The NFL is the lump-less gravy train that will never run out of gravy. Its profits are through the roof these days and even the most hardened baseball fan must admit that pigskin long, long, long ago replaced hardball as the national pastime.
Boxing, horse racing and, yes, baseball were once the Big 3 in this country and two of the three have faded away over the decades for one reason or another. It should be noted that the popularity of all three sports were, of course, fueled by gambling.
Today, people in the U.S. love betting on football. Vegas estimated that $90 million was wagered on this past year’s Super Bowl alone. People are spending money, people are making money and every Sunday in the fall and winter is a holiday in and of itself.
The NFL is king and there is no sports prince.
It can’t possibly be this good forever. Can it?
Well, we know for sure that there won’t be any sharp drop-off anytime soon. But little-by-little, day-by-day, moronic decisions by the NFL owners and those in the league office will add up.
It would be a lot easier for all of us if the NFL owners and those in the league office just sat back and raked in the billions. Instead they constantly feel the need to tweak, obviously in an effort to (you guessed it) make even more green.
The dopiness started last year with the lockout and is now happening in a less-publicized manner. The NFL wants to put the financial hammer down on its referees. It wants to save a few million dollars (truly chump change for them) by not paying the guys who make the game flow oh so smoothly each season.
The replacement refs have been horrifically bad this preseason, so much so that a strong rumor was floated yesterday by profootballtalk.com that the league was contemplating using a one-man officiating crew (simply to move the ball after penalties). The story, which was immediately shot down by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, said that penalties would be called in the press box by league officials using video evidence.
Only the NFL could get away with even thinking about something so drastic and idiotic.
In fact, because of the perception that the NFL can do no wrong, there are plenty of people out there who think this foolish plan would actually be a good idea.
Look, our national pastime is not in trouble. Not even close. But if the NFL continues to think it can do absolutely no wrong, at some point its popularity will take a drastic hit.
Follow Metro Boston Sports Editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS