In the recent past, the NFL has decided to make staffing cuts to the media wing of its operation. While the NFL is far from hemorrhaging money (the organization generates $10 billion + regularly, with a high of $18 billion dollars in 2022), it is eyeing potential strength leaks for potential future profit. The media end of things is at the top of their list.
Enter know-nothing loudmouths like me to point out the faults I see in a company that easily sees more money than I’ll make if I created the next true rival to Google and Apple all at the same time. I mean, I know better, right?
Yet, as a fan and viewer of the company’s flagship thrust into media ( which was introduced only 20 years ago) I have to wonder what goes through their minds in both staffing cuts AND creative direction overall.
Early this year, the NFL announced staffing cuts to its on-air personalities that either seemed idiotic, inconsequential, or careless. Respectively; Rachel Bonetta, Mike Giardi, and Jim Trotter.
Mike Giardi was a staple. He wasn’t a giant personality or bland. He was solid, professional, and flexible. He was an all-around tool in the tool kit…and they canned him. Not a great idea but sure, if you want to shave negligible thousands of dollars off of your problem areas…why not?
ENTER THE HEAD-SCRATCHING ZONE.
Rachel Bonetta. I think I actually yelled at the screen: “Are you dumb?”
Mean? Probably. But I’m an upstate new yorker; and in my opinion, we’re both sweet as Apple Pie and prone to fold someone like a chair (Think Buffalo Bills fans).
Rachel Bonetta was a quadruple threat. She was funny…but canadian funny so…never at anyone’s expense. She was one of the boys but prone to slay in a designer dress. She would add these sketches to the slog of football stats and banter that bordered on the good years of SNL (as few as there were…). And, above all, she was not just a face. She knew the game and loved it (which can be said about all of the female on-air personalities for the NFL to be honest). So…why would the NFL get rid of such a bright spot on the network? No one knows.
The only possible slight I ever read about was her refusal to take to the Good Morning Football round table after Kay Adams left – a decision that apparently had to do with a lack of desire to move to LA (me too, girl. Me too).
This last firing may be the most egregious in the long run. Jim Trotter.
I may not work in public relations but I’m pretty sure I could’ve advised someone to fire every waterboy in the league before you fire this guy. Jim Trotter is considered one of the most decorated writers in the NFL; and more notably, as a key source of black representation in the league, he was tasked by the higher-ups including Roger Goodell himself, with asking the tough questions that hold management’s feet to the fire when it comes to the lack of diversity around the league. And yet, just as Trotter was digging his heels in during press conferences, interviews, etc the NFL decides it’d rather not renew his contract.
No matter the true reasoning here, the optics are TERRIBLE. Especially while the NFL has faced questions about diversity via the Kaepernick scandal; the messy handling of Brian Flores, etc. This was not the time for this firing.
I mean, if you’re worried about the bottom line, you probably shouldn’t risk ruffling feathers, right?
Let’s grant the NFL these “fumbles”. Businesses are allowed to do boneheaded things because humans are, essentially, determined boneheads; and a conglomeration of boneheads? All the more likely to do something boneheaded.
Let’s look at the programming: During the season, it is absolutely exquisite. The play-by-play, the narratives, the excitement, the speculation, the verbal pile ons….I live for this.
However, the off-season content MUST be addressed. It is absolutely deplorable. How much time can one spend on mock drafts leading up to the actual draft? This coverage seems months-long…and for what? As much as I absolutely love Kyle Brandt, I give zero fiddlesticks what Kyle’s Mock draft is. It doesn’t push the needle for a coach, a manager, an owner…no one. It’s filler. That’s it.
Even before the draft lead-ups, the pulse of the network is even more non-existent. For swaths of time, you don’t even get replays of memorable games. Just sleepy docu-series about some notable player from the 70s or 80s…or the analytical update shows that are hot during the season but are relegated to gossipy speculation about staff changes around the league and an update on which player recently got an assault charge because they are too bored during the off-season.
I won’t pretend to know what to do about this issue but something…anything has to happen. The world is full of creative people. Find a solution. Hell, as much as I might cringe myself to death suggesting this: Make a reality tv show around football. Love is Blind, except when you finally meet the person you’ve been falling in love with…you find out they are a diehard Bills fan; and you’re a lifelong Pats fan. Can their relationship survive this? Tune in next week to find out!
I don’t know. I’m spitballing here; but please, for the love of God, do SOMETHING.