Long Before Someone Kneeled

Posted by: on Feb 1, 2018 | No Comments

Long Before Someone Kneeled

There’s been a lot of talk lately about football, politics, TV ratings and what’s wrong with America’s most popular sport.
If you listen to some politicians, it’s all Colin Kaepernick’s fault, him and all the rest of those un-patriotic players who dis-respect the flag, and our country by not standing during the national anthem. I call bullshit on that. I’m not saying that isn’t part of the problem but football had issues long before Colin decided to take a knee.

Issue #1 – My Seats Are Condos
I was a J-E-T-S season ticket holder for 25 years (with a major shout out to my friend Eric who actually was the season ticket holder of record for all those years and kept them even when neither of us were using them), from 1984 – the year they moved into Giants Stadium – until 2009, the year Giants Stadium closed. In 2010, the Jets moved into their brand new stadium, decided to charge for PSLs – personal seat licenses. In other words, I had to pay to “own” my seats and the right to than pay for season tickets. The PSLs for my 3 seats would have been $5000 per PSL or $15,000. They also upped my tickets from $75 per seat to $125 per seat, and decided that season tickets holders should pre-pay for their parking based on the level of their PSL. The better your seats, the better your parking spot. If you tailgated with friends with different level PSLs than you, they could care less. Let me tell you, the best part of going to a football game is tailgating, making that experience inconvenient just shows how little certain team owners care about their fans. So, in 2010, if I wanted to keep my seats, Woody Johnson & Co. wanted me to fork-up $20,000. I told them to take their seats and stick it, as did many other loyal Jets fans I knew and sat with. As a matter of fact, up until 2010 the Jets had a waiting list for seasons tickets. PSLs pretty much took care of that. Now on Sundays, I’d rather be golfing.
Side note: 2010 was also the one year we had 2 kids in college. You want to know how you save money when you have 2 kids in college? You give up your Jets season tickets.
Side note #2: In September 2014, I took my son to Jets opening day. I got very good seats for below face value on StubHub. Unfortunately I had to pay $60 for a $35 parking pass but the tailgate before the game was great. My son 10-15 of his buddies and me. Great way to feel young.

Issue #2 – OY! Have I Got a Headache
Let’s be real. Anyone who thinks head injuries, concussions, all the medical information coming out post concussion syndrome, CTE and the like, isn’t having an effect on football’s popularity is…well…there brain damaged.
There are less kids playing pee-wee football, Pop Warner football and high school football. I’m sure one the reason is parental concern over injuries, head and others. I grew up in Great Neck, where we had 2 high schools – North and South – and 2 football teams. Now, there is only one team. Other school districts are also merging their teams and I’ve heard there is more to come. I’m sure all the new evidence coming out regarding football related injuries has something to do with this, as does…..

Issue #3 – Meet The New Neighbors
Where we live in New Jersey, there is an influx of immigrants. My new neighbors seem to be coming from all over the world, places where American football is not played and/or is not very popular. For the most part, I’m sure the parents (and sometime grandparents) that now live in those households do not watch football, although there’s a good chance they watch what most of the world does call football or futbol (you know soccer, the game where athletes actually play with their feet). And the kids in these households do not play what we call football. There’s whole generation of new Americans and they are not American football fans.

Issue #4 – Oversaturation (which I think is actually problem numero uno)
If you grew up in the 60s, you watched football 2 days a week: Saturday was college and Sunday was pro. If you watched all day both days, you saw 4 or 5 games total. Than in 1970 came Monday Night Football, which really elevated football’s popularity.
Later in the 70s and 80s (and beyond!), came cable TV and ESPN, which was followed by many other local and national sports channels, all of which needed programming. Hey, if Monday Night Football was such a success, what about other nights, like Sunday and Thursday.
What college football? All of sudden the NCAA was big business, and they had all those conferences, and all those teams, with their rabid fan bases. They decided to get in on the action. Before you knew it, between the NFL and college, you could pretty much watch football everyday of the week.
And we are not talking a couple of channels with a couple of games going on at the same time. If you want to watch college football on Saturday, you’ve ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS Sports Channel, NBC Sports Channel, FS1, YES, SNY, MSG, the BigTen Network, and let’s not forget the broadcast networks. On a Saturday afternoon during football season, there’s a good chance there’s more than 10 games on TV at the same time, and you can watch from late morning into the next day with the games played on the West Coast.
As for the pros, it’s not quite that bad on Sunday. During the day, you’ve got 2 network games at the same time, plus the NFL Network and NFL RedZone, and than Sunday Night Football.
Anyway you look at it, it’s a lot of football, probably way too much. Of all the issues that seem to be effecting football’s popularity, I think this might be the real issue. Watching a football game used to be special, an event. Now, it’s just one big meh.

There you have it. As with any issue of this nature, it’s never just one thing, and it’s never black or white….despite what some politicians may say.