Did you ever hear the one about the fellow who kept “banging his head” (with or w/o a helmet) against the wall b/c it felt so “good” when he stopped? Well, welcome to the NFL 2014 (with or w/o a helmet).

While we have written much about the CULTURE of organizations including the NFL, it is amazing how this once revered league may well be engineering its own self-destruction. We were all but completely dumb founded when we recently heard that Robt Kraft (Patriot’s all BUT PRISTINE owner) had just given NFL chieftan Roger Goodell a strong vote & voice of public confidence. Does this billion dollar king of Kraft Foods really know what has been “going on”? His quick and unequivocal support of the commish makes us wonder about the entire league and its structure. Perhaps, the whole Ray Rice, elevator punching film and Mr. Goodell’s denial of knowing about it means that Mr. Goodell has already received a hearing of sorts with Mr. Kraft and /or other owners. Our point is that Mr. Goodell may NOW be operating with owner approval. Perhaps, he is protecting some owners? (How about that as a conspiracy theory?) Perhaps, the commish in conjunction with some owners is STONE-WALLING the world. No matter whether Roger Dodger as a singleton (or with the blessing of an owner or owners) NOTHING CHANGES! Domestic Violence is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! Given that, we must marry Goodell’s “shaky story” with the “earthquake” that is coming from the player’s MULTIMILLION dollar concussion settlement with the league. WOW! And just for spice, let’s add the “shaker” fact that as of 9/15 the NFL still has NOT released its newly crafted drug policy as players are ready to return from those misdeeds. In sum we have the National Freak-Out League. Our view is that the NFL must 1st heal itself b-4 it can help ANYBODY! While we applaud the fact that a former FBI director will be gathering info about the Ray Rice riff, what about the rest of it? The NFL looks infested, incestuous and CULTURALLY CORRUPTED to us! The ultimate solution though must NOT come from the NFL but from the FANS and the NFL’s $PON$OR$! If fans “turn off” and sponsors “turn away”, the BLADDER of this football league will NOT hold air. Both the fans & the sponsors have an affirmative duty to respond to the Nat’l Freak-out League to give it a proper moral compass lest it be pointed due SOUTH, forever. So, thus far, what do SPONSORS and FANS say?

  • Fedex and Marriot have said that they were monitoring the Rice Both remained confident that the NFL will do the right things. (Ryan Wilson,, 9/12/14)
  • From PepsiCo: “Domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We are encouraged to see the NFL now is treating this with the seriousness it deserves.” (Michael David Smith, 9/11/14)
  • General Motors (an NFL sponsor since 2001) supports the NFL’s commissioning “a comprehensive, independent investigation” of the case, and will monitor it closely. (Morgan, NYPost, 9/12)
  • An-Busch spokesperson emailed the USA TODAY saying they have “no comment” at the present time & will advise if their position changes. (D. Moore, USA 2day, 9/11/14)
  • P & G declined to comment. (Mae Andersen, AP Biz Writers, 2014)

The conclusion is EZ to this point. There is definitely a calculating “wait and see” view by virtually ALL NFL sponsor/advertisers. According to WSJ’s Kevin Clark (9/15/14) the NFL is solely responsible for 3% to 4% of ALL TV advertising, summing to $70B. (If TV advertising was a nation it would have the 86th biggest GDP in the world. [ in the top 40% of the globe’s GDPs] and be nestled b/t Tanzania [#85] and Lithuania [#86]). Can you imagine ONE ANYTHING being the source of 3% 4% of ALL TV ad revenues? Can you almost feel the “Don’t upset the apple cart of the NFL, TV networks, etc, can’t you?

OK, with that view of sponsors and TV execs duly noted what about the FANS, the OUTRAGED FANS especially the FEMALE OUTRAGED FANS. Finally, we really have somewhere to go. Forget these moneyed, sponsored, wealthy owners and TV execs who marvel at the continuing “week in” and “week out” NFL #s. The grass root fan will surely give the NFL, TV, etc real grass stains on their proper if NOT pompous IMAGE and ATTIRE.

What do the real football fans think and feel? Will the somewhat less than shining NFL shield today cause either disruptions in fan game attendance or TV viewing? Wm Rhoden (NYT, 9/14/14) wrote about some reactions.

  • An NFL fan (Fitzgerald) entering the NYG game on Sun and said “ the game is THE game. That is what it’s all about”
  • Another fan Carl Gaynor thought the NFL was culpable b/c it didn’t treat the Rice affair with the seriousness that was needed. Mr. Gaynor admitted however that when all is said and done “It would impact his coming to the games.” This same view was made by Rosalind Moore & Sue Adie (going to the Meadowlands) who believed that the NFL had “the film” from the start & that Goodellwaffled”. Having said that both ladies went to the game and as doing such they did NOT think that they were compromising their values.
  • 9M was the audience for Opening Thur night on NBC (9/14/14), WOW!
  • Thur Night Ftball on CBS reported 8M viewers. (9/11/14), WOW!
  • Sun Night Ftball #1 drew 7M viewers (9/7/14) WOW!

So, what is the FINAL VERDICT to our sponsor and fan flyover? Goodell & his NFL should be pronounced “Guardians of the Galaxy”. WHAT?! In case you missed it, it is NOW the responsibility of the sponsors and the fans to send their Domestic Violence message to the NFL & the TV networks! According to Ad Age (9/12) b/c of the Rice debacle, the NFL’s brand buzz is of its lowest point since June 2012. We think it’s interesting and admirable that the NFL wants to use its sponsor Verizon’s acclaimed Domestic Abuse Awareness program. We also passionately believe that 1st the NFL must heal itself of its own credibility issues. “PHYSIAN 1st HEAL THYSELF!

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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