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NFL's Declining Viewership: One Slice at a Time

Discussion in 'Blinded by the Lombardis: Patriots Forum' started by tims4wins, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. Gunfighter 09

    Gunfighter 09 wants to be caribou ken Staff Member Dope SoSH Member

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    6,925

    Yeah, you misidentified that scarecrow.
    Eyeballs are not leaving football for girls soccer. But football seems to be the only sport that people cite CTE as a reason for no longer watching, despite other sports having significant concussion issues and nowhere near the same level of prevention effort.

    As for comparison, this study in Minnesota showed that the two sports have an essentially identical concussion rates.

    What it really means is that because of the war(s) of the last twenty years, and football, we understand TBI much better than we ever have and I imagine we are in for some more surprises like the study above concerning brain injuries. If brain injuries suffered by willing participants make you want to not watch a certain sport, you are crossing more than one sport off of your viewing list.

    http://www.startribune.com/more-dan...lur-state-championship-week-buzz/454514113/#1
     
  2. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    33,566
    Well, I think in a football game you see the head to head collisions and they look gruesome. Watching a soccer player take a ball of their head doesn't have the same visceral feel.
     
  3. Gunfighter 09

    Gunfighter 09 wants to be caribou ken Staff Member Dope SoSH Member

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    6,925
    I think it is the airborne collisions that led to most soccer concussions, rather than heading the ball, but I could be wrong.




    Either way, it can be brutal in soccer as well.
     
    #753 Gunfighter 09, Nov 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  4. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    17,440
    While I agree with your overall premise that viewing habits have changed, DVR has been around since 1999 when TiVo debuted. No, it wasn't nearly as ubiquitous as it is now and it has evolved to offer much more viewing options, but yes, ten years ago many people were watching 24 and Lost and Sopranos, etc, on their own timetable. Shows on the streaming networks you list don't necessarily succeed because you get to decide when they are on - you've been able to do that for 20 years, or even further back via VCR - but rather you get to decide if you want to watch one at a time or binge watch the entire thing in one day, without having to skip through commercials. Further, you can decide when you watch the game and DVR viewings are factored into ratings.

    Myself, I commented today that I've barely watched any football outside of Pats games this year. I couldn't really put a finger on exactly why, but part of that is that the game has changed so much that outside my own team, there's not really anybody that excites me. I used to tune in to watch, say, a great QB that might throw for 300+ yards. Now they all do it. It's turned into the juiced ball era and stats mean shit now. When Matt friggin Stafford is going to end up close to Dan Marino for career yards, it loses it's meaning to me. And that's on the NFL for rule changes and handcuffing defenses. It's watered down. The "stars" aren't that much better than the above average guys.

    Frankly, I think it's also as simple as being cyclical. The NBA was in the doldrums ten years ago. Now it's huge again. MLB had it's lulls, now it's back up. Different generations and the swings in different leagues and their stars are going to impact viewing. It's like anything else. And no, I don't think CTE has any kind of significant impact on viewing. It's great that some here point to it for their lack of attention to the league, but frankly it strikes me as a similar echo chamber that runs through V&N on certain topics. That's sincerely not meant to be insulting or disrespectful to anyone, simply to point out that this group is not an accurate subset of the general population. Which is a good thing, but it's not representative of the average American. I'd wager that if you did a poll of substantial sample size, less than 10% would even know what CTE is, let alone them citing it for watching less football.
     
  5. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    That may be true but it's misleading. One of the other sports cited was"combat sports"; boxing has seen people abandon it in droves because of head trauma. They didn't explicitly call it CTE, but brutality is central to why they left, and overall it's probably suffered a bigger decline (percentage) in viewership because of trauma issues than football has.

    The other two are hockey and girl's soccer, which aren't in the same league of viewers by a long shot.
     
  6. Devizier

    Devizier Member SoSH Member

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    9,339
    Lenders bagels are more authentic than half the crap that people pass off as bagels these days (I'm looking at you Panera, ENRG,al.)
     
  7. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    Cite?

    People don't watch boxing because the heavyweight division is crap and most fighters are foreign. Plus, the corruption and horrible decisions and refusal to match top fighters.

    Boxing is more popular when it's more brutal. See, e.g., Tyson.
     
  8. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    Plus that doesn't really jive with the rise of UFC, which you could argue has more brutal headshots than boxing.
     
  9. DanoooME

    DanoooME Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    The problem isn't individual headshots. It's the cumulative trauma over time. And there's a lot less of that in UFC because...

    a) Fights in UFC last either 15 or 25 minutes, while most boxing matches go at least 30 minutes
    b) Takedowns occur a lot in UFC, which minimizes the head punching time in many/most fights; groundwork can be as important as stand-up
     
  10. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    And how many casual viewers are thinking that as a guy on the ground is getting his head punched in a couple of times before the ref steps in? The optics of UFC are often significantly more brutal (which was the crux of the original argument...brutality) than boxing IMO.
     
  11. Infield Infidel

    Infield Infidel teaching korea american SoSH Member

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    We haven't seen old UFC fighters for 40 years like Muhammed Ali. Boxing also has shady backroom stuff and fixed decisions that reduced its perceived legitimacy.
     
  12. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    UFC is more popular than it was but it is no where near as popular as the NFL. So I think it can be true that less people watch the NFL because of CTE.

    I personally don't know anyone that has stopped watching the NFL because of CTE but do know guys that will no longer watch because of the anthem stuff. This is a select group though because a lot of cops/military go to the same gym as me.

    It's a bit of a bummer man, as the dude says, that this anthem shit is the first time I've had to tell people "no politics in the gym."
     
  13. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    I haven't watched less because of CTE specifically; but the totality of gruesome injuries has made me less of a fan. It just seems like on every play you're holding your breath to make sure no ankle was broken or acl snapped or head concussed. It's just not a fun view anymore, nevermind the penalties, etc.
     
  14. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    If you see some new golden age of football on the horizon I am sure many would love to know more about it. Because I’m not sure even the owners see one, hence the blatant cash grab they’ve been in the midst of for about a decade.

    The NFL is in trouble, full stop. The quality of the game has declined for two reasons: player safety and fantasy football, both of which have had the effect of turning what was a balanced game into one that is severely skewed to the offensive side. Secondarily, the game is increasingly out of step with social norms on a host of things: misogyny, use of taxpayer dollars, transparency, employer-employee relationships. These don’t directly impact the bottom line as much as the former (if at all) but they do put greater pressure on the league to emphasize player safety and artificially make it more “exciting.”
     
  15. Nator

    Nator Member SoSH Member

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    10 years ago when a safety devastated a slot receiver coming across the middle, it was really exciting to me, regardless of the match-up. Ignorance was bliss.

    Now when I see those plays, my first thought is hoping the guy is OK.
    I try to watch the Patriots live every week. However, once Brady hangs them up and they start logging 6-10 records, I can't be certain I'll be watching at all.
    I just don't feel the visceral joy I once did at the savagery of the game anymore, since we are seeing the very real impact it has on these guys and their families.
     
  16. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    Who was that Arizona DB, the tiny dude, who used to light people up? I remember he was on an SI cover a couple decades ago taking someone's head off. I always think of that cover and the "jacked up" segments and how pornographic they all were.
     
  17. PC Drunken Friar

    PC Drunken Friar Member SoSH Member

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    Aeneas Williams?
     
  18. Poulsonator

    Poulsonator Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Chuck Cecil?
     
  19. richgedman'sghost

    richgedman'sghost Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Chuck Cecil? He played for Green Bay too I believe..
     
  20. pappymojo

    pappymojo Member SoSH Member

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    I have a hard time blaming the fact that the current NFL game is skewed to offensive production on either player safety or fantasy football. I know that the NFL has said some changes were made to improve player safety, but I don't believe them. I think they just wanted to boost offensive production.

    For me, one issue that has diminished my interest in football from twenty years ago is that it is much more available throughout the week. On top of Monday night games, we have Thursday night games, Sunday night games and some Saturday night games later in the season. You could watch three full games of football a week without ever watching a game during the day on Sunday. It's kind of too much (especially when so many games suck - if you are limited to network tv and an NFL game is the only thing kind of worth watching). Last night's Lions/Packers game was neither fun nor enjoyable to watch. My reaction at halftime was 'why the hell am I watching this?'
     
  21. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Well, what do you define as "in trouble"? As in, like, the league is going to fold? It's going to drop to NHL level ratings? Because those things aren't going to happen. It's quite likely that it's hit it's peak, but it's not going to go away. The owners making a cash grab was them cashing in on it, not some kind of 'last chance'. That's what businesses do. They get the most money they can at all times.

    And your post kind of proves my point. The subset of enlightened people here, that do care about player safety, is not representative of the vast majority of the fanbase. Average Joe Football Fan doesn't give a shit about a guy getting CTE. Misogyny, labor relations and taxpayer dollars? Yeah, come on man. Much like juicing the baseball, eliminating the hand check and ending the neutral zone trap, they made rule changes they thought would increase scoring because SCORING = EXCITEMENT!!!! and it diluted the product. They also have strung it out too much with so many games on so many days. Thursday night football is killing them in that regard.

    I have no idea how fantasy football would decrease interest in the game. You're gonna have to explain that one a bit more.
     
  22. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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  23. axx

    axx lurker

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    6,077
    The NFL's big problem is the demise of cable and TV as a whole basically. I don't know if they have a solution for that really since any alternative is no way going to bring in the kind of money they are making now.
     
  24. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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  25. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    Is there any indication that declining TV viewership numbers will actually affect the NFL's profits? Attendance numbers seem to be right around the same they've been for the past 10 years or so, and even though fewer people may be watching actual broadcast/cable games I wonder how much of that loss is made back by more subscribers to RedZone/the Sunday Ticket package, more ad revenue from online highlight clips, etc. Plus, even if the NFL's TV numbers are down, that doesn't necessarily mean the league's rights will go for any less the next time they are up for auction because they may have declined significantly less than other TV numbers and thus still be the most lucrative option for TV networks.

    Basically, while I agree with most here insofar as my interest level in the NFL has significantly declined in the past few years (like some others, I also quit fantasy football a few years back and it's been very freeing) but I think it's still way too early to make predictions about what this means for the NFL more generally.
     
  26. Stevie1der

    Stevie1der Member SoSH Member

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    I think the single biggest factor driving the future profitability of the NFL is the competitive marketplace for obtaining broadcast rights. If the networks collectively decide based on ratings trends and internal viewer data that NFL games are not worthy content to invest in, the bottom could fall out, and the league could stand to lose a lot of money. On the other hand, when it comes time to renew contracts, if the broadcast networks are still as desperate as ever to retain rights, and you get added competition from an online player who's interested (Amazon, Google, Netflix, etc.) then you could well argue that peak NFL from a profitability standpoint might be yet to come.
     
  27. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    17,076
    Since the mid-2000s, the league started becoming increasingly quarterback dependent – in part due to the rule changes to facilitate a Manning Super Bowl, in part due to the desire to make the game more fantasy football-friendly and in part to reduce the chance of head injury.

    As a result, of the 32 teams in the league there are only 7-10 quarterbacks at any given time who seem capable of playing playing at the level required. The quality of the game is, I believe indisputably, at its lowest level in the game’s history. It is slow, over-officiated, and under competitive. The only prime time games that aren’t awful are those that can be flexed.

    This is absolutely a terrible position for the league to be in.

    Can it be fixed? I don’t think so. In the case of the NBA, they were able to make rule changes—college eligibility, how games are officiated—to improve the quality of the game. The NFL doesn’t have that luxury. You can’t add balance back into the game without putting players in more danger than they’re already in.

    I believe the owners understand this and are in the process of extracting as much cash from the league as humanly possible – through aggressive CBAs, unsustainable broadcast deals, craven marketing and market saturation. This is precisely what seemingly healthy companies do when they conclude that the demographics or headwinds are irreversible: they squeeze as much profit out as they can before everything craters. This is why, BTW, I believe revenues appear so high (look at the ads during a football game – half of them are the league promoting themselves, the Pro Shop, etc.).

    I’m not saying the NFL is going to disappear. But all the long term indicators are abysmal. Put another way: if the NFL were a public company would you be putting it in your retirement portfolio? If so, why?
     
  28. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I think that is a great post, but I would quibble that they can't add balance without risking safety - loosen the illegal contact rules and that can be achieved IMO.

    But I think this is less about the actual product and more about the external factors.
     
  29. johnmd20

    johnmd20 literally like ebola Lifetime Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I also quibble about the quality of play, which is definitely the highest it's ever been. It just doesn't appear that way because you can see 15 games a week, plus endless highlight, not 3 or 4. And the Thursday night games are a problem. The players, on average, just aren't ready after 3 days. And that's the first game an NFL fan sees every week. You watch enough Thursday night games, you'll quit the NFL asap. It's painful.

    But the talent on the field right now is ridiculous on the defensive side, which is why playing QB is so difficult. It's not because they suck, per se, as much as they are playing against fast and strong heat seeking missiles on defense. And due to this speed, the refs are far more involved and it's definitely over officiated, which officially sucks.

    Also, on every single big play, it is impossible to celebrate unless you can confirm there isn't a flag on the ground. So there is always a few seconds of delay before you can really celebrate a huge play. And sometimes it's a flag against the non scoring team, but it's still a flag, so you have to wait out the call. That feeling is just a poor viewing experience. Huge play. YEEEEAHHHHAAAHAH. Wait there's a flag. Fuck. [15 seconds pass, hands gesticulating all over] Oh, call against the other team, cool, great we scored, yay, I guess, let me check my Twitter.

    Contrast that to a HR in baseball or a huge three pointed in basketball, which is cathartic and official.
     
  30. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    4,562
    If the NFL is in trouble, why is college football doing so well?

    (That's not meant to be a snarky question at all, by the way.)
     
  31. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Is it? Interesting. I find it even harder to watch, the games are interminable, and it is the same teams every year
     
  32. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    I don't think I agree with you about this. I don't think the teams are allowed to practice as much and I think you see that on the field.

    Lombardi mentioned this recently specifically about Oline play, but I think we have discussed it here before generally.
     
  33. johnmd20

    johnmd20 literally like ebola Lifetime Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Maybe. But it's also possible that the O line play is suffering because they have to block heat seeking missiles while pretty much standing still and shuffling backwards.
     
  34. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    I think it's possible the game is naturally shifting towards the defensive side. Passing is down 14 yards per game (227 ypg is average, significantly down from the 243 ypg that it had skyrocketed to in 2015). I think over the last few years, we got conditioned to having 10-12 passers every year throw for 4,000 yards and every week a player was throwing for 400 yards, but that isn't really normal. I think people are a bit to quick to blame crappy offensive play as opposed to evolving defense; whether that is better athletes, different schemes, rule changes, etc. When people are opining that there are few good QBs in the league anymore, I think they often fail to consider the rapidly rising standard of what being "good" actually is.
     
  35. Dehere

    Dehere Member SoSH Member

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    College football viewing in total is down by basically the same percentage as the NFL this season. It goes mostly unnoticed because the college game hasn't been politicized and because nobody sees the trend of CFB as a signal of future trouble for the whole media industry.
     
  36. Super Nomario

    Super Nomario Member SoSH Member

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    I agree with this 100%. Some human is the 24th-best QB in the world. That guy's team is probably going 6-10. You can never have 32 teams happy with their quarterback situation by definition. If you look at 10, 20 years ago, it's always the same, and by any objective measure QB play has never been better.

    You make some points I do agree with in your post, and some I don't, but this one I especially don't. There are plenty of QBs who are capable of performing at a high level with the right pieces around them. Alex Smith is performing like an MVP candidate this year. Wentz and Goff have taken huge steps forward from their rookie seasons. Matt Ryan and Cam Newton won MVPs recently. Andy Dalton (2015) and Derek Carr (2016) performed like MVPs in recent seasons. Then you've got Brady, Brees, Wilson, Prescott, Stafford, Cousins. I reckon their are more teams happy with their QB situation than unhappy, and maybe more happy than there have ever been, with the caveat that we're missing some of the most talented / fun QBs in Rodgers, Luck, and Watson.
     
  37. dbn

    dbn Member SoSH Member

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    A couple of points.

    (1) When talking about CTE affecting the popularity of the NFL compared to that of other sports, it's not just how much a given sport/league causes CTE. It's also how much a league tried to hide/cover-up the troubling results of CTE research.

    (2) Finagle? I haven't thought of them in a while; it's been 20 years since I've lived near one. Do they still have that horizontal buzzsaw that slices the bagels while simultaneously launching them the length of the counter?

     
  38. pappymojo

    pappymojo Member SoSH Member

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    You know what the NFL's problem is? They fuck with their product too much. It's like someone who can cook a beautiful cheeseburger but then replaces the onions with pickled beets for no reason.

    Case in point - the color rush uniforms.
     
  39. wiffleballhero

    wiffleballhero Member SoSH Member

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  40. MuzzyField

    MuzzyField Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    It's the NFL throwing camo on a crapy match-up not worthy of being the only game in a single-game window. Can't wait for Madden coverage next week on NBC to attempt and fail to excite the young video gamers. Good luck NFL!

    Edit: The real problem of TNF isn't the NFL it's the networks paying for it. The current rights fees are great, but it's hurting the business long term. The total pessimist view would be the NFL knows the long term is shit and is cashing in all the chips now.
     
    #790 MuzzyField, Nov 9, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  41. Super Nomario

    Super Nomario Member SoSH Member

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    I see I'm not the only Blue Apron subscriber in this forum.
     
  42. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    I like pickled beets a hell of a lot more than these getups
     
  43. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    Forget pickled beets, who wants to bake cookies?
    ImageUploadedBySons of Sam Horn1510287091.790503.jpg
     
  44. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    So you would rather they keep doing the same thing, which is failing, instead of trying something new that worked out pretty damn well when off circumstances dictated it a few weeks ago.

    This is like people bitching about ESPN changing Sportscenters format even though it’s sucked for years. Sometimes you have to try stuff.

    People in general hate change so I understand the sentiment but if the alternative is to keep bitching about the same failings, then by all means try something. It is by definition idiotic to keep doing the same thing while expecting different results. Sure it’s not the root cause but it’s something interesting, at least IMO.
     
  45. MuzzyField

    MuzzyField Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm just saying the camera angle isn't the problem. What's your solution?

    Edit: SportsCenter is dead and ESPN keeps sticking the knife in it and I think it's fun to watch the ineptness in action. Sad, some SC personnel are about to get axed, reports credit the timing to stock options. That make Micky Mouse seem human, in a good way. The rest is about to launch... ESPN+ awaits your money and allegiance.
     
    #795 MuzzyField, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  46. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The Ringer NFL Show dropped a really interesting podcast yesterday about the state of the league, and Robert Mays (who nerds out on offensive line play and technique more than any other journalist I know) made some really interesting points about how the limited number of practices allowed in the current CBA makes it impossible for offensive lines to gel before the end of the season - they're basically figuring out how to work together during games all season long. Did you all know that each team is allowed only 14 fully-padded practices all season? Mays' theory was that the quality of offensive line play - and by extension, offensive play more generally - we're seeing now is the result of a slow decline since the current CBA took effect six years ago.
     
  47. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    I knew about the padded practices limitation but hadn't considered it specifically in relation to O-Line play, which is interesting.

    The padded practices rule is another example of the NFL (and NFLPA since I assume they were the ones pushing the limitation in the last CBA negotiations) shooting itself in the foot. I would think you could get the same safety benefits from increasing the number of padded practices but decreasing preseason games from 4 to 2, say, but the NFL would never agree to that because they get money from pre-season games and not from practices. (In fairness, I have no idea if the NFLPA would agree to that trade-off anyway but I would think something could be worked out.)
     
  48. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    I've heard that same theory before; that the O-line are basically the pitchers of NFL Training Camp and that while all the other positions are good to go with minimal practice time; the linemen really need the extended time to gel as a unit.
     
  49. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    I agree it’s not the problem but if they can figure out if it’s something useful and then make the watching experience better, that’s not a bad move. Something about the product sucks. The networks likely have limited control to impact it. They are trying to impact it in the limited ways they can. People are going to bitch one way or another, so might as well do something.

    Not sure what the ESPN comment has to do since I’m not pledging allegiance to it but, outside of cancelling it (which won’t happen) why would they keep running the same thing out? The only way to find stuff is by trying stuff out. But, hey it’s cool to hate ESPN so I guess I won’t go full hipster with this one.
     
  50. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    It’s clearly a combination of factors. Holding your breath after every big play to confirm there was no flag. CTE. Offense dominating. Too many games on tv resulting in too many blah games. All of the never ending off field legal ‘drama’. As recently as like 3 years ago the NFL was killing it - it dominated the off season news cycle, on top of its regular and post season. Now everyone is rolling their collective eyes at the offseason drama. Whereas we used to crave the news, now we realize that so much of it is manufactured. I love football but I hate the NFL.
     

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