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Lessons from the NFL — RISMedia


This week my travels find me starting the post-Labor Day work week with an early morning Berkshire Hathaway Energy call on Tuesday. After the decision, I hopped on a flight to Washington, D.C. to hitch the RISMedia CEO Exchange and had a unbelievable time presenting the opening keynote for RISMedia Founder, President & CEO John Featherston. Today, I returned home and sat down to write down this post to you.

It’s an exciting day for football fans across the nation because tonight is the official night of the brand new season. I’ll be watching the Buffalo Bills play the World Champion L.A. Rams together with hundreds of thousands of other fans.

If you happen to’ve been reading these posts for some time, you already know just how much I really like the game. But I don’t just love the players and coaches; I also admire the NFL executives who, again and again, show us that they’re open to any ideas—technology, culture, media, even fantasy football—if the league believes that the changes will improve the sport.

The NFL rule changes are led by the Competition Committee, which has a consensus-based system in place in order that it will probably quickly implement some changes while other changes may take years before they go from proposed to enacted on the sector. Other changes evolve with time. And regardless that a number of the foundations the Competition Committee puts forth never make it into the sport, every rule is rigorously considered.

Today, the Competition Committee makes recommendations after a strategy of deep deliberation; this nine-member group of team executives and coaches send recommendations to NFL owners who then vote on the changes. For instance, from 1974 to 2011, the NFL moved the kickoff line 3 times in response to trends of the time and player circumstances. In 2009, the NFL modified the foundations to stop three or more defensive players from “forming a wedge to dam for the return man on kickoff returns.” This decision got here after the Competition Committee members reviewed hours of kickoff film.

The Competition Committee takes advice and proposals from coaches and players, taking their feedback and suggestions into consideration as they propose latest rules. Additionally they seek the advice of with officials and outdoors medical examiners, plus the league’s senior vp of health and safety policy. The league looks at injuries, statistics, trends, and specific plays to find out what rule changes to propose.

Lately, NFL rules have placed a much greater emphasis on safety. It is sensible; football is a physical contact sport and the very last thing the NFL wants is a player who gets seriously hurt while on the sector. The fear of a concussion is amazingly real. While appearing on a podcast called “Let’s Go!” Tom Brady emphasized how much football has modified: “The sport that I played 20 years ago may be very different than the sport now, within the sense that now it’s more skills competition than it’s physical football.”

Beyond the Competition Committee, the NFL has also adapted to changing media trends. Based on NFL Chief Media and Business Officer Brian Rolapp, there are about 184 million NFL fans today. With such a big audience, it is sensible to provide the people what they need – more football! In 2021, the NFL added a seventeenth regular-season game, which followed an announcement that there could be an additional playoff team to every conference to create two additional wild-card games. The NFL added more ways to observe, including ESPN’s Manningcast, a cope with Amazon Prime Video for Thursday Night Football to maintain pace with the exponential growth of streaming, and Spanish-language broadcasts. As a fun stat, the 2021 TikTok Tailgate was watched greater than 32 million times and NFL content on TikTok was watched greater than 125 million times during Super Bowl week.

Fantasy football is one other example of the NFL’s evolution. ESPN estimates about 40 million people play fantasy football within the U.S. But when fantasy football first emerged, the NFL wasn’t fully onboard. Then, in 1999 Chris Russo became the NFL’s VP of Latest Media and was determined to learn concerning the emerging trend. Russo told officials they need to incorporate fantasy into their strategy based on research that showed fantasy players watched more football than non-fantasy players. Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was convinced and suddenly, fantasy was seen as a vehicle for strengthening fan engagement. The NFL began talking about fantasy during game broadcasts, allowed players to advertise fantasy football and in 2009, launched the RedZone channel for in-depth fantasy football insights. In 2015, the league was persuading teams to point out RedZone highlights on the stadiums during breaks. Fantasy was officially not only an add-on to the sport; it was a part of the culture of football.

So, what’s the message? As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those that only look to the past or the current are certain to miss the long run.”  Throughout history, NFL executives have been custodians of the sport and haven’t just protected its integrity but in addition modified the foundations in order that the games are fairer, safer, more inclusive, and more entertaining for everybody

This text is customized from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.

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