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OT: Football's "death spiral"

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Old
02-03-2013, 10:48 PM
  #51
MartysBetterThanYou
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
Honestly, and I don't know if you can speak on this, but the Northeast does not produce athletes anymore, why? All the big athletes come from the south, cali or the midwest.
Not to sound elitist, but I think it is a culture of valuing higher education and conventional academic success in the Northeast that has limited the output of elite athletes from the Northeast. Kids up here are told to study hard and become a successful doctor/lawyer/businessman/teacher etc. When a kid has dreams to become a pro-athlete, the first things both adults and their peers say is "do you have a backup if it doesn't work out?" or "as long as you keep your grades up." The amount of kids who wind up training in their sport full time is smaller than many other parts of the country as a result. The weather doesn't help either with outdoor sports, as cali and southern kids can keep playing outdoors all year round while northern athletes have to move indoors in the winter.

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02-03-2013, 10:48 PM
  #52
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
Football won't disappear. But let's get something straight, you can claim whant ever time period, but for most the MLB screwed itself in 1994. And with the steroids that is still ongoing, the Selig era has been a massive joke and will not be remembered fondly other than teams make money on a bubble as my friend KINGS17 so eloquently put it. But despite all that what Mayor Bee says rings true: Baseball only needs minor adjustments. Football does not have that The concussions are a big deal, and if the don't deal with the we could see Baseball become number one again. Why put your kids in Football soccer and baseball are much safer and much more healthier for the brain.
How is steroids such an issue when it's just as common in every other sport

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02-03-2013, 11:00 PM
  #53
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I'll bite what are your two minor adjustments?

As for the topic itself, at least here football is way more popular with kids than it ever was when I was kid. When I was a kid, I didn't know anyone who played football before high school. A friend of mine decided we should play when I was in Grade 7 and I discovered I was too big to play as I was over the 150 pound weight limit.

Fast forward to 6 years later when my little brother was that age. The minor football program had expanded into three age groups with football starting at Grade 4 (when I looked into it Grade 7 was the first year). A good half of my little brother's class played football. From what I understand now, football registration is at an all time high. They needed to add another team (as it was set up like minor hockey except only had one team per area) and redesign the boundaries to accommodate the rise in registration. There are also two programs from small towns around Saskatoon in the league.

What is dying off at least in the Saskatoon area is hockey and baseball. Both of those are seeing reduced numbers in registration. Baseball I believe has even dropped the neighborhood "regions" as numbers in some areas meant there wasn't even enough teams.

Yes football has some issues with concussions, but I doubt it will disappear. As long as things like UFC and boxing exist, football will survive. I expect MMA and boxing to be the first things to disappear. Getting repeatedly punched in the face is much more damaging than say 10 hits to the head in football. Besides, if football were in a death spiral, I'd expect hockey to be swiftly behind them. If anything, hockey is the one that needs to look at football now and do something about the head protection, why hockey players don't wear football style helmets is beyond me.
Boxers fight about twice a year and actually can block their opponents punches so it's not a clean shot to their head every time. Linemen in football get hit in the head every play with much more force since the player's weight is fully behind them as they launch themselves towards each other as soon as the ball is snapped. I'm not sure if you played football or not but the amount of head contact in hockey is insignificant compared to football.

As for the "death spiral" of the sport, it has seemed inevitable to me for some time. I don't know when it will happen but I would be willing to bet anything that eventually due to the catastrophic damage the sport inflicts on its participants, it will lose popularity and revenue and eventually be outlawed. There is no magic helmet that can protect against concussions unless you put padding on the inside of one's skull. The players currently are simply to fast and strong for the human brain to repeatedly withstand blows of that magnitude. It is possible that the rules could be changed so players could not wear helmets that are used as weapons on the field and body armor on their shoulders to reduce violent collisions. This way, the sport could survive, but at that point it's popularity would be greatly diminished as one of the game's biggest draws is its speed and violence.

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Old
02-03-2013, 11:01 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by HugoSimon View Post
How is steroids such an issue when it's just as common in every other sport
Because Baseball is grand old man of sport, like euro association football it set the standards and examples for sports across the world. Amercian football is only popular because of an artificial playoff system a salary cap and because baseball isn't.

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02-03-2013, 11:01 PM
  #55
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If football ever dies it will be because of players like Pollard who openly say their kids will never play football because of the physical impact on health all while refusing any game changes and being personally responsible for a few concussions.

If the sport is hurt and needs to redo it's image, it all goes by the ambassadors of the game, the players.

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02-03-2013, 11:01 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
Frankly the national and american leagues should be gone, it's not 1885 anymore and they don't even have presidents. East and west conferences
It would never recover from the complete blow to 130 years of baseball tradition.

Hell, my dad still hasn't forgiven Art Modell for moving the Browns from the NFL (under the NFL-AFL war) to the AFC (during the merger). I don't think he ever thought that move would be the second-worst move of the Browns that Modell would ever do...

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02-03-2013, 11:03 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by MartysBetterThanYou View Post
Not to sound elitist, but I think it is a culture of valuing higher education and conventional academic success in the Northeast that has limited the output of elite athletes from the Northeast. Kids up here are told to study hard and become a successful doctor/lawyer/businessman/teacher etc. When a kid has dreams to become a pro-athlete, the first things both adults and their peers say is "do you have a backup if it doesn't work out?" or "as long as you keep your grades up." The amount of kids who wind up training in their sport full time is smaller than many other parts of the country as a result. The weather doesn't help either with outdoor sports, as cali and southern kids can keep playing outdoors all year round while northern athletes have to move indoors in the winter.
Not elitist at all and I like hear this. In your area, I notice kids in Wyckoff, Ramsey, South Orange, Maplewood, Ridgewood, The City, and North Shore Long Island, and the Connecticut coastal towns like greenwich and westport that school comes first. I like hearing that especially with the places in the middle of the country that can't stop talking about sports for 2 seconds.

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02-03-2013, 11:07 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
It would never recover from the complete blow to 130 years of baseball tradition.

Hell, my dad still hasn't forgiven Art Modell for moving the Browns from the NFL (under the NFL-AFL war) to the AFC (during the merger). I don't think he ever thought that move would be the second-worst move of the Browns that Modell would ever do...
I don't know. Keeping the tradition of no salary cap has done what? Cut the games down, allow more teams in the playoffs, infact go to the 8 team per the NHL has done. I don't like but the Dodgers, yankees, cubs, red sox will never accept the salary cap allowing everyone to make the playoffs is better.

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02-03-2013, 11:09 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
I don't know. Keeping the tradition of no salary cap has done what? Cut the games down, allow more teams in the playoffs, infact go to the 8 team per the NHL has done. I don't like but the Dodgers, yankees, cubs, red sox will never accept the salary cap allowing everyone to make the playoffs is better.
The lack of a salary cap has nothing to do with tradition, and everything to do with the large-market owners not recognizing (or not caring) how devastating the current economic landscape is to the league as a whole.

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02-03-2013, 11:10 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
There actually is one; it's 20 seconds, but it's never enforced.

The first rule would be that once a batter steps into the box, his at-bat starts. Once the at-bat starts, he is not allowed to call for time or to exist the batter's box. No more stepping out between pitches to do 30 seconds of gyrations, followed by digging in, getting set, then calling for time as the pitcher is about to begin his delivery. Mike Hargrove was really the first guy to do this (he was called "The Human Rain Delay", an indication of how uncommon it was), and his career started in 1974.

The second one would be to reduce the amount of time on advertising between innings and during half-innings. The quickened pace of the game and the reduction in ad time would actually create more revenue. The faster game would limit the tendency that people have of using baseball games on TV as background noise, which would allow for more eyes on the game and less changing out laundry loads. The increased scarcity of ad time, and the increased effect of the ads with shorter breaks, would allow for much more to be charged.

I won't claim credit for either of these, by the way. Bill Jame suggested it as part of a sweeping change to help speed up the game, which also included limits on mid-inning pitching changes and on the number of times the pitcher can throw to first.
There in lays the rub.....it isn't enforced. Funny thing is, I watched baseball back in the '70s when only someone like the odd Hargrove was doing that crap and games always seemed to finish in a reasonable amount of time provided it didn't go into extra innings or have a rain delay. It wasn't until the late '80s that I started noticing games dragging out. Once they let someone like Hargrove get away with the BS it wasn't long before everyone was doing.....and people say there's no such thing as a slippery slope

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02-03-2013, 11:30 PM
  #61
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My thoughts on football and safety are two-fold.

(1) I think as a debate it's overblown in one sense. Not every former NFL player (and certainly not every or even most former HS and college players) goes to shoot himself or his girlfriend or whatever else is being attributed to it. No doubt, getting hit in the noggin loads of times isn't good for it. I think instinctively everyone's been aware of that for as long as that game's been played. But at the same time, a lot of activities, a lot of hobbies youngsters engage in carry significant health risk and on a professional level, a lot of lower-level jobs carry significant health risks too while also paying a lot less than a NFL gig. My grandpa went to war and then worked in a chemical plant for much of his adult life, he died fairly young of cancer, who knows how that was related to his line of work. And for most of the guys who pursue the NFL dream, it's not between being a doctor and being a NFL player.

(2) The debate is extremely hypocritical in the league, the media and among fans. Nobody actually cares about player safety all that much and the players themselves probably are among those who care least. There's a culture of recklessness and fatalism among players even now that the potential pitfalls are well-known. Would football still be an enjoyable game to watch if safeties *tackled* receivers rather than trying to take their heads off? If linebackers wrapped up rather than just trying to jump at ball carriers and knock them down? If guys who got hit in the head actually left the games when it's obvious they're concussed.? I think so but the players and coaches don't and ESPN doesn't either..

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02-03-2013, 11:38 PM
  #62
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm neither endorsing nor disputing the content of the article, but it provides an interesting hypothesis.

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/03/footballs_death_spiral/

In short: football popular because American culture favors violent, hyper-masculine, excessively produced, TV-friendly entertainment that is played on weekends. It was pushed to the top of the sports hill by MLB's suicide in 1994, as well as an almost WWE-esque illusion of cartoonish unreality.


The author predicts that the bubble has already started to burst for the following reasons:

- Primarily, it's no longer possible to pretend that brain damage and football aren't linked. The author compares emerging medical studies to those that linked tobacco to cancer, or to the church sex abuse accusations. A lot of people are still looking the other way, but there will come a point where it's no longer possible to pretend it's a non-issue.

- As a direct result of the brain damage issue, Pop Warner is already threatened. This effect is going to trickle up the development ladder, cutting off the sport's talent stream. After a certain point, kids grow up thinking of it as a secondary sport. This was a large part of what killed boxing.

- College football corruption scandals have become almost a daily fixture of the sports headlines. Public backlash has been tempered by the sheer popularity of football, but if that is on the wane...

- All of these things wrapped together dictate that football MUST transform itself into a less violent, less corrupt, less "American" sport. It could survive the transition, but not as the dominant figure that it is today. People simply don't perceive the game as positively as they used to, and the next 20 years or so will only increase that disconnect as the reality of the points above sets in. Football is going to start moving backwards.

The author doesn't predict an immediate collapse in the next few years, but he argues that the end of football as the "king of the hill" is now foreseeable.

Thoughts on this? If he's right, it would signal a reorganization of the sports hierarchy over the next couple of generations, similar to what happened between 1980 and 2000.
Football is violent and football does cause brain damage by repeated hits to the head but....it will never die. Why is that? Americans LOVE violent sports - especially football and all it's shiny packaging. People don't care about the consequences of such a violent sport nearly as much as they love the sport itself.

Many players have said, if they knew they would die at 50, would they still do it and the answer is always yes. Look at the popularity of the UFC - there is no sport more foolish if you are concerned about a person's health and people eat it up. The blood lust and love of violence is insatiable. Look at fighting in hockey - people love it and many have said they would stop watching hockey if fighting was eliminated.

Football is going to remain the king of the American sports landscape during our lifetimes. Me - I am encouraging my son to play baseball.

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02-04-2013, 12:15 AM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
Because Baseball is grand old man of sport, like euro association football it set the standards and examples for sports across the world. Amercian football is only popular because of an artificial playoff system a salary cap and because baseball isn't.
What the heck is an artificial playoff system?

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02-04-2013, 12:22 AM
  #64
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What the heck is an artificial playoff system?
one game playoff. It gives the illusion of parity.

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02-04-2013, 12:23 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
The lack of a salary cap has nothing to do with tradition, and everything to do with the large-market owners not recognizing (or not caring) how devastating the current economic landscape is to the league as a whole.
Thing is small market owners don't care ether, nutting, wolff sure don't

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02-04-2013, 12:59 AM
  #66
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The people who are likely to stop playing football because of injury risk, are not the people who would be playing football professionally in the first place.

It's easy to tell this when *lacrosse* is brought up as an alternative.

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02-04-2013, 01:25 AM
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm neither endorsing nor disputing the content of the article, but it provides an interesting hypothesis.

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/03/footballs_death_spiral/

In short: football popular because American culture favors violent, hyper-masculine, excessively produced, TV-friendly entertainment that is played on weekends. It was pushed to the top of the sports hill by MLB's suicide in 1994, as well as an almost WWE-esque illusion of cartoonish unreality.


The author predicts that the bubble has already started to burst for the following reasons:

- Primarily, it's no longer possible to pretend that brain damage and football aren't linked. The author compares emerging medical studies to those that linked tobacco to cancer, or to the church sex abuse accusations. A lot of people are still looking the other way, but there will come a point where it's no longer possible to pretend it's a non-issue.

- As a direct result of the brain damage issue, Pop Warner is already threatened. This effect is going to trickle up the development ladder, cutting off the sport's talent stream. After a certain point, kids grow up thinking of it as a secondary sport. This was a large part of what killed boxing.

- College football corruption scandals have become almost a daily fixture of the sports headlines. Public backlash has been tempered by the sheer popularity of football, but if that is on the wane...

- All of these things wrapped together dictate that football MUST transform itself into a less violent, less corrupt, less "American" sport. It could survive the transition, but not as the dominant figure that it is today. People simply don't perceive the game as positively as they used to, and the next 20 years or so will only increase that disconnect as the reality of the points above sets in. Football is going to start moving backwards.

The author doesn't predict an immediate collapse in the next few years, but he argues that the end of football as the "king of the hill" is now foreseeable.

Thoughts on this? If he's right, it would signal a reorganization of the sports hierarchy over the next couple of generations, similar to what happened between 1980 and 2000.

It's never been a secret that football is an extremely dangerous sport, they've been reporting football related fatalities since the 1930s. From 1931-1965 more than 900 people died from injuries sustained in football, 800+ of those were kids either playing football in high school, college, or backyard/youth.

I also don't see evidence of football waning in popularity with kids, a $60 million stadium opened in Texas for a high school last year.

What I think is also being overlooked is the fact that gambling is a major driving force in the NFL's popularity, particularly TV ratings. Off the field scandals and player safety aren't of major concern, things like the 'fail mary' are.

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02-04-2013, 01:44 AM
  #68
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My kids will not be allowed to play football. Golf, Tennis, Figure skating, swimming, and martial arts are sports they can play when they're young and maybe basketbll and baseball as they get older.

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02-04-2013, 09:24 AM
  #69
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Honestly, and I don't know if you can speak on this, but the Northeast does not produce athletes anymore, why? All the big athletes come from the south, cali or the midwest.
*looks at Jersey boy on TV holding up Super Bowl MVP trophy*

*shrugs*

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02-04-2013, 09:43 AM
  #70
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You are mistaken if you think TBI (traumatic brain injury) is going to get people to stop watching Football.

Most of the players in the NFL were in the lower end of the economic spectrum before they started playing in the NFL. Children will continue to play Football and the parents who raise them will hope Football gives them an opportunity to be successful.

TLDR

People don't care.

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02-04-2013, 09:55 AM
  #71
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The military thing is different. Modern versions do their job exceptionally well. But we aren't talking about protecting guys from shrapnel here. As Mayor Bee pointed out, Helmets have improved to the point where guys are comfortable using their heads. Time will tell if we see a swing far enough to increase safety. I know that many companies are working on this, with things like the gel inserts that detect excessive force.
Short of developing a helmet that enters the skull and protects the brain from the inside, all of these innovations are fairly useless as far as prevention is concerned.

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There's no 5'9 suburban white kid trying to make it in football as a nose tackle. It just doesn't happen. The game pre-selects out a huge portion of the population.
There are lots of "suburban white kids" who went on to become NFL nose tackles. Very bad example.

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02-04-2013, 10:08 AM
  #72
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There are lots of "suburban white kids" who went on to become NFL nose tackles. Very bad example.

I think his point had more to do with the 5'9" part than the suburban white kid part, but it could've been better stated simply by saying the vast majority of people who are average size have no chance of playing in the NFL, whereas overall size isn't necessarily a restriction from playing other pro sports like MLB and the NHL.

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02-04-2013, 10:10 AM
  #73
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If football ever dies it will be because of players like Pollard who openly say their kids will never play football because of the physical impact on health all while refusing any game changes and being personally responsible for a few concussions.

If the sport is hurt and needs to redo it's image, it all goes by the ambassadors of the game, the players.
I don't think your getting it. Steroids a perceived risk but actually false has hurt baseball severely.


The head trauma stuff is brutal, there's no way to brand yourself around it.

Football is gonna take a major hit because of this, there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Just the bitterness from the players alone will do it's damage. A guy that had to stop playing at 26, with no transferable skills and sparse assets is not gonna keep his mouth shut if he can get on the world stage.

The nfl has a mess coming it's way, and it's not gonna be able to get billions of dollars from television revenue with this kind of negative exposure.

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02-04-2013, 10:11 AM
  #74
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Unfortunately the legal world doesn't work that way. You can't legally sign someone to get repeated exposure to head trauma no more than you can sign someone up to die.
Army, police, navy, etc. You can't sue any of them if you die while conducting your duties. Nor can a boxer be sued for killing his opponent (as long as that boxer did not go outside the rules of the sport).

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02-04-2013, 10:12 AM
  #75
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Originally Posted by TheMoreYouKnow View Post
(1) I think as a debate it's overblown in one sense. Not every former NFL player (and certainly not every or even most former HS and college players) goes to shoot himself or his girlfriend or whatever else is being attributed to it. No doubt, getting hit in the noggin loads of times isn't good for it. I think instinctively everyone's been aware of that for as long as that game's been played. But at the same time, a lot of activities, a lot of hobbies youngsters engage in carry significant health risk and on a professional level, a lot of lower-level jobs carry significant health risks too while also paying a lot less than a NFL gig. My grandpa went to war and then worked in a chemical plant for much of his adult life, he died fairly young of cancer, who knows how that was related to his line of work.
We agree on this on a certain ethical level. People have always known the "got hit in the head one too many times" stereotype about football players.

But, that's only one part of the picture here. Other factors include:

- Common-sense arguments are often not effective as legal protection. If the NFL has promoted a product that necessarily causes brain damage, encouraged employees to engage in brain-damaging behavior and rewarded those who are proficient at it (ie, Ray Lewis), and influenced children to pursue this kind of behavior so that they can be recruited as future employees... well, let's just say that the courts don't look kindly on that kind of business model.

- It's not far-fetched to think that there's a class-action suit around the corner. If that happens, the financial consequences are going to be painful -- both in terms of the immediate payout, and in terms of what it means for future liabilities.

- The final end result of litigation is reasonably likely to be a precedent that the NFL cannot knowingly put its players in a position of sustaining avoidable brain injury simply to pad their own profits. That's a fairly common standard for any industry. That means the NFL is in a position to either eliminate head contact entirely (think of what a football game would look like without ANY head contact), or argue in court that brain injury is a completely unavoidable consequence of playing football. Either way...

- Once a ball starts rolling like this, it's hard to stop. Look at how baseball has been dragged through the mud over steroids. The same thing is likely to be the case in regard to head injuries in football. The news cycle alone could be devastating for marketing and PR purposes, never mind secondary consequences in recruiting and whatnot.


Quote:
(2) The debate is extremely hypocritical in the league, the media and among fans. Nobody actually cares about player safety all that much and the players themselves probably are among those who care least. There's a culture of recklessness and fatalism among players even now that the potential pitfalls are well-known. Would football still be an enjoyable game to watch if safeties *tackled* receivers rather than trying to take their heads off? If linebackers wrapped up rather than just trying to jump at ball carriers and knock them down? If guys who got hit in the head actually left the games when it's obvious they're concussed.? I think so but the players and coaches don't and ESPN doesn't either..
That's exactly the point. It's not that football is actually going to "die" and go away. It's that the success of football is largely tied up in hyper-masculinity and violence. Watching a bunch of guys in Marvin the Martian helmets playing a game where linemen can only make contact with their hands and form-tackles are the only form of defense... that's just really not a marketing dream. It would be kind of effete, which is the opposite of what Americans want to watch (ref: soccer as a spectator sport).

That's where the "death spiral" comes into play. Depending on how these medical studies and court cases play out, we may be in a situation where the NFL has no choice but to water down the product to an unappealing level. If that happens, the illusion of the NFL as the domain of invincible cartoonish super-men disappears. Ratings drop. Revenues drop. Advertising starts to wane. People start getting interested in some random sport we haven't even thought of yet. The spiral is tough to break once it begins.

Looking at nflevolution.com, I have no doubt that the NFL is already thinking of these potential outcomes. They have the word "evolution" right in the title, with "Forever Forward, Forever Football" as the catch phrase. Tell me that isn't an organization getting ready to make substantial changes to its product, and concerned about how customers will perceive the shift to a new style.

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