The NFL is off to a bit of a rocky start this year, and we are only three weeks into the season.
The on-field product has been lacking so far.
The first two weeks of the NFL’s regular season have been, for lack of a better word, boring. Either the games were low-scoring affairs, like the combined 12 points the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers managed on Sunday, or left little doubt as to the outcome, such as the Denver Broncos steamrolling the Dallas Cowboys by 25.
The average scoring output has been so puny — 20.3 points per game per team — it qualifies as the lowest average for the first two weeks of the season since 2010. Yet the average margin of victory is 12.9 points per game, the highest since 2011. With the games either low-scoring or lopsided, the NFL has been an early-season snoozefest.
That is part of the reason that the ratings dive from last season is continuing.
Another reason, and a bigger one for many hardcore fans like myself, is the ongoing disrespect being displayed during the national anthem by players who want to make political statements. The league and most of the owners continue to take the stance that the players have a “right” to do this. I addressed that absolute nonsense last week.
As with all social justice protests, the first capitulation is never enough. The NFL’s weakness on the matter is prompting some of the players to demand more.
Four NFL players petitioned Commissioner Roger Goodell last month, asking in a memo that the league support players as they speak out on social issues and calling for the designation of the month of November to activism awareness, just as the league does for other causes.
The 10-page letter, written by active players Michael Bennett, Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith and the retired Anquan Boldin, shows that NFL players are showing no inclination to “stick to sports” in the debate that began in the summer of 2016, when Colin Kaepernick made a statement about police brutality and social injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem.
What fun! After spending October talking about breast cancer while watching three-hundred-pound men wearing pink shoes, November can be all about politics.
The league caved a little last season and allowed the players a week to focus on activism:
Last year, the NFL took step toward letting players support their causes by designating Week 13 “My Cause, My Cleats” week and declining to fine players for uniform violations that extend to footwear. For one week, players could wear cleats with a message supporting whatever cause they liked.
No one wants to be lectured about politics (from either side of the aisle) or activism while watching a game. The fans like me who grew weary of Kaepernick’s antics last year and are watching less this year probably won’t enjoy a month of having this shoved down their throats because a handful of players hijacked the game.
This trend started before Kaepernick, actually. For several seasons now, the annoying little garden gnome Bob Costas has been lecturing viewers on various lefty political issues during Sunday Night Football games on NBC.
Maybe it’s time for Roger Goodell and the other league officials to start listening to the thousands and thousands of fans who are not watching anymore rather than the tantrums of four or five spoiled millionaires who don’t want to be told what to do at work.