MY 2 CENTS: Is NFL on endangered list?
What are the long term effects of concussions? Sauk Valley Media assistant sports editor Christopher Heimerman spent most of the summer trying to figure that out.
One question that wasn’t asked was whether concussions would eventually kill Super Sunday.
Earlier this week, Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard thought aloud that the league wont’ be around in 20 years, because the effects of concussions and the ensuing rule changes caused by head injuries will gradually kill the league.
That’s hard to imagine at this point. The NFL is the Tyrannosaurus Rex of professional sports.
Fans – many of them fantasy owners – will flock to TVs for 17 weeks to watch pretty much any matchup, even if it’s two bottom-feeders vying for draft position.
The big day draws everyone. Even people who haven’t watched a single game all season will park their rear ends in recliners and watch every minute, even if their attention only peaks during commercials.
It truly is the only sporting event that engages audiences from all walks of life and obligates them to make an appointment with their big screens.
It’s a cultural event. It’s America’s big night. It seems like everyone gets involved. Heck, most everyone in the SVM office Friday had on one colored jersey or another.
So, what if it goes away? What are we left with?
Some long for the days when baseball was king of the country’s sports conscience.
You know, the father passing down his knowledge of the four-seam fastball and knuckleball to his admiring son.
The entire family decked out in team gear for a day at the park. Hot dogs, beer, etc.
The only problem with that scenario is baseball is made up of 100s of days like that. The World Series, for all its glamour, is at least four nights. It’s hard to capture and recapture that once-in-a-year feeling on multiple days.
Every few years, a Game 7 scenario might occur, but that day could be in the middle of the week, and casual viewers will only have a couple of days to prepare their schedules to watch.
The Super Bowl tells you a year in advance when it will happen. No matter the weather, no matter the teams, no matter anything short of natural disaster or national emergency.
The problem with MLB could be said for the NBA and NHL, whose own fans admit that the seasons are too long with too many teams followed by playoffs that drag too long into the summer.
The summer American is on vacation – that includes being on vacation from rabid fandom.
NASCAR fans call out that the Daytona 500 pulls people in also, but I don’t think it transcends the total market nearly as much as the NFL.
So, what fills that void if the Super Bowl disappears?
I don’t have the answer.
Maybe in 20 years, we will just get off the couch and find something better to do.