Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Fragile Legs of the National Football League

 

Ask a sports reporter about the future of the NFL (such as the way Peter Robinson asked Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal on this week’s Ricochet Podcast) and one usually gets a recitation of the latest Nielsen ratings. Yes, football dominates today’s airwaves. But that is like complimenting a paint job on an old home where the timbers in the basement are a rotting mess of leaking water and a banquet for termites. The old place has charm – but for how long?

If you don’t like the building metaphor and wish to stick with sports, the National Football League is a thoroughbred racehorse, beautiful, sleek, and very powerful and yet dependent on very fragile legs that are sometimes asked to bear up to ten times the pressure of the horse’s weight. A slight bump, an entanglement with another animal, a sharper than anticipated turn and it collapses into a fall that is over 80% fatal.

As Peter noted in the podcast, more and more parents are saying “no” to the sport. Participation in youth leagues has been steadily declining, losing almost 40% of its participants since 2008. This has led to a decline in the high school game as well, but with the reductive nature of sports (most kids bail on organized sports by the time they turn 15) it’s off a more modest 3%.

But those numbers could worsen and quickly. So far, the courts have been reluctant to side with parents over injuries. But that has been limited to immediate, traumatic injuries. Most school boards demand a waiver to play football and parents and participants have to acknowledge the risks when players don the pads and helmet. And then comes CTE.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a long-term degenerative brain disease. It can lead to debilitating headaches, cognitive problems, and depression. No one knows how widespread it is because it cannot be diagnosed with certainty in the living and can only be confirmed by autopsy. But young men who have played the game and taken their own lives as young as ages 18 and 21 have shown to be suffering from it.

In 2018 the family of former University of Texas defensive lineman Greg Ploetz decided to test the limits of past participation in the sport by suing the NCAA for negligence. (Ploetz, who was a member of the 1969 Longhorns squad that won the National Championship, passed away in a long term care facility in 2015.) After three days of testimony, the NCAA pursued a settlement and set up a $70M fund to address further claims. There is another class-action suit working its way through the courts now.

Should that trickle down to the high school level – and should insurance companies decide that the game can no longer be underwritten, the fragile legs that support the game at the pro and college level will collapse. There will be rehabilitation attempts, but the window for recovery will be as small as any thoroughbred’s.

In the year that the Ploetzes settled their suit with the NCAA only 839,000 kids, ages 6-12, were playing youth tackle football. Compare that to baseball and basketball which were both north of the 4 million mark. And unlike those sports, there is no backup talent pool playing elsewhere. Major League Baseball can continue to recruit from the poor streets of places like San Pedro de Macorís (D.R.) and Caracas, Venezuela. The NBA can always rely on coaches from smaller colleges hanging out in the inner cities to scout for talented ballers. There is nowhere else where the NFL can turn.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member

    EJHill: There is nowhere else where the NFL can turn

    Saw this on the NFL website. I guess they are going after a new demographic. Sheesh.

    https://www.nfl.com/news/op-ed-the-nfl-is-ready-for-its-first-openly-out-active-player

    • #1
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. Bob Thompson Member

    EJHill:

    Should that trickle down to the high school level – and should insurance companies decide that the game can no longer be underwritten, the fragile legs that support the game at the pro and college level will collapse. There will be rehabilitation attempts, but the window for recovery will be as small as any thoroughbred. 

     

    The behavior of the NFL players in kneeling to debase the American Flag and the National Anthem shows their brainpower to deal with misunderstood surroundings neatly completes your thoroughbred racehorse metaphor. 

    • #2
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. Peter Robinson Founder

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

     

    • #3
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Judge Mental Member

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

     

    Peter, while weight limits could make a difference, I think you need to go the opposite direction on equipment. Leatherhead helmets, quilted fabric for pads. There would no doubt be a big spike in broken bone and muscle injuries upon implementation, but they would quickly learn that they have to slow down to survive.

    A better helmet doesn’t help because it’s not the impact, it’s the deceleration.

    • #4
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It does not help they are going woke too

    • #5
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt BartleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):
    no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written?

    The National Flag Football League?

    • #6
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter Robinson: Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen?

    That should certainly be on the table. As I have noted in past posts on CTE the 300+ lbs lineman is a recent development in the game. In the late 70s and early 80s that was unheard of. Now players of that size dominate the line of scrimmage on every roster.

    If the NFL is serious about their future they need to conspire with the NCAA to bring those numbers down. And they have been handed an excuse with the current pandemic. When a football player succumbed to Covid at the University of Indiana this summer, the CoronaBros were yelling on Twitter about young men in their prime condition being felled by this disease. My first thought was, I’ll bet you he played on the offensive line. And sure enough he did.

    At 6’2” you should be in the neighborhood of 215-220 lbs to be considered healthy. And while muscle is definitely denser than fat, 100 lbs or more over the limit is not being “in prime condition.” Some of these kids look like they’re 11-months pregnant and haven’t seen their own genitalia since junior high school.

    • #7
    • October 11, 2020, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

     

    Peter, while weight limits could make a difference, I think you need to go the opposite direction on equipment. Leatherhead helmets, quilted fabric for pads. There would no doubt be a big spike in broken bone and muscle injuries upon implementation, but they would quickly learn that they have to slow down to survive.

    A better helmet doesn’t help because it’s not the impact, it’s the deceleration.

    I watch a lot of football, preferring the college game for its unpredictability but would switch in a heartbeat to Rugby if I could consistently get games and follow a semi-local team. Don’t bother suggesting the internet or subscriptions, I cut the cable cord long ago and record from live broadcast, the only exception being $99/year for NFL GamePass. Rugby players go without pads or helmets and yet have fewer injuries, how does that work? Apparently all the pads, helmets and such things just make them more likely to throw caution to the wind. Of course the stratospheric salary contracts have something to do with it as well. If the game fades away and I’m still here to see it I’ll miss watching both the amazing athletic feats as well as the coaching chess match.

    • #8
    • October 11, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    It’s coming, the NFFL (National Flag Football League)…

    (I see @mattbartle beat me to it.)

    • #9
    • October 11, 2020, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Richard Easton Member

    I worked on Mass Torts as an actuary at a large insurance company a few years ago. CTE is a problem in other sports including soccer and hockey. Heading a soccer ball is very dangerous and female soccer Olympic champions have had to retire in their teens.

    The BLM protests are especially dangerous in pro football since the fans are the most conservative in this sport (compared to basketball, baseball and hockey). Many of them, including yours truly, have found other ways to spend Sunday afternoons. We’re not coming back and the next TV deal will be much less lucrative. The NFL will have less pie to share with the players which may lead to another strike. Good luck NFL attracting woke fans.

    • #10
    • October 11, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When I was a kid, baseball was the king of sports. Football was still associated with going to college; pro football wasn’t that big a deal yet. Basketball was a second tier sport, like hockey. Over time, TV changed all that. My point echoes EJ’s: where public popularity is concerned, nothing stays the same forever. For decades, the NFL has benefitted from a positive, strong American image, as if it were the space program or an unofficial branch of the armed forces. Not any more. They won’t disappear, but they’ll fade in national interest. 

    The NFL isn’t even the wokest sport; the NBA is. The impossible-to-evade factor is race. When Black activism rises, so does the tension between the players and the audience. Any sport where most of the players are Black and most of the fans are white has a built-in self-destruct element that has to be carefully avoided.

    Yet, getting rid of that tension doesn’t necessarily help either. Boxing was a supremely big sport in my childhood and in retrospect, it was because it was still integrated. Yes, it’s true, black versus white fights got special enthusiasm. Once it became black against black, nearly every single bout, guess what? Whites lost interest. Sports pages began lamenting that lack of interest, but hey, you can’t force people to watch. 

    • #11
    • October 11, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  12. Stad Thatcher

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

     

    The league does a lot to protect its players, maybe too much. Still, advances in equipment are always examined and researched. However, the nature of the sport is in its “brutality,” for lack of a better term. Weight limits are a bad idea, because a heavier, more muscular lineman could protect the quarterback better. I like the idea of changing the rules, such as the ill-fated XFL’s rules on punts and kickoffs.

    Let’s face it, football is the number one American sport, so the left has been trying to kill it for years. Their first success was to get parents (moms in particular) to frown on their sons playing football. At the other end of the pipeline, politicizing pro sports would turn fans off and make revenue dry up. As for college, they could do a combination of both, plus impose othe restrictions such as racial and sex makeup of the team, all designed to make the game unwatchable.

    As an example, I tried to watch college football (my favorite) the first time this weekend. I was doing fine until the Big Ten ran a league ad that might as well have been a BLM spot. The SEC ad was a little better, but it was still too heavy on the “unity” theme, showing players of different races hugging each other. Then there were regular commercials that featured actors wearing masks (I hate wearing and seeing masks). But the last straw was a female sideline reporting wearing a mask. I turned the TV off.

    • #12
    • October 11, 2020, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  13. SpiritO'78 Member

    I work at at sporting goods store that sells equipment and uniforms to all ages. Football is our biggest sport by equipment sales, but at the youth level it’s gone down since about 2012. Every year we see less and less interest from kids 1st grade to 5th grade. That lack of participation will show up in college and eventually the NFL. 

    • #13
    • October 11, 2020, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge

    Last year my young adult son was watching a video game tournament and I peeked in over his shoulder. I ask how many were watching and he said 4 million on the direct stream and another 4 million on Twitch. 8 million pairs of eyeballs is hard to get these days. Someday, those 8 million people (dudes) will have disposable money and they will take from the sports advertisers. Sports is currently the only reliable way to advertise to males with money, but someday video games will provide an alternative. Will those dudes find watching Madden XX as interesting as actual NFL games? I can tell you that professional video gamers work for very little money.

    • #14
    • October 11, 2020, at 2:18 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson: Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen?

    That should certainly be on the table. As I have noted in past posts on CTE the 300+ lbs lineman is a recent development in the game. In the late 70s and early 80s that was unheard of. Now players of that size dominate the line of scrimmage on every roster.

    If the NFL is serious about their future they need to conspire with the NCAA to bring those numbers down. And they have been handed an excuse with the current pandemic. When a football player succumbed to Covid at the University of Indiana this summer, the CoronaBros were yelling on Twitter about young men in their prime condition being felled by this disease. My first thought was, I’ll bet you he played on the offensive line. And sure enough he did.

    At 6’2” you should be in the neighborhood of 215-220 lbs to be considered healthy. And while muscle is definitely denser than fat, 100 lbs or more over the limit is not being “in prime condition.” Some of these kids look like they’re 11-months pregnant and haven’t seen their own genitalia since junior high school.

    Would ending platoon football take care of this? 

    • #15
    • October 11, 2020, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I was a kid, baseball was the king of sports. Football was still associated with going to college; pro football wasn’t that big a deal yet. Basketball was a second tier sport, like hockey. Over time, TV changed all that. My point echoes EJ’s: where public popularity is concerned, nothing stays the same forever. For decades, the NFL has benefitted from a positive, strong American image, as if it were the space program or an unofficial branch of the armed forces. Not any more. They won’t disappear, but they’ll fade in national interest.

    The NFL isn’t even the wokest sport; the NBA is. The impossible-to-evade factor is race. When Black activism rises, so does the tension between the players and the audience. Any sport where most of the players are Black and most of the fans are white has a built-in self-destruct element that has to be carefully avoided.

    Yet, getting rid of that tension doesn’t necessarily help either. Boxing was a supremely big sport in my childhood and in retrospect, it was because it was still integrated. Yes, it’s true, black versus white fights got special enthusiasm. Once it became black against black, nearly every single bout, guess what? Whites lost interest. Sports pages began lamenting that lack of interest, but hey, you can’t force people to watch.

    I’m not sure about the boxing bit. Plenty of white people were excited about watching Ali, Frazier, and Foreman in that era. Those were grand personalities that couldn’t be matched by Tyson and the fighters that came after him.

    • #16
    • October 11, 2020, at 2:47 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Samuel Block Support

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

    Peter, while weight limits could make a difference, I think you need to go the opposite direction on equipment. Leatherhead helmets, quilted fabric for pads. There would no doubt be a big spike in broken bone and muscle injuries upon implementation, but they would quickly learn that they have to slow down to survive.

    A better helmet doesn’t help because it’s not the impact, it’s the deceleration.

    Yep. Boxing gloves have simply increased the number of head shots one takes. Lost eyes and broken hands are down, brain damage is up.

    The outlying issue though is that sports are a kind of organized battle, and those who seek battle desire glory. It’s typically said by elders that young people think they’re invincible; I’m not sure that’s true. While we -young people – surely aren’t aware of the extent of our vulnerability, the courageous ones pride themselves on not caring about it particularly. There’s an admirability in that foolhardiness, even if aging compels one to concentrate (and accentuate) on the latter.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the tides adjust. My own interest in the sport (I prefer college ball) has waned because of the extent that appallingly poor character traits are commended and rewarded, among the audience at least as much as those of the athletes. I assume the losses from corporate Woke-atism will be negligible, and yet the gains that the New Age capitalist envisioned are unlikely to materialize.

    Let’s chalk it up to a sociocultural “What Ev’s?”

    • #17
    • October 11, 2020, at 2:47 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    When I was a kid, baseball was the king of sports. Football was still associated with going to college; pro football wasn’t that big a deal yet. Basketball was a second tier sport, like hockey. Over time, TV changed all that. My point echoes EJ’s: where public popularity is concerned, nothing stays the same forever. For decades, the NFL has benefitted from a positive, strong American image, as if it were the space program or an unofficial branch of the armed forces. Not any more. They won’t disappear, but they’ll fade in national interest.

    The NFL isn’t even the wokest sport; the NBA is. The impossible-to-evade factor is race. When Black activism rises, so does the tension between the players and the audience. Any sport where most of the players are Black and most of the fans are white has a built-in self-destruct element that has to be carefully avoided.

    Yet, getting rid of that tension doesn’t necessarily help either. Boxing was a supremely big sport in my childhood and in retrospect, it was because it was still integrated. Yes, it’s true, black versus white fights got special enthusiasm. Once it became black against black, nearly every single bout, guess what? Whites lost interest. Sports pages began lamenting that lack of interest, but hey, you can’t force people to watch.

    I’m not sure about the boxing bit. Plenty of white people were excited about watching Ali, Frazier, and Foreman in that era. Those were grand personalities that couldn’t be matched by Tyson and the fighters that came after him.

    I always figured it was the rise of the NBA that ended boxing, at least the heavyweight division. The physical requirements are about the same (at least in the forecourt), and you could get similar incomes without taking the beatings. 

    • #18
    • October 11, 2020, at 3:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Some of these kids look like they’re 11-months pregnant and haven’t seen their own genitalia since junior high school.

    Perhaps that explains the popularity of the smartphone. Because it allows one to see what is otherwise obscured. And then to post it on social media for the delectation of one’s friends.

    • #19
    • October 11, 2020, at 3:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    EJHill: There is nowhere else where the NFL can turn

    Saw this on the NFL website. I guess they are going after a new demographic. Sheesh.

    https://www.nfl.com/news/op-ed-the-nfl-is-ready-for-its-first-openly-out-active-player

    So glad I’m still not watching.

    They are going to have a LGBTQRSTXXXWYZ public service announcement tonight before the game.

    The NFL is set to celebrate the LGBTQ community’s “National Coming Out Day” during its Sunday Night Football broadcast this weekend.

    The campaign, labeled “It Takes All Of Us,” will feature a 30-second video starring openly gay or bisexual NFL players including Ryan O’Callaghan, Jeff Rohrer, R.K. Russell, and Wade Davis. The ad encourages gays to come out and be proud of their sexual proclivities, according to CNN.

     

    • #20
    • October 11, 2020, at 3:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    The NFL isn’t even the wokest sport; the NBA is. The impossible-to-evade factor is race.

    Look at the ratings of the current NBA finals.

    An absolute disaster.

    • #21
    • October 11, 2020, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):
    New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen?

    300 pounders are not the ones delivering the knockout blows. If anything they are the ones picking up the blitzes and preventing the big highlight film hits. Now if the issues is the big hits to the head, the league is trying lessen that with rule changes. But the smaller repetitive head-to-head contact you have on the line could be an issue as well. One big hit is obvious, but a hundred little ones can cause problems as well. For that, maybe better helmets could help some. Whatever you do, football will always be dangerous. You can make it safer, but you can’t make it safe. Without the violence, why bother?

    As for six year olds playing football, I have seen that and that is not football. It is just a bunch of kids running around with as much sense of direction as the players on the vibrating electric football game I played with in the 70’s. That is really just a chance to play dress up and let parents take pictures. For kids I would suggest learning skills by playing flag football and put off full pads until high school.

    From age 10 thru 20, football was the most important thing in my life. I learned more playing high school and college football than I did in high school and college classrooms. That said, I am not that upset that my son shows no interest in playing the sport. You hurt your leg you can limp (I know, I do), but if you hurt your brain . . . might not be worth the risk.

    • #22
    • October 11, 2020, at 3:50 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The WaPo featured an article for weeks called “Is Kaepernick Better Than Your Quarterback?” It never occurred to the Post to ask, “Is the guy who got fired from Google better than the people in our digital media department? Is, say, the co-founder of Mozilla better than the routine HR hire running our IT?”

    What I most disliked about the article was its phony, ingratiating tone. “Let’s say you’re a white guy, not very bright, and could care less about social justice. Well, here’s something that’ll get you on our side! We know that all you care about is winning, right? So who cares about the US Flag, really? We’re talking about something important to you.”

    • #23
    • October 11, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  24. Hoyacon Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    EJHill: There is nowhere else where the NFL can turn

    Saw this on the NFL website. I guess they are going after a new demographic. Sheesh.

    https://www.nfl.com/news/op-ed-the-nfl-is-ready-for-its-first-openly-out-active-player

    Today in leftist neologisms:

    . . . we seek to create an environment of allyship . . .

    • #24
    • October 11, 2020, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  25. aardo vozz Member

    Having some problems with the site. If I flagged any comments on this post, it was unintentional.

    • #25
    • October 11, 2020, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    aardo vozz: If I flagged any comments on this post, it was unintentional.

    If you threw a challenge flag and didn’t pick it up that’s 15 yards and a loss of timeout.

    • #26
    • October 11, 2020, at 5:14 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

    I used to say they should return to playing both ways, which would mean smaller players colliding with each other. (Not that there weren’t a lot of injuries in those days, too.) But now I don’t care one way or the other. 

    • #27
    • October 11, 2020, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Jon1979 Lincoln

    The NFL saw 15-25 percent drops in its ratings in Week 1 compared to a year ago, after seeing 10-15 percent drops last in ratings in 2016-17, when they tried to pander the the Kaepernick crowd. As a result the league has been backing away from #BLM for the past four weeks and has seen their ratings come slightly back up,

    They have lost some people forever. But for the moment, they do seem to have stemmed the bleeding compared to the NBA, which has seen a 40-70 percent ratings plunge, because they thought until this past week that mixing basketball and woke politics was a winning strategy.

    So the NFL has a problem. The NBA has a crisis (even if much of the sports media still doesn’t want to admit what the cause of the problem is).

    • #28
    • October 11, 2020, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  29. EHerring Coolidge

    I was already souring on football … just waiting on the next broken leg, just like in horse racing. But the kneeling and politics crossed the red line with me. I would like to love it again, but I can’t unsee what I have seen. My TV stayed off all day.

    • #29
    • October 11, 2020, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. M.D. Wenzel Member
    M.D. WenzelJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    EJ, that is the most thorough–and devastating–account I’ve seen. As someone who still loves the game, may I ask if there are any straws at which I can grasp? New, high-tech helmets that would offer players much better protection? Maximum weight limits, especially for linemen? Or what about a much more widespread adoption of the approach Buddy Teevens has developed at Dartmouth–that is, the no-tackle practices about which Andrew Beaton has written? Help me here, EJ–please.

     

    The league does a lot to protect its players, maybe too much. Still, advances in equipment are always examined and researched. However, the nature of the sport is in its “brutality,” for lack of a better term. Weight limits are a bad idea, because a heavier, more muscular lineman could protect the quarterback better. I like the idea of changing the rules, such as the ill-fated XFL’s rules on punts and kickoffs.

    Let’s face it, football is the number one American sport, so the left has been trying to kill it for years. Their first success was to get parents (moms in particular) to frown on their sons playing football. At the other end of the pipeline, politicizing pro sports would turn fans off and make revenue dry up. As for college, they could do a combination of both, plus impose othe restrictions such as racial and sex makeup of the team, all designed to make the game unwatchable.

    As an example, I tried to watch college football (my favorite) the first time this weekend. I was doing fine until the Big Ten ran a league ad that might as well have been a BLM spot. The SEC ad was a little better, but it was still too heavy on the “unity” theme, showing players of different races hugging each other. Then there were regular commercials that featured actors wearing masks (I hate wearing and seeing masks). But the last straw was a female sideline reporting wearing a mask. I turned the TV off.

    I have not really watched any televised sports since they returned from lockdown. The non-stop political posturing makes it very unpleasant. I also think going without for months made me realize how unimportant it all really is. The Cowboys making, or missing the playoffs has no real impact on my life, so why should I give them 4 hours of my Monday night.

    • #30
    • October 11, 2020, at 8:00 PM PDT
    • 7 likes