I am diehard Washington Football team fan (who as of last week are eliminated from playoff contention).I’ll move most anything around on my schedule to watch them play. Not this Sunday. I couldn’t care less about their upcoming game Sunday. Who can wrap their head around many (if any) of their starters feeling a sincere desire to win. I can’t be the only fan with this mentality and this must have an effect on a number the NFL cares deeply about: ratings.
While some players on playoff ineligible teams may be willing to put their bodies on the line to achieve individual season long contract incentives (i.e. total catches, yards, tds etc.), they are few and far between. Obviously each player is a professional and compensated handsomely per their respective contracts but there’s a human element here the NFL seems to be glossing over. It is clearly, for the majority of players, in their financial best interest to prolong their careers by avoiding injury.
No Kirk Herbstreit-esque blame games here: the juice is not worth the squeeze for the majority of players to jeopardize their career length and risk injury by giving it their all in week 18. Their bank account will presumably read the same regardless if the box score shows W or L. Their cost benefit analysis definitively points to erring on the side of caution and more conservative play on their part. But what if they did have a financial incentive to play to the best of their abilities in these, once thought of as meaningless, games?
There’s a possibility for a win-win-win scenario for the NFL, it’s players and the fans if the league offered a bonus to players who win games in these scenarios. What?! I know it sounds crazy to reward losers but humor me for a second. For example, who wouldn’t want to watch Taylor Heinecke strap it on one last week for a chance at $20K (or 0.289 bitcoin in Trevor Lawrence’s case). As I don’t have a finance degree, I’ll let the Joe Pompliano’s of twitter hash out the appropriate compensation numbers but that’s beside the point. Motivating these players to elevate (or at least maintain) their standard of play would assuredly boost ratings.In this scenario fans are happier, the players are presumably happier (if they win) and the NFL pads their regular season ratings. Your move, Goodell.
By: Rob Williams Twitter: @The_RobWilliams Instagram: @The_RobWilliams Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/robertlouiswilliams/