Taking a break from politics for a minute, I thought I’d write about “the league” today. No, not the television show that my kids have been telling me I need to watch. The NFL. I’ve read a number of articles lately about declining ratings this year for the NFL. I find this to be very interesting because for the longest time, the NFL has been untouchable and has ruled the sporting roost with no real competition from the other major sports. I suppose that’s still true but the lustre has come off a bit. Rather than focusing on how badly Brady and company are going to destroy my Bills today, let’s explore why this might be. It might take my mind off of the Bills for a bit.
So what’s with the ratings? A number of possible reasons have been put forth. The first one is that there is an over-saturation of games on television. We have games on Thursdays now, along with morning til evening on Sundays and of course, Monday nights. I happen to think that this is a contributing factor to the decline in ratings. How much of a factor, I don’t know.
Another factor is the violence and the related injuries. It used to be that we’d all cheer on a huge hit and not give much thought to the fallout. It’ll always be a violent game but I do find the monster hits, especially the dirty ones, to be increasingly distasteful. The Landry hit on Aaron Williams last week is a perfect example. It was a vicious hit to the head on Williams, who was not even looking. Landry got a 15 yard penalty and a small fine. He was not thrown out of the game or suspended by the league. I feel like the NFL may be losing younger fans by not addressing this issue more forcefully.
The NFL has also had the nick-name of the “no fun league” for many years because of their crackdown on excessive celebrations and self expression from the players. I wonder if this kind of thinking is becoming outdated? Landry got a penalty last week for spinning the ball after a play. It was called taunting. I get it but speaking of younger fans, I think this sort of stuff is a turn off to them.
Some people have speculated that Kaepernick and the anthem issue has contributed to declining ratings. I think that could be true but it’s hard to believe that too many people would stop watching because of that.
I’m sure there are many other possible reasons for the decline in ratings but I’ll end with the one that, along with the violence issue, bothers me the most, the rules. The rules have become so complicated. Is that a catch? Is it not a catch? We can’t celebrate a big play anymore without waiting for the challenge and the replay. It’s tedious. I feel like, with respect to the rules, the NFL should hit the reset button and go back to 1991, in the same way you’d reset your computer to an earlier day before you had the problem.
Thoughts? Leave me a comment. Go Bills!