According to the Los Angeles Times, Hall of Famer Troy Aikman told a Los Angeles forum last Friday that the National Football League is in trouble and may not be the No. 1 sport in the United States 10 to 20 years from now.
“The long-term viability, to me anyway, is somewhat in question as far as what this game is going to look like 20 years from now,” Aikman said. “People couldn’t get [the NFL Network] in the homes and, all of sudden, fans, me included, were saying, ‘I wasn’t getting the Thursday night game and I was OK with that.’ That’s not a good thing.”
Aikman makes a solid point. The NFL has struggled with several cable companies, with the biggest one being Time Warner Cable, to get the NFL Network on their channel list and that has not been a good sign for many fans. The problem is these cable companies want to much money and the NFL is not willing to give it to them. Personally, I am a subscriber to Time Warner Cable and it is awful what they do. I have called them several times begging to allow NFL Network but they claim it is the NFL’s fault not their own.
Aikman also believes the product that is the NFL is currently dropping.
“At one time, watching football was an event,” Aikman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “’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.”
This is where I disagree with the Dallas Cowboys legend. I still believe watching football is an event. Not only do I enjoy watching my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, but I also enjoy watching every other game on television. I watch Monday Night Football every week and would watch Thursday Night Football if Time Warner Cable would allow me to. I also enjoy having Wild-Card and Divisional games on Saturday during the postseason. In fact, if the NFL decided to add a game every week on Saturday’s during the regular season I would watch that as well.
“I think we’re going to look back at this point in time and say these were the missteps that the National Football League took that kept football from being the No. 1 sport,” Aikman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the number one sport. 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. I can’t justify that because the numbers say otherwise (now), but I guess time will tell.”
Aikman did not elaborate what sport he thought would become No.1 in the U.S. but that he is certain it will not be the NFL. Once again, I have to disagree with Aikman on this one. Every year the Super Bowl is rated higher than the one before it, there are games every season that have the highest ratings of all-time and no other sport comes even close to the popularity. The NBA is broken and has been going downhill for quite some time while MLB’s no salary cap has been hurting the league for years. The only sport that could compete is NASCAR and I just do not see it becoming more popular than the NFL.
Aikman said the concussions are also hurting the league and if the NFL cannot find a way to keep these players safe without ruining the game then they are in big trouble.
“I don’t know if I would encourage him to play,” Aikman said if he had a son who was looking to play football.
Aikman is currently the lead analyst for NFL on FOX.