THE BLOG
03/26/2014 05:42 EDT | Updated 05/26/2014 05:59 EDT

The NFL Needs to Stop Getting Greedy and Fat

Earlier this week, the National Football League received verbal delivery of what amounted to a death sentence. This sentence was ominously orated by Dallas Mavericks' maverick owner, the often outrageous, continually contentious, and always outspoken Mark Cuban. And it went like this: "I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion..."

Ten years. Big old implosion. And then it's farewell football. Adios NFL.

"I'm just telling you," Cuban continued, "pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered, and they're (the NFL) getting hoggy... I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always, turns on you. That's rule number one of business..."

Whoa, I thought the first rule of business was You Don't Talk About Fight Club, but, then, I don't know beans about business. Likewise, having been raised in Dairy Country, I don't know much about the whole hog analogy -- the pigs gettin' fat, the hogs gettin' slaughtered, and such. Regardless, even though I'll probably hate myself in the morning, I have to agree with Cuban.

Ten years. Big old implosion. And then it's farewell football. Adios NFL.

Mark Cuban and I rarely see eye to eye: in part because he's five inches taller than me and in part because, like the kids on the old Bill Cosby show, he has a penchant for saying the darndest things; he's one of those guys who seemingly courts controversy and in doing so, frequently suffers foot-in-mouth syndrome. Which is why, over the years, the NBA has fined him more than $1.5-million for assorted verbal incidents and accidents. Still, love him or hate him, when it comes to sports and business and the marriage between the two, he knows a thing or two, or three. Mark Cuban may drink his own bathwater (as my father used to say), and he may be at times obnoxious, but he ain't no dummy.

And Cuban looks at today's NFL and he sees greed. He contemplates the league's current expansion of its television package and he sees "a league trying to take over every night of TV. Initially, it will be, 'Yeah, they're the biggest ratings thing that there is...'" But, he warns, "at some point, the people will get sick of it..."

Bang on, Mark Cuban.

It's called overkill. It's the 'if one cookie is awesome to eat, a dozen must be super awesome.' Yeah, until you're tossing those cookies and swearing off sweet treats altogether. It's saturation of a market, to the point where what once was anticipated and special becomes take-it-or-leave-it mundane.

In professional sports there's a word synonymous with avarice and that's expansion. Cuban sees the greed in the expansion of the NFL's television package, but there is also incredible (some would say, idiotic) greed in the league's plans to expand its already epic season and it's just-fine-the-way-they-are playoffs, allowing 14 teams into the fray from the current 12.

More cookies for the customers. More overeating. Less special, more mundane. And all resulting in more injuries to players in a league already beset with a concussion crisis -- a league purportedly acting with the best interests of its greatest assets in mind -- and injured stars subsequently being replaced by less-talented players. All of which equals a dangerously diluted product.

After Cuban's initial oration, he followed with a thoughtful 1,585-word Facebook post that dissected the NFL's problems beyond basic greed, and dealt with concerns such as player safety, behavioral issues throughout the ranks, and the decline of the sport at the feeder (youth) levels. All superb points, all passionately and thoughtfully outlined.

People around the NFL have responded to The (Mark) Cuban (Tossing) Missile Crisis. Some with good humor, others with snark and disdain. However, most agree that Cuban cannot -- should not -- be summarily dismissed. Did I mention, he ain't no dummy?

Ten years. Big old implosion. And then it's farewell football. Adios NFL.

Honestly, I don't know if we'll be bidding farewell to football and adios to the North American sporting world's great Goliath in 10 short years. But if the league continues overstepping, keeps getting all fat and hoggy, well, you know there are plenty of Davids out there, slingshots at the ready, just itching to take a shot.

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