NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
NFL New Media Group
280 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Re: Dumb Anti-American Absurd 45 Second Video Rule
Recently, you said you measured the strength of the NFL based on whether the fans feel good about the game, clubs, players and coaches. If fan happiness is the metric you use to judge yourself, well Roger, you should be pretty concerned with the ill-conceived, short-sided, impractical and extremely fan unfriendly internet video rule. I'm an NFL fan, and I don't feel good about that one bit.
On June 8th, in my entry entitled, Video Shows New NFL Policy is Absurd, I expressed my concerns with the 2007 rule that significantly restricts non-NFL media sources from shooting and showing online video. In sum, the rules limit videos to 45 seconds of footage for interviews, practice footage, just about everything. The videos can't be archived and have to be removed in 24 hours. This last Saturday, the Washington Post wrote about the policy explained how the media is trying to work with the NFL to change the policy.
If I were an impolite and immature person, I'd ask you what sort of luddite donkey wrote such a silly stupid rule, but that would be mean. I will, however, wonder in writing whether the person(s) had ever actually used a computer before and maybe gave that internets thingy a whirl. Maybe you should print them a copy of this letter.
In case the person(s) in charge of the policy can't read, you might want to show em the above video. In it, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain and Anna-Megan Raley, poke fun at the 45 second rule by showing how little time it gives to meaningful offseason reporting. Then, not only did the Chronicle remove the video within 24 hours, but they removed it from YouTube and the entire McClain blog post about it was mysteriously removed from the blog's archive. Fortunately, I grabbed the link, and there is now a public copy of the video that the Chronicle cannot remove. Hurray for the preservation of truth.
According to the Post story, NFL spokesman, Greg Aiello says (I was going to highlight the parts where I thought he was particularly full of it , but then I figured I'd have to bold the whole thing):
"We're trying to balance protection of our business assets with the equally important need to receive extensive news media coverage and communicate with as many fans as possible on a regular basis We have no interest in controlling or limiting what news Web sites do, except limiting the use of video that undermines our own Internet operations. We have important business interests on the Internet, and we have to be careful about that."That's your argument??? Sounds like something the Chinese government might say about its internet policy. In other words, the NFL wants to have as much of a monopoly of information on the NFL as the fans and the media will let them get away with?!! C'mon Roger, how is monopolizing this sort of news ever good for fans? Or how does it even protect your "business assets?" You look like a pretty smart guy, and you've done some good things since you've been in charge, so maybe I am guessing you weren't too involved with something this backward.
Information and the internets are infinite and one of the best free markets in existence. Let me explain. I love the fact that NFL.com and my favorite team's website are now offering more video. Roger, let me thank you for that, even if you weren't responsible.
But the NFL and the team websites could have 100 times as many videos, and it still wouldn't satisfy the demand for content. The types of stories that the NFL wants to highlight may not be the same ones that interest media and fans. And to be honest because lying is bad, fans don't particularly believe that the NFL and team websites are particularly objective. We read em, but always with some salt grains. (Shocking, I know, but I betcha the NFL.com site isn't going to run a story on the 45 second video rule).
If the Houston Chronicle or Washington Post put up their own videos, that doesn't hurt your business assets one lick. In fact, it helps them. I've always believed that an informed fan is a more vested fan, so the sorts of stories that newspaper does in video form encourage people to go to league and team websites. They don't deter viewing at all. I'm guessing that there are some people who would like to look at infinite videos of Brady Quinn, and each of those videos, like newspaper stories, all would take a different angle. Just guessing that most of the videographers would probably try to trick Brady Quinn out of his shirt though.
If the NFL and team websites want people to come to their websites, the best way to do that is to provide great content. Basic rule of the internet. Newspapers write stories, so does the NFL for its websites, and that doesn't mean that people stop going to their websites. So why would archived newspaper or TV video deter people from visiting official websites? It makes no sense at all, and it makes me sputter a bit and bang my shoe on the desk and say harrumph and such.
Look Roger, make the fans happy. You said that's your job. Make me happy. Please sir. I am begging and putting my pouty face on (which I'm told is often effective). The offseason is awful and endless and grim, and for some reason every time I turn on the NFL Network, the The Chargers Cheerleaders: Making the Squad show is on again. I gotta say that I feel like I'm being mocked.
You are a man of action. On this day of American independence, fulfill your prime directive in increasing fan happiness in ways other than just providing Cheerleading videos. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing from you. (I'm guessing anyone interested in this letting the NFL know what you think about this matter can send a note to the above address or perhaps to email@example.com .)
Most sincerely yours,
NFL Super Fan
*I hope you don't mind me calling you Roger. You can call me Steph.
Previously at FanHouse:
Roger Goodell Has a Nasty Splitter
Video Shows New NFL Online Media Policy is Absurd
Missing NFL Blog Post: Self-Censorship or Something Else