Aikman thinks football could lose its spot at No. 1 sport

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Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has a trio of Super Bowl rings, a bust in the Hall of Fame, and a spot next to Joe Buck every Sunday during football season.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

But Aikman thinks that the popularity of the sport that made him rich and famous could be on the verge of a decline.

“I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport,” Aikman said recently at an event in L.A., per the Los Angeles Times (via Yahoo! Sports).  “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.”

Aikman then acknowledged that current trends don’t point to that outcome.  “I can’t justify that because the numbers say otherwise, but I guess time will tell,” Aikman said.

The concern comes from the potential impact of concussions on the supply of future football players, and from the possibly excessive presence of NFL games on TV.

“At one time, watching football was an event,” Aikman said.  “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.”

Of course, people in L.A. realized that 15 years ago.  In the ensuing decade-and-a-half, the NFL has continuously grown to even greater heights of popularity.

Besides, not having a team in town is far different from not having access to football on TV.  While there may be challenges to getting folks to choose to attend games in sufficient numbers and, at some point, a decline in the number of young people who play, there is no shortage on the horizon of folks who will watch.

Aikman’s remarks came less than two weeks after more than 166 million tuned in for the Super Bowl.  So while it’s fair to say that, at some future point in human history, the NFL will be eclipsed by hovercraft racing or light-saber fencing or full-contact frolf, that day doesn’t seem to be coming any time soon, especially since the NFL seems to be committed to making the changes necessary to adjust and adapt and continue to grow.

119 responses to “Aikman thinks football could lose its spot at No. 1 sport

  1. Very hard to imagine. I suppose you could’ve said the same thing about baseball at one point….but still…I just can’t see it.

  2. “The concern comes from the potential impact of concussions on the supply of future football players”

    Where does he say anything remotely like that? It certainly appears like you’re trying to project your own opinion through Troy Aikman. If your opinion has merit, it will stand on its own.

  3. There are ebbs and flows and things do come up and down, but I think that before football comes down it will continue to rise and eclipse soccer as the most popular sport in the world, and then as the most popular sport in europe and south america. After that, it can fall I guess.

  4. If football is ever going to lose it’s spot to another sport, it’s going to be a sport that doesn’t exist right now. What are the other options?

    Baseball : 15 minutes of gameplay and 3 hours of stats.

    Hockey : Work to one end, steal. Work to the other end, steal. Work to the other end, steal. Work to the other end, steal. Work to the other end, GOAL!

    Basketball : Same as hockey, but replace all the steals with scores and all the scores with steals.

    Soccer : A bunch of passive aggressive cross country runners doing a bunch of things that have little to do with teamwork.

    Not a chance, Aikman.

  5. no one can predict the future,

    u never know,

    but football is the ultimate drama,

    unpredictable , real life stuff,

    its hard not to follow on a year to year basis,

  6. Overall, maybe NASCAR could eclipse the NFL in attendance, but I do not think anything will be more popular and draw a bigger crowd (in the stands and on TV) in one day than the Super Bowl. Not in the United States. It is just too popular.

  7. It’ll never happen because of one thing. Gambling. People I kow ho couldn’t tell a first down from a down jacket bet on office pools and football cars. Women wear gear as much or more than men do. As long as a buck can be bet on it, it will be king. Thats how it got there in the first place. Anyone reading this never bet on a game?

  8. The one legitimate point is about over saturation of the product, just ask Krispy Kreme. The point about it once being an event to it now being on almost more nights a week then it isn’t during the season is a drastic change and I agree that sometimes too much of a good thing is just that, too much.

  9. I’m as big of NFL fan as the rest of you who frequent this site, but something was definitely “off” last season (not lockout related).

    Thursday Night games… terrible. Monday night… terrible… I could only watch the NFL on Sunday last year.

    I honestly think its the 5000 passing yard thing. Everybody who can’t throw the football can be replaced. I used to get mad when my team played the Patriots in the early 2000’s because they would pick on the team’s worst coverage guy literally every play. Now every good QB does that with great results.

    The playoffs were fun, but watching outmatched defenses in the regular season was tiring. I don’t think the NFL will lose it’s #1 spot in 20 years, it’s still the most exciting sport, but the regular season is becoming MLB-like or NBA pre-Lin-like.

  10. Mr. Lite in his Loafers himself. Nothing is going to overtake football as the # 1 spectator sport.

    NBA?-too urban

    Baseball-too rural and foreign

    Hockey-Foreign. Niche markets in one part of the country.

    Soccer- Waiting for that to explode since the 70’s

    Maybe Sweet Troy wants the LOGO network to be #1.

  11. The one thing life has taught us is that every generation brings in a bigger number of people and there are always plenty to take the place of those who retire. The sport can only get bigger. Love ya Troy you were the man at my Cowboys, but you may be drinking to much Kool Aid.

  12. And he played in Texas…football is going nowhere anytime soon. Lots of things are dangerous and we still choose to do them. Football is a lot better for these guys than a lot of other things they could be doing. That may anger the pc crowd but it’s true.

    Football might decline in wealthy areas as yuppies try to kill high school programs, but I doubt it. Even if it does, it will not decline anywhere else. It has too many followers that love it and it’s such a great game to play, not to mention it is highly lucrative for all involved…football programs will never cease and youngsters will continue to have that dream of making it big and becoming a legend.

  13. Just glad Troy is doing something beside hating the Cowboys. The statement he made just shows how much intelligence he doesn’t have. Loved as a player, can’t stand him as an analyst.

  14. You have got to be kidding. Ever since the season ended the very next day I was marking my calendar for next season to start. Can’t wait!!!

  15. I can see it.

    The game isn’t is good as it was 5 seasons ago. It is getting soft and slow with all the rule changes.

    Hell, playing defense is a flag foul now, and we stop the game for every other play.

    I am definitely less impressed than I used to be, I still watch, but I can see the day coming where I no longer even bother.

  16. “World” football, may be a threat. But not for a long time. U.S. women’s national soccer team played their last three games to sellout crowds in Canada and the southern U.S. Just the exhibition season as well for the ladies. I think they will blow up big time this summer at the Olympics, but won’t be able to maintain the momentum afterwards.

  17. I do agree the event is part of what makes football great and adding more games would be a terrible idea as far as taking away from the event and safety reasons. However what sport will take over? Baseball is boring, 80% of basketball games sucks and the ones that are good aren’t good until the final 5 minutes and while hockey is great I can’t see anyway americans will embrace it enough to take over football. Football is so far ahead of every sport right now it just seems unfathomable that another sport could threaten it.

  18. Ok Troy, so what you’re saying is that Super Bowl 75 is going to be two dudes playing Madden? Whatever sport you’re referring to that’s going to overtake a “waining” NFL must not be in play yet.

    Although, if the NBA were to add random drop doors on its courts and allows for any man airborne in route to a dunk, to be tackled mid-air by the power forward only, I’d watch it.

  19. Gladiator style arena fighting, where convicts fight to the death with ancient weapons and nude chicks as cheerleaders, Spartacus style. Yeah i watch the show, that would be the only sport i see overtaking football!!!!!! Until we rewind time to the year 300 BC, Cant ever see football not the most popular sport in America……….

  20. The reason the NFL will continue to be the most popular sports in America is that each fan only has 16 days out of 365 to watch their favorite team in action(not including playoffs) compared to 165 MLB Games, 82 NBA Games, and however many NHL games. Because of the limited number of games, every game means more. In other sports, your team could drop 6 out of 10 games and still make the playoffs and win a championship, not so much in the NFL. Finally, yes there is Monday night football and 1 game on Thursday night a week, but the majority of games are played on Sunday. This again, is convenient and fan friendly considering a lot of people do not work Sundays. The NFL will be king for many many years.

  21. The quality of football has been on decline since the late 1990’s.. Yet the sport has only become MORE popular.

    And TV ratings going down??.. I’m sure teams are more concerned with how to keep their stadiums full with HD sets in practically every household.

  22. Well Akiman may be onto something. If these rule changes continue for a less physical game then the popularity of the sport will die at some point. I mean who really wants to watch flag football?

  23. None of the other team sports will overtake the NFL, not a chance. The over-policing of the game by Sheriff Goddell and his band of lieutenants is what’s gonna lead to football’s decrease in popularity, if anything does. Goodell has made more headlines for himself in the last 4 years than Paul Tagliabue did in his whole 17-year tenure. If he keeps tinkering with a game that doesn’t need any and making defense non-existent, fans will lose interest all on their own. We don’t tune in and pay all this money for NFL tv packages to see a gloified offensive scrimmage week after week

  24. Baseball : 15 minutes of gameplay and 3 hours of stats

    What do you think the NFL is, 60 minutes of gameplay? You’ve just described the NFL, about 12 minutes of actual play and 48 minutes (which takes about 2 1/2 hour to actually get through) of guys standing around with their hands on their hips.

    The ticket prices are getting out of hand, making it less realistic for anybody but the wealthy/corporate beneficiaries to go and they’re going to do what the dumb networks do all the time, overexpose the games on TV. Every team is guaranteed a Thursday night game now, are people besides hardcore football fans and gamblers going to tune in to see the Browns or the Rams?

  25. the only real thing that threatens NFL Football as the # 1 American sport is the new rules that seem to be removing all contact from the sport. At some point, assuming this trend continues, we will have the NFL Flag Football League. At that point the popularity may be on a decline.

    Players know the risks associated with this sometimes violent sport and accept it primarily to make the big bucks. As they say, no risk – probably no reward. I just hope they don’t regulate it out of existence.

  26. New worlds number 1 sport will soon be Paper, Rock, Balls! Watch this weeks Tosh.0 it will explain everything!!!!! I mean individuals can be sponsored. Keep the rules the same. I will tell you what…. I would tune in and I bet a lot more would too!

  27. American football will reign supreme as the primary sport of the United States for the foreseeable. Its current hold on public discourse, popular imagination and corporate profitability, remains unrivalled.

    This said, the premise of the argument made by Aikman is not without basis. Greater scientific knowledge about the effects of concussions, changing cultural tastes and possibly, legal actions by former players may prompt a slow, but inevitable decline in the United States.

    The NFL is certainly acknowledging albeit implicitly that its appeal in the United States is limited by trying to challenge genuine football for a greater share of the global sports pie.

    Whether this move will succeed remains open for debate. Soccer, for all its popularity, is still growing in places like India and China and the North American affiliate of the global game is light-years ahead of any NFL equivalent anywhere in the world.

  28. Unless and until fantasy football and the office pool fall off in popularity, football will be king. I do agree that i don’t much like nfln being hard to get or the rash of off-day games – but it’s not enough to impact i dont think since most teams still play on sundays.

  29. His comments have merit. Saturation is a risk. The ever-growing number of complex rules to where players almost need to be attorneys while they’re actually playing is a risk. The stoppage after virtually every play is a risk, if not for 4 minutes of commercials then for the exciting 3 minutes of watching some guy in silly stripes and a white hat stare into a hooded monitor. The recent need for an Umpire Emeritus to be on-call to the booth announcers to explain to all of us, often unsatisfactorily, the convoluted intricacies of each and every call is a risk. Concussions are a risk, especially as it concerns the sport’s core future, High Schools and HS players. The ability of wealthy owners to coerce local communities into paying for luxurious stadium-palaces with little corresponding loyalty to life-long fans is a risk. Love the game, understand it must grow and change, but there’s alot not to be excited about.

  30. Franchise 20-20 Cricket, super exciting & tense finishes almost everytime and definitely a team sport with enough unpredictability to make for a compelling watch.

    IMHO Test cricket is the toughest team sport there is, maybe golf masters or alpine mountaineering is tougher but they’re still individual activities.

  31. My first impression when I read this I thought yeah right, Troy has officially lost his mind! After thinking about it for a second I thought maybe he is just trying to send a message to the N.F.L. Commissioner to allow the game to be played the way it was intended to be played, and quit trying to slowly transition the game we used to love so much to a game of flag football or semi-contact football. Enough is enough! These former players and their b.s. lawsuits and Roger Goodell’s b.s. fines for playing the game the way it was invented/named “Tackle Football” needs to stop before people loose interest and another sport becomes more popular. For gods sake don’t these players get paid enough? If u are afraid to get hit then maybe you chose the wrong career path? If you are afraid of getting hit then leave, there are plenty of other players that are more than willing to play “football” and not Roger Goodell’s fake/non-contact version of football!

  32. [b]Now you get football Sunday, you get it Monday, you get it Thursday…”[/b]

    I never got it on Thursday…I refused to pay the extra money without the ability to record it on my HTPC so that I could at least watch it when I got home from work.

    I no longer get in on Monday…dumped Expanded Basic subscription back in November to save $35 bucks a month on cable fees. Besides, standard def on an HD flat panel absolutely sucked.

    So I watch football in glorious HD (and 5.1 audio) over an antenna…which means I’m a Sunday-only viewer now (and Saturdays during the playoffs).

    If the powers that be decide I can no longer watch football over my antenna on Sundays, then yeah…popularity will likely drop a bit.

  33. I don’t understand. No.1 sport of where?? It’s about 3 billion fans behind the No.1 sport, which is actually football (soccer). Do you mean No.1 sports in just the United States? Need to be a bit clearer. If you think it’s No.1 in the world, you’re having a laugh!!

  34. duanethomas says:
    Feb 22, 2012 12:15 AM
    Mr. Lite in his Loafers himself. Nothing is going to overtake football as the # 1 spectator sport.

    NBA?-too urban

    Baseball-too rural and foreign

    Hockey-Foreign. Niche markets in one part of the country.

    Soccer- Waiting for that to explode since the 70′s

    Maybe Sweet Troy wants the LOGO network to be #1.
    You may get some facts right champ.
    Soccer is far far bigger sport than NFL. Like it or not World Cup Soccer Final drew 700 million viewers vs 166 for Superbowl (world wide numbers). NFL is not even in the ballpark. Soccer is much more popular sport than NFL.

    Now, if you want to talk about only US, you are correct. But then the 166 million viewers for superbowl is world wide numbers (not US alone)

  35. Never happen.

    The NFL is the Coca-Cola of Pro Sports and far exceeds the MLB, NBA and NHL when it comes to effective marketing.

    Despite Troy’s worry about spreading the games over too many days during the week, each team still plays one game per week and that’s something a fan looks forward to.

    You could go into a two month hibernation during baseball and still be considered an avid follower.

    NFL will remain #1.

  36. If the sport is good enough, it’ll be fine. Football (soccer) is on over here (England) every Saturday and Sunday, then one on Monday, then European games on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. And that’s just the Premiership, you can watch every other league if you want (and people do).

    Thing is, people still go to the pub to watch it every week, make time on a weekend to watch it and then talk about it at work.

    Unless the quality of the NFL starts to suffer even more, it’ll still be the most popular sport in America, regardless of how often it’s on TV.

  37. Two comments:

    1.) Any sentence that starts with Aikman thinks is going nowhere…

    2.) The only thin bad for ratings is me having to listen to him and Joe Buck’s lackluster coverage of the best NFC games. I wish they could hire the crew from NFL network!

  38. Troy must be getting additional concussions from those Hulk Hogan commercials. My friends in LA are huge NFL fans. Most folks live like LA… Never attending a game, immersed in sunday ticket and fantasy. The NFL neednt worry, but Troy needs a checkup.

  39. If the ratings go down it is going to be because there are too many commercials. That’s why the sunday ticket is great because you don’t have to watch any commercials.

  40. the only way the sport loses its spot at #1 is if the rule makers let it happen. If they soften the sport to the point where pads and helmets are outlawed, blocking and tackling are all but outlawed, then aikman is right….It doesnt even have to go that far…just the perception that it will happen will kill the sport.
    the concussion issue is a non issue when the owners decide to make it a non issue. how it didnt come up in the cba is beyond me.

  41. Soccer is for Euro wimps they are afraid to be on the receiving lick of a big hit. Soccer has more viewers than the NFL, but 90% of them are from third world countries that can’t afford to play other sports

  42. Unless they release all convicted felons, let them all fight for their lives with simple tools and film it, I have a hard time buying this comment from Troy.

  43. Wouldnt there have to be another sport somewhat within striking distance to be even remotely true?

    Baseball has been declining in American popularity for decades.

    Hockey will never ever be the number one sport.

    Basketball keeps shooting themselves in the foot. No way its ever #1

    Golf may get more popular people as the boomers age and the next generation hits retirement, but will never be #1.

    When something gets HALF the ratings that the Super Bowl gets, then Ill consider this subject.

  44. I don’t know about the NFL loosing its #1 spot, but as a real fan of the game there are some things changing that I don’t like. This is only my personal opinion. They are flooding the market. All this talk about putting teams in Europe.
    For me I hate to see the game turn into Arena football, where they throw the ball on every down. Its a track meet. You already can’t touch the Quarterback. I enjoy watching a running back punch the ball up the middle. A QB sack is just as exciting as a 50 yard bomb down the field.
    I love to watch a good defensive game.
    A 7-3 game to me is just as exciting as a 48-45 shootout. Ok go ahead and call me Woody, a cloud of dust, but thats just my opinion.

  45. Problem is, there’s no other sport out there. Even if the ratings go down somewhat, it’s not like the NBA or MLB are going to catch it.

    For starters, the NFL plays far fewer games, and as such, each game’s outcome is far more important. In MLB, most team’s goals is to take 2 out of 3 in a given series.

    Unless Rugby catches on in the U.S., Football isn’t going to get knocked off its perch anytime soon.

  46. Aikman is right to think about it. It’s called demographics and saturation.
    As a kid, the weekends were special. You had one or two college games on Saturday, and one pro football on Sunday. I got to love watching Notre Dame and USC each year.
    I didn’t watch a Monday night game this last year. Quite frankly, the “pass-pass-pass” game that the NFL has evolved into is becoming a bit of a bore, not unlike a flag football game. Other than people from the schools, does anyone with a life watch the ESPN college games during the week?
    The demographics also show kids far more interested in things other than football.
    He’s also dead on with the concussion thing. It could kill the sport at the grade school level.
    Overall, I agree with Troy. Not that anyone else will.

  47. The only reason it might decline is because of lousey announcers like yourself Troy boy, the king of speaking the obvious.

  48. He’s absolutely right. Anyone who doesnt think so is a moron. He’s not talking about the next 5 years. He means 20-25.

    Thoroughbred and Harness Racing, which was a gambling cash cow, had 35,000 people in attendance through the early 70’s.

    Interests change. I hope the nfl isnt shortsighted but i think they are.

  49. Soccer : A bunch of passive aggressive cross country runners doing a bunch of things that have little to do with teamwork.


    I would actually say 22 men lightly jogging for 3 hours to end in a 0-0 tie but your description is just as good.

  50. The running back position has always been my favorite to watch. Today, the superstar, HOF, every down, 130 yards per game dominating RB no longer exists. There will never be another Peyton, Dorsett, Campbell, Smith ever again. That, along with the wuss rules are the decline of the game to me.

  51. The concern comes from the potential impact of concussions on the supply of future football players

    Where does he say anything remotely like that? It certainly appears like you’re trying to project your own opinion through Troy Aikman. If your opinion has merit, it will stand on its own.

    Did you even read “The Post Game” story provided by the link?

    Post Game (cite): “The Cowboys great also mentioned his concern about concussions, and whether anything can be done to remedy a situation that doesn’t seem to be getting any better with increased research. Aikman said if he had a son, ‘I don’t know if I would be encouraging him to play.'”

  52. If you look at the regular and post seasons combined, pro and college football are the two biggest sports around. The NCAA tournament is the only other regular sporting event which can compete with either of them.

    The NBA and NHL have overexpanded. MLB also could stand to shed a few teams. Soccer has never taken off in this country. The NFL has become a 365 day a year attraction and the NFL draft just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

  53. To marcinhouston: Let me preface my statement by saying that I absolutely hate soccer and love Football like any other full-blooded American male. You don’t travel outside the U.S. much, do you? ’cause if you did you would know that football, or as the rest of the world calls it, American Football will never, ever replace soccer as the world’s number one sport. In fact, American Football’s place in the pecking order of world sports appears to be behind Basketball, Baseball, Hockey and even Rugby if you examine the numbers of individuals worldwide who participate in and view these sports at all levels. American Football is making strides in pockets around the world such as in Germany, Japan and Isreal but no where near the other team sports on the world stage. Soccer is king of the world and as much as American Football is still growing in America, Soccer is still growing in the rest of the world outside of North America.

  54. Only real weakness is ticket prices for the average fan. Attending some games in person as a kid is often what cements a lifelong relationship, but we’re approaching a point where you can either take your kid to some games or send them to college, but not both.

  55. Spend more money on equipment and less money on rules. The game will be much more exciting. It’s 2012 we should be driving around in flying cars.

  56. With all the rule changes about how you can tackle and all the conferences between the refs after every 3rd play I must admit I don’t enjoy the product as much as I used to.

  57. Aikman is more right than most realize. Not sure about losing its #1 sport in America but the NFL popularity is going to decrease eventually because:

    1. Goodell is changing rules to favor offense – arena flag football

    2. Price gouging of fans is getting ridiculous. between continually increasing parking, tickets, and concessions more fans are going to stay at home and find other things to do.

    3. The officiating is increasingly getting worse. For some reason Goodell can’t afford to make official full time employees…

  58. I am from Los Angeles and I think every sports fan would love to have an nfl team here contrary to what these dudes say. a lot of people don’t care about sports in la, but just as many do care. Just cuz we got sunshine and the same nice weather everyday and a million better things to do doesn’t mean we’re ok with no nfl team. We just don’t cut our wrists over sports like the east coast clowns

  59. I think Lavar Arrington got to Aikman one too many times… It’s once a week & every game means so much to your team… That will never change & that is why Football will always be number 1 !!!

  60. I think that what he is saying could be taken out of context.
    I think that what he is saying is that the NFL is at an all time high and it can only go down from here.
    Meanwhile baseball is headed up because its a sport that has room to grow.

    Just my thought!!!

  61. With the politics, the “Scripting”, the rape of the fans wallets, its getting like the WWF. There are several articles warning about this decline. Believe it its real. This is being discussed at the top of the NFL agenda. Need more proof ? Look at the heavy duty effort to push soccer down fans throats.

  62. I can’t see the NFL not being the #1 sport in America, but I can see it falling back to Earth in the not too distant future. It’s popularity has hit it’s peak, and the price gouging is starting to get a bit of backlash. The NFL has pretty much priced it’s fans out. The majority of NFL fans can’t afford to go to the games, and refuse to be gouged by the outrageous asking price of Sunday Ticket. Right now the sucker born every minute mentality is working, but sooner or later the morons that shell out their money blindly for game day tickets and Sunday Ticket will wake up and smell the coffee.

  63. I am from Los Angeles and I think every sports fan would love to have an nfl team here contrary to what these dudes say

    Yep. Born and raised and lived her all my life, I think most fans would love to have an NFL team back but the sticking point has been NO public money to fund something that’s used maybe a dozen times a year.

    AEG finally got it through their heads after their stadium debacle years ago. They announced a big shiny stadium south of Staples Center but the deal literally died within days when the City Council told them “You’re not getting a penny of public money”.

    At least the new stadium being proposed by the 110 can be used for the sad Convention Center, it’s a pretty viable option.

    Los Angeles Chargers
    Los Angeles Rams

  64. noquickreactionshere says:
    Feb 22, 2012 8:41 AM
    Soccer : A bunch of passive aggressive cross country runners doing a bunch of things that have little to do with teamwork.


    I would actually say 22 men lightly jogging for 3 hours to end in a 0-0 tie but your description is just as good.


    Clearly, two people who have never played or even seen a highly competitive game of soccer. Realistically speaking, with the number of kids growing up in the US that are playing and watching soccer, it’s the only sport that has a chance to pass the NFL in viewership in the next 20-30 years. The problem with soccer in the US currently, is that on a global scale the MLB is like the IFL compared to the NFL. Once the product improved, the fanship will improve. If the Premier League were in the US, it would already be competitive with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. Currently, the other problem is that once a team goes up 2-0 in professional soccer, there’s about a 99% chance they win the game. Big plays and comebacks are far and few between

    As to Aikmans statement, I can’t see the MLB, NBA, or NHL surpassing the NFL again. Football is the most exciting sport there is but who knows how badly Goodell can mess it up before 2020.

  65. We get college football almost every night during the season and that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    Football in general suits the American psyche and way of doing things.

    The NFL will be #1 through most of our lifetimes and beyond.

  66. i agree that the game is just not exciting anymore. it’s boring and predictable. but it won’t lose it’s #1 spot because every other sport is so god awful to even attempt to watch.

    and he is completely correct about the scheduling. MNF was an event. now, it’s almost annoying. thursday night football is just awful.

    did you watch the college national championship game this year? i rather would have watched PBS. that was the worst game i’ve ever seen. college football sucks.

  67. To hollymolly:

    Who is pushing soccer down fans throats? Certainly not the NFL as your statement suggests. The market is responding to a demand by supplying a product.

    If people prefer to watch almost 65 minutes of interrupted action over the course of a 90 minute soccer game vs. 11 minutes of actual game play interrupting three hours plus of commercials, then let them be.

    The slow but steady growth of soccer in the United States has nothing to do with some sinister agenda by anti-football forces. Smart entrepreneurs, many of whom with strong ties to the NFL, are recognizing the potential and are trying to profit off it. You know, capitalism.

    In fact, MLS would not exist were it not for the Hunt family and NFL money. Merely consider the many ties between NFL owners and Major League Soccer.

    The Hunt family owns FC Dallas and Columbus Crew, Kraft owns the New England Revolution, Rams owner Kroenke owns Arsenal in EPL and Colorado Rapids in MLS, Seahawks and Sounders share common ownership, and Galaxy owner Phil Anschutz is trying to bring the NFL back to LA.

    These individuals are not trying to kill the golden goose. They are building up another nest egg.

  68. I’m with Troy. Keep NFL football an EVENT. Don’t have games on Thursdays (except Thanksgiving). Don’t expand the schedule to any more than 16 games.


    That is the secret to the NFL’s success. Baseball, Basketball, Hockey… they all play way too many games…. the product is spread too thin…

  69. The political left in this country that insists upon micro-managing every little detail of our lives from what we eat, drink, drive, all the way down to very kind of lightbulb we can install in our homes will NEVER allow the NFL to exist in it’s current form!

    As the left continues to expand it’s reach into our lives, it will attempt to socially engineer it’s own view of utopian society. The NFL will be forced to emasculate itself as masculinity is seen as a threatening trait that makes inferior men feel bad about themselves. Don’t believe me? Do they still keep score at your kid’s local little league?

    Besides, the NFL makes too much money for the socialists who run this country to tolerate. They will inevitably demand that the league’s bountiful income be redistributed (forcibly confiscated) to some other “worthy” political cause down the line.

    And don’t tell me anything about King Barry being sports fan, the man couldn’t even tell us who his favorite White Sox player is, nor did he know what stadium they used to play in!

    If we keep electing “progressive” politicians there will be many bad days ahead for contact sports in the United States, you watch and see. It’s already happening.

  70. Soccer has been the most physically demanding sport I’ve ever played followed by hockey and then football (DE)…that being said, I think football, as tame as they are trying to make it, is still the most fun to watch.

  71. Will the NFL ever be taken down, probably. Nothing last forever and public attention does change. Currently NFL games average 11 minutes of action and 60 minutes of ads. With networks paying more and more for NFL rights, time committed to commercials will go up. Either football will have to decrease action time or increase the time frame of the game, either would be troublesome to the popularity of the game. One of the baseball biggest issues and might be the issue that brought baseballs popularity down is the time length of the game.

  72. There will always be a supply of people wanting to play professional football. There are many dangerous jobs in this country that people voluntarily do for far less money than can be earned from playing NFL football. Working in the military, certain construction jobs, working with explosives, transportation…

    It’s interesting that people harp about concussions but aren’t concerned about other dangerous jobs.

  73. to vomitingliberals:

    Oh, please. Spare us your suggestion that the “politically left,” “progressives” and “socialists” will force the NFL to share its wealth with other “worthy” causes, as they “emasculate” American males of their “masculinity” to make “inferior men” feel better about themselves.

    The National Football League lives a charmed life whose connections run deep into the very heart of political power in Washington.

    Goddell, himself the son of a former US senator, has immense political connections, never mind some of the owners.

    And if — and that is big IF – the present or any future administration would ever attempt to change the current balance — the NFL could draw on this and other institutional advantages to prevent anything of this sort from happening.

    May I remind you that political donations from NFL owners tilt heavily, and I mean heavily, towards the right, as in the far right?
    This, of course, has not prevented the NFL from developing its own form of socialism by way of revenue sharing and rewarding bottom teams with the chance to pick up the best college players at capped salaries.

    If that is not socialism, tickle me pink.

  74. They are losing me. Can’t afford to go to a game. Too many commercials. Do we really need a break before a kick off and after the kick off? I’m starting to find better things to do with my time.

  75. Those who live only for now and are unable to invest in the future are doomed to fail. At one time, baseball and boxing were the top sports. Indy car racing was the top racing sport even over Neckcar.

    Soccer is the #1 sport in the world bar none, outside of the US, Canada, and a few Asian countries. The US, despite getting likey the 10th or 20th best athletes can still produce a fairly competitive team on the world stage. Just imagine how good the US could be if more kids with athletic ability (coordination, speed, agility, etc) played soccer instead of trying to get into highly competitive leagues such as the NFL, NBA, or MLB.

    Those bashing Aikman are really shortsided. The NFL is immensely popular, but it can only go down in popularity. The average fan can’t afford to go to the game without making some supreme financial sacrifices, and the asinine blackout rule is keeping fans from watching the home team. The NFL won’t be knocked off its perch anytime soon, but to say it will always be #1 is ridiculous.

  76. Wolfgang Depner,

    May I remind you that political donations from NFL owners tilt heavily, and I mean heavily, towards the right, as in the far right?
    This, of course, has not prevented the NFL from developing its own form of socialism by way of revenue sharing and rewarding bottom teams with the chance to pick up the best college players at capped salaries.

    If that is not socialism, tickle me pink.

    It is socialism. I wouldn’t argue with you there. But spare me the bs about Goodell’s “political connections”. This administration doesn’t care too spits for Roger Goodell, hell they don’t even care about the Constitution, you think they give a steaming poop about a game? These are the same type of jackboots that go around banning dodge ball in school because the less athletic kids often get their feelings hurt when they lose. The same dolts that ban throwing a football on the beach in LA? The same pinkos that reward every child on the team with a trophy for “participation”. The NFL is a manly man’s game and that just doesn’t wash with the metrosexual’s in the media, or the politically correct disciples of Marx in DC. I don’t trust them and neither should anyone else who knows anything substantial about the history of the “progressive movement”. Again, it’s ALREADY HAPPENING. Open your eyes! The game has been softened up big time in the last five years. You think they are going to stop and leave the NFL alone? Heck no! Look at the nerds in the media running their holes about concussions every five minutes. They WILL kill this game. Goodell has already proven to be weak in the face of this sissified demand for change. Again, it’s already happening.

    Also, you are wrong about the political donations. Plenty of these teams are happy to fund their own demise by sending the bulk of their donations to Democrats (yeah, I know, Republicans suck too, but at least they are not constantly trying to steal my money or engineer my life for me).

    The guilty parties are…

    Seahawks, 49ers, Giants, Saints, Bears, Bengals, Vikings, Patriots, Raiders, Eagles, Falcons, and Dolphins

    That’s 12 teams donating to, in majority, liberals. That’s nearly half the league. So dump this myth that somehow the NFL is some monstrous Republican cash cow. That’s pure bs. The league leans right at the top, sure, but it is hardly the strong tilt you make it out to be.

  77. Oh and everyone who sites the cost of going to a game, the price of concessions and merchandise, and the additional shellout for cable and radio packages…

    Stop buying, stop going, stop watching as frequently and FORCE the league to make changes! Strangle demand a bit and the price will come down a bit. Strangle demand a lot and the price will come down a lot. Simple economics, though admittedly easier said than done (though not impossible).

  78. vomitingliberal:

    According to the Center of Responsive Politics, of top five teams, people affiliated with NFL teams gave 67 percent of their money to Republicans and just 29 percent to Democrats in the years that President Obama has been in office. All together, they have given more than $1.4 million to political candidates in that time. In short, the NFL tilts to the right. If it were a bird, it would never get off the ground, because of one of its wing is as scrawny as Marc Bulger.

    And yes, the NFL has lots of connections in Washington, currently and in the past, by way of ambassadors, members of Congress, a former vice-presidential candidate and so on.

    And no, Washington will not care about the NFL and the way in which it chooses to write and enforce its rules, unless somebody could prove that said rules failed to prevent major incidents (read: on-field deaths as they were common before the forward pass, which Ted Roosevelt did force upon the league)

    As far as I know (and unless somebody tells me otherwise), the NFL has initiated all of the changes that we have seen in last five years on its own accord. Washington had nothing to do with the rule changes and if it did, I would question its priorities.

    I for one applaud attempts to make the game safer. While I question the assumption that the game by its very nature can be made safer, I would never question any measures to make any profession safer. Why should professional sports be an exception to the moral obligation to give employees all the necessary protection, so that they may enjoy the means to earn a living?

    Your comments suggest a rather cynical attitude towards the rights of individuals to control and protect their bodies from harm and readers might get impression that you are trying just a little bit too hard to prove something.

  79. Interesting he says football will no longer be No. 1 but stops short of picking a userper to the throne…

  80. About the only way football loses the #1 spot is if Nascar takes over. Those are the only 2 sports anybody in America cares about. Nobody watches baseball, basketball or hockey.

  81. Hey Wolfgang,

    I checked out your source and I have no problem conceding you the point. You are correct, at least as it pertains to the NFL as a whole contributing more cash to the right than the left. However, this link justifies what I said about the teams that openly contribute primarily to Democrats…

    As for the rest of your comments, I think it’s a bit naive to assume the NFL has willingly decided to dilute it’s product with politically correct concerns that only worms in the national media care about, and that fans are largely unhappy with. The NFL can see what is coming, they didn’t get to where they are by being fools. It isn’t exactly hard to read the tea leaves (government intervention, lawsuits, incessant media harrassment etc.).

    However, you seem to me to be the kind of person who believes he knows what’s best for everyone, ie a “nanny-stater”. I happened to play football at a relatively high level, and I can tell you firsthand that the men who choose to play the game know the risks. They are intimately familiar with the violent nature of the game on a physical level, and wear the black & blue fruits of their decision to play as a constant reminder of the choice they have made. They don’t need some pantywaist in a corduroy sweater and male capris to come along and tell them how to play the game anew in order to please the nancy boys of the world who think it is their business to make life “safer” for everyone.

    No thanks, buddy. The risks are known to all, just like smoking, drinking, or unprotected intercourse. We don’t want the government policing our social lives for our health benefit and if we are not hypocrites of the highest order ww will not want government or any other “enlightened fellow” tampering with our sports either.

    No thanks!

    I am for the right of the individual to accept risk at his/her own discretion. You are the one here speaking for the obsessively controlling few, to make those decisions for those you deem to be absent of the ability to think and decide for themselves. This is arrogance pure and simple as is exemplified in your closing assertion that you can speak for the perceptions of the other readers at this site. You presume to know too much, sir!

    Have a nice evening!

  82. noquickreactionshere says:
    Feb 22, 2012 8:41 AM
    Soccer : A bunch of passive aggressive cross country runners doing a bunch of things that have little to do with teamwork.


    I would actually say 22 men lightly jogging for 3 hours to end in a 0-0 tie but your description is just as good.

    You are as arrogant as stupid. They are fitter than the fatsoes that play in nfl. There is no timeout and no tv break and they running full speed most of the time.

    It’s like the other moron who said that 90% people watching soccer are from third world with nothing else to play. Such an arrogant American. There are plenty of other sports and people play and watch. Its the fat lazy Americans that don’t play anything.
    Btw, even world cup cricket outdrew superbowl.

  83. @vomitingliberals

    I can’t really tell if you are “trolling” or not, but you seem to be serious. The reality is that anyone who has extreme views or leans far left/right is trying to impose their lifestyle on others. The Right has a very extensive and recent history of trying to impose puritan dogma on the general populace. The party is full of neocons now and has lost its way a long time ago. The thing that I find with most people of your ilk is that you preach less government control while supporting laws that force other people into your vision of “moral” direction. One: most “Christians” in this country barely know what Christianity is supposed to be about and follow puritan dogma instead of Christianity. Two: if you are yelling about how everything is someone else’s fault, you probably have no idea what is going on. Crazy people think that either the Right is all to blame or the Left is all to blame. If only journalist and the media had any moral compass and gave a voice to the moderate majority. Unfortunately that does not sell as well as extreme rhetoric. It is sad when the term moderate has become a euphemism for not being crazy. Go fighting moderates!

  84. Theoretically anything can happen. Let’s hope this one doesn’t happen. In fact, let’s stop talking about it Mr. Aikman, so it doesn’t become more real than it was before you mentioned it.

    Please be wrong Troy, please be wrong!

  85. mrslay1 says:
    Feb 22, 2012 12:17 AM
    The one thing life has taught us is that every generation brings in a bigger number of people and there are always plenty to take the place of those who retire. The sport can only get bigger. Love ya Troy you were the man at my Cowboys, but you may be drinking to much Kool Aid.

    If that is the one thing that life has taught you, you need to go back to school. In the United States, the Baby Boomers peaked the population, then the following generation – Generation X – shrunk to half the size.

    If there is one constant in life – its that “Things Change” — go back to 15 years ago and people left houses without cell phones and the internet was a fraction of what it is today.

    Only a fool assumes that things always stay the same.

  86. “The concern comes from the potential impact of concussions on the supply of future football players”

    Where does he say anything remotely like that?
    …I heard Troy speak those exact words on sports radio 670 the score in Chicago last month…in addition…I have heard 2 sports attorneys say the the future of the NFL may be in jeopardy if those concussion lawsuits filed against the League result in large settlements against same…..because no insurance companies would underwrite the League in the future, at any premium.. because of the high risk. The fallout here would take down the college football programs for the same reason and the NFL would lose it main source of new talent.Parents would not want their children playing football at any level. These are serious threats folks…I would not just kiss them off as meaningless. Greed and the fight for the almighty dollar could sink the NFL ship !

  87. as crazy as it sounds i agree with aikman. just as an example i am 48 and my son is 18. lots of my friends (well, 4 different guys) also have 1, 2 or 3 sons that have no interest in playing or watching football and its not like i (or my buddies) were not throwing a ball to them as soon as they were able to catch. these kids are not couch potatoes either. they skateboard, lift weights, jog….etc but thats all just for fun and looking good for the dollies. maybe the nfl will not fail but i wish i could see the ratings numbers for 20yrs in the future.

  88. I agree with Aikman in a different way. There’s this thing called the internet. My kids don’t have any interest in football. Way back when, it was simple, being a jock put you in the popular crowd. You were a “nerd” otherwise. That peer pressure, like it or not, was a status. You were cool. Being a nerd isn’t so bad anymore … make videos on youtube, become big on Facebook, show your musical talent.

    In some countries, e-sports (gaming) is bigger than physical sports. It will be a different world when the next generation doesn’t identify with football.

  89. buzzbissinger says:
    Feb 22, 2012 9:35 PM
    Interesting he says football will no longer be No. 1 but stops short of picking a userper to the throne…

    Easy: soccer – demographics/media interest/changing cultural tastes all point that way – even the corporate overlords of this site are getting into it

  90. You are all missing the boat on one up and coming exciting sport soon to become an Olympic event.

    Internal Knitting.

    Knit Uno
    Pearl Dos

    Nothing like it!!!

  91. I can’t believe that there are any soccer fans on this website. I doubt anyone will read this post so late into the life span of the article, but here I go. There is no chance a country like America will embrace a sport that combines all of the drama of competitive jogging with contests that end in 0-0 or 1-1 ties. Soccer is not as popular as soccer enthusiast think and the NFL is more popular than soccer fans would think. Of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises in the world, all 32 of the NFL franchises are in the top 50. In fact, the 32nd most valuable NFL franchise comes in a 45. So the of the top 45 sports franchises, the NFL has 32. There were something like 4 or 5 soccer teams on there. So yeah, if it really were as popular as soccer fans liked to boast, it would probably have a better representation than 4ish teams (I am not going to go back through all of the slides and count). It only remains pervasive in western European countries because it was ingrained in the culture before they had better options, but that won’t last for too much longer. Soon, anyone that has more activity choices than dirt farming or acting in Christian Children’s Fund commercials will lose interest in soccer. Soccer will die out long before the NFL or football does.

  92. @chunkyloverfiftythree

    First, why are you surprised that this site would attract soccer fans? Can you really automatically preclude the possibility that some readers might like both sports? And even if you are a soccer fan, who has serious reservations about American football (like yours truly) would it not be in your interest to keep up on developments, just as NFL fans would do well to follow what is happening in other sports? Can you be this myopic? Second, your suggestion that the NFL might be more popular than soccer based on the value of NFL franchises is using a flawed measure. All NFL teams minus the Packers are privately held businesses. The vast majority of professional soccer teams around the world course are not. Therefore you cannot draw a direct line between the value of a commodity as measured by $$$ and popularity. Yes, the NFL is the most successful professional sports league in the world based on revenue. But this influence ends at the water’s edge. A better measure of popularity might be the social, cultural, even political relevance of any particular sport. And in this case, soccer appeals to far more people than the NFL could ever possibly imagine. Soccer is not just popular in Europe. Try 95 per cent of Latin America, all of Africa (minus perhaps South Africa), the entire Middle East, increasingly India as well as China, where a new generation of very rich entrepreneurs are building a brand new architecture for the sport. As said before, I will buy your argument if a). the NFL has the same status around the world as the MLS has in North America (third-best attended ahead of NHL and NBA) and b). monks in Tibet start caring about Tim Tebow.

  93. Best Post was the definition of soccer.

    Soccer : A bunch of passive aggressive cross country runners doing a bunch of things that have little to do with teamwork.

    And maybe Troy & Freaky Head Joe Buck in a hot tub together.

  94. For the most part, I’m with the “Football is King” crowd, but Troy’s probably more right than wrong when you look 15 years down the road (give or take…). A nation of Fantasy Football geeks stays away from an increasingly expensive and day-long game experience. Who wants to freeze their okole off in a late season 4:00 pm game in NY/NE/Chicago/DC/Etc, THEN sit in traffic inching your way out of the parking lot? The NFL could be virtually TV-only with old stadiums half full and new ones built for 20,000-25,000 people. I don’t think the game’s going anywhere anytime soon, but how many of us (that don’t have a work-related reason) have gone to a game in the past 5 seasons? I’m an every Sunday viewer (and if MNF was any good an every Monday viewer again), but I haven’t been to a game in years, and I honestly don’t miss it. My beer. My friends. No idiots. It’ll be an interesting dynamic for the most popular league to have the smallest crowds. Here’s a scenario – NFL #1 sport with no one in the stands. NHL #4 sport with full arenas and no TV ratings…

  95. One: I am aware of the fact that soccer is popular in more countries than Western Europe. However, Western Europe provides the only market place where teams and leagues can thrive. Is soccer popular in the Middle East, Africa, etc? Yes. Is it a sustainable market when wacky things happen like dictators executing players after a bad match? Probably not. So if Europeans lose interest, than profitable teams and soccer as a money making entertainment industry disappears. It isn’t going to happen in the next fortnight or so, but crazier things have happened than shifts in popularity of sporting events.

    Two: It is not myopic for me or anyone else to not care about soccer. When you are discussing subjective preferences, I am not really forced to care about anything. If I were making wild claims about soccer you could say that my views on the sport were myopic, but it is not myopic to lack interest in one of the billions of forms of entertainment that is available in the modern world. I would say that my suggestion of the sports being overestimated and underestimated in terms of global popularity is not farfetched though.

    Three: This is kind of what Aikman was saying about football and I make this point about soccer. It is not too big to fail. Nothing is. Baseball was the dominant sport in the US for at least a century. It failed to adapt to the marketplace and corrupt ownership/managing has been running the sport into the ground for the past few decades. Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I understand FIFA and premier soccer leagues are having similar problems. The list of problems with Baseball is long so it is a bit too much to add here if you are unfamiliar.

    In this increasingly global society, people have a ton of options for wasting their time. In the end, any sport will remain popular for so long as it produces a good product. Any sport can go the way of horse racing or baseball if it fails to adapt. History is littered with examples of entities that thought they were too big to fail.

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