I am seldom in the business of saying, “I told you so,” because most of the time I tell you anything I tell you something stupid. However, sitting on the sofa all day with a beer in one hand and the clicker in the other, occasionally Couch Slouch has a revelation, which, I suppose, can be explained by the fact that Yuengling is one incredibly tasty and intellectually stimulating mixture of hops, barley and yeast.
I told the NFL not to start Thursday night football.
Did those billionaire crumb bums listen? No.
And, thus, in an avaricious attempt to co-opt another of our diminishing calendar days, the NFL has spiraled downward.
NFL TV ratings are down 5.5 percent from 2016 and nearly 13 percent from 2015.
To be fair, there are plenty of possible factors for this decline in interest, among them:
* The Trump effect.
* The kneeling-during-the-national-anthem effect.
* The turned-off-by-brain-trauma effect.
* The too-many-bad-matchups-with-too-many-bad-quarterbacks effect.
* The tired-of-seeing-Bill-Belichick-win effect.
Actually, among all the alternative theories on waning NFL viewership, I mostly subscribe to the millennials-have-the-attention-span-of-a-tsetse-fly effect.
Exhibit A: The NFL RedZone channel.
RedZone allows you to see every touchdown without having to see any one contest; who wants to watch a stand-alone game when you can watch scoring play after scoring play? It’s like reading a book review rather than reading the book – you get the gist of it all without having to wade through 368 pages.
Millennials have limited patience; they stand in front of microwaves and implore, “Come on!”
(The other night I sat down to watch “Citizen Kane” with stepson Isaiah, stepdaughter Mia and rescue pit Daisy. Isaiah and Mia were gone before Charles Foster Kane even became a newspaperman; Daisy stuck it out to the final “Rosebud.”)
Now, don’t get me wrong – the NFL is still very popular; it hasn’t morphed into MLS overnight. But Roger Goodell and Co. decided that enough wasn’t enough and too much was better.
I believe the dictionary definition of “too much” is Bills-Jets on Thursday night.
As is turns out, this is one area in which Mark Cuban and I agree wholeheartedly.
(Generally, the Dallas Mavericks owner and I are at loggerheads. We’re cut from a different cloth: Cuban is a happy, uber-successful adult-in-progress; meanwhile, I sleep in to avoid bad news.)
In 2014, Cuban famously remarked the NFL was 10 years away from implosion. “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy,” he said. “When you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you.”
It’s turned on the NFL.
Alas, the NFL took its pitch-perfect Sunday-afternoon-to-Monday-night rhythm and transformed it into a Sunday-morning-from-London/Sunday afternoon/Sunday night/Monday night/Thursday night/Saturday-night-in-December thing.
Here’s the problem: If you eat filet mignon once a year, it feels and tastes special. If you eat it once a month, that specialness is dulled a bit – yet it still tastes pretty good. But if you eat it, say, five nights a week, (1) it is no longer special and (2) you sort of tire of it by the third night and (3) your arteries are more clogged than Friday rush hour on the Cross Bronx Expressway.
Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.
(That still beats too much of a bad thing, i.e. “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”)
Anyway, there is saturation, there is oversaturation and then there is the NFL’s moreofdrewstantonsupersizedoversaturation.
On an unrelated note, in 1903 I warned the Wright brothers that the future of aviation was baggage fees and drones. Uh, I hate to say it, but I told you so.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Is Bob Knight right about the late John Wooden’s blind eye to illicit recruiting and benefits? (Pete Fischer; Lexington, Kent.)
A. Knight is right about Wooden. On the other hand, Knight is often wrong about Knight.
Q. Why was the UCLA men’s basketball team even in China? Was it part of a semester abroad program? (Terrence Williamson; Pittsburgh)
A. Furthermore, why shoplift Louis Vuitton sunglasses 6,500 miles from home when a booster might buy you a pair in Beverly Hills?
Q. Iowa State’s quarterback is Kyle Kempt – commence groaning in 5, 4, 3… – should his backup be known as the Un-Kempt? (Don Frese; Hobe Sound, Fla.)
A. I am printing this question against my better judgment.
Q. Given the outcome of all The Slouch’s “Team of Destiny” designees over the years, can we assume all your earlier nuptials were also “Marriages of Destiny”? (Gordon Moller; Grapevine, Tex.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Is playing Stud with Tom Brady redundant? (Erich Nintze; Washington, D.C.)
A. Pay this wise soul, too.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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