NFL facing 2nd and long in the perception arena

Just prior to the NFL kicking off its third weekend of the season, the autopsy of former Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez was released as part of a lawsuit brought against the league by the player’s family.

The lawsuit says Hernandez had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers said on Thursday.

Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said Hernandez had Stage 3 (out of 4) of the disease, which can cause violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive disorders .

Hernandez killed himself in April in the prison cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for murder.

Hernandez had shown signs of memory loss, impulsivity and aggression that could be attributed to CTE, according to his lawyer Jose Baez.

So how is this an economic story? Well the NFL is suffering greatly by these stories as well as NFL players not respecting the National Anthem.

The league recently agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the dangers of playing football.

I have written earlier about the NFL’s problems and how in five years it will be a shell of what it was. Last season’s TV ratings were lower than the prior year, which was the first time that has happen. And now this season’s first two weeks TV ratings are even lower than last season.

Is it a result of people turning their backs on the sport because of the events off the field or is the NFL flooding the zone with too many games during the season.

Week 1of this season saw a Thursday Night game a slate of games Sunday afternoon, a Sunday Night game and two games on Monday night. That’s 6 games broadcasted over a 5-day span. Plenty of TV money for the owners, but saturation in the market.

Of course the league is not standing still. The commissioner’s office release the value of its franchises. Chief cheerleader Roger Goodell’s report showed how valuable — and how much cash he has brought the owners — the league is. However, the value the league puts on a team is not based on anything more that what the league says it is. It’s not based on an actual offer from a perspective buyer making that offer.

To use a football metaphor, I think the NFL is facing a 2nd down and 25 yards after a personal foul penalty. The league doesn’t have to gain all that yardage in one play, but it needs to move the ball forward right now.

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