The NFL issued a stern warning to its 32 teams last week that they should limit the amount of original content they create for social media using NFL footage. Teams, the league reminded them, are essentially restricted to reposting highlights the NFL has already posted on its official social media accounts, and Albert Breer of MMQB reported violations could cost $25,000 for a first-time violation, more than a player is fined for a first-time hit on a defenseless player.
Like Breer, we tied these restrictions to the league’s plummeting ratings this year. If the league is panicking about the distribution of highlights on social media cutting into ratings, though, no one told their social-media managers, because pretty much every major play in an NFL game yesterday was posted almost immediately to the league’s Twitter account, often with preroll ads attached. Here’s Eli Manning struggling, for instance:
And here’s Tom Brady connecting with Martellus Bennett for a nifty third-quarter touchdown:
As you’ll note, the clip is hosted on the New England Patriots’ Twitter account. This isn’t an example of the team yet again flipping the league the bird, though. The NFL posted the same highlight seven minutes before the Pats did, using video service Snappy.tv to host the video and Twitter to send it out:
All the Patriots were doing was sharing NFL content presented the way the NFL wants it to be presented. This is apparently the league’s preferred method of posting highlights: Rip it off from them and give their preferred hosting services (and advertisers) the video views.
None of this should make much difference either way to fans, so long as someone is quickly posting high-quality play highlights. It’s still an amusing thing, though: Faced with plummeting ratings, the NFL appears concerned above all with the possibility that teams might be doing something out from under the all-watching eye of the league office on Park Avenue. As always, the league has its priorities.