|Posted by Radatz on November 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM|
Think the NFL isn't in trouble? Think the hype and soft-pedaling by their media outlets is the truth? Think their pandering to players has solved a problem?
I didn't have much of a gauge myself until last night as I watched the awful Miami Dolphins put in about a quarter's worth of work in Carolina. It wasn't the awful product on the field, watching a game in which yet another team packed it in at midseason, that gave me the idea.
It was a stray shot of the stands. Cameras typically avoid upper-deck shots so you don't see empty seats. But in this game the lower decks --- as in first-tier --- were practically empty, and it wasn't just at the end when the game became a rout. Nobody was there... and with their team winning, about to go to 7-3 on the season, in a 3-way fight for the division and with a real playoff shot. And in football country. I've seen exhibition games pack the stands better than that regularly in the past.
Then there's that other thing that took a while to digest. Teams are packing it in, not in week 16 when they're 6 games out but in week 10 with the starters playing. I don't mean (oddly enough) teams like the Niners and the Browns, who seem to try hard every week but just aren't good enough. I mean teams like the Giants, Bucs, Ravens, Broncos, Bengals, Cardinals... how many teams can you think of who aren't exactly giving it their all? Add Miami to the list now.
I no longer think things are trending slowly back to normal. I suspect it's worse than most of us thought. And if the past is any indication, we can count on the league to make the wrong move. It's the classic internal collapse of an overly successful corporation that cut its teeth in a seller's market. I've been through a few corporate collapses that followed halcyon days. Instead of having contingency plans or quickly quashing root causes, corrupt executives refused to admit error and instead redoubled their bad practices. If it works, you're an infallible hero. If it doesn't, you bail on a golden parachute. Unions smelled blood and demanded the world, making things worse. The little guy (aka the customer) was left out. In this case, it's the fans. And many are getting the idea. That's bad for organizations that have grown fat relying on fawning stupidity.
The corporation that couldn't fail has found creative ways to shoot itself in the foot, exascerbating its issues. Or is this alarmism? Maybe it'll all just go away and we're seeing a bump in the road. But it's bad enough now to worry more than just a few conspiracy theorists. The inmates are now truly running things. We're watching a spreading quasi-strike fueled by a vague purpose --- the modus operandi seems to be "We'll show up and get paid, we just won't try too hard." Alas, the fans are noticing, and not sympathetically. The Golden Goose is what's in trouble now... first kneeling, then distracted low quality football, now teams packing up early --- all of it caused by mollycoddled millionaire players too stupid to see what they're really accomplishing.
Alas, like inept executives, they'll get to keep their money. But the next generation may have to opt for real jobs.
Categories: NFL Blogs