one that nobody wants to be associated with or become the posterboy for. At least i havent seen Troy Vincent quoted about this yet, but everything he says is a lie so it’s probably only a matter of time

  4. The NFL, a private corporation you may have heard of, is 100% entitled to keep its internal discussions private. The media can lay no claim whatsoever to private discussions of NFL executives and/or employees.

  5. Translation: I wasn’t there, so I can claim I’m unaware…

    Plausible deniability. Typical of a league that has only a passing acquaintance with the truth

  6. I have been lucky enough to attend 7 of these games (4 NFC / 3 AFC) at 4 different locations. It is the most electric gameday football stadium experience the NFL has to offer. Nothing else brings the same amount of passionate and energy and its starts with the partial hometown fans who know their team is possibly 60 minutes from the Super Bowl. Taking this to a neutral sight would be one of the cheapest moves ever by NFL ownership and would leave season ticket holders irate.

  7. I don’t understand why an owner would give up a home game. The #1 seeds would then only have a game at home if they go to the Championship Game. Makes zero sense to me. But I’m not rich.

  8. The NFL has always considered neutral sites, but never acted on it. This has been discussed for years. Even decades. They just never made the decision to go in that direction, but it has been discussed, and will continue to be discussed. The NFL discusses a lot of things that never come to fruition. They have a Plan B and a Plan C for just about everything. I hope they do go to neutral sites for playoff games. They do it for the super bowl, and nobody complains. They play college playoff games at neutral sites. The Olympics are at neutral sites. I’d rather see the best team win. Some stadiums illegally pipe in noise. They try to affect the outcome of the game, and I don’t blame them. But I’m not watching the game because I’m interested in the fans or the stadium technician interfering in the game. I’m there to watch football. The best teams should win, not the loudest stadium. Home field isn’t equal. Some teams play a much easier schedule than others. If you’re the best team, you shouldn’t be afraid to play anyone. Anywhere. If you think your team is inferior, then I don’t blame you for wanting to rely on something else to get the win.

  9. Well there you go. If an NFL exec tells us something, you can take it to the bank! Yessir nobody more honest,forthright,and reliable that the NFL league office.

  10. It has been demonstrated time and again that the economics of hosting these games doesn’t make sense for the city.

    eg: In 2008, Glendale, Arizona hosted Super Bowl 42, and the city’s mayor told ESPN that the city lost $1 million in the process. In 2016, San Francisco hosted a week of events leading up to Super Bowl 50, which was being held in Santa Clara, and San Fran ended up with a $4.8 million public services bill.

  11. Of course it will happen. NFL owners and administration cares little about the ticket-buying public in each team’s home market. They HATE having to make some seats semi-affordable. If they had a stadium with all suites and club seats and could charge a minimum of $1,000/seat, they’d do it. As long as the fans don’t push back, nothing will stop them – just as nothing stops them from requiring season ticket holders to buy worthless exhibition game tickets at full price. The only thing that might slow them down is the removal of their insanely unjust limited antitrust exemption. THAT would get their attention, Boy Howdy!

  12. Please do this. Greater probability of making the game more competitive. Point spreads would probably be closer, hence more likelihood of a better game. Less chance of crowd noise having a role in away team’s offense. A #1 seed may have the best record simply due to an easier schedule… why reward that by having home field prior to Super Bowl? This is a good idea.

  13. They may say no now, but that this has entered their minds means it will happen eventually.
    A the league will be worse for that change.

  14. Why stop at selling the CC games to neutral sites, NFL? Why not sell EVERY regular season game since money is clearly the only thing that matters here. Next week: the Poughkeepsie Cowboys visit the Portland Raiders at 1 PM, followed by the Peoria Packers at the London Patriots.

  15. I have a feeling there is less of conversation going on that we are lead to believe. Possibly a slow couple of weeks between the Conference Finals and the Super Bowl needs a controversy to keep fans reading. When everyone says the Super Bowl is a neutral site event completely forgets that before the AFL-NFL “Super Bowl” the NFL Championships(and AFL championship games 1960-1966) were held at the top seeded team’s home field every year from 1933 to 1966. A neutral site game was conceived by the commissioners of the two leagues to decide a world championship giving advantage to neither league’s team. So before the Super Bowl, NFL and AFL championship were played on one team’s home field like the they do now with Conference Finals. I am trying to think if the NHL, MLB and NBA would deny league finalists the right to play games at their home fields and set the all the final games far away somewhere. I know Calgary Flames fans would be livid if they hosted no Stanley Cup Finals games and be made to fly to New York, Miami, Los Angeles or worst Toronto to see their team play.

  16. Clark Hunt said it himself (and I’m paraphrasing): even though his father was keen on the idea, he couldn’t imagine taking away the excitement of the fans getting to celebrate a conference championship in their own area.

    You can’t replicate that energy with a bunch of people with a lot money paying for tickets just to say they were there (like the Super Bowl). It’s one of the last major experiences fans get, and few of them as it’s not a guarantee that their team gets that right.

  17. It has been demonstrated time and again that the economics of hosting these games doesn’t make sense for the city.

    eg: In 2008, Glendale, Arizona hosted Super Bowl 42, and the city’s mayor told ESPN that the city lost $1 million in the process. In 2016, San Francisco hosted a week of events leading up to Super Bowl 50, which was being held in Santa Clara, and San Fran ended up with a $4.8 million public services bill.


    While private spending provides a boost to the local economy, it doesn’t’ guarantee that host cities come out in the black. A report by the San Francisco Controller’s Office in May 2016 found that the city made about $2 million from the Super Bowl.The big game provided a $240 million boost to the Bay Area economy according to findings released Monday by the host committee.

    San Francisco, which hosted the weeklong Super Bowl extravaganza and put up most of the fans in its plentiful hotels, benefitted from 57 percent of Super Bowl related economic activity. The remainder was spread around the Bay Area with cities near San Francisco International Airport accounting for 7 percent and Oakland nearly 4 percent.

  18. Are they aware of expanding rosters discussion between the league office and the PA? Pat Kirwan and Rick Neuheisel just discussed this. The league could counter increase with 18th game. Increase could be limited to playoff games.

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