It’s a topic people don’t like to talk about, lest they ruin their favorite Fall past-time: Football is a dangerous sport that causes injuries some players will live with for the rest of their lives. Football players are becoming bigger, faster, and stronger than ever before, meaning hits and tackles have more punch in them today than they have since the sport’s existence. Will injuries move fans away from the sport in the future, or is there anything that will keep peoples’ eyes off the game?
According to information released by the NFL 15% of its players had been injured by the second week of the season. As the season has continued more and more players have suffered injuries on the gridiron, tearing ligaments and breaking bones. Being carted off the field has become a weekly occurrence, this week’s victim being the New England Patriot’s tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Texas Longhorn’s had seven players injured in a single game on Thursday. Watching players get injured can’t be good for viewership, right?
Viewership in football, at all levels, is up. Teams and media are making their money with viewers at rates they have never seen before. The NFL is reporting an increase in viewership in all of its showtimes, even with Thursday night and Sunday morning games in England bringing in respectable, increased ratings.
The sport is even bringing in record viewers outside of TV – new deals with Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook are bringing in new eyes that previously would not have invested any time in the sport.
It could be argued that injuries and concussions are bad for the sport even outside of the player’s health and safety. As mentioned above, ignoring signs of a concussion potentially cost the St. Louis Rams a win against the Baltimore Ravens. Bigger hits are taking out key players like Tony Romo and Jamaal Charles, whose presence is missed on game day.
So long as viewership remains the same or continues to increase, changes are not likely to come to the sport. Players dying on the field hasn’t been enough to stop fans from coming to support their teams. In fact, articles and videos of players being injured draw a large amount of attention from fans, fantasy football players, and people just wanting to see violence.
If players being destroyed for the rest of their lives doesn’t drop football from being the number one sport in the country, nothing will. Football at high school, college, and the pro’s will continue to reign supreme for the foreseeable future.