Does the NFL Favor Certain Players? Should It?
Recently, on the heels of a $25,000 fine the NFL imposed on fellow linebacker James Harrison for an overly violent tackle last weekend, Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens accused the league of protecting its top two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
The league has their favorites,” he said. “One being in Indy and one being with that other team up north. Besides those two, everybody is fair game. Some quarterbacks are getting the calls right away. Some quarterbacks they don’t care.”
Suggs’ statement raises a variety of questions within the country’s most popular sport. The obvious query is whether or not the NFL is protecting its two most marketable players. However perhaps the more pertinent point of discussion is even if the league is not currently protecting them, should it be?
Beyond the games, the salaries the touchdown celebrations and the Superbowl’s, the NFL is at its core a business. A bottom line objective of every business within a capitalistic culture is to maximize it’s profits. If the two quarterbacks that Suggs is accusing the NFL of protecting, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the two individuals who make the NFL the most money with respect to television and merchandising revenue, isn’t the league within its right to make sure they stay on the field?
It may not be a popular stance but it is a fiscally responsible one. The NFL shouldn’t be overt in protecting its top two quarterbacks, but the idea of imposing a special set of rules for your top two employee’s is not an uncommon one in our society. If your work product is responsible for more value within your company than someone else’s, how far fetched a concept is it for the company to hold you in higher regard and make your life a little more comfortable than the average employee.
Top employee’s in the business world are often given corner offices and preferential parking spaces among a variety of other rewards for their outstanding services. If Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are placed under a set of rules that doesn’t undermine the games they play in but simply assist in making sure they stay off the injured list, why is that a bad idea?
30 of the NFL’s 32 teams may disagree with this position, but all 32 happily accept the shared revenues produced by television and merchandising dollars. Those dollars are greatly enhanced by keeping Brady and Manning on the field.
Within America’s star driven sporting culture, the idea of maximizing the exposure and production of a league’s two biggest stars makes sense, dollars and cents.