N.F.L. The season has begun. The off-road drama began weeks ago

N.F.L. The season has begun. The off-road drama began weeks ago
CreditCreditJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A league that does not lack disorderly controversies about money, security and player rights. The endless reality TV show known as N.F.L. He started his 100th season on Thursday when the Packers beat the Bears, 10-3, in the last edition of one of the league’s oldest rivalries. Banners were raised, names like Halas and Lombardi and a N.F.L. The Grant Park Museum presented a version of each Super Bowl ring.
This is the kind of party the league likes to organize: a celebration centered on the “heroes of the game” and the values ​​of value, determination and teamwork that the N.F.L. He wants us to believe that they are the cornerstone of American life.
However, the N.F.L. It exists with the conflict and the league does not lack disorderly controversies on the money, the security and the rights of the players. A big party can not hide them. N.F.L. I would like to avoid many of these conflicts and not distract from the game itself. But these dark clouds are an inexhaustible source of fodder for sports radio presenters, talking cable TV speakers and social media fans, benefiting the league, whether intentionally or not.
This is because basically, the N.F.L. It is a media company that produces football games. Nearly 60% of the $ 14 billion in annual league revenue comes from selling its transmission rights. As teams constantly update their stadiums and try to improve the “fan experience”, many other supporters follow the N.F.L. on television and on social networks.
So, while some scandals embarrass the N.F.L. – Do you remember Deflategate? – keep Americans listening to football when games are not played, one of the main reasons many networks spend so much time and resources on NF coverage.
Like so many low seasons, scandals have not missed this summer. One of the most important stories is Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, who spent part of the pre-season in Mexico, while he and team owner Jerry Jones face his demand to become the runner on better paid. Elliott won.
In Oakland, distant receiver Antonio Brown was involved in a stormy battle with his new team, the Raiders, because the helmet he preferred was no longer allowed. The team fined Brown nearly $ 54,000 for losing so much training. The drama has tested the limits of player rights in a league dominated by coaches who demand close loyalty.
And they would not know, HBO and N.F.L. The films were there with the Raiders to document the story of the show “Hard Knocks”, the documentary about football.
Then there is the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert K. Kraft, who has been charged with soliciting prostitute. A Florida judge presented key evidence and Commissioner Roger Goodell took no action against Kraft, raising the question of whether owners and players are subject to different standards.
Perhaps the most enduring controversy has involved neither money nor harmful behavior. Less than two weeks ago, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said he was retiring at age 29 due to the increased number of injuries. The admission of one of the most recognized stars in the league has revived the delicate debate on injuries in the most popular sport in the United States.
N.F.L. Survive another player who is expecting money. The confrontation around a new helmet will be a footnote at the end of the season. But Luck’s decision represents a thornier problem for a league that has seen a steady decline in the number of children playing football and that will pay more than $ 1 billion to retired players with significant cognitive and neurological problems.
“The main danger to the league is not the number of games on television or players earning too much money, it is that football is a violent sport and you can not legislate in case of violence”, said Upton Bell, son of the former NFL player Commissioner Bert Bell and a single framework. “The big decision will be made if the American public and its love of violent gambling overcome the idea that it is a game producing wounded warriors.”
When N.F.L. The games represent almost every one of the 25 most-watched shows on television, and the league attracts more than 17 million spectators to its stadiums. It is hard to say that the economic model has