Sports

The NFL has become too big to fail

Kneeling and racism couldn’t do it. Misogyny and homophobia never stood a chance. Presidential jabs fell short. The NFL is unbreakable.

According to a recent report by the Sports Business Journal, “NFL viewership is at an eight-year high with a per-game average of 17.2 million viewers — up 7 percent year-over-year. That’s the highest since 2015 through nine weeks.”

NBC has 22 million people watching Sunday Night Football. CBS is having its best run in eight years averaging 18.1 million viewers. FOX is at 17.6 million. ESPN/ABC/ESPN2 came in at 15.4 million. NFL Network is up 25 percent, and even Prime Video is averaging 12.7 million viewers. Don’t forget that this year’s three-day NFL Draft drew 54.4 million viewers — 5.3 million more than in 2022. FOX previously revealed that 2023 gave us the most-watched Super Bowl with 115.1 million viewers. And thanks to Taylor Swift, the Chiefs/Jets Sunday Night Football Week Four game was the most watched Sunday show since the Super Bowl, peaking at 29.4 million, according to NBC,

In 2021, NFL games made up 75 of the 100 most-watched TV programs. No other pro sports league in America cracked the top 100. In 2022, that number had risen to 82 of the 100 most-watched U.S. TV broadcasts. Roger Goodell became the NFL’s Commissioner in 2006. Last month, his contract was extended until 2027, largely due to the game’s growth — putting billions into the pockets of team owners.

Thanos thought he was inevitable. Goodell knows he’s Teflon.

This isn’t good. When entities become too big to fail, wrongs are ignored and bad behavior increases.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018 we watched fans claim they weren’t going to watch the NFL anymore. Some turned the games off in solidarity as Colin Kaepernick was blackballed. Others were enraged with Black people asking the police to stop shooting those who looked like them and decided they’d had enough of “politics in sports.” Everybody lied. Because as you can see, the league never lost steam. The NFL reached new levels of popularity.

Eventually, players got off their knees, fists weren’t raised anymore, and the ones on the field stopped caring — leading to the rest of America shrugging its shoulders. But even still, drama persists and nothing seems to be able to penetrate the NFL’s shield.

Race-norming occurred. People kept watching games. Most didn’t know it even happened.

The New York and California Attorneys General started an investigation into the league for hostile workplace discrimination for racial and sexual harassment and age bias, and nobody seems to care.

Brian Flores’ class-action suit against the league for its alleged racist hiring against Black coaches is still ongoing.

Jim Trotter filed a 53-page racial discrimination/retaliation lawsuit against the NFL that was the playbook on how the league deals with/mistreats Black people, and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was happy to lend Goodell a helping hand.

According to Forbes, last year, the NFL made $11.9 billion in revenue, which was 7 percent more than the previous year. So the next time something racist happens, or something cruel is done to women or someone from the LGBTQ+ community, your first reaction shouldn’t be anger. Self-reflection should take precedent. There’s a 100 percent chance you’ve done something that’s put money into the league’s pocket, which has allowed the thing that’s angered you to happen. 




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