Maybe the best example of the NFL’s overreach and loss of touch with reality has come in the form of the reaction to their draconian social media policies. Earlier this year, the NFL was strongly criticized for banning any kind of moving video content from their individual team accounts during live game action.
The NFL has the most anti-social approach to social media in the world of sports, and the league doesn’t seem to grasp how that’s not a good thing. Then again, you could say the same thing about the league’s response to falling ratings this year and general mistrust and unpopularity of Roger Goodell and the league office as a whole too.
There is a little snippet of good news, though. After weeks of backlash against the new social media policy from fans and teams themselves, the league has taken it upon themselves to make a new, new policy and reverse or walk back some of the rules that were implemented.
A summary of the changes via Yahoo Finance…
– Teams can now post 16 videos on their social accounts on gameday, up from 8, and can now post videos during game action. They can also now post their own GIFs. However, these videos still can not be actual highlights, but things like fans or fake Madden highlights of real football. Meh.
– Teams can post 5 Snapchats of live game action.
– Teams can post 3 non-gameday press conferences to Facebook live, including on gameday as long as it ends 15 minutes before kickoff.
– However, in one thing that hasn’t changed, teams can still be fined up to $100,000 for breaking the rules on sharing highlights before the official NFL accounts.
So the bottom line is that the NFL has loosened the restrictions slightly, but you’ll still have to get used to your favorite team sharing highlights via Madden clips or old-school electric football because the NFL still won’t allow them to share videos of the thing you actually care about.
And that’s really the issue at hand, here. The NFL can let teams post whatever they want, but if they still won’t allow teams to post video highlights on their own social media accounts, nothing else really matters. These loosening restrictions don’t address the major problem. And these two quotes from both sides of the fence really display the disconnect between the NFL and its teams… and maybe even its fans as well.
Waiting for the league to make a clip available is an aggravating hurdle for team social media managers, one such person told Yahoo Finance this week, speaking anonymously. “The league says they never miss a viral moment,” the person said. “Yes they do. And if they don’t put up a certain clip, we can request it, but I don’t have that time. During the game, I’m doing a million things, I can’t send an email request with the description and the exact time in the game that a moment happened. It’s all very insulting.”
A source at the league offices framed it differently, telling Yahoo Finance last week, “I think what the teams have a hard time recognizing is that it’s bigger than them.”
The NFL wants to condition fans to be fans of the NFL first and their individual teams second. That’s what this is all about. But that’s not how sports fandom works. And the attitude that somehow the league’s own teams or fans of them don’t get that the NFL is SO MUCH BIGGER AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PLEBIANS COULD EVER UNDERSTAND is the entire problem.
No, you’re not. You’re just football. Now let your teams show their darn highlights and stop trying to make it so difficult to enjoy your product.