The NFL is in crisis. You know how I know that? All three of the network news anchors said so last night: "The NFL continues to deal with its domestic violence crisis" was the lead in nearly every story about the suspension, re-instatement and subsequent re-suspension of Viking running back Adrian Peterson for whipping one of his reported seven children and for stories on the players union appeal of Ray Rice's two-game--after further review make that indefinite--suspension for punching out his wife. EPSN and the cable news channels are devoting entire hours to discussing the "crisis" the league faces and how this is almost certainly going to drive away fans--and more importantly--sponsors.
And then the latest Nielsen Television Ratings come out this morning and all 6 of the highest rated--and 8 of the top 10 shows last week--were all NFL-related. Yes, that is how outraged America was--that only 80% of the most popular shows on TV had to do with football. And remember, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice didn't play in any of those games--so it's not like there was the possibility of seeing a "train wreck" live on TV that drew people to the tube for those contests.
While Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners that employ him may not enjoy having the media relations people of every domestic violence, child abuse prevention and women's rights group getting countless hours of airtime calling for their heads--you know they sleep easier at night knowing that the American public couldn't care less. If fans did find the conduct of the players so repugnant, they wouldn't tune in. They wouldn't spend their eight hours a week on the computer checking out the team and league websites for injury updates so they can set their fantasy football rosters by the Thursday afternoon deadline. And they wouldn't spend an average of 600-dollars per family of four to fill nearly all of the stadiums last Sunday either.
And if you think sponsors are going to run away in droves because they "don't want to be associated with such behavior" think again. You know the marketing people at every one of the companies that ran ads last week--or are thinking about running ads during future games--sees those ratings numbers as well and is working on a rationale for getting their message in front of all those eyeballs in a format that people still watch live and don't fast-forward through the commercials.
I'll believe people are "outraged" by the "crisis in the NFL" when their stadiums are empty--and their ratings are lower than than Rachel Maddow's.