NFL Anthem Protests Week 17 – Regular Season Ends, But Problems Still Linger
Former New York Giants football coach Bill Parcells had a maxim that he used when people would talk about how losing teams were actually better than they appeared: “You are what your record says you are.”
In this final weekend of the 2017 regular season for the National Football League, we should remember those words as we head into the post-season. For no matter how the hoopla of the playoffs and the Super Bowl may disguise it, the league is in trouble, based on its track record of negativity for the season.
TV ratings are down, sponsors and advertisers are worried, player concerns are largely unmollified, and attendance in many cities is spotty. The NFL is a league that relies on ever-increasing numbers and television ratings for its momentum. No matter how they dress up the situation, every key indicator of fan interest – which is the true driver of the league – has an arrow pointing down.
The core fans are getting older and angrier; youth leagues are losing players over concussion and CTE concerns, and younger adults don’t care to spend time watching a four-hour game; sports rights acquisitions may produce less revenue in the future as the audience diminishes; and the players who make up the league can’t even be induced with a $100 million donation to their causes to stop angering their base with national anthem protests.