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September 03, 2019


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The lack of players may be the proximate cause of the decline of the NFL, but certainly the list of causes also includes that football is boring. Who has 4 hours to waste every weekend all fall? If not, then the number of viewers (especially the young) will drop and without that interest, fewer will play. I will not lament this decline, as a less sympathetic group of people has yet to be found than the NFL owners.


"interested in other sports, including competitive video gaming"

not a sport

if it is then playing a game of Monopoly or Candyland is a sport

Doug Richmond

Today, many boys start playing soccer at much younger ages than they do football. By the time freshman high school football rolls around, many boys who might otherwise participate are already heavily invested in soccer. Other sports that can also be started at young ages siphon away at least potential football players. But more than anything else, the emergence of soccer in the U.S. has significantly affected football participation and presumably will continue to do so.


I remember reading an article that made the claim that football may die out a number of years ago. Football might be king now, but there's no guarantee that will continue in the future.

Remember: at the turn of the last century, the three big sports were baseball, boxing, and horse racing. Only one of those is in the top echelons of popularity today.

Steve L.

You are certainly right, Doug. But there is a reason parents encourage soccer instead of football. (Actually, there are several reasons, and safety is one of them.)

Doug Richmond

I am sure that safety may be one reason that parents favor soccer over football, but with fewer and fewer junior football leagues (which may have declined at least in part for some safety-related reasons, such as the cost of obtaining adequate liability insurance), soccer is simply a more available option. Also, soccer costs less from a parent's perspective because of the different equipment requirements, which makes it more desirable for many families. Football will probably suffer in the future at the high school and small college levels because of the costs associated with maintaining a program, which may further reduce participation. As someone who once coached college football at the NAIA and NCAA Div. III levels, I think that is unfortunate. I am also worried about CTE, however, and understand why concussion risks may cause athletes or parents of athletes to disfavor football.

Steve L.

Doug: Let's just say that you are far more reasonable than Coach Lewandowski.


Ironically, parents are pushing kids out of football to play a sport that has very similar brain injury problems.

"The perception that soccer is safer is widespread, but experts say the sport can be equally as dangerous. This is especially true when it comes to brain injuries."

Jeff Rice

We may well lose soccer/global football as well. Heading is a big part of the game (could it be eliminated?) and flying elbows occur in soccer as in basketball. One difference between the two sports (and a major one) is that there are not two lines of 250# and up tall men colliding with one another with the express purpose of pushing them to the ground. Nor is there an exposed quarterback who is the target of 500-600# at full speed. In no way am I ruling out soccer as being dangerous but I think that the structure of the game and the size of the players matters. There is a great anecdote about Bronco Nugurski running through the line until he collided with the wall and was knocked out. Allegedly claiming that last guy was really tough. Rumors are that George Halas preserved the dent in the brick wall in honor of Bronco.


participation continues to drop in California, for all the reasons Steve and Doug mention.

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