The NFL at 100 – More Popular Than Ever!

Today brings us the first Saturday NFL games of 2019.  I remember as kid waiting for Saturday NFL because it meant we’d get games on Saturday, Sunday, and then on Monday night as well (back when Monday Night Football was a really big deal).  We only had a few channels back then, so anything sports-related on TV was an instant draw to my brother and me.  Today, I have Direct TV’s NFL Ticket so I can watch every NFL game regardless of market.  And football – college and professional – saturates the airwaves during the fall and early winter.  For people like me, that’s heaven.  For people like my wife, not so much.  There are also half-a-dozen college bowl games on TV today as well.  While those games will draw fans, largely fans of the teams playing, the ratings for the NFL games will dwarf the college games – just like the NFL ratings dwarf just about any competition they meet from other sports to movies to even presidential debates.  At 100 years old the NFL is more popular than ever and nothing on the horizon suggests that will change any time soon.  The New York Times published a great story on the NFL and it’s popularity (and violence) the latter supporting the former.  Read it here.

That’s all for now football fans.




The Price of Moving…

If you’ve seen any of the televised games of the Los Angeles Chargers (formerly of San Diego) you have seen something very odd – a “home” stadium filled to the brim with fans of the opposing team. When the Spanos family picked up their team and moved to L.A., I don’t think anyone foresaw this. Their temporary stadium only holds 27,000 people. They will move into the Rams new Deathstar of a stadium next year. Will the team get the same treatment from its L.A.-based fans? Who knows – but it will be interesting to watch and it’s a precautionary tale about leaving loyal fans in the dirt and about professional football in Los Angeles which has struggled mightly for attention for decades. Here’s an interesting article from the NYT about the Chargers move to L.A.

That’s all for now football fans.


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Lawyers, Guns, and Money!

No surprise that in the USA if you don’t like the result, you sue somebody. Hey, I get it that the refs blew the call in the Saints vs. Ram NFC title game last weekend but guess what? It happens! It sucks. It’s unfair. It’s terrible. What it is not is something you should sue over. But, some did.  Click here to read about it.  To be blunt, it’s felony stupid.  First, it’s a waste of the resources of the court system which have more important things to deal with then a blown ref call. Second, it makes you look like a douchebag – especially the lawyers but the fans as well.  The history of the league is riddled with bad calls but no one sued over them.  Can the NFL try to improve things?  Yes.  Should there be lawsuits or – worse – COngressional hearings into a blown call.  Definitely, no.

That’s all for now football fans.


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Referees Have the Hardest Job in the World – Let’s Help Them!

If you watched the NFL Conference Championship games over the weekend you saw some very exciting  – overtime – football. And congratulations to the Rams and the Patriots (including the remarkable Tom Brady).  You also saw some questionable calls, including a blown call that probably kept the Saints from advancing to the Super Bowl. There was a great article in the New York Times about that game and that “non-call.”  To read the article, click here.  There are several interesting points in the article, including:

  1. The referees do not have the benefit of replay on many calls, including holding, pass interference, and other “judgment” calls.  Yet, people at home and at the stadium have 50+ views in HD.
  2. Replay is often the collective judgment of 50 fans in a bar.  Again, they have views not available to the referees.

The speed of the game on the filed is so fast, if you [a referee] are in the wrong place, how can you possibly make the right call – even though NFL officials get a tremendous percentage of close calls right – though they did miss that Julien Edleman did not touch the football and thus cause a fumble during Sunday’s Chiefs vs. Patriots match-up.  Yet they had the ability to go back and review the play and make the right call.

While as a fan it’s often tough to put emotions to the side, the NFL needs to find a way to help the referees out.  The obvious solution is to make any play reviewable, though the downside to that is the impact on length of the game.  It will add time.  Perhaps or judgment calls, only a remote group of referees and call for a review (like the NFL does in the last two minutes of a game)?  And the review must be completed within 30 seconds or else the call on the field stands?  Or some type of limit so that we do not end up with four-hour games.

It’s tough to be a referee.  Don’t yell at them – let’s help them out!  You can find out more about the NFL’s instant replay system in my book: The Evolution of Professional Football.


That’s all for now football fans!