US Sports Veteran
The NFL is facing growing adversity rolling into the 2018 regular season. Everything from injuries, to politics, to suspect new rules have created a cloudy environment around America’s most popular league. Fans are taking notice of these issues and some are turning off their televisions. Others still watch but regret the overall state of the league and the sport. Either way, the league’s imperfections are being shown to the world now.
Here’s what ten NFL fans believe the biggest issues are facing the league today.
What do you think the biggest issue is facing the NFL today?
“I feel like the biggest issue for football is the NFL trying to make Football too safe, we all know Football is very violent and of course there are ways to make it safer but when you got to make weird rules like the helmet rule now it completely hurts Football and does not work.”–@JJHumphrey12
“I would’ve said the anthem issue but with the new helmet lowering rule I think the way the game is played is going to see a drastic change. Either the refs have to become more educated or the rule needs to be changed. There are plenty of clean tackles getting called for penalties in the preseason this year.”–@M_Formo
“The greater awareness of how damaging it is to the body and how they are responding. There is a fine line between making rules that make the game safe and making the game boring.”–@Federico8888
“As of right now this new helmet rule seems to be throwing everybody off and seems to be the biggest issue. I’ve seen videos of defenders making simple tackles that would normally never be called penalties but now they are and there’s a lot of controversy over it so I feel that’s the biggest issue. It seems like nobody knows what the rule truly means either, which is a problem.”–@brianspolarich
“In the actual game I would say the new helmet rule but overall people have issues with the national anthem policy.”–justinwagner2498
“I think the biggest problem is the concussion protocol and they’re becoming softer and softer with tackling rules. Sooner or later it’s going to become flag football at the rate they’re going.”–@LordBeckler
“Growing the game at the younger levels because right now numbers are declining.”–@matthewdufner
“That’s a tough one, but concussions and C.T.E. It’s become a big scare, and has been effecting the way a lot of players nowadays play the game. Certain players would often tackle high, and it was never a problem but now with the new rules implemented to try and avoid brain injury any head to head contact is some sort of penalty. Hopefully in the future we can find a way to avoid brain injury while still being able to play the game it is meant to be played.”–@vandoldi
“I believe the helmet rule is a very big issue and should be eliminated or readjusted. The players don’t even know how to go at tackling someone anymore.”–@GillRyan11
“I think the game could be at a better place right now with less strict tackling rules. There are a lot of times watching games now where they will call a penalty on a tackle that wasn’t all that bad, I think some of these rules are important but it may have gotten to a point where it makes the game less fun to watch.”-@AndrewFerdenzi
Helmet rule: 4
Youth participation: 1
Strict tackling rules: 4
I tried to divide the results into categories as well as I possible could. I made the new helmet rule and general strictness about tackling rules into two different categories, although they obviously overlap. The responses that mentioned the helmet rule specifically ended up in that category, while the ones that talked about tackling rules in general fell into their own category.
When you think about it though, all four general responses stem from the same issue: football hurts peoples’ bodies. The C.T.E. connection is self-explanatory, without the massive collisions in football a lot of those same people could avoid C.T.E. Those that play have a higher chance of eventually having C.T.E. The strict tackling rules and new helmet rule are all designed to protect NFL players from themselves and each other. The rules are based on outlawing hard hits that could cause injuries and long-term damage. Of course, that doesn’t stop all hard hits and often players get penalized for perfectly legal hits if they look big enough.
And youth participation has dropped because parents don’t want to put their kids at risk of injury, especially the kind that could affect them for years down the line, like C.T.E. Even some NFL Hall of Famers have said they won’t let their children play the game. But football is, at its’ own core, a violent sport. That’s how it was meant to be, that’s the whole premise of the game. Take that away and guess what, it’s not football any more.
Only two people mentioned the anthem issue. There’s a lot of ways to interpret that, but the most obvious is that the game has internal flaws it needs to focus on before addressing superficial issues like politics or the anthem. That’s an issue the owners and players are divided on too, which doesn’t help. And I mean that as the Owners are divided and players are divided amongst themselves. Neither has created a solidified bloc.
Since everyone already covered the physicality of the sport, I’ll go in a different direction. If you’ve followed the NFL over the last few seasons, or over the last few decades, you’d know the players and the owners don’t exactly see eye to eye. The distrust between the owners and the players is huge and causes problems for the league. Ideally, the NFL would run as well as the NBA, where owners are less prominent, and the players generally get along with them and the association’s office.
The sport, owners, and players aren’t unified at all. In the long run, that could come back to bite the league.
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