Roger Goodell's plan to shorten NFL games probably won't make a big difference for the 49ers' attendance issues. But it couldn't hurt. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Help is on the way: Goodell aims to shorten games

No one has had a worse NFL season than the San Francisco 49ers’ Faithful. Not even the fans of the Cleveland Browns, because at least they are still basking in the glow of an NBA championship and a trip to the World Series.

And this week might just be reaching rock bottom.

The Niners are the biggest underdogs (-13.5) in pro football this week. They have a historically bad run defense and are facing one of the best rush attacks in the league. They also welcome a Bruce Arians-coached team coming off a bye week, which doesn’t bode well as he’s one of the best coaches in the league.

All in all, it might be a good week for 49ers fans to find a nice hike in Marin to undertake Sunday afternoon.

There may be some good news on the horizon — but not specifically for Niners fans.

As ratings plummet throughout the league, many are grasping at possible explanations. They range from dumb (scapegoating player protests that aren’t televised) to smart (an amalgamation of factors including over-expansion, subpar matchups and changing consumption patterns by younger generations.) And now commissioner Roger Goodell is broaching the subject and mapping a solution that might actually be palatable for everyone.

According to the New York Times, Goodell said on Thursday that the NFL is planning on condensing broadcasts, which would cost some ad revenue.

It’s a rare move by the “empty suit,” as former Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman called him, that would negatively affect the bottom line. But these games would be much easier to consume on a weekly basis if they didn’t drag on so long. It’s part of the reason why the RedZone format is so popular among millennials: It’s hard to sit through a one-sided match that breaks every couple minutes.

And I think 49ers fans would agree that less time invested in the current group represents a net positive.

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