The biggest story in sports today is how a Monday Night Football game was botched by a replacement officiating crew. This has spawned seemingly endless outrage directed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Now, I did not see the game. Besides the fact that it wasn't on TV, I was listening to the Rockies game anyway. But as I listen to today's sports-talk aftermath, I can't help but notice an interesting parallel between the NFL's situation and the Colorado Rockies.
The NFL has a big problem on their hands, but Roger Goodell isn't in a rush to fix it. Despite all the negative media coverage, Goodell has no incentive to cave to the demands of the locked out referees. For him, it's all about the bottom line. Since the replacement ref fiasco isn't making fewer people (1) purchase tickets, (2) watch the games on TV, or (3) buy NFL merchandise, Goodell is just going to sit back and let the replacement refs continue to struggle. If anything, the poor officiating is drawing more attention to his sport.
Succès de scandale, eh Roger?
It is a similar situation for the front office of the Colorado Rockies. To say that the team on the field is bad is an understatement. The 2012 Rockies are the worst team in franchise history. And yet, the Rockies have the 13th highest attendance in baseball this year.
For some context, the only team that has more losses than the Rockies entering play today is the Houston Astros. The Astros play their games in the fourth largest city in the United States, but their per game attendance ranks dead last in the National League and second to last in the entire MLB.
In Denver, even a horrible baseball team will sell tickets. While I take pride in the level of devotion that my fellow Rockies fans have, it causes an NFL-eque problem. Since Denver is such a profitable sports market, the Rockies ownership doesn't need to field a winning team in order to draw fans to Coors Field. Rockies fans are so loyal that they don't give the front office a bottom-line incentive to improve the team.
The optimistic side of me hopes that a new television contract in 2014 will enable the Rockies to spend enough to be competitive on a regular basis. But 2014 seems like forever from now, and I have my doubts that a sea change will actually take place.
The Rockies front office faces a bad on-the-field situation, just like Roger Goodell does. But for now, the bottom line will probably prevent any necessary improvement.