If you look at the Facebook, or Twitter accounts of the NFL, you will notice something striking. Whenever they update the fandom about rule changes, or disciplinary action on players, the fans are seemingly negative towards the league. Why is that? I believe that the culture of football has declined in recent years. Multiple issues, many on the broadcast side are causing conflicts with the fandom. Here are a few:
The NFL loves it’s partnerships, especially with Beer companies. Just watch a full game and count how many times there is a media break. Count how many times you see a beer commercial with the tag line, “Official beer of the NFL.” Fans do not want to be ripped from the game after a big play. They want to see what happens next. This is only an attempt to increase the length of football games, to keep their broadcast numbers high. It is a pain for us.
Player discipline/Drug policy
This is a big one. Roger Goodell, the current NFL commissioner, has been criticized heavily for how discipline is handed out. For example, Martavis Bryant of the Steelers was suspended indefinitely for an entire year. This was for substance abuse, although it stemmed from multiple infractions. The issue here is that his ban was for marijuana, but someone like Adrian Peterson can be accused of domestic violence and can play again in the NFL. Peterson’s suspension was almost a slap on the wrist compared to the time Bryant missed. Not just that, but Roger Goodell’s view on marijuana is dated. The league has no problem shoving beer commercials down our throats. The painkillers that are given to players to reduce pain, are addictive. A lawsuit even came forward, according to The Washington Post. The NFL has many problems in this area.
This is something that is complained about in probably every sport. In the NFL, it is very prevalent. Holding calls, are my number one pet peeve right now. What is considered holding seems to differ among officiating groups. Even though there is an official handbook, these guys don’t seem to follow it week to week. It depends on the situation, to the eyes of many fans. The league changed the rules a few years ago about what a defenseless player is. Now players can’t just react, they have to think about where to hit the running back, or wide receiver. Hit them too high, and it’s a 15 yard penalty. Some of those calls are very controversial and I’ve noticed at times over the 2016 season, that it affected the outcome of a game. Put the offense into field goal range, and the game is over. Then you see people on twitter pointing out that it was a legal hit. It is a mess.
There are more issues with today’s NFL, but these issues have to be addressed soon, or we’ll continue to see the value of American football decline. That can only happen with a new perspective at the head of the league. Yes, it may be time for Roger Goodell to step down.