I got into a heated argument with someone a while ago after I joked about how defensive and sensitive diehard hockey fans were about criticism of their precious sport.
My comment wasn’t directed at this particular person—more like a general statement made on Twitter—but he chimed in with, “Shut up! You’re just a bald, 50-year-old blogger with low T.”
So, I guess I was wrong about diehard hockey fans being overly sensitive and defensive when it comes to their precious sport.....
Anyway, I spend most of the winter and spring mocking the incessant coverage of the annual NFL Draft. However, it’s become a bit of a tradition for me to weaponize that coverage every year around this time and use it to mock overly sensitive and defensive diehard hockey fans about the popularity of the NHL.
I’m referring to the television ratings of the annual NFL Draft vs. the television ratings of the annual Stanley Cup Final.
One event is a glorified college graduation that highlights where college prospects, who may or may not become productive players, will begin their football careers.
The other event is the crown jewel of its sport—the Super Bowl, if you will—that highlights actual productive players competing for Lord Stanley and desperately trying to become champions of their league.
One event involves young football prospects in three-piece suits just standing around and spouting off cliches after they’re drafted into the NFL: “I want to thank God for this opportunity....”
The other event involves athletic competition and superstars sacrificing their bodies. The most skilled hockey players in the world are going at it for the grandest prize of the sport. The price to pay often includes blood, sweat AND tears. Sacrifices are made for the greater good. Teeth go flying into the stands. Bones are broken. F-bombs are hurled. Fists are thrown.
One event is attended by football fans who dress in costumes, go nuts when their favorite teams simply announce their latest draft picks, and genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves.
The other event is attended by hockey fans.
Can you guess which event draws more television viewers?
Since I love mocking overly sensitive hockey fans, you know it’s the annual NFL Draft—by a country mile.
That’s right, the 2022 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche averaged 4.6 million viewers over six games. Meanwhile, the 2022 NFL Draft averaged 5.2 million viewers over three nights.
Close, sure, but what about Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the first round of the NFL Draft?
An average of 5.8 million people tuned in to see the Avalanche clinch their first Cup in over two decades. Meanwhile, 10.03 million people tuned in to see the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Not so close.
Yes, I realize that the ratings for the Cup Final were up 84 percent from the previous season, but if you go back and look at the TV numbers over the years, five-million viewers seem to be the ceiling.
As for those first-round draft ratings from 2022? They were down over two million viewers from the year before and five million from 2020.
Even in decline, the NFL Draft is a much more popular product than the NHL Stanley Cup Final.
What’s my point?
For one thing, the NHL should promote its actual superstars.
I freaking know who Darnell Wright is, and he’s an offensive tackle prospect who is projected to go in the middle of the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft—and he primarily plays RIGHT tackle. Conversely, I wouldn’t recognize Connor McDavid, the NHL’s biggest superstar, if he bumped into me on the street and then called me a bald, 50-year-old blogger with Low T.
Also, the NFL is inclusive and welcomes fans from all across the globe.
The NHL seems to want to alienate anyone who didn’t grow up in Canada.
The NFL tries to improve its on-field product each and every year.
The NHL is still trying to promote things like “grit,” and so many of its fans want enforcers (talentless goons) to be a part of the sport.
The NFL caters to its superstars.
The NHL tries to make its worker bees (the equivalent of special teams players in the NFL) just as important as the Sidney Crosbys of the sport.
Furthermore, diehard football fans don’t seem to mind casual observers, while diehard hockey fans appear to abhor them.
I could go on and on about how awesome, inclusive and entertaining the NFL is compared to the NHL, but I think I’ve made my point.
No wonder die hard hockey fans are so overly sensitive and defensive when it comes to their precious sport.