I did kernel hacking for 10 years. I've fixed bugs in Ethernet drivers and helped document (and work around) hardware errata. I've also had to deal with trying to rebuild Nvidia drivers when the binary blob was no longer compatible with the latest kernel source. Having open-source drivers is key for those of us that actually *do* work on this stuff.
This is different. nVidia drivers run on the CPU, so a change to the OS makes them, and your hardware, not work. This is firmware that runs on the graphics chip. When I want to run a totally different OS running on an ARM CPu, say, the blob will still work.