How to virtually end the NFL injury epidemic

Yesterday I sent this tweet: “Look at the NFL injury report and then justify being a fan of the league’s product. That league should end.” Here is a summary of this week’s injuries, if you’re interested (beware the autoplay). I don’t think the NFL will ever go away, but below I offer a solution that will virtually remove all serious injuries from a game I actually like.

My tweet didn’t elicit much response, but not very many (of my) tweets do. However, an old friend of mine (maybe trolling), suggested that my tweet implied that we should also ban cars because more people are hurt in auto accidents than tear their ACLs in football games. This is not a good argument. My problem with the NFL is partly the profit that is generated by selling the athletes’ skills to consumers of the league’s product, and what seems like lip service from the league to the risk the players are taking. Nobody is selling my driving ability. The analogy might work better for auto racing, and it would be interesting to see a comparison of injuries between the NFL and NASCAR, and some analysis of how serious the leagues are in protecting their employees on the field and track. (more…)

I don’t like football like I used to

For all but the sentimental, football is America’s pastime. America’s brutal, product-peddling, time-sucking pastime. I used to like football much more than I do now, and I can list a number of reasons why I don’t enjoy the game as much as I did even a few years ago.

More than anything else, I simply can’t sit there for three hours watching a game. It’s not because I always use the time to do other, more productive things. It’s mostly because the typical football game seems to be a boredom inducing stretch of commercials, penalties and ‘instant-replay reviews.’ Nearly every exciting moment of a contemporary college or pro-football game is immediately followed by 2 minutes of wondering if the play will stand. Even if the play is allowed, the Weberian rationalization of the game kills so much of its potential spontaneous fun that you wonder why anybody cheers for anything until they’ve been told by the appropriate authority that it’s time to do so. Also, anyone who has watched even the slightest bit of a televised game knows that you spend more time enduring commercials than enjoying game play; the same beer and car commercials over and over again. A Wall Street Journal study showed that a typical game broadcast carries 11 minutes of action. This isn’t only a problem for those watching on television either, as anyone who has attended a game and stood in silence with 80,000 others waiting for the TV-timeout to end can tell you. The Durkheimian effervescence of shared experience is quite thoroughly dampened in these moments as you sit there noticing that you are cold and ready to go home.