Without fail, the turn of the New Year always guarantees two things – ill-fated resolutions and high-level football. 2019 has proven to be no different, with the NFL playoffs in full swing and the Clemson Tigers claiming their 3rd national championship in impressive fashion. Here are some of the major on and off-field stories that we had our eye on during football season.
- Much was made of skyrocketing offensive numbers early on in the NFL season. Maybe there was something to it, as championship weekend offers football fans everywhere an opportunity to see the four highest-scoring teams battle it out for a chance to make it to the Super Bowl. In fact, between the Chiefs (35.1), Rams (32.8), and Saints (30.8), this was just the fourth season in which three teams averaged over 30 points per game, with the Patriots not too far behind at 28.1.
- One of the storylines in the days leading up to the CFP Championship game was the unbelievably volatile secondary ticket prices for the event. The get-in price for the game plummeted all the way down to $114 (face value of $475) before rebounding pretty strongly up to as much as $400 on the day of the game. The two main reasons behind the devalued tickets were: 1) matchup fatigue (Clemson and Alabama have played each other in the CFP in each of the last four years), and 2) game location (the Bay Area proved to be too far for many Clemson and Alabama fans to travel to).
- The NFL will view the 2018 season as a massive success in terms of television viewership. All three of the league’s broadcast partners (Fox, CBS, and NBC) all saw ratings gains during the regular season and this trend has continued through the divisional round of the playoffs. Although the contracts for the major Sunday packages will not be up for auction until 2022, this couldn’t come at a better time for the NFL as the networks begin to jockey for the next round of negotiations, where the league should see an increased rights fee on each of its already-massive television contracts. The data is in, and the NFL is still the most valuable television property in the American media landscape.
- Kyler Murray embodies the type of athlete that we haven’t seen since the days of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. After winning the Heisman Trophy in December and accounting for 3 TDs in the CFP semifinal against Alabama, the two-sport star has been the subject of much debate as he chooses where his professional path will take him. Murray was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics and recently decided to enter his name into the 2019 NFL Draft as well. This will be an interesting situation to monitor as rarely does an incoming athlete in any sport hold the kind of leverage that Murray has created for himself.