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: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:10 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

With only 16 game seasons where every game is vital for playoff contention, I seriously doubt that football will lose its luster with fans.  What he is saying is basically what a lot of sports fans feel about baseball.  Just because we miss a few games on different networks doesn't mean they are any less important.  The NBA is deteriorating, MLB is about as exciting as shoveling snow until the postseason, and as much as I love the NHL, it will never rival the NFL. 
You're quite wrong about the NBA. Ratings are approaching the level they were at in its heyday when MJ ruled the air(waves). They're not ever going to be where the NFL is right now because it's usually an 82 game season plus a long postseason. MLB has a similar problem but lower ratings. 

Aikman's not saying this will happen next year, but it will happen eventually. People will get tired of a 24-7 NFL news cycle on sports networks. It's basically why I stopped watching the NFL this year. Every time I turned on the TV it was NFL this, NFL that. Some of us have other sports interests besides the NFL. The NFL hasn't helped itself by cheapening the sport with ridiculous limitations placed on defensive play. I'm sure part of it is safety-focused, but the deeper reason one fears is to encourage more offense. I'm sorry, but I grew up when the NFL was played by real men and was a real sport, with offense and defense carrying equal weight. 

Give me college football in the falls, NBA in the winter, and baseball in the summer and I'll get my sports. I can live without the NFL. And I applaud Aikman for his honesty.  

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:09 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

hayes, you are obviously entitled to your opinion, but Marques Colston belongs on that list.  He is certainly much better than Dwayne Bowe, who drops tons of passes.  He is better than Nicks and Victor Cruz, who both also drop a lot of passes.  Colston produces year in year out with unbelievable numbers.  He is tough as nails, and makes the big catch over the middle better than any receiver you listed.  Colston is very quiet, so he doesn't call attention to himself.  Also, Brees spreads it around to Graham, Lance Moore, Meachem and Devery Henderson so Colston has good numbers but not off the chart numbers like he could. 

Since: Dec 20, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:04 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I agree with Aikman.  I love the game of football and made the decisions that I am not going to buy the NFL network. I don't even get ESPN anymore.  I watch football on the major networks. If there is not a game on, I don't need to watch.  I make a great living, and I am in a great demographic (40-45).  I decided it is too much and I am too busy.

At the same time, multiple days allow people to watch games on different days.  Maybe Sunday doesn't work for some people and so they catch a game on Thursday.  But if the NFL does not place games on the major networks, I don't watch.  I actually miss the days when Monday night football was the only event in town.  And, it was an event.  I never missed.  Now, I don't worry about missing.  

Aikman is identifying another real issue and concern.  I have two boys, neither of them plays football.  I played. They won't.

Since: Feb 20, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:01 am

Here are my top ten WR's in the NFL

Joshua's list:

10) Dwayne Bowe- He can catch the passes to take them to a win
9) Reggie Wayne- He had a good year without Payton
8) Hakeem NIcks- He can make good routes for Eli
7) Victor Cruz- Makes unbelievable catches
6) Wes Welker- Can really make catches anywhere on the field
5) Vincent Jackson- Maybe the best on long bombs
4) Larry Fitzgerald- He is beast
3) Calvin Johnson- He can jump high to catch  good passes
2) Brandon Marshall- Started to take the Dolphins to wins
1) Andre Johnson- Hurt for some of the year- came back strong

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:51 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I disagree with Aikman that the NFL might not be Number 1 sport for long.  The NFL game is too popular, and will always be Number 1 over the competition.  MLB has die hard fans that will always love the sport, but too many sports fans who do not like baseball.  The NBA?? That is a JOKE.  Think back to the lockout from 3 months ago... 75 % or so of those asked didn't care if there was a season.  Football will reign supreme.  But, I do agree with some of Aikman's points.  Specifically, they are watering down the league with all of these Thursday night games on the NFL network.  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.    &nbs

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:46 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

I agree with Aikman. But, I think the problem is the players themselves. They have turned into prima donnas filled with an underserved sense of entitlement. Not all of them mind you, and I'm not ingnorant to the fact that every sport has them. But, the problem with football is the nature of the athlete themselves which is off-putting. The constant trash-talking, the thuggery, the he-said/he-said owner/player's getting old. I used to follow the NFL religiously about 10 years ago--I could tell you jersey numbers of players that weren't on my favorite teams without a moment's hesitation. Now, I'd be hard pressed to name 5 players on the Pittsburgh Steelers as an example. I guess I've just gotten tired of it.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:44 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

While I don't think Aikman will prove to be right about this any time soon, I can see what he is getting at. Goodell wants to expand to 18 games, watering down the product. The passing game has progressively gotten out of hand, evidenced by the 3 QB's with 2 close behind, breaking 5,000 yrds this year. Defense is falling by the wayside, which is half of the game people enjoy watching. MNF is now on a cable station as well as Thursday games for half the year. These games in comparison to Sunday games are laughable in terms or match-ups and production value (especially the NFL network games). More people are getting rid of cable and using the internet as a means of entertainment because the value is not there anymore. The games are overpriced an overvalued, which draws corporations, but drives fans away. So, in 20 years, will the NFL look like a high priced arena league that has 24 games a year, 6500 yrd QB totals, and games on everyday except Saturdays? That is the direction it is moving towards if you compare todays NFL to the NFL of the early 90's, 80's, 70, etc.

Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:36 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

Maybe it's just me, but does anyone give a crap what Aikman has to say anymore?
Epic Vicodins!  Agreed!  I was trying to be polite in my post but you hit the nail on the head!

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:33 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

Maybe it's just me, but does anyone give a crap what Aikman has to say anymore?  He's been spouting his mouth off since retirement, and who could forget those obnoxious, "get real" quotes during his playing days?  Now he uses his platform as an "analyst" to run off at the mouth.   Just curious, Troy, what exactly did you THINK would happen to you when you were getting your bell rung during your playing days?  

Get real.  

Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:27 am

Aikman not sure NFL will continue to be No. 1

the league adding more thursday games, I'm 100% positive they will expand coverage into local markets.

“I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport.
Nothing but respect for Mr.Aikman but he's wrong. 

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