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I was thinking of posting a comment to danps's currently Rec Listed (and thoughtful) diary about the impending decline of football. However, the comment became incredibly long, so I decided to spin it off into a separate diary. So here, I will address danps's thoughts about the decline of football, the state of football in the zeitgeist, and offer my own take on the next 20 years of this most popular and controversial of American sports. I will be talking "football speak" to some extent-- nothing too technical, but just a warning for those who care to read further. Follow me below the rococo squiggle for more

Football is a sport I really enjoy watching-- I am a lifelong fan of the San Francisco 49ers, and the Illinois Fighting Illini (although the vagaries of 'fandom' is something this diary won't touch on). I love the way that new offensive philosophies have infiltrated a game whose traditional motto has been "Defense Wins Championships" -- we are at a crucial moment in college football where an incredibly complex and entertaining brand of spread offense is taking over the sport, where the unfathomably fast and creative Oregon Ducks' offensive strategies are completely bewildering traditional defensive sets. As an aside, if you are even a mild fan of football, do yourself a favor and watch a quarter of an Oregon game.It's incredible. Scoring is at an all-time high, and speed, skill and intelligence are increasingly being favored over brute force.

It is a good time to be a football fan, at least regarding the product on the field. The NFL is beginning to adopt some of these creative college strategies-- there are 4 young, exciting quarterbacks (Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Andrew Luck) who are able to blend incredible athleticism with traditional quarterback metrics like arm strength and pocket presence. These quarterbacks also conveniently represent a new, racially mixed generation of football players and fans. Griffin III is black, Wilson and Kaepernick are of mixed heritage, and Luck is white-- this at a position which has traditionally been dominated by white players.

It is also a good time to be on the NFL supply side. The sport has never been more popular as a spectator sport, leeching some of the popularity that traditionally has been devoted to baseball. College football programs have exploded, to a ludicrous degree, and I'm sure many of you have seen this chart, indicating that in 39 of our 50 states, the highest paid state employee is a college football coach. The NFL keeps hitting ratings highs, and it recently won a devastatingly comprehensive victory in the first concussion-related lawsuit which could have made a dent in the NFL's troubling pattern of behavior regarding concussions and former players. Many NFL owners are on the list of America's richest people, and the NFL recently signed incredibly lucrative TV deals for the next decade. The money, to put it mildly, is rolling in.

Ah, the concussions. I won't delve too deeply into that issue here-- it deserves its own series of diaries which I am probably unqualified to write-- but essentially, thousands of former NFL players who had developed some degree of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), due to the repeated minor head traumas inherent to every game of football, joined a class-action lawsuit against the NFL. The lawsuit alleged that the NFL systematically hid the dangers of football and/or lied about them to players, frequently misdiagnosing or under-representing concussions, and sending players back into games after serious on-field incidents. The players had a great case-- one that many thought might spell the beginning of the end of the NFL as we know it-- but recently settled for far less than predicted (just over $780,000,000 compared to a predicted $2,000,000,000+), in part because many of the former players in the suit needed immediate medical care, and the NFL was prepared to drag the lawsuit out for another 5-10 years, effectively sentencing several players to a decade of devastating symptoms (or death) without treatment.

So now, finally, regarding danps's diary: danps posits two main theories which will lead to the eventual decline of football as the dominant American sport. The first is that the "concussion issue" will turn off casual fans, casting football as a brutal but increasingly niche sport. He argues that boxing followed the same script-- after seeing the degeneration of Muhammad Ali and other prominent heavyweight fighters, the viewing public was increasingly uninterested in such a vicious bloodsport. The second theory is that "kids these days" are interested in having entertainment on demand, as opposed to having to wait for a live broadcast, thus turning off a new crucial demographic. I disagree with both of these arguments, but I do ultimately agree that football will be marginalized. Here is why:

With regard to danps's first argument, I do think that concussions have entered the public forum in a way that makes football, especially the NFL, very uncomfortable. The NFL, frankly, has been an embarrassment during this whole developing fiasco, in many ways mirroring the obfuscation and general dickery of the tobacco lobby in the 60s and 70s. Many fans ARE ambivalent about the NFL these days--  but even as the press has intensified around the concussion issue, football's popularity has continued to increase. Unless a player, god forbid, dies on the field, or a major star's career is ended prematurely due to a concussion sustained in a game, I don't think that concussions are going to make people turn off their televisions. Athletically, football is bigger faster and stronger than ever, and while that makes for dangerous conditions on the field, it also makes football much more fun to watch. I fear that CTE can too easily be dismissed as "the cost of doing business." Even many current NFL players say they know full well what could happen to them in twenty years, and accept those risks in return for the incredible salary and the chance to play the game they love. And frankly, I can't blame them for that decision.

Now for the second argument-- I think the fact that sports are one of the few things left that HAVE to be shown live, that cannot be taped beforehand and "binge-watched," is actually a great boon for sports in general in the coming decades. Having a live broadcast makes sports an event. Sure, you could set the DVR and watch the game later, but nobody wants to because sports are one of the few shared cultural moments left. Sports bars have exploded in popularity over the last 20 years precisely because people want to BE THERE when something happens, and experience the emotions associated with sporting events in real time. The game isn't going to wait around for you-- it's happening at 1:00, and you have to be there or miss it. That is a very powerful asset in the digital age.

All that said, the main reason football is so popular right now is due to something I touched on earlier-- the talent is better now than it has ever been in the past. Michael Vick, regardless of his deeds off the field, is a great example. Just look at this. Or this. Quarterbacks shouldn't be able to do that. Vick is a rare talent, and since he burst onto the scene in 2001, there have been more incredible athletes like him. Running backs like Marshawn Lynch or Adrian Peterson. Wide receivers like Terrell Owens or Randy Moss. The new quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, RGIII, and Johnny Manziel. Defensive monsters like Aldon Smith, or JaDeveon Clowney. These guys are electrifying to watch, and as long as such gifted players are choosing the football, football will continue to dominate.

And here's the rub: athletes THIS GOOD won't choose football in the future. At least, not as many. Parents will keep them out of Pop Warner as children, because they have read all the negative press about CTE. Dad may love the Cowboys, but he might not let his son play such a violent game. Once the kids who have been kept out of youth football start picking up other sports, they are less likely to gravitate back to football during their high school careers. It will start slowly at first, but the talent base of football is going to dry up starting at the smallest tributaries. Once youth football and high school football have less talent, it will ripple upwards to college and the NFL. College football will become slower, maybe sloppier, a little less exciting. Meanwhile, track and field, and non-contact sports like soccer and basketball will benefit greatly. Eventually, in 30 years or so, the NFL is not going to have the premier athletic talent in America-- that is what will finally cripple the sport. All of those talented, strong, fast wide receivers and cornerbacks will, in 20 years, become strikers, shooting guards, and decathletes. The concussions aren't going to make us turn off the television-- not enough of us anyway. But I know for a fact that I will not let my future children play football, a sentiment which is shared by many my age (25-30). That is going to have an incredible impact in 20 years.

3:04 PM PT: Hey! Apparently this diary was 'rescued' and put on the Community Spotlight. I'll be hanging around to comment, so come talk sports if you are so inclined. Thank you, rescue people!


Originally posted to B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The best athletes will stop playing football... (12+ / 0-)

    When decathletes start getting $5mil signing bonuses and multi-million dollar endorsement deals.

    Until then, they'll keep playing football.

    •  yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slowbutsure, kpardue, sturunner

      hard to see track becoming a popular, high paying spectator sport. But I think there will be a trend toward better athletes doing basketball and baseball, which DO have cash paybacks and less injury risk.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:36:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget soccer -- which has already been (5+ / 0-)

        rising in popularity over the last 20 years, especially among youth leagues.

        As for the high-paying aspect, the fact that only a very small minority of athletes ever make it to that level will prevent that much of a draw, except for the most gifted athletes, and increasingly mean that football will be a class-based sport, with only those who have few other career options playing it.

        That is, it will be like boxing, which primarily draws working class and poor athletes these days.

        That said... never underestimate the power of financial incentive (the $100s of millions in revenue) of the NFL, when forced, to pay for development of far better football helmets. And if they do, the unit price for such helmets may drop enough to be affordable for high school and college teams.

        But until then, the writing's on the wall, as B o o notes.

        "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by Kombema on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:27:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Boxing and football (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kpardue, Kombema

          Might indeed have similar arcs-- boxing is still pretty popular, as evidenced by the recent Mayweather v Alvarez bout, and the huge imbroglio about a potential Mayweather v Pacquiao fight a few years ago. But boxing has been marginalized for the reasons you mentioned, and it's not a cultural touchstone like it used to be. Football could be headed toward a similar result (although, as I note below, they might take very different paths -- I think football will become almost non-contact)

          "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

          by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:37:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Aren't there more injuries in youth soccer? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike, Kombema, melo

          Blown knees being the primary injury?

          Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

          by Helpless on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:37:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  soccer's not all that safe... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          B o o, sawgrass727, LordMike, sturunner

          Soccer is not all that safe.  Aside from the fact there are plenty of collisions between players, heading the ball takes a significant toll on the brain and the neck.     It is very rare indeed to see  a pro soccer player older than his mid-30s, even moreso than in the NFL.

          American football does need to rethink its rules to reduce the number of catastrophic injuries, and also to reduce the need for young men to bulk up way past their normal size.  And in fact, the people in charge of the pro and amateur leagues, whatever their other foibles, do seem to recognize the need to change the rules to protect their players.

          •  fun though not very informative comparison (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sawgrass727

            Soccer great David Beckham's career followed a similar trajectory in its later phases to that of gridiron great Bret Favre.  Both athletes kept retiring and unretiring, bouncing from one random gig to another.  Beckham was considered extraordinarily ancient at the ripe old age of 34 years old when he was fired from the English national team in 2009. He was already very old 3 years earlier, when he left Real Madrid to play club soccer at a significantly lower level for the Los Angeles Galaxy.  He was only 38 when he finally reached the end of the road with Paris Saint-Germain.

            Brett Favre's decline didn't even start till he was 38 years old, retiring for the first time.  He kept on retiring and unretiring till he was 42.

            Both those guys are pikers compared to baseball's Roger Clemens, who kept retiring and unretiring till he was 49, and would still be retiring and unretiring were it not for steroids and sex scandals. He attempted a minor-league comeback as recently as 2012, when he was 49.

          •  Good point re: headers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema

            I've seen the issue raised before. But the risks seem, at this early date, to be less dramatic than the every-play pounding that football linemen and running backs receive at the line of scrimmage.

            "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

            by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 06:29:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think you can change the rules... (0+ / 0-)

            ...to make it safer.  The essence of the game is blocking and hard tackling.  The two lines are always goignt ob e bashing heads, whether they are wearing leather helmets playing by the old rules or the modern game.  And the goal of football tackling is to prevent a gain of yardage or strip the ball, which makes it that much harder on the head.  Rugby tackling is gentler, since there is no "line to gain", yet there are plenty of concussions in Rugby.

            GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

            by LordMike on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:54:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Soccer isn't entirely clean on the CTE (0+ / 0-)

          issue.

          I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

          by AZphilosopher on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 09:13:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Valar Dohaeris (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valar Morghulis

      Fair enough-- I think basketball and baseball will be the bigger beneficiaries. But when we see some more of the best athletes prioritizing competitions like the Olympics over playing in a league, huge endorsement deals still follow-- Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, and Marion Jones being examples.

      (also, love the userid)

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:47:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also, soccer. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kombema, viral

      Which I totally meant to include, but didn't. Soccer will reap huge benefits in the US.

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:51:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As will drama teachers! nt (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slowbutsure, B o o, sawgrass727, LordMike

        'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

        by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:35:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't overlook mixed martial arts either (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, DaveinBremerton

        MMA outfits like the UFC and Strikeforce will probably never attract athletes that could be the next Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, or Jerry Rice (they're much more likely to go to soccer and/or basketball), but that really imposing six foot five player who could play defensive end may decide that MMA is much less dangerous overall.  Yes, being inside the octagon itself may be brutal, but getting paid to fight three or four times a year for the same salary an NFL player does may be worth the tradeoff.

      •  And Linux will prevail on the desktop... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        B o o

        Keep saying it and it might come true... they've been saying it for 50 years.  It's not going to happen.  The game is too European with arbitrary rules that make no sense to an American point of view.  Please note that this is coming from a soccer fan myself, but there is a reason why Walter Camp changed the rules back in the 19th century to the game we know today--soccer simply doesn't fit our culture well.

        GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

        by LordMike on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:57:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lol (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LordMike

          Touche on the Linux. I don't think soccer will become what football is today-- more like baseball, an appealing second or third sport which has a large following. But, obviously, I could be much mistaken.

          "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

          by B o o on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 08:26:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wish half of what is spent on football (20+ / 0-)

    would be spent on providing better high school education and more affordable higher ed.  

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:21:26 AM PDT

  •  I think one issue that both diaries missed... (10+ / 0-)

    ... is the role of unions in the future of the sport.  Unlike the player's unions in both baseball and basketball, the NFLPA is very aware of the dangers inherent to their sport and is becoming much more active in trying to mitigate those dangers (fewer full contact practices among other things) and increase league assistance and support after a player's career has ended.  The owner's union (for lack of a better word) is also involved in making the product safer by changing the rules to protect their investments and influencing the rules, training, and development of the sport's non-professional participants.

    Hopefully these changes are stepping the sport back from a potential "Dale Earnhardt" moment - which could have a devastating impact on the sport at all levels.  NASCAR was too late in adopting changes to its sport, hopefully football will not suffer the same fate and will be able to keep their product competitive and safer.  I think both the player's and owner's unions understand what's at stake.

    Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

    by Hey338Too on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:23:12 AM PDT

    •  Good point (3+ / 0-)

      The NFLPA is a significant factor in the league's future, and the next collective bargaining agreement could be critical in determining where football goes in the next 20 years. Thanks for adding that.

      (Although I don't know if the owners are quite on the same page with regard to the possibility of the talent pipeline drying up)

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:45:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think when you see those ads for ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        B o o, sawgrass727, LordMike

        ... Pop Warner and High School football coaches being "certified" you are seeing the owners becoming very concerned for the player pipeline.  Those are NFL ads and not NFLPA sponsored.

        Thanks for the diary and your response.  Both diaries put forth interesting points.

        Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

        by Hey338Too on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:03:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Haven't seen those ads (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too

          But I am not surprised that they exist. Ultimately, in the long term future, I think football will trend ever more towards spread offenses and spacing, emphasizing more speed and agility. Tackling will probably be eliminated (which doesn't help the linemen all that much, but still). It will still be a popular sport, but not a dominant cultural force. I actually think soccer and basketball will become dominant, because anyone, no matter how poor, can play-- all you really need is a ball.

          Thanks for taking the time and engaging, I (obviously) find this to be a fascinating issue, and dKos doesn't always engage with the topic of sports.

          "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

          by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:08:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The group running the ads is... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            B o o, Odysseus

            ... http://usafootball.com/

            It's actually a fairly interesting site to poke around.

            As for eliminating tackling, I would argue that would be a little drastic.  The area between the tackles and four yards on either side of the line of scrimmage is always going to be a mosh pit.  Outside of that area - where players are running at full speed - you will probably continue to see more rules related to how a player can be tackled without incurring a penalty (like the new "crown of the helmet" rules), especially if the tackle involves more than one defender (probably protecting the ball carrier the way linemen are protected from chop blocks).

            Of course, changes which benefit the offensive side will always drive up the scores, which will in turn attract more viewers.  I'd much rather see a great 10-7 (Saints win!!) defensive struggle than a 45-35 (Saints win!!!) track-meet, but I'd also rather see fewer season and career ending injuries - so as long as the Saints win or lose I'll watch.

            Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

            by Hey338Too on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 01:46:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the link (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hey338Too

              I'll check it out. As for tackling, obviously if traditional "lines" are still part of the game, there will still be tackling and scrums, especially with running backs. But if the o-line spreads out over the field and the power running game is largely replaced with sweeps, bootlegs and short play action passes (just look at some of the Eagles unorthodox formations from the first three games of this year), it's easier to envision a game that has greatly reduced amounts of tackling (especially in the dangerous "mosh pit" area you refer to). This combined with rules to protect receivers running crossing routes could mean a game involving a lot less contact than the game we see now.

              "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

              by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:52:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting thoughts... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                B o o

                ... I haven't had a chance to see a lot of the Eagles this year being preoccupied by the Saints and LSU Tigers.  I'm also not a huge Vick fan (for reasons I am sure you understand - cough, dogs, cough), going back to when he was with the Falcons.  My gut says that if your style of football comes to pass that we'd see more violent collisions because the speed merchants would be colliding head-on more often, but I need to think about it some more.  As I said, interesting thoughts...

                Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                by Hey338Too on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:19:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That may be true (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hey338Too

                  About the higher speed collisions. But with rules like automatic suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits, the brain impact could be lessened. The real benefit would be limiting the minor head trauma experienced on every play by linemen and RBs-- that stuff adds up, and a spread set would make their lives easier (especially with mobile QBs). Also I must say that when the Niners aren't playing, I'm rooting for the Saints. Love New Orleans, and Drew Brees.

                  "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

                  by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:02:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Really good point about mentioning NASCAR (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye54, Hey338Too

      The diarist posits that the first on-field death of an NFL player will have a shocking effect.  Yes, but what about the second player, and the third player, and so on?  One death will not will kill the game.

      Meanwhile, NASCAR has had 52 deaths since 1949, and it's still hugely popular.   Spectators have been critically injured.  

      In other motorsports:  

      In F1, , 27 drivers have died during a race or in free practice or qualifying sessions, and spectators have died too.

      In drag racing, 15 drivers.

      In  IndyCar & Champ Car, 28 drivers and several workers and spectators.

      The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has the largest number of racetrack fatalities at 56.

      I expect that football will follow the trajectory of motor sports vis a vis safety and deaths.  I think the NFLPA's lawsuit and concerns are akin to NASCAR drivers wanting to make races safer knowing that they can't make them risk-free.  NASCAR puts a lot of money and research into safety, but everyone seems to accept that accidents and fatalities are still going to happen.  People mourn, but the next race goes on.  I wouldn't be surprised if that same passive acceptance will develop in football.   Hands will be wrung but the game will go on--too much money...and addiction are at stake.  For as many neck injuries that have occurred, it's a miracle there have been no NFL fatalities yet.

      I think America's passion about football is fundamentally irrational and unhealthy.  I appreciate the athleticism and sophistication of the game...but it should only be regarded as a game.  It's not surprisingly the passion..the addiction...is accompanied by large elements of gambling and alcohol consumption.   A death is not really going to diminish that addiction for the hardcore.   The risk already is an accepted part of football.  

      I'm no bible thumper on this...I was all-state in high school and played some college.  But I quit football when I saw the long term prospects of my injuries would likely earn me early arthritis, and perhaps even crippling injuries.  And I became cynical of our nation's passion about football when I found too many co-workers and neighbors far more knowledgeable about team rosters than their own state and congressional representatives.  I am clearly not hopeful that the current focus on concussions is going to have a meaningful affect on that skewed passion.

  •  I'm sorry but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o, Roadbed Guy, Whatithink

    ...You left Russell Wilson off the quarterbacks list :)

    As a Seahawks fan, I must remind you that Kaepernick has sure had his troubles against Seattle.

    (hit and run comment, time to go to the Washington state fair and eat food on sticks)

  •  I'm not much of a sports fan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Kevskos, slowbutsure

    these days, but there was a time back in the 1970s when I did follow a couple of teams.

    Anyway, it seems to me that helmets should be instrumented so that they collect data about the forces involved in actual games and that the rules of the game should take that data into account.

    Would it be possible, for example, to call a penalty based on real time data collected during a game? Could this idea be used to minimize the risk of injury?

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:34:09 PM PDT

  •  If God wanted... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slowbutsure, WakeUpNeo

    Listen to The After Show & The Justice Department on Netroots Radio. Join us on The Porch Tue & Fri at Black Kos, all are welcome!

    by justiceputnam on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:04:57 PM PDT

  •  College and HS level next (5+ / 0-)

    I think football is on the long term decline, mostly due to cost/safety.  It just cost the NFL over $750M to buy off their concussion problem.  How much is is going to cost when the college kids form a class action since there are 4 times as many teams just in 1-A (then add 1-AA, D2, D3, NAIA, JuCo, etc)?  In the Rutgers game today, the announcers were mentioning there is zero concussion standards in NCAA right now.  What about high school players?  I have a friend who still has headaches and light sensitivity from HS football concussions.

    Football will soon be like boxing in that the only people who play are those who have nothing else to fall back on so they will risk their safety.

    Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.

    by Liberal Elite on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:29:19 PM PDT

    •  That's the next looming step (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike

      The NFL won a significant victory in its lawsuit-- that $750 mil pales in comparison to their TV deal (27billion) alone. But what happens when high school and college players, who never went professional, start a class action suit? Not as easy to buy off due to extreme medical duress, and not as easy to defend with "they consented." (many will be under 18). Thanks for the comment

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:48:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't quite know how to take this diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727

    You wrote:

    Ah, the concussions. I won't delve too deeply into that issue here-- it deserves its own series of diaries which I am probably unqualified to write
    OK, so you're unqualified to speak to concussions and CTE...but then you wrote:
    essentially, thousands of former NFL players who had developed some degree of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), due to the repeated minor head traumas inherent to every game of football,
    "minor head traumas"?

    You suggested that parents would steer their kids away from football because of "the negative press about CTE", and said that you'd hold your own kids out of football.

    It seems to me that if thousands of former players are suffering from CTE as a result of what you named "minor head traumas" - they AREN'T minor at all.  It isn't "negative press" if it's giving information that the teams, trainers, and leagues won't give us.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:14:01 PM PDT

    •  Some clarification (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, MNPundit, sawgrass727

      Thanks for bringing this up. So, here's what I meant by that: obviously the 'big hits' that actually slosh brains around inside skulls and cause concussions are NOT minor. They are major traumas, and deserve to be treated as such.

      However, those plays are relatively rare during the course of a football game. Many games go by without a concussion being registered on either side. What I was referring to with 'repeated minor head traumas' are the little collisions that happen on every play. Offensive linemen battling defensive linemen, and running backs running up the middle into a pile of people. Typically, these collisions do NOT cause concussions, but the cumulative effect of these collisions is still incredibly detrimental. This is actually one of the hidden daggers in this whole discussion-- even if you DO eliminate big hits and concussions on the field, the very nature of football mandates these smaller collisions on every play, and in every practice. If I were a parent, I would be justifiably worried about a big hit knocking my kid out, but I would actually be more worried about the cumulative effect of the minor hits sustained during mundane plays.

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:32:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Eventually, the nerds will take over. ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o

    with the technology advancements now and into the future I can predict teams will be made up by the best minds to create teams like you would see in the  "Jetsons"         snark?  Maybe, maybe not, we'll see.

    •  Technology! (0+ / 0-)

      It's a wild card for sure. I think technology is going to be introduced which gives the precise location of 'forward progress' on the field, and to determine helmet-to-helmet hits and thereby assess penalties. But then we can get into GATTACA territory with bionic enhancements and genetically engineered athletes. At that point, who the hell knows?

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:35:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What will happen... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        ....is NFL teams would find some dirt poor family in the Caribbean and then basically buy a kid from conception, genetically modify him, and tie him to their team.

        Or at least, that's what happened in a book I read once! Some really interesting futurism in that series.

  •  Concussions have already ended spectacular careers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o, sawgrass727
    or a major star's career is ended prematurely due to a concussion sustained in a game
    Steve Young and Troy Aikman both quit rather than leave their brains on the field.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:24:14 PM PDT

    •  Very true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      What I specifically meant was a younger star-- someone who hasn't already spent a decade getting the stuffing beaten out of them by NFL D-linemen-- getting a severe concussion on the field and never being able to play again. But you're absolutely right-- Aikman, Young, Esiason and even Bruschi and (rest in peace) Seau all retired early due to concussions.

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:37:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wouldn't count on a football decline (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o, LordMike

    Not for many decades, at least.  I certainly don't expect to see any significant decline in football popularity during the remaining 30-40 years I have on this planet.

    Football is simply too powerful, and too ingrained in the culture of America.  Many people wouldn't think that a sport like baseball--so slow--would appeal to a modern, attention-deficit-disorder kind of populace.  And yet baseball is still very popular.  Football in many ways is even more ingrained into America than baseball.

    From the fan side, football is fantastic on televsion.  Even with the stoppages between plays it gives them a chance to replay the previous play with a breakdown, talk about something else, recount stats or out of town score, and so on.  It's very likely the best sport on tv.

    As good as it is on tv, it's even better in person.  The fan experience of college and NFL football is a phenomenon, and even fans of terrible teams love going out to he games for the tailgating and the whole experience.

    Because of the fan popularity and all the money, it will continue to attract elite athletes.  I am certain that the NFL will continue to try to find ways to make the sport less dangerous.  They have already added a lot of rules about how and where you can hit opponents in order to try to reduce head and spine trauma.  Once they get better drug testing in place you might start seeing slightly smaller/weaker/slower athletes which will also make the game safer.  You might even see them decide to widen the fields to make head-on tackles less frequent, and to put more emphasis on mobility and not as much on size and strength.

    I love football, but I don;t want these men literally dying for my entertainment.  That's why I welcome any reasonable attempt to make the sport safer, despite the complaints of the wussification of the NFL.

    •  You could very well be right (0+ / 0-)

      Money and power should never be underestimated. But regimes and tastes change. I personally think that an increasingly safety-conscious generation parents is going to dry up the talent pipeline starting from youth football and going forwards.

      However, a significant effort to modify the rules could very well avert disaster for the NFL, as you suggest. Either way, it's going to be a decades-long struggle to right the ship for the NFL.

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:56:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree and disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sawgrass727

        I think rule modification of rules is important, but there also needs to be continued research into the equipment to keep making the game safer.

        All that being said, I just don't think the pipeline of players will dry up THAT much. Football often costs the most to play not just because of the equipment costs, but because of the size of the squads. To field a team, you needs offense, defense and special teams, with 11 players on the team at each time.  At the NFL and college level, that's 33 players (plus 1 for the punter) so 34. NFL rosters are capped at 53 players. College teams are often much much larger.  High school squads are generally somewhere in between. Where are all those players going to go? For comparison purposes, the average basketball team has 12-14 players total at the NBA level.

        I also think we're far overstating the number of parents who are keeping up with the dangers of the game. You assume folks like us to be the norm, and I just don't think that's true. I mean, given how ill informed people are on pretty much everything these days, why would this be any different?

      •  A significant effort to modify the rules.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...would probably further the decline.  People complain enough about the "wussiness" of the game today, and a lot of the rules to open up passing, for instance, simply make the game boring shootouts.

        GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

        by LordMike on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:02:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That Ducks compilation was amazing! I have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o

    not watched much football since I was a Tony Dorset fan in the early 70's (Napolean complex much?), but it is hard to mistake that athleticism.

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 04:33:43 PM PDT

  •  Only one real quibble here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o, sawgrass727, LordMike

    I think its somewhat inaccurate to say that the lawsuit settled just because some of the folks really needed the money.  That's certainly a very very big part of it, but in the big push for the final settlement, the judge cautioned both sides that, if they hadn't settled by the next settled hearing, some rulings on pending motions would be handed down which both sides would not like. Its been a while since I looked at this, but I think for the players side, the belief was that one of the rulings would have eliminated a whole bunch of players from the lawsuit. Remember this was just speculation, but such a ruling would have meant one category of players got nothing and it might well have eliminated a significant group from the settlement.

    Also, while the settlement amount is a relative drop in the bucket of the NFL's total revenue, I would expect that it actually had little impact on the NFL's bottom line. There is simply no way the NFL and/or its teams doesn't have some kind of insurance policy to cover things like this. Sure their rates might go up, but you know that coverage is out there and that they had it. They just haven't made it public. That might have come out in the discovery process had the case moved along, but it sure won't now.

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the post. You're right about the settlement, I oversimplified in my account. But I do think that if the settlement ended up being 2 or more billion dollars, it would have made a bigger dent.

      Also, a story came out a few days ago indicating that many of the older players were actually eliminated from the settlement, one of the crappier and adder developments in an already sad tale. Link here

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 05:50:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's be honest, there would be an audience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o, LordMike

    For gladiators who fought to the death if we put it on the air.

    And as much grumbling as there is about violence in football and injuries I just have these two things to say:

    MMA

    Boxing

    Both sports still have a large marketing and multi-million dollar paydays.  It's hard to imagine football being in any danger due to "health risks" when those sports are still popularized.

    People take it as a risk, a serious risk of health for an occupation.  It is risky, thus the high pay.   But is it that much more risky then high-rise construction workers?  Or police officers?

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 05:26:09 PM PDT

    •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

      that football is in danger of dying out, just in danger of falling out of the catbird seat, so to speak. I think it will remain popular for as long as America has professional sports leagues, but I think if the talent is diverted to soccer basketball and baseball, football will become a secondary sport a la today's boxing and MMA. Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 05:54:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What sport do you see replacing it (seriously?) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        B o o, LordMike

        It's easy to emote that Soccer could be it, however, that has been a mantra for a very long time and TV viewership is just not rising.

        Rugby is far more physically dangerous then Football, so its' unlikely.

        NBA hit it's peak years ago and ratings haven't been good since.

        Meanwhile, the only programming that has turned in a better then 20 share on any network in the last 5 years have all been football.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 06:12:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

          I don't see it being replaced, rather surpassed. This is perhaps a topic for another diary altogether, but basketball is actually trending dramatically upward. This is due to two primary factors-- the biggest influx of talent in two decades, and the league's biggest superstar since Michael Jordan in LeBron. LeBron's Decision, and the resulting anger, combined with a bunch of good and rising young teams like the Thunder, has made basketball much more popular in the last 3 years. In addition, the new CBA has made basketball a lot more profitable for owners. The Sacramento Kings, valued at $300 million in 2009, just sold for almost twice that ($560 million) two years later. Basketball is on a major upswing.

          As far as soccer, my thoughts are these: soccer isn't as popular in the US as it is elsewhere because the talented athletes have more lucrative options here. In Europe, soccer is the most lucrative sport of all (behind maybe F1), and it attracts the best athletes. If parents hold their children out of football at a young age, I have no doubt that a knock-on effect would be that some of those children end up taking soccer more seriously and pursue it further into their adolescence. All that's missing for soccer in the US are the right athletes-- if the quality of US soccer was even a half step below the quality of European soccer, it would become a much more popular game.

          Finally, baseball will benefit quite a bit. As an anecdote, two of the young QBs I mentioned above, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, were also baseball stars in college. Wilson actually signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies before being drafted into football. Both of these guys are incredible athletes who would likely have turned out well as professional baseball players. However, both chose football, and now they are superstars. What happens if, in 20 years, the calculus for multi-sport stars changes, and baseball is the safer career option? More of the best athletes go into baseball, and the sport benefits.

          "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

          by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 06:26:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The problem for basketball... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            B o o

            is the roster size. As I noted above, NBA teams (and college and high school) generally have 12-14 players max. An NFL roster has 53 players plus a handful of folks on the practice squad and college teams are often much larger.  I think high school teams fall in between (but that's just a guess really).

            As far as soccer goes, don't forget that, while its been slow to catch on professionally, its hugely popular at the high school level. It is widely played at the college level too. So I'm just not sure that these sports will be able to absorb folks that might have gone on to play football. That is a LOT of players to flow over into basketball or soccer.

            •  Thanks for the reply (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pdkesq

              I'm about to head off for the night, so this will be my last reply today.

              Point taken re: the roster sizes in basketball-- 15 guys for the regular season and 13 for the playoffs I believe, plus a few that can be on the practice squad.

              I think they key is that these sports aren't going to have to absorb ALL of the players who are currently in football. I just think there will be a general but significant reduction-- for instance, if nowadays 150 kids try out for the high school team, maybe in 20 years that number is down to 100 or 110. Basketball and soccer and baseball would simply leech more of the best athletes-- the guys with the most skill and the best shots at professional careers-- partially because those sports will offer safer more stable careers, and partially because they will be more likely to not have played football as children.

              "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

              by B o o on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:08:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Boxing is a shadow of what it once was.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      se portland

      It used to be the most popular sport in the country by far, now it's an afterthought.

      GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

      by LordMike on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:03:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is true, and PPV has done a large part of the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        damage that there is; still, Boxing rakes in very good pay cable numbers and is still a significant money maker.

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:19:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But violence still seems to have a following (0+ / 0-)

        UFC has been growing over the years. By 2006 it made more money than the WWE and boxing combined. At least some Americans still seem to like to watch ultra violent sports.

        Here are some of the numbers for recent fights

        Event    Date    Rating    Share    Viewers    Ref.
        Velasquez vs. dos Santos    November 12, 2011    3.1    5    5.7 million   
        Evans vs. Davis    January 28, 2012    2.6    5    4.7 million
        Diaz vs. Miller    May 5, 2012    1.5    3    2.4 million   
        Shogun vs. Vera    August 4, 2012    1.4    3    2.4 million
        Henderson vs. Diaz    December 8, 2012    2.5    5    4.4 million
        Johnson vs. Dodson    January 26, 2013    2.4    5    4.2 million
        Henderson vs. Melendez    April 20, 2013    2.2    4    3.7 million
        Johnson vs. Moraga    July 27, 2013    1.5    3    2.4 million   

        “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

        by se portland on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 10:33:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sullivan posted something espousing this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    ....a while back. Or rather, linked to someone who did. I think there is a lot of truth for it if football as a whole does not address the issue. It's the culture of protecting kids (which I think is exaggerated in general but not about this!) v. football.

    A more minor issue is climate change will make it simply too hot to do as much practicing at the lower levels where they don't have the facilities to get around it, making the quality of the product on the field lower. ( http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/... )

    As a huge baseball fan I don't mind one bit if more talent gravitates to a different sport. Though as a Minnesota Twins fan, I am quite familiar with the way concussions hampered Justin Morneau's career.

  •  Football cannot be saved... (0+ / 0-)

    As much as I love the game, there are no rule tinkerings that can save the game from chronic concussions.  There is simply no physical way it can be done.  Blocking would have to be eliminated, as the vast majority of head to head contact occurs on the lines, but tackling too.  Even without a head to head hit, the torsion of the body on a hard tackle still whips the head around and can cause low grade bruising.  

    If you take out the blocking, the game becomes rugby with plays.  If you take out the hard tackling, it becomes soccer with hands.  Either way it's no longer football in any sense that we know it to be.  You can't protect the head in football without changing the game to something completely unrecognizable.

    So begins the large spiral downward for the game.  It will take some time, several generations--about as long as the former champ of sport, boxing, has become an afterthought.  But, it will happen.  And it won't be replaced by soccer, no matter how much Boo wants it to be.  They've been trying to push soccer on America for 50 years now, and it's never taken hold outside youth sports.  It won't since the game does not fit our culture at all--way too European in design and values.  If you can't convince people in the U.S. to accept single payer health care, how are you going to get them to accept a game that has no concept of sustained possession, has  a game clock that counts the wrong way with an unspecified finish time, and where most of the scoring occurs on penalty kicks.  That's simply "Unamerican".   I like soccer very much, but it will never be popular here beyond participation sports, if for no other reason than TV networks aren't going to pay to promote a game that has no opportunities for commercial breaks.

    GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

    by LordMike on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:14:36 PM PDT

  •  I don't think boxing's decline... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    B o o

    ...is completely due to head injuries.  I think the rise in popularity of MMA has taken away fans that would otherwise follow boxing--especially among younger fans.  My wife and daughter are both MMA practitioners, and connect with a large circle of enthusiasts, hardly any of which follow boxing.  They might follow Manny Pacquiao or they might follow Juan Marquez, and they probably do so because of national pride, but they don't follow boxing.  They can rattle off the physical stats and career scorecard of a George St. Pierre, but aren't much interested in a Floyd Mayweather because boxing just doesn't have what MMA has.  For that matter, traditional karate is taking a popularity hit as MMA rises.  My daughter's beloved Butokukan struggles to keep students, and karate dojos are staying alive by offering kick boxing, wrestling, or kali in addition to traditional karate.

    As for football, I spent the first 45 years of my life as a football hater, and only began watching the game in the past 5 years.  Once I understood the game a little I began to appreciate what it takes for a Russell Wilson to be both really good at running and really good at passing, and what it means for his opponents.  While I hope more can be done to cut the risk of head injury, I have to admit the game is not the brutality fest that I originally assumed it to be.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:57:12 PM PDT

    •  You're right about MMA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveinBremerton

      And I must admit, I only distantly follow both boxing and MMA, so I am not qualified to speak authoritatively on the reasons for boxing's decline on the cultural stage.

      With regard to your "football conversion," I had a similar experience with MMA. I'm not a fan of fighting spectacles in general, but I had wrongly assumed that MMA was just an insane bloodfest. A couple years ago a friend made me watch a match  (Chuck Liddell was involved) and I was impressed at how strategic the matches were, and how skilled the fighters were. And seriously, anyone who thinks football is just a constant slugfest hasn't watched the game in the last 10 years.

      "How much wisdom is lost in knowledge? And how much knowledge is lost in information" -Juhani Pallasmaa

      by B o o on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 09:29:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What got me about MMA... (0+ / 0-)

        ...was the level of respect and concern the fighters have for each other.  At the heart of MMA is martial arts and codes of ethics that go back many hundreds of years.

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by DaveinBremerton on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 10:26:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My son is playing football in middle school (0+ / 0-)

    He will be done after that.  But two teams he was scheduled to play against had to forfeit because they had an injury and could field the minimum amount of players.

    Why should we trust anyone who "lies for the Lord"?

    by Blue Bell Bookworm on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 02:33:36 AM PDT

  •  stopped watching football (0+ / 0-)

    Concussions, endless talk about this and that, as if its life and death.
    But soccer , now thats a sport I love

  •  Football will be just fine (0+ / 0-)

    Reports of its untimely death are much exaggerated.  

    1 - College football is more popular than ever and the growing numbers of college graduates will only push that higher.  Most people dont realize that there is no professional football team that has a stadium bigger than the top college stadiums.  Even Jerry Jones and his Taj Ma Stadium is 20% smaller than the one ight down the road in Austin.  And its not just a matter of new vs old because the NEW pro stadiums are smaller.  The 49ers new facility will hold just under 70K - not even enough to make the top 20 of college stadiums.  And those stadiums sell out.

    2 - College football is BIG money.  Im a Kansas State fan (duh!!).  4 years ago when Nebraska announced it was leaving the Big 12 the conference paid each team approximately $10 million a year for media rights and bowl money.  Next year each school will get close to $40 million.  Texas gets $15 million for Longhorn network alone.  Yes basketball is part of that but its football that drives the train.  All of that money is coming from TV and while the first diary talked about the move to cable according to Nielsen that means more than 90% of all TV sets (http://www.nielsen.com/...).  But the real move in college sports is to the internet.  ESPN3 carries more games than the networks ever did.  I also disagree that there are fewer games on over the air TV.  NBC carries all ND home games, ABC normally has 2-3 games, CBS 2-3 and FOX 1-3.  When I was in college in the 90's it was 3-4 games total for a weekend unless you had ESPN.

    3 - Fantasy football.  I dont participate but I have friends and they are FANATICAL about it.  Did you know there are PROFESSIONAL fantasy football players?

    4 - Back to those college numbers.  Kansas State has been successful only relatively recently.  Our stadium is 50K in a town with a population of 53K.  Yet this year we sold 43000 season tickets.  And just like the pros, those season tickets cost more than just face value because everyone is essentially forced to pay a defacto "personal seat license."  The university sold $1 million worth of chair back seat cushions to those season ticket holders.  Parking generates another million plus a year.  This at one of the smallest schools in the Big 12 with one of the smallest stadiums in the Big 12.  Michigan puts 100,000 butts in seats every Saturday.  So does Texas and Penn State and Tennessee and Ohio State.

    5 - Soccer.  How long have we heard about how soccer was going to take over US sports?  I remember when Pele was going to change everything for soccer in the US.  Didnt happen.  Then it was going to be the World Cup.  Didnt happen.  Olympics.  Nope.  How many Americans know who Landon Donovan is?  How many know who Johnny Manziel is?  There are more guys earning money in Arena Football than US Soccer.  Did you know that there are 93 Arena Football teams?Face it, soccer sucks and as long as it sucks....

    Football is fine and will be fine.  If anything it is stronger now than 20 years ago.  There is more parity in football at all levels than ever before and parity is good.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 12:04:47 PM PDT

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