Will we ever see the day when the National Football League cuts the cord on cable companies and opts to broadcast all of its games on a digital streaming network?

If that day ever comes, the shield might want to look at the success of the WWE Network as a business model to emulate ... just on a larger scale.

A recent New York Times piece takes a look at just that, pinpointing the WWE Network's 1.22 million subscribers before WrestleMania 32 on April 3 and 1.82 million subscribers after. Those subscribers get access to the entire sports entertainment library of footage from past WWE events as well as the monthly pay-per-view events, while still being able to tune in to Monday Night Raw and SmackDown through cable television.

Well, what if the NFL was to adopt a similar business model, putting all 17 weeks of its regular season on a digital streaming network, while eliminating the need for television contracts altogether? The concept might feel far-fetched until you consider something that the Times pinpointed within its piece — the $13.9 billion that CBS coughed up to carry NFL games last season is easily dwarfed by the $100 billion-plus annual revenue that an Amazon, for example, rakes in, were it to ever make a big play to land NFL games. That goes for any valuable tech company, for that matter.

Just last week, the NFL announced a partnership with Twitter, enabling the social media network to broadcast 10 Thursday Night Football games for the 2016 season this fall. The Times reports that Twitter gained those rights for a modest $15 million.

Could it be that the NFL is using this partnership as a pilot program for a future in which more — if not all — games are digitally streamed someday? Hey, anything's possible, especially after the league enjoyed much success having digitally streamed a regular season game to stellar results on Yahoo last October.

"The NFL has a long history of finding the next wannabe," Jay Rosenstein, a former CBS Sports executive who now consults for Headline Media, told the Times.

If the NFL does eventually cut the cords and go the digital streaming route, it shouldn't cite the WWE Network as its only reference.

Shortly after conceiving the idea to launch the WWE Network, the company tabbed experts from Major League Baseball's Internet streaming department, which are so ahead of the curve that it even handles the National Hockey League's online streaming.

That being said, the MLB, NHL and NBA's respective seasons are all much longer than that of a 16-game NFL season, possibly making the NFL the ideal candidate to broadcast all of its games digitally in the future.

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