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We’re only two weeks into the NFL season and it’s very clear that, generally speaking, the NFL sucks more than usual this year. To be fair, the NFL is usually a disappointment, but this year has been especially disappointing. I’ve always preferred college football, mostly because I feel more of a tie to my alma mater than my hometown team, but in the NFL I do like to see some players from my school succeed at the next level. There are other reasons that college football is better, but that’s a different column. Still, I love football just enough to continue watching the NFL on Sundays, but this year has already been abysmal.
Unless you’re watching the elite teams, there is definitely a noticeable decline in the quality of play. The Thursday night game between Houston and Cincinnati put me to sleep quicker than my melatonin. Niners versus Rams won’t be much better. Hoyer versus Goff. Oh man, pick the over. Even if you like defense it will likely be a sleeper. Buffalo lost to Carolina 3-9, a Buffalo field goal away from at least some entertainment value. Seattle’s offense only put up 12 points on San Francisco’s subpar defense. Quarterback play has been mediocre at best. I could keep going, but you get my point. The play is less than thrilling for all but maybe five or six teams. Sad. Will the season continue on this path of pure boredom? Who knows? All I know is this—Jay Cutler is 1-0, well on his way to being MVP.
I’m sure some may say it’s the NFL’s fault for no teams giving Kaepernick the contract he so clearly deserves (ha) after he opted out of his previous one. Others may say the players are sluggish from sore knees from kneeling during the national anthem. It could be a bunch of new coaches taking over or injuries to key players. Or maybe the NFL just sucks as it always has, but we’re starting to notice it more as we get exhausted with sports journalists focusing on Kaepernick drama, the NFL’s failed domestic violence policy, Gooddell being a clown, and misquoting players for clicks rather than substantive analysis of, you know, the actual sport itself. The only ones doing a deep analysis of actual professional football are the fantasy football analysts.
Whatever the issue may be, I do know this—ratings for the NFL are plummeting. They are completely through the floor, and viewership is declining. It could be the quality of play. It could be the drama among a bunch of “one percenters” who complain about how oppressive this country is. It could just be poor leadership at the very top who cares more about deflated footballs than players beating women and player safety and prioritizes personal vendettas over improving ratings. The NFL certainly is not what it used to be. We long for the days when the Saints were good, when Los Angeles did not have two teams who couldn’t even beat USC in attendance, when Knowshon Moreno shed tears during the Star Spangled Banner rather than knelt during it for attention, when Flacco was still a good (but never elite) quarterback, and when JJ Watt wasn’t the only role model in the game.
The NFL has been in decline for several years, but between quality of play, distractions, and ratings, this year already sucks more than usual..
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