The Recent Fall in the NFL
Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban made a bold statement a couple of years ago. With the NFL as the biggest professional sport out there, Cuban stated that he could see the league lose a lot of its ratings in five or so years. Well, as ridiculous as it sounded at the time, he might actually be kind of right.
Most people who follow sports will tell you that the National Football League is the most popular professional sport out there right now. While it’s hard to argue with that assumption, we have seen quite a drop in the quality of play this year. The NFL, which has been the biggest once a week tradition in our country for quite some time, has been far from fun to watch in 2016. And the issues that plague the league today stem all the way to the top with long time controversial commissioner, Roger Goodell.
While many die hard fans will stick with the NFL no matter what goes on, it is still hard to deny the fact that the quality of play has dropped significantly, especially this year. A lot of the prime time games have been far from exciting, and as a result, television ratings have dropped around 11 precent just this year.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to this lack of intriguing play that has occurred throughout the 2016 year. For one thing, there are too many inexperienced coaches that cannot bring an identity to a team. A guy like Ben MacAdoo, who is the recently hired new head coach for the New York Giants really doesn’t bring much to the table. Despite the fact that the Giants are 4-3, they have showed many instances of inconsistency, losing three close games mostly due to the lack of good play calling.
Because of the many coaching issues that are plaguing the league today, we have seen a bevy of inconsistent teams. To be honest, there are really only three teams that are competent enough to be called good (the 6-1 Patriots, the 5-1 Cowboys, and the 5-1 Vikings). Yes, the Seahawks are 4-1-1, but their wins have not been impressive. They only beat the lowly Dolphins by two, and they lost to the Rams 9-3. Their other wins include the worst teams in the league (the Jets, and 49ers).
Let’s also not forget that only a couple weeks ago, the Seahawks and Cardinals tied 6-6 on Sunday Night in an ugly game. Both Arizona’s kicker, Chandler Catanzaro, and the Seahawks kicker, Steven Hauschka missed field goals of 25 yards or less in overtime. It definitely epitomized the NFL this year. Another notable messy game that I was able to catch in Week 7 was, the Eagles and Vikings game. Both teams had six turnovers combined in the first half, and had 76 total yards between the two of them. The game picked up in the second half, but not after an unwatchable start.
What’s sad is, the sloppy play isn’t even the main reason why the TV ratings have gone down. Roger Goodell’s recent handling of domestic violence and other penalties have been highly questionable and controversial. We are seeing guys like Greg Hardy, and Ray Rice get off on ample suspensions after their abuse of women. The Rice case was especially troubling, considering the fact that their was video proof of him beating his wife, and he only got off for two games. Yet, Tom Brady gets suspended for four games for a deflated football that he may not have had anything to do with.
As a result, women are moving away from football mostly because, they feel that Goodell is running a sexist league. With these absurdly lenient suspensions, the sexist identity may not be so far fetched. If that social issue wasn’t enough, the Colin Kapernick one is. His episode of kneeling to the anthem, was one of the biggest controversies of the year that made it to the national stage. People who feel strongly opposed to this idea have also stopped watching football because they don’t want to support a league that “disrespects our country, and beliefs.”
It’s too bad that a sport that has been celebrated for so long has been tainted because of corrupt leadership, and inconsistent play. Whether you like it or not, Cuban may be right about this change, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our next generation will steer towards the NBA or NHL, rather than the NFL.