Yahoo! – Undoubtedly the National Football League is king, but a Dallas Cowboys legend thinks trouble may be coming. Hall of Famer Troy Aikman [says] he feels the wildly popular sport may be in jeopardy. “The long-term viability, to me anyway, is somewhat in question as far as what this game is going to look like 20 years from now…People couldn’t get [NFL Net] in the homes and, all of sudden, fans, me included, were saying, ‘I wasn’t getting the Thursday night game and I was OK with that.’ That’s not a good thing…’Monday Night Football’ was a big event. Now you get football Sunday, you get it Monday, you get it Thursday and, late in the year, you get it on Saturday…at some point football is not going to be the number one sport. You talk about the ebbs and flows of what’s popular and what’s not. At some point, the TV ratings are not going to be there. I can’t justify that because the numbers say otherwise (now), but I guess time will tell.”
Am I missing something here? Did Troy Aikman take too many shots to the head? Or has listening to Joe Buck for too long jarred something loose in his brain? I might be as partisan as they come for the team I like and against the teams I hate, but if there’s one thing every single American can agree on it’s that the NFL is king, right? I mean, is that even up for debate? And I’m not just saying it’s the top of the sports food chain. Pro football is the country’s No. 1 interest, period. Bigger than politics, music, movies, TV, pop culture… anything. For starters, do you know what the No.1 rated prime time television series was last year? Sunday Night Football. Not CSI or Big Bang Theory or Modern Family or something. SNF. In fact, NFL coverage is the only programming on TV where the viewership is going up. The Super Bowl had over 160 million viewers. And the Pro Bowl… arguably the worst of the four all star games… had more viewers on a Sunday afternoon than the MLB All Star game, which on Tuesday night, has an 80 year tradition and where they’re actually playing for something. Hell, ESPN is advertising a show where they’re going to follow prospects around while they work out prior to the Combine. And I will watch it. Granted that’s because I’ve given up all pretense that I’m an interesting human being. But I promise you the ratings will be great. Because they could do a series called “Taped” where every week they focus on a different NFL player getting his ankles taped up before a game and Americans will tune in because we love the NFL so much.
But what I really don’t get is what does Aikman think is about to replace football for popularity? Baseball? Basketball? Bowling? Soccer, God forbid? Figure skating? I can only dream. But it’s not going to happen. Football is so entrenched in the fabric of our culture we’ll even watch it when a clueless buffoon like Troy Aikman is doing the game. @JerryThornton1