The NFL is back on the field playing a real game.
It’s back. The National Football League’s actual product, a game, returns with the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio which will feature two teams and a whole lot of players who will be doing something else on Labor Day after they fail to make the roster. The big names and regulars will be seen briefly although patrons will be paying top dollar for the Canton experience. But the important thing is the NFL is back and for the league it is the first indication whether people are back in front of the television or if there is continued television ratings erosion.
JD Power polled football fans, at least the poll had football fans who attended major sporting events and JD Power’s numbers came back with a reason why 2016 TV ratings fell. National anthem protests led by the now unemployed Colin Kaepernick. But NFL ratings showed signs of erosion prior to Kaepernick’s national anthem protests. The NFL has unofficially blackballed Kaepernick, the league has said nothing but John Mara the Giants owner said plenty when he said if he signed Kaepernick, there would be a backlash against the Giants. Meanwhile there might be another reason that there is television ratings erosion. Concussions. Or maybe there isn’t. Despite evidence that is emerging that football on many age levels could be hazardous to players health, NFL tickets are still hot items and then there is this. There are 777 college football teams that will take to the field for practices in August. Four schools have added football programs for 2017. Eight more schools will offer football programs by 2019. The gatekeepers of higher education apparently are not very concerned about the physical health of the players competing or whether concussions will damage the sport. They see money from football. Football is back on the field and that’s all that counts.
Concussions? Not a problem for the NFL or the college gatekeepers.