Inside The Vault, NFL Films. This would never be seen on today's NFL Network because it is referred to by current NFL Network executives as "Dinosaur Television". Courtesy bing images and NFL Films.

Part 3: My Termination Letter To NFL Network CEO Steve Bornstein’s For Disservice to NFL History, Films, Employees & Fans


Part 1 which printed on 7/06/13 was about the evolution of NFL Films and how incredible the company was before the NFL Network came into existence in 2003 and took over NFL Films.

Part 2 which ran last week (07/13/13) focused on the reasons why the NFL has botched its network, wiped its feet on the history of the NFL, NFL Films fans and the NFL Films Company (which the NFL owns) and its employees who very may well be the people most responsible for turning the NFL into the conglomerate machine it is today.

Today’s article is Part 3 of the NFL Network’s disservice to NFL history, NFL Films, employees and their fans. Since Roger Goodell has failed the NFL Films family and the history of the NFL, I will do what Goodell hasn’t. Today NFL Network CEO Steve Bornstein gets his termination letter from me.

Next week will be part 4, the last in this series. I will  provide  Commissioner Roger Goodell with a plan that lays out the drastic changes needed to improve the NFL’s  fledgeling network which has been an awful representative of NFL Films and the history of the league.

Termination Letter to NFL Network CEO and President Steve Bornstein                                                      

The NFL Network under the leadership of President and CEO Steve Bornstein has disrespected NFL Films, their employees, fans and NFL History. Courtesy bing images.                                    

You were handed the job as President and CEO of the newly formed NFL Network. The NFL Network was to be focused solely on the company’s business, the NFL, which America absolutely loves.  In addition, you were handed thousands upon thousands of hours of actual NFL games, game film footage and award winning shows depicting the NFL and it history, done by the company’s film making division, NFL Films, which was and still is perfect for the network’s daily schedule. Not many players  in today’s NFL know the history of the league because they were too young and or there was no venue available for them to see the NFL Films library. This was the perfect medium to do so. However today’s players have no concept of past players unless recognized from an older version of the Madden video game.  You have failed miserably.

Bornstein has let down the shield with his poor management of the NFL Network. Goodell has let the shield down for first hiring Bornstein then allowing him to turn NFL Films into a half baked ESPN. Courtesy bing images and the NFL.

The company that hired you, the NFL, dominates all of its competition and is easily the most popular of all American sports. The NFL’s popularity is due in large part, to the film making company which has won nearly 100 Emmy’s in the 40 years prior to you taking over the NFL’s  network in November 2003 which then, was the first of its kind. Lastly, you’re company, the NFL, is the only company in American sports business that had the leverage in negotiations with cable operators and satellite companies, to name its own price for the NFL Network they hired you to run, because the consumers demanded it. Now that they have it they don’t like what they see.  Punch in these words in any search engine: The NFL Network:  “sucks”, “is terrible” or “is awful” and read the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of comments blasting your operation.

After 10 Years These Are Your Accomplishments

NFL Films which is headquartered in Mt. Laurel New Jersey, a short skip from your parent company, the NFL, headquartered in New York City, was abandoned by you because you wanted to be in Los Angeles where, by the way, there is no football team. In order to acquiesce your demands, despite NFL Films moving its center of operations into a new $45 million dollar 214,000-square foot building in 2002, the NFL sets up their newly formed NFL Network not in NFL Films headquarters, where it undoubtedly and rightfully should be, but in Los Angeles costing over a hundred million dollars. Then somewhat because of the costs incurred to set up on the west coast, you then start slashing jobs and cutting staff from the film making company, NFL Films in New Jersey.

This Is Not ESPN, This Is The NFL                                                                                                                                  

NFL Films Presents is a show that goes back 30 years but CEO Steve Bornstein wont allow these “dinosaur” shows to be aired on the NFL Network. Courtesy NFL Films and bing images.

Ten years after being handed the NFL Network and NFL Films you, still the CEO and President of the NFL Network, oversee the scattering of 3 hours of actual new programming on a daily basis repeated in a 14 hour span. Further, as if what I laid out is not enough proof of your incompetence, your idea of a classic game is something that occurred the week before Sunday’s games, anything after 2009 or  Brett Favre’s miracle Monday night game in 2003 against the Raiders that you re-air relentlessly.

CEO Steve Bornstein favors these microwaved thoughtless cookie cutter “Top 10″ shows that insult the intelligence of any NFL fan who has any knowledge of the NFL’s history. Courtesy NFL Network and bing images.

The network you were hired to run uses almost zero footage from the 40 years of game footage and films in the NFL Films vault that you were handed when you were hired. The shows that you do air rarely include the music, the slow motion, the poetic writing or the mythological storytelling which was the signature of NFL Films. In fact the shows you now produce are micro-waved cookie cutter shows, slapped together and served on the air as fast as possible and re-run endlessly. The shows content is forgettable, superficial, mindless, having no depth or very little thought put into them which is very similar to the shows on ESPN which, is where you came from.

Hall of Famer Lem Barney, who you will never see on Bornstein’s NFL Network was one of the great cornerback’s of all time. This taken during the Lions 10-7 loss to the LA Rams on November 3, 1968 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Courtesy AP Photo/NFL Photos

Ten years later, the large majority of the company’s employees, the NFL players, still have little or no concept or appreciation of the company’s history due in large part to your negligence to air NFL’s history.

Some of the employees who spent the majority or all of their professional careers with NFL Films and were in large part the reasons for the company’s successes, resigned in disgust over the direction you have taken NFL Films and the NFL Network.

Your Defense to Such Incompetence

I know what your defense to this incompetence is as I have heard it before in previous media interviews that you have done: The NFL Network is making more money than ever, its ratings are higher than ever and the NFL Network has won Emmy’s since you have taken over. Here is my response to you:

Ratings for the network have increased only because of the actual NFL Thursday night game package which was given to you by your own company. The NFL is the best show on television. Ask NBC as their Sunday night game is the highest rated television show, not sporting event, but television show in America. Therefore having an NFL game package also increases your ad revenue, thus the reasons why the NFL Network has made more money and has better ratings.

Let me make this clear: It has nothing to do with you, it has to do with America’s love affair with the game, the game you have disrespected with the “god awful network” that you created as so eloquently stated by Phil Tuckett, former Vice President of NFL Films and 30 time Emmy Award winner  who resigned in 2007 after 36 years over the spiral downward of NFL Films since you took over.

NFL Films at its Best despite CEO Steve Bornstein who doesn’t like the NFL Films signature style of film making according to former NFL Films Emmy Award winning Ray Didinger who also resigned over the direction CEO Steve Bornstein took the NFL Network and NFL Films. Courtesy NFL Network.

As far as NFL Films go,  even though you pulled the blinds down on them, their brilliance still seeps through. NFL Films employees are the best at what they do. They have incredible artistic talent and whenever given a crack of sunlight here and there, they still create spellbinding television such as “America’s Game”, “Hard Knocks” and “A Football Life” all of which are too few and far between.  Heck “Hard Knocks” isn’t even run on your Network, it is run on HBO, but you are more than glad to run endless repeats of it  years later.  After 10 years and tearing down NFL Films, its employees, NFL history and NFL Films fans you, Steve Bornstein, are no longer employed as CEO and president of the NFL Network.

Next week I will provide the changes necessary for Roger Goodell to make the NFL Network watchable and the proper support that should be given to the NFL Films Company who deserves a much better platform than they have been given the last 10 years.

 

Tags: A Football Life America's Game Hard Knocks HBO Howard Katz Lem Barney NFL Films NFL Films Music NFL Films Presents Nfl Network NFL Network Top 10 Phil Tuckett Pittsburgh Steelers Ray Didinger Roger Goodell Steve Bornstein

  • Chris

    Some good points but you should really consider hiring an editor.

  • scott sinclair

    I say send this to NFL offices! Of course now staring next week we’re getting 9hrs (OMG!) of training camp coverage starting at 10am. Then we’ll get the preseason games and then we’re into the season. Maybe if we start now with some sort of petition or letter to Goodell and NFL network, something to change the idiotic programming could be in place for 2014 offseason. It just seems NFL network is intent on showing anything BUT stuff you are talking about. Glad I recorded classic sports back in the day!