Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Great Idea

Last Wednesday, the National Football League announced changes to the Pro Bowl starting this season. There will be multiple changes including eliminating kickoffs and adding two-minute warnings at the end of the first and third quarters. The most prominent change is dropping the long-established NFC and AFC affiliations. Instead of selecting players based on conference, the players for the two teams will be selected by a fantasy-type draft. This change is similar to my suggestion for the Pro Bowl as part of my proposal for improving the NFL and is similar to the format adopted by the NHL several years ago for its All-Star Game.

To be honest, my suggested change to the Pro Bowl was necessitated by my proposal for dropping the AFC and NFC. I am hopeful that the actual changes to the Pro Bowl will foreshadow a future elimination of the two historical conferences. Perhaps changing the Pro Bowl format is just the first step in a major reorganization of the league.

I previously never got around to fleshing out the details of the last component of my NFL proposal with addressed managing the broadcast rights for NFL games, To finally finish up my NFL proposal, I am going to write about this last part (for now at least). Below is a summary of the first six points followed by the seventh.

NFL Proposal Summary
  1. Eliminating Conferences: Drop the NFC and AFC and change from the eight four-team divisions to four eight-team divisions by merging the divisions with the same direction names
  2. Realignment: Rotate Baltimore, Indianapolis and Miami to form more geographically-correct divisions
  3. Relocation: Not a fixed proposal, but the suggested divisional alignment would be better able to handle future relocation of teams
  4. Regular Season Schedule: Teams would have 16- or 17-game schedules composed of two games versus each divisional opponent plus two or three games against teams from other divisions
  5. Playoff Tournament: Fixed-bracket postseason tournament with semifinal winners continuing to receive the George Halas and Lamar Hunt Trophies
  6. Pro Bowl: Players for the two Pro Bowl teams are selected from a pre-established pool in a televised fantasy-style draft - Done

7. Television Schedule

The current contacts with the various television networks would have to be adapted to handle the first part of my NFL proposal that eliminates the AFC and NFC. The two contracts for broadcasting NFL games on Sundays at 1 PM and 4:30 PM are based around the two conferences. The Fox Broadcasting Company currently owns the rights to televise NFC games while CBS has the rights to the AFC games. For inter-conference games, the broadcast rights are based on conference of the visiting team. There are separate television contracts for the time slot on Thursdays at 8:30 PM (currently held by the NFL Network), Sundays at 8:30 PM (currently held by NBC), and Mondays at 8:30 PM (currently held by ESPN).

Under my plan, the networks would basically buy the rights to the currently established time slots. The networks would also be allocated a certain number of points for each season. Using these pools of points, there would be an auction for the television rights to each regular-season game. I think there would probably have to be a separate auction to establish the broadcast schedule for postseason games.

In regards to broadcast scheduling, I would also establish a rule that teams located in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones could not be scheduled for regular season games starting at one o'clock Eastern. I do not think scheduling West Coast teams for early kickoffs is fair for the players traveling across the country or the fans of those teams. Unfortunately, there would have to be an exception to this rule for the playoffs since there are a limited number of playoff games and my tournament format forces teams to travel across country.

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