IS THE NFL DOOMED?

IS THE NFL DOOMED?

Joe GransingerMonday,25 February 2013

The Snap:

With new rules being enforced every year to make the game safer for players – and seemingly less exciting for fans – it makes you wonder; how much longer will the NFL be around? There’s no hiding the long-term head injury problem that plagues the sport, and the media jumping on board whenever possible to scrutinize the league doesn’t help, either. But when aggression, hard hits and physicality are staples of American football, what choices does the NFL have?

The Download:

The MLB and MLS seasons are just over the horizon, and there’s a possibility that these “old sports” may be making a comeback. Baseball has been in pretty rough shape over the last few seasons, losing thousands of ticket sales at nearly every stadium in the league. Did you watch any baseball games on TV last year? It’s embarrassing how many empty seats are at every game. The NBA is the same way, and they can’t even give away free tickets. It seems the only two sports currently thriving in America are the NFL and MLS (which now averages the 3rd highest attendance of all American sports) – and who knows what’s going to happen with the NHL now that the lockout is over.

Many NFL players that have retired have now come forward with their health issues– most notably Hall of Famer Junior Seau – blaming the NFL for ignoring warning signs of the problem. The NFL has already made changes to the rules to help protect the players, such as shorter kickoffs, no helmet-to-helmet tackles, and possibly removing kickoffs all together. But sooner or later, the physical aspect of the NFL will be completely gone. And believe me, nobody is going to watch 250-pound men running around in tank tops grabbing flags from each other’s waists.

These ‘degenerative brain diseases’ don’t just happen in the NFL, either. One concussion leads to two concussions, and the more you have the easier it is to get another. The starting place for these diseases can be in high school, or even earlier such as peewee leagues. Which brings us to the million-dollar question; how much longer are parents going to let their children receive these blows to the head before they remove them from the sport all together?

Right now in America, the top athletes generally drift towards two sports – football or basketball. But let’s imagine a world where parents realize the dangers and don’t let kids play football, or maybe the sport is banned from High Schools. Our top athletes aren’t going to turn into couch potatoes and play Call of Duty all day; they’ll turn to other sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.

America’s sports scene could be changing quite quickly, and the resurgence of America’s pastime and the emergence of the sport that currently dominates the globe aren’t just crazy dreams anymore. Losing the NFL wouldn’t just destroy a sport; it would pump much needed life into other current sports that desperately need it to survive.

They don’t call it the “No Future League” for nothing, where the average lifespan of a player is a mere 55 years old. Do I want the league to collapse? Absolutely not (Go Vikings!). Could I see it happen? Most certainly.

Hat Tips:

Boston.com, SportingNews, NFL, Image Credit: Flickr

 

 

 

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