The free agency period is just another reminder that the NFL is one of a kind
The National Football League (NFL) is a machine. A well-oiled, money-spewing, diabolically-engineered corporation that puts all of the other professional sports leagues to shame. It is the league of all leagues and there is no end in sight.
This past year was probably the darkest period in league history. Highlighted by Ray Rice’s disturbing saga, trials and stories of domestic violence owned the headlines for most of the preseason. But once the ball was snapped and people tuned into Sunday afternoon football, all the uproar generated by off-field antics simmered to a hush.
Because hey, football was back!
Yes, people demanded that justice be served and those involved be punished, but there’s no reason to stop watching. Right?
On Tuesday, March 10, the NFL’s new 2015-2016 season officially began with the commencing of the free agency period at 4 p.m. And oh, what an opening act it was for the NFL and its teams.
Even before the clock struck 4 p.m., there were three trades in a matter of five minutes. The biggest blockbuster of them all came between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints all-star tight end Jimmy Graham was sent packing to Seattle in exchange for a first-round pick and veteran offensive tackle Max Unger. It was a made-for-Twitter event that had NFL analysts scrambling and fans craving more. Just when you thought the football season was over, the NFL machine reminded us all that football season is never really over.
Since the market officially opened a week ago, there have been over 130 transactions, involving free agent signings, unrestricted free agent signings and trades. Not all of them have included household names, but that’s not the point. There is nothing “off” about the NFL offseason and it comes down to league scheduling. Meticulously thought out scheduling that ensures that the big, bad NFL always remains in the spotlight.
One of the things that makes the NFL so marketable is that it has become a business that is open 365 days a year. Less than two months ago, the New England Patriots were crowned Super Bowl XLIX champions and it seemed that the world was ready to say goodbye to football, at least for a little while. Doesn’t that seem like another lifetime? Since then, the NFL has had its 2015 Scouting Combine from Feb. 17–23. This was a week-long event that was held in Indianapolis, where 300 of the latest batch of college prospects show off their skills and test their physical limits before the eyes of team scouts and coaches.
Now, by the time the outburst of free agency cools off, sports fanatics should have a little much-needed rest from football, right? Sorry, try again.
The NFL and its minions will crank out hype and speculation over the upcoming rookie draft that will be held in Chicago from April 30 to May 2. If you don’t think that you will get sucked into the vortex that is draft hype than you’re just kidding yourself. Don’t tell me that you haven’t already peeked at a mock draft to see who your team will snag in the first round. It’s what the NFL does best; it’s not your fault.
Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, was ridiculed for the way he mishandled last season’s off-field disasters. Investigations were launched and many people questioned whether or not Goodell was fit for the job anymore. But, in terms of profit, no other league’s commissioner has done better than Goodell. Last offseason, the league announced that the 2013-2014 season had brought in approximately $9.5 billion in revenue, according to Bloomberg. The numbers are not out yet for last season, but don’t be surprised if they reach double digits.
After the draft in May and with Goodell at the wheel, the NFL will turn on cruise control and motor its way into the summer. The early months are the only real downtime in the NFL, so enjoy the silence while you can. Just when you think it’s gone, teams report to training camp by late July and the S.S. NFL will continue to steam into the fall and schedule for another successful season. It’s best to not get in its way; it tends to run over the competition.