The NFL owners will meet on Tuesday in Boston to go over changes they’d like made to the league in order to preserve the future of their sport. But while player safety is a hot button issue and is no doubt on the docket, it’s being superseded by a much bigger need — the almighty dollar sign. According to USA Today, the NFL owners are making stadium innovations at least an equally important priority as improving player safety which goes to show exactly where the minds of the league remain.
Stephan Jones, the son of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and current executive vice president of operations, said that while player safety is nice, it’s no use to protect the livelihood of players that play the game if no one comes and watches.
“Everybody always says we have to watch concussions and all of that, and that’s at the forefront. But I’d say 1-A is this,” Jones said, via USA Today. “We don’t ever want to take for granted our fans, and with the technology out there … the flat screens, the laptops, the iPhones. I’ve got young kids, and they’ve got a lot of options. If we’re not innovative, we’re going to have issues.”
If we didn’t love football so much, that statement would make us all cringe. The suicide of Junior Seau and the nasty effects of CTE made headlines a year ago but the NFL is doing a fantastically devilish job of glossing over that by giving NFL fans shiny things to look at.
Don’t look at the grown men destroying their brains, well unless can do it while feeling the hit in your remote controlled chair while you watch the collision in slow-motion replay in your iPhone while half naked women dance on an 80-yard high definition screen.
As disgusting as it is that NFL owners aren’t even trying to hide their greed, they do have a problem with attendance and it does make guys destroying their brains less fun. It’s widely known that staying at home in your climate controlled house just steps away from a beer full of free beer is a much better way of spending a Sunday than freezing in the snow while your $12 beer freezes in your hand or is dumped after being run into by the drunk guy ruining the fun.
New stadiums coming out like the ones in San Francisco, Atlanta and Minnesota all contain state-of-the-art changes to the atmosphere of the game, where being in a luxury style barroom is as good as sitting right next to the field.
The NFL clearly has it’s priorities where it wants them, but saying the fan experience will be better and actually making it so are two different things. From fans being shutout of the Super Bowl after buying tickets to the violence both inside and outside stadiums as well as the incredibly slow WiFi services inside venues, the NFL has it’s work cutout to avoid losing the sport to home television.