Dec. 29, 2017
Five Reasons the NFL is in Decline
The NFL is in decline. That much is obvious if you look at the steady decline in ratings with no end in sight. While the NFL does have the cushion of guaranteed television money to land on, that bubble will eventually burst if the rating situation is fixed. To the league’s credit, they’ve attempted to come up with new ideas such as streaming and in-game sky cams to spice up the experience, but nothing is working as of yet. And the reason is simply that this isn’t an issue that can be fixed overnight. To fix the problem, you have to first understand why this is happening. Here are five reasons the NFL is declining.
Once the summer comes to an end and we enter fall, football is everywhere. And contrary to popular belief you can have too much of a good thing. When the NFL introduced Thursday Night Football, they created a scenario where Football is the dominant sport for four straight days. You have the NFL on Thursdays and Sundays, college football on Saturdays, and high school football on Fridays. Also, there’s far too much media exposure. The NFL not only has its own network, but companies like ESPN have year-round football shows. There’s only so many times you want to hear the same story broken down. It’s very easy to be burnt out by the time the actual games come around.
2. Changes in Media Consumption
The way people consume media has drastically changed. People are beginning to cut the cord in droves in favor of live-streaming and Netflix. The entire media market has barely begun to adjust and adapt to this new age of media consumption. So it’s no surprise that the NFL is having trouble as well. Plus, they’re shooting themselves in the foot with their own creations. Fans are tuning out full games in favor of condensed highlights found on NFL RedZone and the NFL YouTube page. Why should I watch an entire game full of dead time and commercials when I can just wait and see the big plays on the league’s YouTube channel? We’re in the midst of a shift in entertainment not seen since the advent of extended cable. The internet is taking over and it’s up to the media conglomerates to adapt or fade off like newspapers.
3. Player Safety
Football has never been seen as a safe sport, but the rise of CTE has made that fact even more apparent. Furthermore, it seems that injuries have been out of control this year. How long until we see this safety issue trickle down to the youth level? How long before parents keep their children from football altogether?
4. Decline in Quality of Play
Off the top of your head, can you think of a handful of games that were must see from beginning to end? Most games this season have been blowouts or slow and draining games where neither team seems to want to win. During the playoffs last season, there were only two games worth watching. The Packers/Cowboys game and the last quarter and a half of the Super Bowl were the only compelling aspects of the postseason. Also, many star players wound up getting injured this year. The lack of star power and skill is beginning to become noticeable. Plus, there’s not as much parity as you think Since 2003, the only AFC quarterback not named Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger to go to the Super Bowl is Joe Flacco. The NFC has been better in this regard, but we’re beginning to see a rise of young quarterbacks who could be set up to dominate the conference in a similar fashion.
5. The League’s Antics
In the end, the league has to look at itself in the mirror and make changes. They’re a public relations nightmare over the past five or so years. Their decisions and the way the handle an ounce of controversy has exposed the league and its owners as an entity that only cares about where their next dollar is coming from. They completely botched the Ray Rice situation, fumbled the deflate-gate scandal, and mismanaged the Ezekiel Elliot debacle. They claim they’re all about player safety, but are actively trying to expand the regular season schedule and forcing teams to play on three-days rest. Owners have also proven that they don’t care about their fans in the slightest. Look at how their greed leads them to strong-arm cities out of tax dollars for a new stadium. And if cities refuse to give up the funds, they’ll just rip the team out of the said city. That mentality has butchered the California market to such a degree that the Rams are the most stable team in the state. They’ve lost the San Diego market, lost the St. Louis market, and are poised to abandon the East Bay. And finally, it seemed that the NFL was on the verge of a civil war between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Commissioner Roger Goodell.