Two years ago, Dallas Mavericks owner note Cuban referred to as the NFL “hogs” heading towards a slaughter. The pointed to the organization oversaturating that is audience v a good product and called the an action of greed together the NFL marched to broaden televised games and also offseason coverage.

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“Just watch,” Cuban said in a march 2014 conversation through reporters. “Pigs acquire fat, hogs gain slaughtered. Once you try to take it as well far, human being turn the other way. I’m simply telling you, when you’ve acquired a great thing and you obtain greedy, that always, always, always, always, constantly turns ~ above you. That’s ascendancy No. 1 the business.


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Tom Brady’s court battle with the league over deflate-gate finished with a four-game suspension for the superstar QB. (AP)

There has additionally been the Aaron Hernandez murder prosecution; the ongoing fight between the NFL and NFLPA end disciplinary power; and also the deflate-gate investigation, which placed NFL commissioner i get it Goodell in ~ odds with one of his biggest allies in new England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and ended through the suspension of quarterback Tom Brady, who will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in organization history.

All of those breakthroughs took place before Colin Kaepernick sparked the social consciousness of part NFL players with a weekly protest throughout the nationwide anthem. While Goodell and also NFL teams have actually been careful to adopt the movement including Kaepernick and also other players, polls have said the demonstrations have created (or revealed) some deep racial divisions inside the league’s pan base.

Has all of that contributed to knocking the NFL turn off its axis?

That’s debatable. Doubters will point to other determinants to explain the trending numbers, things such as declining cable subscribers, the climb of the RedZone channel and alternate platforms come consume NFL gamings (such as Twitter). Rather have argued it’s the fact of having actually a season coincide with a presidential election cycle.

Whatever the factors – and there might be a large mix of castle – the numbers are going in the not correct direction because that the league. V the slow start through 3 weeks, the NFL is currently on its way to a fourth consecutive year of a “MNF” ratings decline. The doesn’t end there, either. NFL viewership through the first two main of the season was down almost across the board, most alarmingly in the “bellwether” prime-time slots. Because that example, NBC’s an initial three prime-time gamings of the season (the season-opening Thursday kickoff and two Sunday night games) were under 12 percent.

The league has actually been unflinching in the start but a continuation of the trend would certainly be a significant problem because that Goodell, whose top achievement as boss has been the bottom line of the NFL ledger. As it stands, NFLPA president DeMaurice blacksmith has currently stated that the ratings decrease is a significant concern. At some point, Park Avenue has to wonder if the league’s popularity might be experiencing, or even illustration back, from the peak Cuban predicted.

There will certainly be some eye-rolling over that suggestion. Specifically given Cuban’s inflammatory “slaughter” language. When Cuban take it those shots in 2014, part opined the it was little more than NBA jealousy, spiteful comments from a organization that was a distant third place to the NFL in regards to revenue production and also labor agreements. After ~ all, why must anyone in the NFL care what one NBA owner had to say? Reports placed the NFL’s revenue manufacturing in the 2015 season phibìc of $13 billion, when the NBA’s was just over $5 billion. Meanwhile, NBA owners have actually arguably been dominated at the bargaining table, locked into a totally guaranteed contract structure and a bloating $113 million salary cap (including luxury tax limits) that has led to spiraling incomes for middling players.

This is why NFL owners and also the league office could snicker in ~ Cuban once he said the most renowned sports brand in the U.S. Is ripe because that a fall. And why not? The NFL has been comfortably leading a decades-long tickertape parade, toasting that is success during an unrivaled rise in popularity and profitability. For a while now, the NFL’s ego has been inflated through a widely welcomed theme: the the organization was mostly bulletproof. The there was no such point as too lot NFL. That fans had a bottomless appetite and also a ceiling top top future TV viewership to be mythical. If anything, the NFL has struck one overriding problem an ext than any other over the previous decade: exactly how to bring more of that product come the masses.

The an outcome has to be the buildup of one NFL season that never ends. Regardless of varied complaints native players, coaches and the NFLPA, the league now plays games three nights a week. In December, Saturday will certainly be included to the slate. The supervisor Bowl has actually been driven to February, leading to the NFL’s season spanning six months from training camps come the location game. And now, the offseason has been advocated by the NFL and television networks into a frenzied monetization of events: the annual scouting combine, totally free agency, the draft, the schedule release and a summer of organized team activities and minicamps. Ask anyone in the NFL, and they will tell you over there is only one month the downtime, indigenous mid-June come mid-July. And also even that has actually been turned right into a “buzzy” four weeks that contract expansion talks.

What does every this mean? we don’t understand yet. However 2½ year after mark Cuban make his comments saying a autumn from grace to be on the horizon, there’s little doubt the NFL television and also media coverage is looking more obese than ever. Whether that saturation is leading to a TV tap the money in the early on weeks the this season is debatable. Yet one point is not: fewer human being have to be tuning in come NFL games this year.

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It’s no a slaughter yet, but the NFL needs to be concerned about where this is every going. As Cuban said, there’s a line in between getting fat on success or coming to be a hog through greed. The NFL’s product is bigger, an ext saturated and an ext scrutinized than ever. And it might be a great time for Goodell and the owner to think about where that line is.