If you are even a marginal NFL fan, you are aware that injuries are a part of the game. It is a contact sport and injuries are to be expected. During this season in particular, some of the NFL’s biggest stars have suffered season-ending injuries. These injuries have not only hurt those teams, but the NFL itself. Let me tell you how I feel the NFL will hurt as a league because of these injuries.
MANY STARS HAVE FALLEN
This season alone so many of the NFL’s most marketable stars have gotten injured. The list is very long, including Aaron Rodgers, Julian Edelman, Odell Beckham Jr, Deshawn Watson, JJ Watt, and Carson Palmer being some of the most notable. As a fan you might think that this sucks for the player and also for the team as well. What you might not be aware of is that these injuries to these star players has hurt the NFL.
By taking these players out for the season, it appears that networks have taken notice. Many of the networks that show NFL games such as CBS, ESPN, and NBC have tried to maximize their viewership. They have done this by trying to show games that they feel people will watch. The injuries to star players has made this an incredible challenge. Teams such as Houston, Green Bay, and the Giants have really had a hard time with these key injuries. Just note their records since these injuries occurred if you don’t believe me.
What this is going to do to the NFL in the long run is soon to be noticed. With declining viewership, declining sponsor dollars, and market constraints, the networks will negotiate tough on the next TV deals. The big cash cow that the NFL used to count on will not be as lucrative. This is likely going to cause friction in the next CBA negotiations. I believe this item will be the issue that the owners will try and get the most mileage from. The owners are those very rich men and women that sit in those ritzy boxes and watch games with binoculars. They are more than a little out of touch in my opinion. Just remember Bob McNair’s “can’t have the inmates running the prison” statement if you’re unsure of this.
WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR THE FANS?
The NFL fan experience will be quite different in the next few years I believe. Some of the league’s most marketable players are getting up there in years. Players such as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer (who may retire from his current injury), Larry Fitzgerald, etc., are only going to be playing a few more years. Many of these players are some fans’ only link to the NFL. Once they depart, are the players of today like Cam Newton going to be able to fill the void? If how Newton handles press conferences is any indication, then I would say maybe.
Some of the younger players of today are much more brash and in your face then in years past. Players like Odell Beckham Jr. going on a boat trip right before a playoff game, and the whole Ezekiel Elliott mess are just a couple of examples. Are these players setting examples that you want other players to follow? Are they acting in the best interest of their team, ownership, and fans? I believe the answer you are looking for is a resounding “HELL NO”.
Many of these players have turned off fans by their actions, and many have cost even themselves (ie. Cam Newton’s comments in a recent press conference cost him sponsorships). Not exactly a role model you want your kids to look up to is it? Their actions are costing themselves now and in the long run with lower viewership.
WOULD YOU BLAME FANS FOR NOT WATCHING?
Some of the actions by a few notable players have hurt the league in the last few years. The actions are one thing, but how the league has handled these actions has turned a lot of people off. The whole Ray Rice disaster was really the start of things in my opinion. The Greg Hardy issues are also ones that stand out in my mind as poorly handled by the NFL.
If you want people to watch your product and respect your league then handle things like these properly. What is the proper way to handle these things you ask? I believe a small group of middle school students could have made better judgement calls then Commissioner Goodell (aka Peckerhead).
If there is not a better outlook by some of the players and owners then the NFL is going down the crapper. The injuries that have happened this year are unfortunate but they will heal. Let’s hope that the league gets a decent commissioner soon and looks after their affairs in a much more effective and fair manner. If this happens then hopefully we will get to continue to enjoy this great game.
View the original article on Patriots Extra: How Injuries and Actions May Really Hurt the NFL Longterm