2018-07-11 / Sports

THE PRESSBOX

Is NFL facing a catastrophic future?
BRANDON POPE

We all know that football is by far the most popular sport in the United States. Despite several on and off the field issues, the gridiron remains king of the American sporting world, but will that last forever? Declining ratings aren’t the only problem on the doorstep of the National Football League.

Sure, there are several issues that have led to the highly-publicized ratings decline, but the issues may be deeper than that. The protests during the national anthem have been talked to death, especially in the political world, and the league’s handling of head injuries haven’t gone well, either.

Personally, I’m basically over hearing about things of that nature. My problems with the NFL are from the perspective of someone who just wants to watch football. First of all, I despise the amount of commercials during the game.

Going to a commercial, returning for a kickoff and then going back to a commercial is absolutely asinine.

Another thing that I cannot stand is the absolute incompetence of the officials in critical moments. It used to be that you could only overturn a call if you had definitive evidence, but now it seems that the officials are using their own judgment instead of credible evidence.

Every time they go to the replay booth, I have no idea what the outcome will be due to a huge lack of consistency. Plus there’s the ongoing narrative that no one knows what a catch is anymore because of what has been overturned throughout the last several years.

I’ve always been an NFL fan, and I don’t see that changing, but I prefer college football Saturdays. Unless you have NFL Red Zone or NFL Sunday Ticket, which I don’t, you’re forced to watch only one or two games at a time while basically the entire league is playing – and you don’t even get to choose which games those are.

On Saturdays I get to watch basically every college game in the country from noon until about 2 a.m.

Those may be my personal gripes with the league, but I think the NFL has even bigger problems in its future. For another, some parents are no longer allowing their kids to play, which could jeopardize the future of the sport, but something is on the immediate horizon.

It’s no secret that relations between the players and team owners is at an all-time low, and in 2021 the collective bargaining agreement expires. That means there’s an extremely large chance that the NFL goes into a lockout.

The league’s image simply can’t afford that, but it is essentially inevitable. The average fan doesn’t want rich people arguing over money, but I don’t see a way of preventing it. The NFL could also end up losing players during a lockout. By that time there will be two new leagues in the states – All- American Football and the revived XFL.

If the labor war lasts long enough, guys are going to have to make a living and those could be viable options.

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