Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why This Sportsman Turned Off NFL Football

Sunday fishing - not really worried about NFL scores.
I represent what was once the key demographic group of the National Football League - a beer drinking 41-year old straight white man who lives within 15 miles of an NFL stadium and within 3 hours of the home stadiums of five other NFL teams.   But every year I seem to watch less, not more pro football.    I doubt that the world's second most popular sports league will miss me - nearly 40% of the earth's adults say they are NFL fans.  But I thought it might be worth noting.  What's changed for me?

First, my life has changed.  I work in what amounts to be a COO position of a small company that grew every year during the recession.  Which is to say that I work a lot.   Around the time I started working in corporate (nonprofit) leadership, we had a son, around whom my world rises and sets.   Many families have kids who spend hours staring at digital screens or the television, and that reality has its pluses and minuses.  But we have grown an active boy who wants to engage us, to play outside, and to be engaged with his friends in active play (outside if possible).   That means when I have free time on Sunday, my son doesn't want to watch football.  At first I resisted, then I recorded games to watch later (after bedtime), and now I don't even bother.

Second, my sensitivities have changed.  Not in the politically correct way, mind you, but in the "Why the hell has the NFL been lying about brain injuries for 20 years?" kind of way.  The "thanks for showing us what you think about young men and their dedication to the sport" kind of way.    I am an "accountability" kind of guy, and the NFL's actions on things like player brain injuries, and other minor issues like employees assaulting women on camera, doesn't seem particularly in line with my values.

Third, fantasy football is possibly the most lame thing in all of 21st century life.  I mean, seriously.  Gambling on the theoretical independent play of players who you electronically "place" on teams together?   "OMG I traded Manning this week!"  I mean...seriously.  You sound like 11 year olds trading baseball cards (arguably more productive).   You know what would be even *more* fun? Going outside to play actual football!  And to the question, "But what would we talk about at work on monday?"  I don't could talk about work.  As a former boss once said during our staff meeting, "What exact billing code are you guys using for the work hours you spend on fantasy football?"

There are other, less important factors, such as the idea that a non-profit director (Roger Goodell) can make $44 million as a base salary.  For anything other than football, I would never support a non-profit with such a pay scale.  So I don't think football deserves a pass.  Notable: under scrutiny on the topic, the NFL voluntarily surrendered their tax-exempt status six months ago.  Way to go, guys.  

So I think I'll keep going outside on Sundays, and spending Mondays at the office talking about something else.  I know the NFL doesn't miss me, and as time goes on, the feeling is mutual.

1 comment:

Michael Agneta said...

While I'm still an avid Eagles fan, I couldn't agree with you more on the fantasy football piece. I quit FF about 5 seasons ago. It's been an absolutely liberating experience.

I'm probably not as far removed from watching NFL games as you are, but outdoor pursuits are never held captive by the NFL schedule in my house either.

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