December 5, 2016
Has football lost its Sabbath appeal?
It is clear that society has reached a tipping point of supporting over-paid, abusive to women, agenda-protests from 1%ers who 'play' at work for our entertainment and their wealth. I've neither attended, watched, nor tailgated any NFL activities since the "Kaepernick capers" began. Formerly a four-seats season ticketholder was asked to pay personal seat license of $320K, (yes $80,000 per seat did include a free hot dog per game) for four seats at the Falcons new stadium. I'm out! I hope the industry gets a reality check and considers the priorities of how many support ministries could be funded with the entertainment dollars currently invested in the NFL.
I agree there is a balance of work and play, but the NFL carries the baggage of poor stewardship, cruelty toward women, political pulpits that cross the lines of work and play for personal gain. Get outside, through the football with friends and neighbors and skip the paid game, the backyard or park game is free and accessible.
I suppose, like everything else, there are a number of reasons for the popularity, or lack thereof, of any sport, event or activity. I think the Kaepernick thing was a real turn-off for people my age (boomers), but it really just was a symptom of a bigger issue. When I watch football, I especially enjoy the coordination and talent it takes to make those plays. I'm encouraged by the humility of some players...Prescott, Fitzgerald...but they are few and far between. The young men, and even the older players have made themselves some sort of "hero" or showman...they strike poses after a play, they make themselves into the "I" that is NOT in "team". Instead of doing the job they are paid for and celebrating their teamwork modestly, they show off to the stands and the cameras. Just as in politics, media attention has made them into celebrities instead of models for the younger set who watch them. Their antics are a complete turn-off, so it's hard to keep watching. Maybe others don't find their showmanship antics troubling, but I feel it's definitely a symptom of our day, where "I" matter the most.
Good column, but Mark Cuban isn't seeing the forest for the trees, but then that doesn't surprise me either. The politicization of the NFL is their biggest problem & after the run up to this past Presidential election people are fed up with politics & want an escape from it, not more of it from the NFL. From the TV broadcasters offering their political opinions during the games to twits like Colin Kaepernick mainly, & others following his lead offending viewers with his & other players calculated & attention craving political protests of things that many viewers look upon as sacred, to the front office of the NFL telling the Dallas Cowboys they can't wear clothing supporting the police officers slain in Dallas this past year during NFL games, to the league's chronic preoccupation with perceived racism on & off the field, to the players & teams immersing themselves into the gun control debates, the viewers have had enough, I've had more than enough! I haven't watched a single NFL game this season & you know what? I don't miss it. I have found better things to do with the time I would've normally spent in front of the tube watching the NFL. I rediscovered old hobbies, spend more time with my wife, & help out more at church than I once did because it cut into NFL games. No more! There is a lot more to life than the NFL & if they don't reign in their preoccupation with partisan political wrangling & attention craving twits like Colin Kaepernick they're ratings will continue to fall, & rightly so. Last thing, I haven't heard of college football's ratings dropping off as the NFL's have. That's because they stay out of politics, the games are more exciting, & other than marching bands which provide musical entertainment & team spirit boosting during the games, college football does not shove over the top boundary pushing "entertainment" spectacles (think Super Bowl type halftime shows that aren't suitable for kids) down their viewer's throat. Until the NFL learn to just play football & stop playing politics they had better get used to lower ratings & fed up former fans. As for me, I won't be back.
I think Cuban has a point. It goes along with how our children are often encouraged to play the same sport year round and become as expert at it as possible as early as possible rather than enjoying more than one sport or for that matter, other activities on a regular basis. I'm not a huge fan of the chest thumping, super ego, individualistic athletes of our day, but it was probably after watching the movie Concussion, and remembering all the players who were forced to stop playing, that I really lost my appetite for the NFL. I don't actually mind that pro athletes call our attention to the plight of others... sometimes that's the only way certain groups of people are made aware of issues that are worthy of attention. When we disagree with the message it's easy to say athletes, or actors, or celebrities should stick to their specialties, but sometimes fishermen and shepherds have been known to become evangelists overnight.
The argument that the NFL is oversaturated loses some of its power when compared and contrasted with the NBA. While I haven't kept records of the hours of TV coverage between the NFL and the NBA (I'm not a fan of basketball; while I'm a big fan of football, whether college or pro), my impression is that basketball is much more saturated than football, and yet it remains rabidly popular; so, in my undocumented observation, oversaturation isn't the issue.
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