Blog Entry

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 9:20 am
Troy Aikman worries about the long-term viability of the NFL. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

While we hear nothing but great things about the health of the NFL -- particularly whenever commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference -- and see the ratings continue to rise, former Cowboys star quarterback Troy Aikman, who moonlights as an NFL analyst on a non-CBS network, isn’t quite as optimistic.

Though the NFL has continued to gain in popularity since … oh, let’s say … when the AFL was established in 1960, Aikman can see a day in the future when pro football isn’t necessarily the No. 1 sport in this country. For Aikman, it’s all about the long-term viability of the league, and when a sport becomes oversaturated among the public, that’s not great news.

“At one time, watching football was an event,” Aikman told the L.A. Times. “Monday Night Football was a big event. Now you get football Sunday, you get it Monday, you get it Thursday and, late in the year, you get it on Saturday.

“People in Los Angeles realized, ‘You know what, life’s OK without the NFL.’ If I’m an owner, I don’t want any fan thinking that.”

One big struggle Aikman points to is the NFL Network. While the network, in my view, does a mostly-wonderful job in covering the league, there’s a big problem the NFL has not solved. As in, much of the country doesn’t have access to the channel.

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“All of sudden, fans, me included, were saying, ‘I wasn’t getting the Thursday night game and I was OK with that,’” Aikman said. “That’s not a good thing.”

That’s true, especially since the league will add more games to the Thursday night lineup, meaning that’ll be five more games next season fans can’t see on the networks or ESPN.

If there’s any reason I can think of to agree with Aikman, it’s based on what he said last year when discussing the concussion issue that simply won’t go away (nor should it).

“I think that we’re at a real crossroads, as it relates to the grassroots of our sport, because if I had a 10-year-old boy, I don’t know that I’d be real inclined to encourage him to go play football, in light of what we are learning from head injuries,” Aikman said on HBO’s Real Sports. “And so what is the sport going to look like 20 years from now?”

But other than the concussions issue -- which, to me, doesn’t seem to have many fans (or players) all that concerned -- I’m not sure if I buy the theory that the NFL’s wings will melt away* because of a supposed sense of hubris.

*Icarus clearly would disagree with this statement.

“I think we’re going to look back at this point in time and say these were the missteps that the National Football League took that kept football from being the No. 1 sport,” Aikman said.

“I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport. You talk about the ebbs and flows of what’s popular and what’s not. At some point, the TV ratings are not going to be there.”

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Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:21 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

     The NFL may have a better week-to-week concept for drawing interest and ratings, but the product is easily the worst of the four major sports.

Bronxzoo, do u watch the NBA?

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:27 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

The NFL will ALWAYS beat the NBA and MLB and NHL... Pure numbers.  I cited the example to illustrate my point.  The "Opener" for the NBA... The big X-mas day game... and they drew 1/4 of the NFL's tv audience on that day.  That was the 4th highest cable- viewed regular season game ever... and it was 75% less than a week 16 NFL game.  The numbers are too high.  The NFL is too popular to be caught.  That is all I was trying to say and prove.  I do think the NBA is entertaining, but believe me, those gangsters are FAR MORE likely to fall off the radar than the NFL.  Most people polled would care less if the NBA folded.  Just saying... go ask a random 100 people on the street, and well more than 50(probably closer to 75) are gonna tell you that they could care less about the NBA. That IS NOT the case with the NFL.   
So if you're not the NFL, your league should fold/is a failure? What an idiotic idea. I would expect no less from a racist jerk who calls NBA players "gangsters". What a condescending thing to say. You don't know any NBA players personally. 

You also didn't prove that the NFL will stay on top permanently. All you said was that they have a big lead. Well, so did baseball in the 50's up until the 60's. Back then, tons of people wouldn't have noticed or cared if the NFL folded. And 100 people out of a country (not to mention international) fanbase is a ridiculously small sample size. I might as well go ask my best friend what he thinks and say "an overwhelming percentage of people polled indicated little interest in the NBA's future." 

The NFL may have a better week-to-week concept for drawing interest and ratings, but the product is easily the worst of the four major sports. The leadership of the league, its heavy-handed rule-changing, and oversaturation on sports media has drastically cheapened the game. When you legislate the inherent fabric of the game so that one-half of the players cannot even do their jobs the way they were trained, you have a problem. 

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:05 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

It is not just the NFLN issue, it is lots of little things adding up to make the game less appealing to long term fans..

to name just a few:

-the continued rule change emphasis favoring flashy passing offenses and diminishing the importance of defensive play and the run game.

-The monstrous failure in establishing consistent application, or in some cases, even a clear definition of some new rules most notably, what does and does not constitute a clean hit....and the circus around establishing possesion on a reception, particularly in the endzone.  along the same lines, ther eis a wide perception that offciating in general is in the toilet.

-the aforementioned schedule saturation..sunday is easy to carve out a niche of tiem to devote to football for the avid fan, but they are now also asked to tune in Monday and Thursday night as well as saturday.  Even leaving aside the issue of some folks beign completely cut off from NFLN access, the time strapped fan feels more and more detached from the game as a whole as a greater and greater segment of it becomes inaccesible

-the general toughness reduction of the game.  I underastand why they are doing it and safety has to be a concern, It is necessary as the players get bigger and bigger and the collisions more violent, (quite simply with the conditioning advancements of NFL players, the abilty to dish punishment ha far outpaced the ability to withstand it)  but it doesn't change the fact that it is a drastic departure from the game as we've known it for years...

then there are some really minor ones that dont make a difference to everyone, or even a huge difference to those who do have an issue with some of the...but they just add weight to the pile.  Things like:

the new OT rule (some like it some don't but most agree having it one way during the regular season only to change the rules in the playoffs is crap)

the new kickoff rule

the continued proliferation of regular season games in Europe and the disadvantage it provides to those teams, particularly the ones who have to count it as a home game.

if these types of changes continue (18 game regular season appears to be on the horizon and that will be another slice in the "death by 1000 cuts" Aikman forsees.) then I will not be watching much longer and I know I am far from alone in that among long standing NFL fans...But that really doesn't matter so much as long as the league can repackage the product sufficiently to attract a new generation of fans
also, to slenderhonkey's point, it is not as if there is a herd of upstart sports just waiting to unseat the NFL if it's popularity wanes...Even if the product diminishes greatly in quality, they could probably rest on their laurels and hold the top spot for another decade or two

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 6:57 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

Not offered to all carriers I have Mediacom which doesn't carry it because Comcast (who is right down the road) doesn't service my area and because Comcast has it Mediacom isn't allowed to carry it. This is something that the FCC is trying to fix but who knows when that will be. 

Since: Aug 1, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:24 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

i agree , in my area they do not offer NFL network,  such BS!!!!

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 4:46 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

GForce88,   First off Aikman never said he did not want his kid to play football,  he said, he would not push his son into the sport, and if he wanted to play he would support him.    Wake up and listen, instead of being a hater!!!!!

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 3:58 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I am a cowboys fan and use to really like Troy Aikman but since he retires he has turned into a real D**k. I gues the demise of football won't have anything to do with the over-priced greedy players that want more and more money and get in more and more trouble and then complain when their careers are over that they some how don't have any money left. Now they have past players suing because they say the NFL didn't warn them enough about concussions. I do agree they have been hit in the head too many times. I am just tired of the NFL period and the biggest reason is the over-priced whinning players.

Since: Oct 3, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:51 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1


Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:25 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1


I got NFL network and red zone network with verizon fios.  its offered to all carriers just some shitheads, like james dolan in NY, who refuse to pay the NFL for the rights to broadcast it.   whats exclusive to Direct TV, is sunday ticket, which is a waste of money with the invention of the redzone network.  

the carriers who do not offer redzone (ie cablevision in NYC) are the ones who drop the ball.  NFL network comes with basic package and red zone was 40 bucks for the year from verizon.        
;     &nbs

Since: Jan 27, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:50 pm

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

well, i think an ever-increasing number of football fans are like me.  they root for a small covey of teams, or they just don't watch. 
last (2011) season, when the last of these teams, houston and denver, were eliminated, i more or less ignored the rest.
in fact, i went out for dinner and dancing in a place i was certain WOULD NOT have the superbowel on.
the NFL silently favors dynasties...esp ones belonging to teams based in the northeast, upper midwest, or california.  they preach parity, but parity does not sell licensed product quite like does a big city (bandwagon) does it.
it must've raised a lot of ire in the front office that the top-selling jersey came from a small-market team.

ultimately, the NFL's pandering to big-market teams inevitibly alienates much of the rest of us...and the rest of us are actually a bigger number than any single market, major of not.

football's true origins comes out of smaller markets, and that's where ultimately where its best hope for the future also will lie.

God bless.

ps-maybe the NFL should actually deduct nfl draft picks from the teams that raid free agents from other teams, rather than adding picks for compesation (thus lessening the value of all picks!).  then, the raider would actually have to choose, and if they have no picks, then they're out of the free agent market.  equity and accountability boys!

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