Complacency; the league and choosing brain damage
By now, another Super Bowl is in the history books. 52 of them now if my memory serves. I hope if you had a horse in the race that they came out victorious! (Eagles won) Frankly, I watched the game because it is what I do. My two favorite teams, the Buc's and Bengal's were long since banished from favor with their season long inconsistent, poor and uninspired play. Thankfully for me, there is still Nick Saban, his personal war on complacency & college ball!
We have spoken before about diminished interest in the product that is the NFL. Polls show that fans are following the sport less closely, even in key demographics like 18-49 year old men. 18-49 used to be me; now football for me is viewing it on TV, preferably with an adult beverage in hand; a diversion & a habit.
Statistics don't lie. TV viewership was down again this year. About 8% following a lackluster 9% decline in 2016. Thus, 2-10 of you has lost interest in the NFL since 2016. I guess the larger question for the NFL is, if that statistic is you, will you come back? Or instead, are you gone from the game forever?
Why? Maybe because some of the marquee best players got hurt. Over-saturation as the NFL game access has lost some of its previous scarcity. Or, the owner's publicly quarreled. The polarizing politics of football. Too many other diversions today to hold our attention.
A momentary dip or something else?
The drop in interest spans age groups. Sadly, football has gotten political what with some of the players taking a knee. The politicians just couldn't lay off of the topic. The players' (and the owners) seem to forget that they aren't the heroes in this drama. The fans are the heroes. The ownership and players are simply the guides (Thanks Donald Miller)
Justin Timberlake was in the news recently when he said he wouldn't allow his kid to play football. I get it. As some one who follows the sport, you read about the impact of CTE almost daily. Here is the latest. "He chose the sport but he didn't choose brain damage."
"We all know now that it’s not the concussions, it’s not always the big hits. It’s just the game in general is too violent," Rob Kelly said. "There’s no more protection that you can add that’s going to protect the players."
After reading that article, things got a little dusty in here for me. Can you imagine?
In closing, the league has long known the negative impact of concussions. The game is played with such violence & velocity today! And, seemingly using helmets with malicious intent & like a ram! Are leather helmets back in vogue yet?
I said then and I'll say again the league is stale and as a result is complacent (unless you reside in Philadelphia).
The league better look up, get their collective head out of the sand and make the necessary changes to protect the players & the game that we all love or there will be no game as we're smart enough to figure out other diversions. The choices to me seem obvious. Save the game. Tough decisions.