No Fun League: NFL’s latest social media policy is ridiculous, to say the least

For years, the NFL has increased penalties and fines for players who celebrated after touchdowns. Ten years ago, players could dunk the ball through the goal post, do choreographed dances and even use the ball as a prop.

Now, all of those things have been outlawed. Not only will a player be flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, but he will also be subject to a fine from the league.

A few weeks ago, the NFL took its ridiculous policies one step further, and put restrictions on team’s social media accounts. In years past, teams were able to make GIFs or videos of certain plays and share them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Not anymore.

If teams want to tweet a video or GIF of a play during the game, they will be subject to fines that start at $25,000. Many believe the new policy is a response to the decline in the NFL’s TV ratings, but in a statement to Sports Illustrated, the league denied that claim. In case you were wondering, viewership has dropped as much as 16 percent in the age demographic of 18-49, according to an article by Bloomberg. 

Some teams even began mocking the new policy. The Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles posted fake highlights using plastic toys to reenact plays. Needless to say, they think the rule is just as stupid as I do.

So here’s my two cents: the NFL is trying to halt the progression of the digital age, and is only continuing to hurt its reputation of not allowing anyone to have fun. It’s sad, really, and the consumers are to blame, too. Because Americans are so hooked on football, the NFL knows it can basically do anything it wants and not lose viewers/fans.

That was a long-winded way of me saying the new rule is stupid. It’s preposterous, egregious, and only hurts teams and fans. But much like everything else the NFL does, it’s unlikely this policy will be overturned and done away with, even if it is a clear attempt to get more people to watch games on cable networks.

Hopefully you all enjoy watching Legos catch football, because your Twitter feed is about to be inundated with them.


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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism