Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Decline and Fall of the NFL


The demise of the biggest sports league on the planet may be upon us.

The fall from supreme status has begun. The Chicago Tribune is carrying an article about the demise of the NFL. 

Stadiums are not full, TV ratings are down and the fan base seems to be eroding.

I am told that tickets to the Sunday Ravens gam could be had for $15. I think the face value of the tickets were $85. And the Ravens are in the playoff hunt.

Why?

The answer may be that the play on the field no longer reflects the norms of society. Or, in short, the NFL has ruined the game of football by allowing it to grow into a sport where the violence and lack of sportsmanship shock the fans and cause them to turn elsewhere.

Add to this that the ticket prices to attend the games in person are out of sight expensive and the fan experience is less than enjoyable and you have a recipe for failure.

The NFL has to do many things to recover from the death spiral.

First, focus on the game. Stop catering to television which often interrupts the flow of the game with unnecessary timeouts. Return the game to its roots.

Second, stop the wanton and unnecessary violence. This weekend's games are an example of violence run amok. Wanton hits designed to hurt opponents. While one game suspensions are a start, why weren't the perpetrators of the violence immediately ejected? They were not ejected because fundamentally the NFL sees the violence as improving ratings, I believe.

Third, improve the in stadium fan experience. Do not tolerate violence in the stand and taunting of opposing team's fans. 

Fourth, remove the "thuggishness" from the game. That is an example of poor sportsmanship and should not be tolerated. 

Fifth, make the game safer so that parents will let their boys play it again. I played high school football, and I was injured. Injuries happen, but fundamentally the game is not safe and needs to be reworked. 

Sixth, get rid of Thursday football, except on Thanksgiving. there is too much of a poor product.

Seventh, focus on product improvement. Improve the pace of play. Right now there is about 10 minutes of action in a 60 minute game that takes 3 1/2 hours to play. What is wrong with this picture?

Eighth, enforce a no tolerance policy for PEDs. The current policy almost encourages players to use PEDs because of the slap on the had for the first offenses. Implement a season long suspension and that will stop the abuse of PEDs and may ultimately make the game safer by reducing the bulk and strength of the players. 

These, however are just my thoughts.

I feel that the NFL has lost its fan base and may not recover.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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