Goodell has held a handful of impromptu polls with season-ticket holders, the sort of raise-your-hand-if-you-like-my-idea-while-you-sit-before-me polls that carry very little legitimacy. And they'll monitor a few dozen fans at a time. Then, he'll repeatedly tell other season-ticket holders that there's a strong consensus by their fellow season-ticket holders who prefer an 18-game regular season.
That might be all well and good if there weren't about a million season-ticket holders scattered across NFL cities.
Because of the sheer numbers, it would be a painstaking process to poll every single season-ticket holder, and Goodell would probably use that as an excuse. But if Goodell wants his 18 games, he should know it won't come easy. And after all, he's got plenty of time, what with the lockout in its third month and all.
Of course, Goodell might not want to poll every season-ticket holder because he might fear the result won't return in his favor.
At any rate, Goodell's mantra with this has been short-sighted. He cites the season-ticket holders who don't want to pay full price for two preseason games, which they're forced to buy with the package. Goodell has fully admitted the quality of football isn't up to par in the preseason, so his solution has been to increase the schedule to 18 regular-season games, while reducing the preseason to a pair of games. It's an easy sell for the ticket holders, who pay the same price and get one more regular-season game out of the deal.
But the bottom line is that Goodell doesn't really sympathize with the ticket holders. More than anything, he knows the NFL will make an exorbitantly higher profit by adding two regular-season games. And so far, the NFL has not offered the players prorated raises or increased health benefits and pension plans in the negotiations to move to 18 games.
There's also a great deal of concern over injuries, a lesser quality of play at the end of the season and in the playoffs, and the possibility for playoff races to end earlier, which would cause teams to rest their starters for more games (essentially giving the fans preseason games in December rather than August).
That's what is on the table. Goodell wants 18 games for financial reasons, and who can blame him for that? The problem is that he continuously puts words into the fans' mouths, and he doesn't yet have a suitable amount of data to back that up.
In the world of the NFL, 75 percent of the owners must vote favorably in order to change a rule. Why, then, has Goodell spoken for less than 1 percent of the season-ticket holders in regard to an 18-game season? Not only that, but he has taken that laughable sample size and stated it as fact. It's time to change that.
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