With ratings on the decline, the NFL “desperately” needs its biggest winner on the biggest stage, says ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
According to Smith, the National Anthem protests and other “negative publicity” have caused the ratings to drop and a Super Bowl LII matchup with backup quarterbacks Nick Foles or Case Keenum against Blake Bortles would not be near as intriguing.
“The NFL has had a rough season, we know why: the protests, the ratings, the negative publicity, all of this other stuff, things that had nothing to do with play on the field most of the time. It’s sullied this brand to some degree, and has obviously raised the eyebrows of folks inside and outside the NFL,” Smith said during the lead-in to his Friday “First Take” broadcast.
He continued, “Now you have the Super Bowl coming up. You have a five-time Super Bowl champion, a league M.V.P. multiple times over, a guy that’s obviously considered one of, if not the greatest, quarterbacks in the history of football. You remove him from the Super Bowl, and what do you have? Blake Bortles against Case Keenum or Nick Foles. Are you kidding me? The NFL needs Tom Brady desperately, there is no doubt about that, more so than ever before. He is holding the National Football League in the palm of his hands right now, because what’s the Super Bowl without him this year?”
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent