Ok, huddle up. Let’s see how far the NFL has fallen since I last wrote about the trials and tribulations earlier this month.
As I wrote in The New York Post in January 2016:
This season is likely the apex for the NFL. In 10 years — perhaps less — professional football will be out of business as we know it today.
It sounds impossible given its popularity, but football cannot survive as it is now.
This season’s TV ratings are 20% below the numbers the game pulled in during the 2015-2016 season. NFL fanboys often point out that TV ratings are down across the board, so the NFL is fine.
However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s office has often stated that live sports and the NFL in particular insulate advertisers to the overall TV rating declines.
Now, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is taking on Goodell over his contract renewal. The league agreed earlier this year unanimously to give him an extension. But so much has changed this year for the league, Jones feels they should take a second look before rubber stamping Goodell’s future.
Let’s face it, when the President is tweeting that an NFL player should be suspended over his pregame demonstrations as it happen last weekend, you could say Goodell fumbled the issue. This far into the season and the NFL has still not come up with a plan.
This weekend LA Raider running back Marshawn Lynch was playing in Mexico City, part of Goodell’s effort to grow the sport internationally, and stood for the Mexican National Anthem, but sat for the Star Spangle Banner.
As I have written prior, there’s no First Amendment rights on the factory floor or in a football huddle.
In my Post piece from 2016, I wrote that the NFL will struggle to be around in its importance in 10 years or maybe sooner. At the current pace of negative attention, I don’t think the league now has 5 years if things continue.
Take a look at the #emptyseats Tweeter feed on any Monday and you will see how many fans are not showing up for home games across the league.
The number of headlines the NFL has generated for events happening outside the game certainly appears to alienate its core audience. The league is losing the middle of the country over its Anthem antics and the owners will realize that once a new TV contract comes up for renewal at a lower price than the previous one.
Then and only then these billionaire owners will allow Jerry Jones to talk in the huddle.