I love sports. I especially love team sports.
Football is one of my favorites. The strategy, the athleticism, and the pageantry make for exciting and spectacular events. Major college football taps into the pride and success of large alumni bases to fill huge stadiums on Saturdays. This one sport often produces enough revenue to support a school’s entire athletic department.
However, the real football money is in The National Football League (NFL). The NFL has managed its product and TV contracts to become the world’s most valuable sports league.
Loyal NFL fans pack stadiums in all types of weather to cheer on their hometown team. Those who can’t make it to the stadium watch games on their TVs, computers, and smart phones.
The NFL’s popularity has invaded Europe. At least one regular season game has been played in London during the past few seasons.
Super Bowl Sunday, the day of the NFL Championship game, has become an unofficial American holiday. The game has never been more popular or more profitable.
From my perspective, it never will be again.
May I be the first to say that The Shield is toast?
That’s right; the NFL is destroying itself.
The game has reached its apex and has begun its slide downhill into oblivion.
It will soon go the way of the bloody Roman Coliseum’s battles between man and beast and man and man.
There is no room for doubt. I absolutely believe the clock is approaching midnight for the NFL.
Here is why.
As much as I enjoy the strategy, the athleticism, and the pageantry, the game is about violence. It is about the big hits that take place as each team attempts to move the ball down the field.
These hits take an enormous toil on the body. Therefore, a few years ago, The Shield started fining players when they made big hits. As the same time, the NFL enacted rule changes to reduce the violence of the game.
More recently, the league has found itself embattled in a bounty controversy over teams rewarding players for injuring opponents. Coaches have been suspended and fined for motivating their players to make big hits on other teams’ key players.
The NFL has hypocritically reacted with shock to something that has been a part of the game from the beginning. The competition, the hits, and the injuries have always been there. The NFL has looked the other way for years.
Now, after several lawsuits from former players, The Shield has decided to address the issue of brutality in the game. The league is attempting to outlaw the violence in a game built on violence.
It is an impossible task that will eventually destroy the game.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about any of these acts being taken by The NFL. After all, I believe in a peaceful world. I believe gentleness is preferable to force.
I’m just saying that The NFL is legislating away the very things that made it popular. It is reducing the game to something that it is not.
It is walking a tightrope between maintaining its popularity and avoiding lawsuits. I believe these lawsuits indicate that our society is tired of violence for the sake of violence.
The NFL will continue to adjust. The billions of dollars being made in the game motivate the league to balance a vicious game against reducing the violence.
This hypocritical practice will cause the game’s popularity to wane as the public realizes it is supporting senseless violence in the name of money.
At that point, the game will be over.