Of course this title is an exaggeration considering that the NFL is still the biggest (financially speaking) of all the major sports in North America. There are cracks in this juggernaut however that will eventually lead it to its death if the owners and commissioner don’t do anything about it. Most of you have heard about the declining TV ratings and the myriad of reasons behind it. Truth be told, every sport has its peaks and valleys and although it may appear that NFL is in one of those temporary valleys, I believe it is more than that. I am not absurd enough to think the NFL is currently on the brink, far from it. But I do believe it has taken its first steps on a long, slow journey into the abyss and could one day have its fall compared to that of boxing. Remember boxing? Apart from the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, nobody has cared for boxing these last few years, in fact I am willing to bet you don’t even know who the heavy weight champion even is right now. Football could very well follow in that same course because despite the fact it generated close to $12B in revenues in 2015, the owners are blinded by greed showing a complete lack of respect for current players and more importantly, future players.
As a young athlete in this day and age if you had a choice of what sport you could play in, I would think baseball would top the list. The paycheques can be huge, the players union is the strongest and it doesn’t appear to be as physically demanding as other sports. More 40+ year olds play baseball. On the flip side of that, if you were an athlete why in the world would you choose football? Don’t get me wrong, I think football can be a positive influence for young men helping them to grow with confidence and character. But if you are a gifted athlete would you really want to join a league that has the shortest career span (3.3 years); non-guaranteed contracts; and an ownership that lies about concussions, makes up their own rulings and puts players at risk by having them play shortened weeks? Yes the NFL is like Rumpelstiltskin spinning their own money, but they are foolishly killing the game at the same time. TV ratings are down not because of the US election or a great MLB post season or any other fictitious excuse. TV ratings are down because the game on the field stinks. Why does it stink? A lack of star players to begin with, for example a retired Peyton Manning, a Marshawn Lynch who would rather retire than play and a Tom Brady who couldn’t play because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can’t keep his ego in check. Plus it sucks when teams have such little time to prep for a Thursday game as well.
So tell me again why athletes would choose the NFL? And if the product for the most part is unentertaining, why would young fans watch it? You still have your current old fogeys who will continue to watch as they enjoy it and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem though is that this demographic will eventually die off. The kids of today aren’t watching as much football as their dads did and that should worry the NFL more than anything. The problem is that owners are so fixated on how much money they are making today; they don’t see how their fan base will decline in the future. The fewer kids playing and the fewer kids watching equals fewer adults in the future spending their disposable income on the NFL. All you need to do is look north of the border at the CFL to see how that has already happened because the average age of a fan is in their fifties. You can even look at boxing and despite all the money they made on their Pay Per Views it did come with a cost as it hindered the exposure of boxing to the young. Fast forward just a couple of decades later and those kids know nothing of the history of the sport nor do they care enough about the sport to know when the next event is, who’s on it and where it is.
This is how a sport begins to die. This is how it all begins to unravel. The sad part is that it isn’t too late and the NFL could stop it but they are so arrogant they feel they don’t need too. The NFL needs to take the time to a) take care of its current players and set them up to be successful, recognizable super stars, and b) spend money on getting kids to be passionate about their sport once again. If not, we may be witnessing the first nail in the NFL coffin.
» Sports » The Death of Football