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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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Comments

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:10 pm
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I wish he would have said which sport he thought was going to take over being #1. Baseball's struggling to keep the already existing fan base interested let alone getting new fans to watch and will still be recovering from the whole steroids issue for a long time. The NBA is completely watered down now and relies on a handful of stars and a few good teams to keep ratings high. Hockey and soccer will NEVER be huge in the US because neither of those were "America's" games like baseball and basketball. I just don't see the NFL losing that #1 spot. Look at how many millions of people do fantasy football every year! I do think they've dropped the ball with the NFL Network though. How it's only offered through DirectTV. How it costs like $180 for one season...not good in a recession. If the NFL stayed #1 this past season even after everybody was completely fed up with the lockout, I'd say they're safe for years to come.



Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:30 pm
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1


the NFL always rocks in ratings because:

1.  games are played once a week and there is only 16 of them so everyone looks fwd to them and they mean so much more then a single hockey/baseball/basketball game.  you miss a yankee no game big deal, there still 6 more that week...

2.  sunday is a huge stay home and relax and watch TV day.

2.  games are played durring the daytime and the majority end before its dark out where as all other sports games end at midnight on a regular basis and people have to wrk the next day so they arnt watching 

3.  gambling and people watching who ever they bet on. 

  



Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:27 pm
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I'm not going to read the pages of posts already done. Here's my 2 cents. The NFL Network has too many fights with cable companies to keep adding games to the NFL Network schedule. I live in NJ and have Cablevision. Cablevision wants NFLN on the higher pay packages and NFL network refuses to let that happen and wants it to be in the basic or one step up from Basic package. When media outlets fight, it is us, the fan, caught in the middle. Another example in my area, if you are a Time-Warner cable customer, guess what? No MSG network for you, so your beloved Knicks and Rangers games are gone!  

These media companies have gotten too big and without regulation. Way to go, FCC. Stop worrying about Janet Jackson's boobs and concentrate on the monopolies of the media outlets in this country. 



Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:31 am
 

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.   



Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:21 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

bronxzoo, you are making my point for me with your statement about the NBA.  I don't care what type of ratings the league has in comparison to itself from the MJ era or whenever... My point is the NFL will NEVER be rivaled by the NBA for fans, popularity or otherwise.  NFL is now, and will always be Number 1.  Some factual support... The NBA opener on Christmas Day this year between NY and Boston drew 5.85 million viewers, (4th highest number of cable viewers for an NBA regular season game) while the NFL game on that day (GB v. Chicago)  drew 21. 8 million viewers.    
You took my quote of context. It's not a popularity contest. If you had read my post within the context it was posted instead of as a stand-alone quote, you would have realized I said it to the person who said the NBA was "deteriorating." All evidence points to the contrary. 

Those numbers comparing the Opening Day of the NBA to the NFL game are all well and good but do not definitively prove your statement "NFL is now, and will always be Number 1." You're willing to guarantee the NFL will permanently remain the top sport in the country? And to prove this you cite facts from 3 months ago, rather than use facts that show the NFL will stay as popular as it is now. Nice try. 



Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:13 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

bronxzoo, you are making my point for me with your statement about the NBA.  I don't care what type of ratings the league has in comparison to itself from the MJ era or whenever... My point is the NFL will NEVER be rivaled by the NBA for fans, popularity or otherwise.  NFL is now, and will always be Number 1.  Some factual support... The NBA opener on Christmas Day this year between NY and Boston drew 5.85 million viewers, (4th highest number of cable viewers for an NBA regular season game) while the NFL game on that day (GB v. Chicago)  drew 21. 8 million viewers.    



Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:12 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

How about this theory?

Everyone is getting older and realizing that life is more important that a game.  Football is entertainment, entertainment is for when the work is done and the workload increases with maturation.

Nothing to see here, move along. 



Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:42 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I'm one of those fans that's at that point. I used to watch every game on TV and Sundays would sit around the house watching and never missed a Super Bowl. Now I run errands on Sundays and other than the playoffs, watched only 1 game in full. I've been at the gym or sleeping for half the super bowls in the past decade and I see things just getting worse. If they continue to retool the game like they did with kickoffs and personal fouls, there could be a day where the pro bowl is the everyday product. QB's already have the pro bowl protection and WR's are next. The league is going to continue to do everything they can to minimize or eliminate concussions but that is impossible. This is a collision sport and like boxing or other contact events, it's part of life and a choice the players make. They make a lot of money to play a game and CHOOSE to play that game. If an NFL player doesn't want to live their 50's disabled and die at 60 with the mind of an infant then be a dentist. The media will continue to push the concussion issue making it seem like there is a huge demand for change while the normal fan is content with what they have.
It is evident that Roger Goodell is the most DANGEROUS person in the NFL today. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but at somepoint, the NFL is going to be a completely different sport than we see today and not for the better.



Since: Aug 27, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:20 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I do see and understand Aikman's point.  However, where there is money, there is drive.  I live in Texas and football is king, same in Florida, California, Georgia, and Louisiana.  Which is where the majority of these players come from.  So as long as those states drive the sport it should be ok.  Even if a sport surpasses football and it becomes #2, there will still be enough to go around.  It would be ignorant to say that football or anything will be around forever.  But football is one of those sports that will be around and popular for a longtime. 




Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:12 am
 

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I still believe that the popularity is high enough that a pay- per- view option is coming somewhere down the line.  To what extent... that remains to be seen.  It is already here right now, but only for those Thursday night games.  Don't overkill your product, NFL.  Need to strike a balance, because watching Monday Night Football was an event when I was a kid.  Now... it is just another game that I watch as do millions and millions of others
This is what I think Aikman is eluding to. I can see the NFL pushing it to the point of pay per view also. I think the NFL will push until they see a decline. Once that decline starts though, with all the other changes, will the people care? MNF used to great, as little as 10 years ago, it was better than the majority of the Sunday games. Now, I rarely finish a MNF game. It has plummetted since moving to ESPN. I bought the NFL channel the first 3 years it was available. I haven't had it the last 2 years and haven't missed it. It's awful.


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