Rating slump need not signal league demise


Daniel Krugman, Sports editor

It was only a matter of time before the reality television program of the National Football League received a hit to their beloved ratings.
Years of concussions, arrests, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”-esque drama of Deflategate and an unpopular commissioner have amounted to an insurmountable heap of bad publicity to be dealt with.
Blame it on Commissioner Roger Goodell, Tom Brady’s ego or even the 24-hour news cycle following Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. No matter whose fault it is, the NFL is struggling to recover from its loss of ratings.
“While trying to protect everyone, you water it down some,” head varsity football coach Daron Reid said. “The game is not for everyone, it’s like a modern day gladiator. They cannot take the power from the players.”
According to Elias Sports Bureau’s website, “Sunday Night Football” and “Monday Night Football” are both down 12 percent in number of viewers while NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” is 26 percent down from last season.
“I lost interest in the NFL due to the lack of big hits,” sophomore and junior varsity football player Emmanuel Moore said. “It’s the new rules and safety precautions being made that are slowing the game down.”
As Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman put it to CBS reporters in a Nov. 3 press conference, “The league isn’t fun anymore.”
The NFL is now competing with the rising social media juggernaut of the National Basketball Association and even college football. If it wants to survive in this mass media society, it needs to find a balance between entertainment and safety.
Improving equipment or increasing the number of viewing platforms, rather than limiting it (teams are now not allowed to post game film on Twitter), could allow it to compete with the quickly rising popularity of the NBA.
“They need to incorporate letting the guys being a little more relaxed and not watering the game down because it makes it too safe,” Reid said on what the league needs to fix.
For now, the NFL should only be worried about how they can make the sport more attractive and plan for the future rather than trying to fix the past.