Roger Goodell Admits That Longer NFL Games May Be Hurting Ratings, Discusses Big Changes

Fewer ads, middling Thursday night games, and faster reviews were all discussed.

At a Thursday morning conference in New York, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed that the league was looking at a variety of ways to shorten games and pick up the pace of play to create a more watchable product for football fans.

This season has seen a double-digit drop in ratings after years of rapid growth. If these causes of this drop had been known by the NFL, the league wasn’t disclosing them, although many outsiders pointed to the general trend of cord-cutting as a powerful factor. The league has otherwise suggested that public focus on the presidential election is a cause, but the fact that the NFL continues to search for remedies after the election’s end indicates Goodell doesn’t believe it’s the only culprit.

In fact, at the DealBook conference, hosted by The New York Times, Goodell made his boldest statements yet, suggesting that the glacial pace of play could be contributing to the viewer exodus. However, he hedged that comment during his speech by also calling the depressed ratings “cyclical,” though he failed to give any context or evidence for that claim.

Remarkably, Goodell volunteered that fewer ads, a powerful revenue generator for the league, could be the answer to speeding up games. He also suggested that changing when the ads run could maintain their number while reducing inorganic stoppages in play to accommodate them.

While he used typically opaque language, the media was quick to put a much finer point on his comments:

Similarly, the proliferation of video reviews by officials is another cause for a six-minute increase in game durations from 2008. He said the league is looking to speed up those reviews for the sake of pace of play as well.

Goodell also acknowledged that the expansion of the league schedule into Thursday nights and international games has diluted the import of games overall. He said the league has been careful not to oversaturate the market because “Every game counts, so that makes our inventory incredibly valuable.”

While these aren’t revelatory admissions to most fans (in fact, Goodell said he got a lot of his feedback from tailgating Giants fans last weekend), this is the first time the commissioner has been so blunt about the challenges and issues the league’s facing.

It’s unclear what timeline, if any, exists for addressing the many issues Goodell discussed, but considering this is the first time he’s spoken so openly about them, there’s a good chance that change is imminent, which should be music to the ears of just about every NFL fan.

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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