The NFL has hit an unexpected obstacle in its quest to make as much money as humanly — not humanely — possible. Since the league adopted a 17-game schedule and sports returned to non-COVID-altered schedules, the NBA trade deadline has fallen during the week of the Super Bowl.
Last year was semi-eventful with James Harden being moved, but it’s nothing compared to the Kevin Druant-Kyrie Irving era imploding in five days. So now instead of everybody talking about what’s going on at State Farm Stadium, the focus is on the new arrival 20 minutes away at the Footprint Center.
It’s the Thursday before the Super Bowl, and ESPN’s news feed is free of non-paywalled NFL content.
First Take is at the Super Bowl, not yelling about the Super Bowl. The drawback of a two-week lull between conference championship games is fans can only take so many narratives before Diana Kelce turns into Sister Jean.
The NFL was so arrogant that they believed nothing could overshadow the Big Game. Well, commissioner, the NBA player movement just did.
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How did the NFL get here, and how long will it last?
The NBA trade deadline used to take place the week after the Super Bowl, and marked the start of the NBA regular season for casual sports fans. It’s similar to conference tournaments being the unofficial start to college basketball season and March Madness.
In the NFL’s rush to expand the schedule to 17 games (despite health and safety warning lights flashing red), they overlooked a pretty significant detail, and that’s how much people love talking about player movement, specifically in the NBA. It’s arguably more popular than the games themselves, and the drama off the court has, at times, been more captivating than conference finals.
Screw a midseason tournament. The NBA should do a midseason free agency period.
It’s just odd that no one thought about this at the NFL league office because it seems they know player movement and trades create a tremendous amount of buzz. Some NFL franchises have asked the league to push back its deadline to week 10 or 12, and I think added deals were perks of an expanded playoff field. More teams in contention mean more buyers at the trade deadline.
I doubt the NFL will change its schedule to avoid overlapping with the NBA trade deadline because it’s used to everyone getting out of their way. They also might not have to.
Roger Goodell spouted some propaganda at his media availability Wednesday that there are not, in fact, more injuries on Thursday nights, and there wouldn’t be more with an 18-game schedule either. That’d lengthen the schedule even more, especially if the league adds an extra bye week, and away from NBA trade season. So I guess, who’s up for some late February football?
Just an NFL self-own or something more?
The most annoying thing NFL fans do — aside from dictating half of what I write — is when they pull out the ratings and point to how many games the Shield has in the top 50 most-watched programs. We get it. Americans love football, and Sundays from September to early February revolve around the gridiron.
The NBA goes out of its way to avoid getting destroyed in any head-to-head ratings war, which is why the NBA on TNT moved its A team to Tuesdays until the rancid product that is Thursday Night Football ended. And it’s what makes this so funny. It’s the NFL’s biggest week. We should be talking about reporters proposing to Patrick Mahomes or some other superfluous storyline all while inhaling Goodell’s fumes, and all social media wants to talk about is Irving and Durant.
Be that as it may, nothing is going to come of this. The NFL owners only have themselves to blame, and they don’t like taking responsibility for their fuckups. That’s what Goodell is for. The Super Bowl is still going to do bananas ratings. And the NBA won’t because public discourse doesn’t factor into the Nielsen ratings.
It’s just nice to point out what greed got the NFL, and even though it’s only a scattered shower on their big week, it’s enough to satisfy my pettiness.
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