Mike Rowse A voice from New Mexico


The NFL is losing viewers… bigger picture preview?

The NFL has become the most popular sport in America and I think part of it might be the fact that from year-to-year there is a lot of parity anybody’s team can go from below average to competing for a division or conference championship from one year to the next or certainly within a couple of years, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns. But we also like to see the individual competition between elite players. College football offers us an atmosphere, and experience more than the NFL does. I think we like watching the NFL because of the elite players that are there.

But certainly the NFL is in a position, maybe at a crossroads even, where they could follow the path of baseball and lose their popularity for various reasons or they can hold onto their stranglehold is the most popular sport in the USA. Based upon a lot of empty stadiums and some decreasing ratings, I’m not sure the outlook for the NFL is that good.

Like a lot of issues, this one is not straightforward and simple. You can’t blame the current political statements and demonstrations being made by some players although that certainly has turned many fans off. Most are still watching the sum have given up the NFL. We don’t like seeing some of the personal situations that players put themselves in, such as domestic violence or DWI convictions. We don’t like the divas and the NFL has had an image problem with the way they discipline players or they’ve been attacked for not caring about player safety. All of these things have probably contributed in some way to the problems the NFL is currently facing.

But I think there’s something more to the problem than meets the eye. Think about 15, 25, 35 years ago when the NFL was really beginning to rise in prominence. We loved the rivalries between teams and we love seeing what many will call the violence of the game. The hits, the blood, the bruises, the players limping off the field. The effort put forth by guys who just loved the game. Those guys did not make a lot of money, in fact many had second jobs especially during the off-season. And to some extent today’s players are seen as privileged, entitled, and as whiners to an extent. They keep complaining about their future health and not just the unsettled questions around brain injuries. To some extent we don’t like that because they are making so much money especially as compared to people like Mike Ditka, Johnny Unitas, or pick any of your favorite players from years past.

And now the players have been successful in limiting the amount of practice time. I think this is much as anything is hurt the game. We watched the declining standard of play over the last 2 to 3 years and I think it shown up this year more than ever. We’ve seen more errors that you might describe as mental errors, which include things like proper tackling technique or missed assignments by lineman blocking. The quality of play has decreased and I think more people are leaving or not paying as much attention because of it.

Isn’t there some kind of mythological aura to the two a day practices that previous players had to endure in the preseason? I listened the holder players, retired players, who talked about the physicality of the game in practices even during the season. And that translated to the product on the field. I watched that in college for a number of years. That is, the quality of play is less than what you would expect from players who have continued to play at a higher level.

And now this week we have questions about one of the most high profile players in the league, Ezequiel Elliott, of the Dallas Cowboys being called out for not hustling on a couple of plays. We are going to see this more and more not just because of the lack of practice time, but because we have been raising a bunch of snowflakes over the last 20 years who worry more about their feelings than helping the team to win. They quit so easily. They throw temper tantrums more often than we used to see.

There are a lot of things that are outside of the player’s control. Also outside of the coach’s control. The one thing that is not outside of their control is their effort level. There give a damn. I don’t care if you’re the best player on the team for the 53rd best player on the team, each one of you can give 100% effort in practice and on the field from start to finish. Every coach can prepare his players, giving his all to have the knowledge to train them and get them ready for game time. A lot of the mistakes that are made during the game can be minimized or even eliminated with more effort and more of a willingness to commit to a greater cause, that being success of the team.

And it’s our way in our lives in general society. For colleges and schools are putting out kids who put themselves and their feelings first. Who are not taught about something bigger than themselves. But isn’t it funny that the same people who are teaching them to be little crybabies with entitlement mentalities, are the ones who push the idea of things like communes or socialism where everyone contributes to the greater picture? But these are all so the same people who say we have an obligation to society to have our government help out those who need it, using our tax dollars, but they’re the ones that are most often caught not paying their taxes.

As usual, sports gives us an insight into our society.

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