Richard Sherman wrote about the 10 things he learned from the aftermath of his Erin Andrews interview in a column for MMQB on Tuesday.
It contains one particularly spot-on observation: “The NFL always wins.”
“Every time a game ends on a controversial call or somebody loses it on camera, it’s free advertising for the NFL. It’s not just my name being talked about on all the shows; it’s the NFL’s logo on all the shows. That means more eyes on the Super Bowl, more clicks for their websites, and potentially more sales of my jersey, for which I don’t see a kickback. Even when they’re taking money out of my pockets with fines, the league is constantly winning.”
The first part of this statement is obvious. Of course the NFL is happy that the Sherman interview made people more interested in the Super Bowl.
But the second half of the statement is what really matters.
Sherman is saying that the controversy benefits the league more than the player.
The NFL gets none of the blowback from Sherman’s rant, but most of the cash.
Sherman’s critics labelled his interview as “selfish” — a calculated manoeuvre designed to turn himself into a bigger star. There’s some truth to that. Sherman stands to make “millions” in endorsements now that he’s a household name.
But even if he succeeded in raising his profile, the NFL sees the bulk of the immediate revenue from that stardom. The league is in a far better position to capitalise on the interest Sherman created than Sherman is.
The league gets the money from jersey sales and ad revenue. While officially distancing themselves from Sherman (Roger Goodell said he’s “not cheering” for another Sherman rant), they’re the ones reaping the rewards of his newfound fame.
The NFL can’t lose.
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