NFL Wastes a Year Not Researching the Same Question Confronting Them Today
The weekend began with the NFL facing criticism once again, as it was publicly chastised by its most esteemed coach for its inconsistency and frugality in failing to integrate fixed goal line and boundary cameras into its replay system.
This led to a widespread consensus among the public that the NFL’s decisions were perplexing and prioritized cost over the game’s integrity, a viewpoint that resonated with the nation, aligning them with Bill Belichick—a remarkable achievement in the adversarial NFL environment.
Subsequently, it was disclosed over the weekend that the NFL had initiated an investigation into the matter, potentially exploring research and development into the very commonsense ideas they had previously dismissed.
Once more, the NFL found itself compelled and publicly urged to take the correct course of action due to external influences.
This situation bore a striking resemblance to the re-investigation of the Ray Rice incident, which occurred six months after the initial incident.
In both instances, the NFL’s motivation to do what was right did not stem from its initiative but was instigated by external parties.
Repeatedly, it became evident that the NFL’s most valuable guidance on operating its business came from individuals outside the league’s offices.
The NFL has developed a pattern that is as foreseeable as Hulk Hogan’s legendary leg drop move. Their recurring course of action involves making erroneous decisions, only to subsequently gauge public sentiment and determine the appropriate course of action.
It has become a customary affair for news emanating from the NFL offices to be accompanied by the fitting theme song, “Here We Go Again,” reminiscent of the 90’s R&B hit by Portrait.
Whenever an issue demands further scrutiny, the NFL responds with a seemingly reluctant willingness to “investigate” and promises to provide follow-up information.
However, what exacerbates this situation is that it is not a singular occurrence limited to one unfortunate week’s media cycle.
This identical proposal was previously tabled at the same competition committee meetings a year earlier, invoking memories of Bill Belichick’s well-known “bake sale” comments from March 24, 2014.
Bill Belichick remarked, “The camera idea we’ve been talking about for years, but that’s never been formally discussed by the membership… Maybe we could have a bake sale. Raise some money for the cameras. Do a car wash.”
Perhaps, at that time, the NFL membership was not quite ready to embrace the concept of fixed cameras. They were already engrossed in revamping the replay system by introducing the “central command” image.
It may have seemed more practical to incorporate these changes sequentially, given the deliberate pace of decision-making on Park Avenue.
Nonetheless, this does not excuse the failure to initiate “research and development” a year ago.
The question arises: why did it take a year and public pressure to prompt them to act?
Suppose the committee was caught off guard by the initial public proposal of the idea a year ago. In that case, the aftermath should have spurred fundamental cost analyses and logistics research to ascertain the proposal’s feasibility.
The fact that they are doing it now tacitly admits they did not make any progress in the past twelve months.
It is widely understood that the NFL wields considerable influence and often operates business-mindedly.
Therefore, the omission of informal exploration for potential sponsorships for these new cameras and addressing cost concerns in response to last year’s proposal appears utterly perplexing.
But, they failed to undertake the necessary groundwork until external pressure left them no choice.
This situation is undeniably embarrassing. It underscores a recurring theme of the Roger Goodell regime: a lack of proactive and robust leadership despite the premium price they command.
It’s a disappointing reality but one that has come to be expected.
There is little doubt that the NFL will eventually rectify this issue.
However, it is also foreseeable that in the future, Roger Goodell may claim to have pioneered the idea, just as he has done with concussion research, conveniently ignoring the fact that he lagged for years until external pressures compelled action.
This year’s proposal from Belichick regarding goal line cameras did not introduce anything substantially new; it was essentially a reiteration of the same argument, laced with a fresh layer of discontent due to the NFL’s year-long inaction, coupled with an implausible excuse.
If the league was now equipped with a rational and well-researched explanation for not implementing the proposal, other than cost concerns and perceived complexity, it would be a different story.
However, given the scarcity of effective leadership within the league offices, the fact that a year has been squandered on this and numerous other issues is truly indefensible.
It isn’t easy to comprehend why the NFL did not have a more substantial response to the very same valid proposal made a year ago.
The critical question that the NFL should, but probably won’t, address is: “What has the league been doing all this time?”