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NFL Network Headscratchers: Fire The Talent; Keep the Trivia!

The NFL Network is already limping toward an early grave after 20 years on the air…and their solution is to cut the on-air talent…

And, as I find myself scratching my head, leaving sad DMs to my favorite departing TV personalities, and wondering if I should also consider a break up with the waning network, I have to wonder exactly what the NFL considered in terms of early ways to stem the bleeding BEFORE these drastic measures?  Were they even paying attention to the numbers?  Or were their operational efforts similar to that of a rich first-time business owner, who doesn’t feel the pinch of loans, debt collectors, or the cost of everyday operations, so they pay little attention to how rarely they sell 75% of their stock?

The NFL network feels phoned in lately.  Outside of a few shows, like Good Morning Football and NFL Now, there’s rarely a solid reason to tune in.  Most of the schedule is equivalent to whatever network still plays reruns of Matlock.  A few replays of games from the past week (a handful of them in rotation instead of airing all of them so you could possibly DVR missed games); A few docu-series pieces about former legendary players (which is sometimes a welcome sight to a nerd such as myself but the game has changed so much over the years, the power plays we’ve gotten used to just…aren’t there to hold attention); a few shows about fantasy football (with cardboard personalities); programming that feels like general news around the league (very useful); and Good Morning Football…the REAL meat and potatoes.

Yet, some of the most recent cuts are mainstays.  Namely, we’re talking about big comedic personalities like Rachel Bonnetta, a Canadian host who fit in with American viewership with her Will Ferrell-esque slapstick comedy and general levity.  Outside of the brash, edgy humor of former MTV Real World personality Kyle Brandt, Rachel was the only humorous breath of fresh air; and she never ventured into crudeness.  

She even seemed to bring life to some of the other anchors who tended to simply play their positions, like Cynthia Frelund, who seemed to get a fun little sister out of the deal.  

Is that really the kind of person you want to cut from the network? 

How about reassessing the decision to keep Rachel off of Good Morning Football because she wouldn’t permanently move to New York City?  

How about Jim Trotter? A highly respected black NFL reporter who delivered on the NFL’s prodding to hold them accountable on issues of race and diversity, yet the reward for his hardball questions (including ones directed at Commissioner Goddell) is his contract fizzling out in the midst of these cuts.

How about reassessing the nearly 20 hours of dead space on the channel during the off-season (maybe 16-ish hours during the season…)?  

How about giving the crew on Good Morning Football better topics to kick around the table than Goonies trivia and 90s Saturday Night Live trivia?

How about shoring up those weak NFL apps?  How does an organization have more money than God but have streaming apps that look like Tubi?

Maybe these questions should’ve made their way around the boardroom before the company needed to throw as much cargo overboard to keep the ship afloat.

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