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NBC took Bob Costas off the Super Bowl for speaking out about concussions (espn.com)
267 points by smacktoward 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 240 comments





>"I recall the phrase, 'It's a six-hour, daylong celebration of football, and you're not the right person to celebrate football,'" Costas says.

The odd thing was if you watched the Superbowl the culture of the event had obviously changed. You rarely saw cheerleaders, unless in the background of a play. None of the commercials offered up exploitation of women at least nothing on the scale of GoDaddy and Paris Hilton had in the past.

Budweiser's main hook throughout was that they did not use high fructose corn syrup in their ingredients! That's a long way from the bro-y bikini image beer companies have made the Superbowl to be about for so long.

So when I read that this was a celebration of the culture of Football, what is that now? Is it this more progressive, more healthy sport EXCEPT when it comes to brain trauma?

I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football at this point and has true global appeal. Football and the Superbowl seem like so many boomer institutions where this old guard is doing everything to slow down the bleeding for as long as possible.


>I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football

I cannot disagree more. NFL is the biggest sports league in the entire world by revenue by far, even though it's only played within the United States! More and more people are playing video games, but eSports is still a very niche market. You certainly don't see people talking about a DOTA championship match as much as people talking about the Superbowl game on social media. eSports still has a long way to go in terms of general acceptance and social influence.

edit: changed "sports" to "sports league" after seeing some feedback


Well, the original commenter overstated the importance of eSports, but you're overstating the appeal of American Football.

The global sports are probably soccer, and basketball, in that order. And even those are only because they are the cheapest to play. Just need a ball and a goal. I think this appeal is reflected in global revenue, and certainly in participation, outside of US. I'm pretty sure it's soccer by far.


  you're overstating the appeal of American Football
He didn't refer to "appeal" on an aesthetic level. He wrote of revenue.

NFL in-person attendance is spiraling downward. Don't look at published attendance figures based on "tickets issued"; look at video of actual butts in the stands.


https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-nfl-made-13-billion-la...

This article says otherwise, but who knows, maybe it's wrong.


That article states that globally Soccer makes more money than the NFL. Just adding up the 5 Soccer leagues listed in the top 10 there, they total more than the NFL. And there are a bunch of soccer leagues globally that aren't in the top 10. So while the NFL does have a commanding lead as the largest sports league globally, American Football is indeed behind Soccer globally as a sport.

Another way of thinking about why that is is that the NFL is effectively a monopoly. They are the only game in town for a sport which is only popular in one country (the USA). Soccer is, globally, a much more popular sport than American Football, but it's not controlled by a single league (FIFA is a governing body (a terribly corrupt one, but that's a separate conversation), not a league).

If you look at it per-capita, the NFL also seems a bit less impressive, and their revenue might be more a result of the fact that the USA is both rich and fairly large than any strong indicator of global popularity. Taking population estimates from Wikipedia, the NFL made roughly $39.76/person in the USA, and the Premier League made roughly $80.30/person in the UK. (And that methodology is arguably a bit generous to the the NFL, since the Premier League is technically only in England, but I'm including the rest of the UK since they also do watch a lot of Soccer AFAIK.)

To me the enormous revenues of the NFL is a stronger indicator of why monopolies are harmful than of any special virtues of the NFL or American Football.


Also, nobody outside of USA actually likes American football as a sport. There is no global appeal to the sport.

Let us not forget Canada!

"I don't even know what street Canada is on."

-- Al Capone


Mostly true but you should then take college football revenue in the US into account.

Interesting point but I'm not sure I agree. There are other professional soccer leagues in the UK aside from the Premier League as well. It's not entirely apples-to-apples because the wider market structures are different between the US & UK, but I do think comparing the dominant player in each market is useful & instructive.

I think your point is totally fair though in that my description of NFL as a monopoly isn't as comprehensive as I expected. From what I can find, CFL revenues are about $213M , and US college football is $3.4 billion. CFL is pretty close to being a rounding error compared to the NFL, but college football is a definitely a significant presence. I think I'd say a market where one entrant commands almost 80% of the revenue is pretty close to being a functional monopoly, but not entirely, so I should have accounted for that.


And the CFL as well.

There's a massive difference between revenue and viewership. Also, these figures are a bit weird since they are just based on the "NFL" company, which is pretty much the ONLY provider of American Football in the world, this says a lot in itself. There is obviously much more money spent on Cricket and Soccer than on American Football totally.

Check out this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-watched_televisio...

NFL doesn't come anywhere near the amount of viewers for soccer or even cricket OR badminton.

BILLIONS of people watch the World Cup and Olympics, the super bowl attracts about 115M. The soccer world cup had 3.5 BILLION.

Do you really think more people spend money on the NFL than the total world spend on soccer?


  BILLIONS of people watch the World Cup and Olympics, the super bowl attracts about 115M
The Super Bowl is one event. World Cup is dozens of events. The Olympics are hundreds of events.

I don't know man?

I think this is just saying which league has the most revenue. I'd find it very difficult to believe that the number of people who played American Football professionally and recreationally was anywhere even close to the number of people who played soccer on this planet last year. I'd be pretty confident betting that the number of people who play basketball on this planet dwarfs the number of people who play American Football. (And the number of people with an interest in soccer or basketball on this planet definitely dwarfs the number of people interested in American Football.)

Maybe American Football can make a lot of money because it is in a rich market? Not really sure. But you can't really argue soccer and basketball as the global sports. It's not even close.


Add up all the “Association football” from here and it’s huge. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_....

Soccer is a much larger sport by revenue globally. It’s simply split into different nations + an international competition. The US is a single market so if you split things by country it tends to win.

PS: The World Cup is based on the best national teams vs using each individual team. Much like the US men’s basketball team at the Olympics vs NBA.


Yeah, I was talking about specific leagues, not sports entirely. My original post was misleading.

Tbh, when you said "biggest sports" I didn't think you were looking for "league with most revenue", might explain some of the reactions.

Yeah I am not sure about the NFL being the biggest in the world, but I got a bit of a laugh out of eSports being more relevant. People forget eSports is decades old now at this point, and the pinnacle of the eSports world is Korea where it has just now caught up to even challenge traditional sports such as Soccer. In America, there is still a way's to go.

"Activate (www.activate.com) projects that in the United States eSports will have more viewers than every professional sports league but the NFL by 2021" and will need to more than double viewership to topple the NFL.

And if you consider "traditional sports" holistically like they are treating "eSports" it is more fair to consider NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS viewership together, of which have large non-overlapping segments, then the gap becomes more of a chasm.

Riot released viewership total for the Worlds finals a couple months ago, and viewership in NA was significantly down than the previous year. In fact in almost every eSport viewership figure, if you discount Chinese and Korean viewership, the rest is almost insignificant -- an MLB playoff game attracts more viewers. I will say we are in the twilight years of the NFL, but what is more likely is that another physical sport topples the NFL throne rather than an eSport.


Unannotated numbers and trends don't tell you much when you're talking about this sort of demographic. I'd have to see a cumulative flow diagram showing breakdown by age range over time to have a shot at having an intelligent conversation about this.

Products that are associated with a certain age group by dint of biology (eg, bifocals) will constantly see an influx of new customers, so you just have to project population distributions.

I don't think people 'find football' when they get older. It was a thing when they were a kid, maybe they have watched the whole time, or maybe in a fit of nostalgia they're back. If the latter is a phenomenon, then high school and college football are your gateway to keeping the numbers up (and haven't they, or at least colleges, imposed tougher concussion guidelines?), otherwise the fanbase may be shrinking even though the graph says things are looking up.


> I'd have to see a cumulative flow diagram showing breakdown by age range over time to have a shot at having an intelligent conversation about this

You have a very high standard for having intelligent conversations, then. Sometimes the data you ask is not easily obtainable, behind paywalls, or just not presented uniformly. How about some good old fashioned "good faith"? Let's assume that both parties in this argument are indifferent to being right, but trying to sort out to find the truth of the matter, and they aren't pulling numbers out of their ass, how does that sound?

> I don't think people 'find football' when they get older.

I admit this is probably not the best metric, but a frequent viewer of /r/nfl and the various team based subreddits at least hints that the opposite is true: many people are finding football later in life.

Another thing left out of this conversation all together is the NFL's focus on expanding internationally -- particularly the UK and Mexico. Viewership in London especially continues to rise Y.O.Y, and the NFL has been floating the serious idea of a London based team for a few years now, and I fully expect that to happen within the next couple of years.


What's better: 15 million viewers 17 days a year or 300k viewers 365 days a year?

1 viewer who gets the channel anyway and has social pressure to watch, or 1 viewer who goes out of his way to pay to watch something on his own?

I think there is far more nuance to trendiness than the story told by a Nielson Rating System calculated decades ago.


What eSport gets 300k viewers 365 days a year?

Maybe apples and oranges. Only 2 football teams get 15 million viewers one Sunday a year and it's a good bet it won't be the same two next year. As a national advertiser that's a big deal but if you've been supporting that team all year it's not as big of a benefit to you, and if you've been supporting a team that didn't go then it's less than useless.

For football, you have English Premier League games, La Liga games, Italian Premier League games, etc, etc...

And at least EPL is watched all across the Europe, from Spain to Russia. For multinational advertisers, football is a boon, esports is not in a same league (pun intended).


Does a youtube channel count? Eyeballs mean very little if youtube payrates are to be believed.

I think video games have a bigger tent and offer opportunity for notoriety and even celebrity to way more young people than American football. American football is one of the most exclusionary school sports that exists.

I don't have data on this, but it feels to me that young people, particularly boys, are more interested in playing minecraft or fortnite and watching streamer videos of either game than high school, college or professional football.

And it makes sense because it doesn't matter how big you are or whether you can hang in a locker room or what you look like or what gender you are--what matters is you can play a game well or with style.

There are also more opportunities around eSports for young people in that they bundle in cosplay, artwork and even creating training videos and blogs are wide open opportunities to participate at little to no cost and regardless of physical capability.

Revenue is not a forward indicator of relevance. If anything it shows what _was previously_ important because this year's bowl game was a 10-year low in ratings.[1] Meanwhile, Twitch has more viewership than CNN or MSNBC. [2]

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/feb/04/super-bowl-tv-... [2] https://venturebeat.com/2018/11/30/the-rise-of-esports-as-a-...


> NFL is the biggest sports in the entire world by revenue by far

Source on this? I can't imagine this being true compared to soccer.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_le...

NFL had €11,394 million (over eleven billion Euro) in revenue in 2017 whereas the Premier League had €5,340 million (over five billion Euro) in revenue for 2016–17.

MLB and the NBA also beat out the Premier League in revenue.

EDIT: OK, OK, I thought the GP was talking about sports LEAGUES not NFL vs sports as a whole. I read "sports league."


The NFL is the biggest LEAGUE by revenue, but soccer is by far the bigger SPORT. Just add up the revenues from all the national leagues. To my knowledge, there is only one other professional league in the world (in Canada) that plays (more or less) the same sport as the NFL.

NFL is also used as a shortcut for a sport as it’s got different rules than high school or college football, and the both share a name with Soccer.

Rulesets aren't what bound a "sport".

Define something else that does.

Now, you may call something very similar the same sport, but a 100m vs 400m sprints are really different races even with just one slightly different number.


You're confusing event with category.

NFL and NCAA Football are different events, but the same sport. 100m and 400m races are different events, same sport.


You play chess and checkers on the same board but they are different games. The rules are extremely different between the NFL and NCAA.

People discuss the “NBA’s” 24 shot clock vs the NCAA’s more leisurely 35 seconds which among other things has a dramatic difference in how the two different games are played. Which was my original point, when the only people using a set of rules are in one org the names become interchangeable.

If you never compete it’s not clear how seemingly subtle rule changes have dramic impact. This changes not only game strategy but also things like how far people travel over the course of the game. 400m at a full sprint takes real endurance where 100m is mostly about acceleration.

Top athletes may have many skills that crossover to different sports, but these are very different games.


This is a dumb conversation. Basketball is basketball if there's a smaller (womens) ball or larger (mens) ball.

Football is football if you touch one foot inbounds or two.

You're clearly trolling, please leave me alone.


Calling something Dumb does not win an argument.

Is flag football still football becase it’s got a similar name?

Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling are separated at the olimpics. Even though they share the “wrestling” tile and just have different rules.

Clearly, people have different full names for the different types of football becase they are different sports. Which need somewhat different training and different reflexes.


This isn't an argument, you are wrong on the facts. The definition of the word, in English, isn't what you say it is. It is dumb to pretend otherwise, because you are not able to communicate with others who speak English if you do.

I left Reddit to avoid this kind of drivel, go back there if you want to continue to perpetrate it.


If you really believe that is true, find some actual evidence beyond gut assertions to support it.

The difference between HN and Reddit is not just being polite, it’s about productive arguments backed up by evidence rather than simply relying on believing something to be true.


This isn't an argument, you are factually incorrect. You are misrepresenting the definition of "sport", and to disprove that, all anyone has to do is look up the definition of the word "sport", or have had a conversation with anyone else about sports at any point in their lifetimes.

No one, and I mean literally no one, thinks of NCAA football and the NFL as two separate sports; they're both football, with different rules, a fact you already know but are refusing to acknowledge because you're trolling.

Your insistence on some kind of "evidence" for what the word "sport" means is just you trying to get me to do work that you yourself could do, because that's what trolls do -- they waste the time of others for their own amusement.


If you actually look up sport you end up with something like:

“an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” The first thing google returns. Which does not support your argument. Saying some arbitrary dictionary is enough is not evendence when they don’t actually say what you want.

I could go off and find quotes relating to the NCAA vs professional sports saying thing a like ~”Rules define the game, different rules different games.” But doing so is a waste of time when they don’t counter an argument.

As you need to be specific before I can counter or there is no way to move forward. Specific examples like the overtime rules are never going to counter your vague and baseless assertions so it’s pointless for me to keep responding to someone either trolling or just rather confused.


Willfully picking the inapplicable definition, then lying about the fact that it doesn't support what I've been saying is troll behavior, friend.

If you look at the wikipedia page for "Sport", you see all kinds of instances of the word "sport" being used in a way completely incompatible with your view. Please go away now.


The Premier League is one league in a country of fewer than 70 million people. Try adding up all the leagues across Europe for a fairer comparison. Then it's no contest - football (the one played with feet) takes it

I thought the claim was the NFL was the "biggest" sports LEAGUE in the world not "biggest" sport - "NFL" isn't a sport, it's a sports league. The NFL isn't the only American football league and I even heard that Vince McMahon is thinking about reviving XFL;. EDIT: Vince McMahon is planning on reviving the XFL in 2020: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFL_(2020)#Revival

College football is huge. Arena football is popular as well.

"Soccer" brings in more revenue American football, baseball, and basketball....combined.

This article's 5 years old, but still relevant: https://mic.com/articles/91009/soccer-s-global-dominance-of-...



It's not. ~NFL = ~Champions League.

Why are you measuring by revenue and not by viewership?

> Is it this more progressive, more healthy sport EXCEPT when it comes to brain trauma?

The problem, I believe, is that to have a concussion free football game is to not have football. You can redesign the helmets, you can try and catch em early, but unless the dynamics of the game change from two amazingly explosive 350 lbs men running into each other, concussion won't go away.


Is that true? Do rugby and Australian Rules Football have the same problem?

The substantial difference is the lack of padding in those sports. They are still physical. There is still tackling. But human beings behave differently when they don't think they and the target of their tackle are wearing a suit of armor.


No the substantial difference is the huge difference in the rules of the games. American football stops 100 times a game and sets everyone up to match up with someone and hit them. Concussions dont just happen in tackles. They happen in blocking too (no blocking in rugby or aussie leages afaik). There are an order of magnitude more blocks than tackles in any play or game. Some of the football concussion studies have shown that many sub concussive hits is horrible for the brain too. [1] A football player expierences tens of thousands of these over their career.

Take the armor away and you'll just have people dying instead of getting concussions. Knees to the head arent uncommon and are certainly not intentional by the kneeer or kneed.

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/18/5783558...


> no blocking in rugby or aussie leages afaik

There's something analogous in Australian football (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherding_(Australian_rules_...). It's not supposed to involve head contact, but concussions and whiplash injuries do happen.


> Is that true? Do rugby and Australian Rules Football have the same problem?

I don't think it's as bad, but the AFL does have a concussion problem. (A quick search didn't turn up any numbers, but here's a relevant article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/20/link-between-c... .)

Players don't go in head-first quite as much as they seem to in American football, but every player has to leave their head vulnerable in certain situations (bending down to pick up a contested ball; going back with the flight of the ball) and some are crazy-brave or even lead with the head deliberately to draw a free kick.

Rugby is probably a better game to use as a comparison, because it is much more similar to American football, with teams lining up and facing each other front-on. Apparently concussion is the most common injury in English rugby: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concussions_in_rugby_union



The question is, is it a worse problem than in American football?

The argument is similar in MMA vs boxing - yes, you are still getting punched in the face and there is no way around that. But with thin gloves and wider variety of ways to get knocked down or out, you are less likely to receive permanent brain damage.


> The question is, is it a worse problem than in American football?

That's a relevant question, but the post that sparked this exchange talked about the impossibility of 'concussion free football', and said that 'concussion won't go away'. To the extent that rugby or Australian rules are useful comparisons here, they definitely cause enough concussions to support that point (and not just in a pedantic, >0 way -- it's a big problem in both sports).


> The question is, is it a worse problem than in American football?

Retsibsi makes a lot of excellent points, but also the only way we can find that out is if we have American Football players play the game unprotected and find out.

That comparison of MMA to boxing doesn't work either, as it's not a matter of protection that affects the injury rate, it's the fact that you can't grapple in boxing. Boxing forces the game to be about hitting each-other in the head until time out or knock out, MMA doesn't have that same restriction. And that plays into my "to have a concussion free football game is to not have football." point.


They used to play without padding. That’s why Johnny Unitas, one of the most revered American Football players, was so physically damaged after his career. From Wikipedia: “Toward the end of his life, Unitas brought media attention to the many permanent physical disabilities that he and his fellow players suffered during their careers before heavy padding and other safety features became popular. Unitas himself lost almost total use of his right hand, with the middle finger and thumb noticeably disfigured from being repeatedly broken during games.”

I feel like head trauma has become disproportionately more of long-term physical damage from the sport, but I can’t back that up.


It's also important to remember that the dynamics of an MMA fight and a boxing fight are only part of the damage a fighter will take during their career. They will also endure many, many sub-concussive hits during sparring that will also contributed to brain damage.

We move to touch or flags. I played plenty of touch and flag football games without head trauma.

It doesn't matter if it's playable if no one wants to watch the games. Do you think you would enjoy watching a game of touch, or flag football?

While that seems like a good answer, I can't see the NFL adopting that approach. Touch and flag football isn't really the same game, and wouldn't have the same draw as contact football.

The NFL is moving closer to touch football every year.

Well then based upon this (1), touch football won't help the concussion problem anyways. 1) https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/26/nfl-con...

How much of that is because of the concussion protocol?

[Citation needed]

Go back to leather helmets, and eject players for their first head contact. Wire up the caps with sensors. If the sensor goes off, you're out. The game would still be exciting without the head hits.

Players actually died all the time when we had leather helmets. This is not a solution.

Yeah, there's a reasons that the safety was introduced.

> If the sensor goes off, you're out.

Ok, so this 350 lbs man has been hit in the head without protection and he's out. When does he come back? Is that it, career over? Cause I can guarantee you he now has a concussion.


The helmet doesn't really help much against concussion as far as I know. It's the same with big boxing gloves or headgear. You cut less or don't break your nose but you still can get knocked out. The boxing part is first hand experience.

It's because in almost all cases, all the damage comes from your brain sloshing around in the fluid inside your skull and ramming against the front of your skull when your skull suddenly stops moving, it doesn't have a lot to do with surface trauma to your skull from the impact itself or anything like that. Until we can wear a helmet that directly augments the connective tissues inside the skull, we won't be able to solve concussions with head protection outside the skull.

Regardless of it being good protection, it's better than leather skullcap. Also, with boxing headgear you're fighting the gloves, which protect a fighters hands, but do nothing to soften the impact to the head.

The point is with leather helmets you won't use your head as weapon because you won't feel as protected.

Rugby is a game played without helmets and concussions are still a massive problem. Regardless of the usage of the head as a weapon it's still a game that features massive guys hitting each other at high rates of speed. Taking the helmet away has now meant that when the guy gets tackled from behind and lands face first in the dirt he's not worried about getting a concussion due to his broken neck.

In bare knuckle boxing they can’t hit full power because they have to worry about their hands.

That's what I meant - any gains in protection via the helmet is negligible given that the gloves allow you to hit harder.

> this 350 lbs man has been hit in the head without protection and he's out

350 lb athletes are a product of the current rules. Penalize concussion-causing blows and I bet you’ll see players shrink to a healthier size.


> 350 lb athletes are a product of the current rules. Penalize concussion-causing blows and I bet you’ll see players shrink to a healthier size.

So what changes first? What happens in the meantime until the players become a "healthier size"?

And why would the players change? Those 350 lbs athletes who move like sprinters would be extra lethal without protection. It's already been shown that the league wants performance before any regard for player safety, why would they back off on the big guys?


No I mean the hitter is out for the game. If you hit someone in the head, you're out for the game.

How would a sensor know who initiated the contact? Most head contact is not directly intentional, it happens when you tackle someone at speed in traffic, and they hit someone else or the ground.

Call by the refs.

I don't see how that would help as it would just turn to strategy, you'd be aiming to foul out key players with concussions.

And what if you legitimately tackle a guy from behind and he hits the ground so hard his sensor goes off? You've still got a concussed player, but now you have to play the rules game.


> you'd be aiming to foul out key players with concussions.

I don't see players willingly getting concussions just to get other players out.

> And what if you legitimately tackle a guy from behind and he hits the ground so hard his sensor goes off? You've still got a concussed player, but now you have to play the rules game.

It would be up to the refs to call if it was intentional. The sensor is only there to help the ref make the call.


> I don't see players willingly getting concussions just to get other players out.

The current state of the NFL is proof that if you give someone enough money (and/or don't educate them enough), they'll risk serious brain injury to keep that money coming.


  > Budweiser's main hook throughout was that they did not 
  > use high fructose corn syrup in their ingredients!
In the interest of counter-acting deceptive marketing:

None of the named competitor beers use high-fructose corn syrup. They use regular corn syrup. Meanwhile, Budweiser does use high-fructose corn syrup in some of its products (but not Bud Lite specifically).

While the ads did not mention high-fructose corn syrup (they would not be stupid enough to make an actually false claim), I'm sure that implied association was intentional.


>I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football

Come on?! I don't know about US, but good old football (not an american kind) is like 100x times more imporant in Europe than any eSport.

Yesterday Manchester City - Chelsea game ended up 6:0, and #MCICHE tag was trending on twitter worldwide (and it is only England Premier League, not even Soccer World Cup!)

Please wake me up once some eSport event will be a worldwide trending topic on twitter.


I was specifically talking about American Football but even still, you might not be sleeping too long.

Paris Saint-Germain is a co-owner of the 2nd place champion DOTA 2 team in 2018

PSG is the 11th most valuable football club in the world and worth 825m euros. They bought in April of this past yaer and obviously see Dota 2 as worth investing in now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSG.LGD

It's funny how hacker news is obsessed with finding the next big thing but when something comes along that might challenge traditional sports industry there is so much objection. This is not specific to this comment but replies I'm seeing throughout.

I find this especially odd in light of the fact that a Twitch founder was a venture parter at ycombinator.


Here are the top sports leagues with revenue summed by sport (in Euros). Soccer is far ahead of football. [1]

Ice hockey is surprisingly lucrative.

    Sport                             "SUM of Revenue (€ mil)"

    Association football (soccer)     32,412
    American football                 11,394
    Baseball                          10,868
    Basketball                        6,658
    Ice hockey                        5,495
    Auto racing                       2,491
    Australian rules football         754
    Rugby union football              710.8
    Twenty20 cricket                  480
    Rugby league football             414
    Canadian football                 200
    Handball                          103
    Grand Total                       71,979
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_le...

>I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football at this point and has true global appeal.

To be fair, it is also much muuuuuch cheaper to go and watch a Live match of League/Overwatch/Dota. I went to TI8 and the tickets were $190 for the final 3 days; I even got a cosmetic that I was able to sell for $400 on the steam marketplace. Even comparing a Major LAN event to a Single match of any sport can be a magnitude of difference in terms of price.

Also like you mentioned, the global appeal is crazy strong. I saw so many people from China, South East Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East at these LANs regardless of venue.

However I do think OWL represent the future which is overly stuffy, no fun allowed, corporate events that are just trying to appeal to advertisers and investors; which is kinda lame. Dota and fighting games still have grassroots feel despite having massive tournaments with hundreds of thousands of viewers.


You could see this in the announcement of the planned US-based LAN for the Midas custom game that came out today. The video is absolutely daffy. It reminds me of the old twitter video with the founders as scientists. Super low budget, but raw, real and emerging.

I agree. The superbowl is a day long celebration of ads. Football is just a sideshow.

Now as for ads themselves, they've gone from selling products to social engineering and selling an agenda. Is this a result of monopolization of industries where megacorporations no longer are worried about competition? Is it just a result of media getting more and more extreme ideologically? Maybe both?

And it's not just ads. It's the entire media space. TV shows, movies, etc are more about ideology and agenda than art or even attracting an audience. Even award shows, best selling book lists, prizes, etc are more about agenda than anything else. Maybe it's always been that way to some degree, but lately, it's become so extreme that the average person can see it now.


>Is this a result of monopolization of industries where megacorporations no longer are worried about competition? Is it just a result of media getting more and more extreme ideologically? Maybe both?

>more about agenda than anything else...it's become so extreme that the average person can see it now

I believe it's that companies will always do what they assess is required to sell more stuff. In this age of hyper-awareness, uber-politicization, and social-activism, it's likely the companies now believe that's what people want--for them to be engaged.

And, it's a somewhat rational conclusion. On the other end, you see boycotts, etc. when companies go against the beliefs of certain customer groups, or even when companies sponsor people who do. It's this idea that people want companies to do "good", or at least the customers' version of good. So, they are likely just tapping into that. It's where many people seem to be these days, so that's where companies are trying to meet them.


Companies do stuff like that because they think or have proved that it sells. I've heard and read that people increasingly don't want just products any more. They want a brand, a story, etc. That might not work for beer or TVs but that won't stop Budweiser and Sony from trying.

What happens when a marketer sends out a brand message which reaches theoretically maximal returns? Why, nothing. They come to work the next day and try to beat it.

Advertising isn't a job that's just "done" and people walk away satisfied. McDonalds isn't going to stop putting new things on their menu either. Capitalism doesn't really seem to work otherwise... If you produced the optimal product, you have to come back next year and produce an (almost-by-definition) less optimal product and sell it better than you did before.

Most companies do things because people are being paid at that company to do things. The assumption that they do things because they work better or are better should not be so easily believed or sold. I produce content for my employer because they pay me to produce content, not because I think I can produce content which is better than all other content. Just because people are running really hard doesn't mean they aren't going in circles.


> I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football

Ironically, fantasy football is the biggest eSport by far.


This is possibly the most interesting reply. I hadn't thought of FF as an eSport but I can easily see how it can be packaged under that tent.

Anecdotal, but the eSport Overwatch League is the first time I actually enjoyed watching a spectator sport. Every other sport feels like tribalism and favors a brand over strategy and skill. These kids playing these eSports are crazy brilliant strategists, making decision in milliseconds, and breaking down their plays after the fact is utterly fascinating. –36/M USA.

This has nothing to do with the current or future popularity of the sport, it has everything to do with minimizing the overall tort liability to current and retired players.

>I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football at this point and has true global appeal. Football and the Superbowl seem like so many boomer institutions where this old guard is doing everything to slow down the bleeding for as long as possible.

This statement is completely out of touch with mainstream reality.


> I think eSports, particularly DOTA2's TI is far, far more relevant to young men than Football at this point

You're living in a bubble. Pretty much no one wants to watch people play video games.

Actual physical competition will always be more interesting to the general public than nerds sitting in chairs pressing buttons to move pictures around on a screen.


I am not saying analog sports is going away. And I think it is still a big thing and people will be drawn to it.

However, I think the way you described esports suggests you may have personal bias against competitive gaming. I watched both the Super Bowl and 2018 True Sight. Perhaps, it is you, sir, who are living in the bubble.

The fact is that people are watching nerds move pictures around on a screen at rates rivaling major cable networks: https://www.investors.com/news/technology/click/esports-chan...

45,000 people attended the 2015 League of Legends final in the same stadium used for the 2002 World Cup. 27 Million people watched it online.

https://venturebeat.com/2018/11/30/the-rise-of-esports-as-a-...

This thing is real.


https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/28/us/super-bowl-male-cheerleade...

There were actually male cheerleaders in the Super Bowl this year.


If you ask a gamer about the portrayal of women in games, you will probably get a bad reaction.

If you ask a US Civil War re-enactor about the proportion of black people in the hobby, you will probably get a bad reaction.

If you ask a chess afficionado about...ok, I don't know what will set them off.

Some criticisms are off limits in every field.


> If you ask a chess afficionado about...ok, I don't know what will set them off.

Ask them if they think women only Chess tournaments are a good idea.

That'll generally do it.

Source: Chess player.


> If you ask a chess afficionado about...ok, I don't know what will set them off.

the difference in ranking requirements for male grandmasters and female grandmasters


The "spectacle" of the Super Bowl may be lost, but the NFL is far from "bleeding".

>Says Costas: "Look, the NFL isn't just the most important sports property, it's the single-most important property in all of American television. And it isn't even close."


The CTE issue will probably be settled out of court with some fantastic number paid to the player's union to be doled out and managed through that organization effectively silencing the issue. they may even be so nice as to have short little spots about how the NFL is the "leading supporter" some time down the road.

So its good see Bob Costas take off. Far better to get out than sell out. The NFL other damage to people and communities is all the tax money that goes into funding their stadiums, the juicy tax and concession deals beyond financing, and even have the tax payers pay for security at the recent Superbowl in Atlanta.

Don't just vilify the owners, the player's union and the players themselves, aren't here for anything but glory and money, lots of money. They have been riding high on the back of the tax payers for far too long; they are not the only sport that does this.


The CTE issue was already "settled" in court: http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/15229132/appeals-court-up...

>The settlement would cover more than 20,000 NFL retirees for the next 65 years. The league estimates that 6,000 former players, or nearly three in 10, could develop Alzheimer's disease or moderate dementia. Fewer than 200 of those retirees opted out of the settlement, while 99 percent approved.


Unfortunately, former NCAA players have no such recourse, even though they'll probably have similar results. I mostly blame the NCAA's illusion of "student athlete" which allows them to pretend that athletes are not professional despite massive profits from their labor. It also allows their exclusion from worker's compensation requirements.

As someone who used to religiously watched, this is just another reason why I'm glad I stopped watching the NFL several years ago.

Between the awful viewing experience with annoying commercials, cliche talking heads, concussion cover ups, highly questionable refs, rampant cheating, the kneeing debacle, etc. I'm surprised more folks my age haven't bailed on the NFL.


I don't follow football, can you elaborate on "rampant cheating?" Are you talking about deflategate? Or is there more cheating controversies I'm not aware of?

EDIT: Yeesh! I didn't know how much of an issue PEDs are in the NFL.


Probably the rampant PEDs. The NFL is worse than professional cycling these days.

Even before Lance, the UCI/WADA implemented among the toughest, if not the toughest, doping control schemes in sports.

The Bio Passport, automatic urine tests of winners and podium placers for each race. Random in-event controls, random out-of-competition tests, etc. Riders are required to report their whereabouts so that they can be randomly tested over a dozen times per year, wherever they may be. Multi-year suspensions for anyone testing positive and losing the appeal, to start. 4 year ban, I believe, on 2nd positive.

Compare that the NFL's pathetic drug policy, where players aren't even tested for recreational drugs during the season. And only a few-game suspension for getting caught.


And on top of that if you get caught cheating with PEDs you still get to play in the playoffs and super bowl. At least in the MLB if you get caught with PEDs you can't play in the postseason that year.

edit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_drug_pol...


Does anyone think the NFL could exist as it does without PEDs?

I do not care if players use performance degrading recreational drugs.

Players are constantly getting suspended for violating the league's PED rules, and they're not always punished equitably.

As a more extreme example, there was HGH shipped to Peyton Manning's house, and the league seemed to sweep it under the rug (he claimed it was for his wife). This was around the time he had just won the Super Bowl and retired.


This site compiles all cheating violations: https://yourteamcheats.com/cheaters/

No one is going to believe that chart as long as New England isn't listed as #1. </snark>

There are a lot of "missed" calls basically and some that are invented. Pass interference is the big one that can change momentum.

But is there any evidence that debatable calls (or no-calls) are cheating? Or is it just human error, compounded by the facts that (A) the rules are too complicated, (B) not everything is reviewable, and (C) officials aren't full-time NFL employees?

deflategate, peds, spygate, etc

https://yourteamcheats.com is a decent collection.


I'd like to be able to easily support the kneelers without regard to a decision to watch or not watch the NFL.


I've recently started getting into watching football. There's a great amount of tactical depth, and I really appreciate that it's one of the few sports where the coach has a very noticeable impact on the outcome of the game.

It's essentially like watching a physical version of chess.

In light of the whole concussion thing, it's somewhat interesting that there are two new football leagues launching in the US soon. The AAF (aaf.com) recently launched this past weekend and is positioning itself as sort of a minor league to the NFL. There's also the XFL, which is a relaunch of sorts (it existed briefly in the early 2000s), and seems to be setting itself up to be a faster version of the NFL. Both of these new leagues do have rule changes that are there to speed up the game, and marginally improve player safety.

Eventually, I would suspect that NFL teams will be able to send some of their practice team players, and players they want to get another look at before cutting, to the AAF for more development.

The AAF seems to have had a moderately successful weekend launch. At least to the extent that there were no catastrophic failures.

A lot of the players who like playing football seem to really like playing football (i.e. they had opportunities to go pro (getting paid actual money) or semi-pro (college in the US) in other sports, and still chose football over them), so I don't think it'll go away entirely unless middle and high schools stop offering the game completely.


The AAF got rid of kickoffs as a safety measure, though it's allowing hard-hitting tackles against QBs. The league is investing a lot into game data for betting, as its business model:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19129902


That would make sense. The app was working fairly well, and you could guess what the offense was going to do on each play. It's going to be interesting to see where the league goes.

As someone who played football in pop warner, high school, and Div.3 NCAA for 12 years, I worry about the long term damage to my brain. If I have boys, I will absolutely not allow them to play football in its current state.

If the NFL cared about its future, it would immediately get rid of helmets à la rugby. People will not hit with their head if they don't have a hard plastic case around it.


Rugby players face worse concussion risk than NFL players. https://www.brain-injury-law-center.com/blog/head-injuries-r...

Football helmets evolved precisely because players were facing gruesome head injury risk without them. I can't fathom how removing helmets from NFL play would be a smart move.


From what I understand, single concussions are not necessarily the main cause of CTE. Repeated blows to the head, the average kind you get in practices and games, are the main cause.

Wouldn’t the optics there be worse? If someone was hit they may start to bleed quite a bit. And you don’t want that on camera.

Even if they’re much safer overall because it’s just a split eyebrow.


Yea I played pop warner for 3 seasons from 10-12, started getting anxiety at 19, dealt with depression ever since. Thinking about CTE gives me much anxiety haha, it was hard to even read the comment section here. Very scary.

I strongly believe that the NFL will cease to exist as a major sports league in the foreseeable future (< 25 years). It increasingly seems that CTE is an unavoidable side effect of the game, and as that reality really registers with parents the steady supply of young players is going to dry up. I've heard people say that it will end up a niche sport like boxing (which has its own obvious brain trauma problems), but you need a lot more potential football players to maintain a viable league than you do potential boxers to maintain the level of professional boxing we have today.

edit: typo


I've been hearing this for 10-15 years now. Meanwhile, not only is the NFL still exceedingly popular, but there are new football leagues popping up everywhere, giving even more people the chance to play at a professional / semi-pro level.

At the same time, high school participation is way down over the past 10 years: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/30/high-school-fo... (plus many more articles with just a quick search).

Locally, a couple of high schools dropped varsity football because they couldn't get enough recruits for brain injury.


Interesting to read, but I wonder how many of those schools actually sent kids to D1 schools. I'd be willing to bet that most of the schools shuttering their football programs weren't college football recruitment hotspots to begin with and only had the odd kid every few years play at a D1 level.

It's got so much cultural momentum behind it at so many levels - college, high school, even younger - it's like trying to stop that 400 lbs lineman. It seems to be the best way small town America can create heroes and legends for itself.

It only takes one generation. Parents might be able to force kids into it for a while, but that won't sustain it to the pro level if other things draw their interest.

Kids these days seem to be more about making stuff in games and meeting people all over the world in eSports than knocking heads together. And their parents seem to be okay with it.


Parents worried about CTE are threatening the talent pipeline, but the insurance angle is just as interesting

http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/25776964/insurance-marke...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18945697


CTE is a major issue for parents and the NFL in general. Others mention that this results in a decreased 'pipeline' of talented players[0]. Heck, even Donny himself is uncharacteristically cagey about his youngest son playing on the gridiron:

>President Donald Trump said football was a dangerous sport and that he would have a hard time letting his son Barron play given the risk of head injuries. [1]

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/02/football-...

[1] https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/02/03/trump-barron-...


I would suspect they would change the sport if it started trending towards obsolescence, with things like removing helmets and padding to discourage hard hits (i.e. slowly transform football into rugby).

However, it sounds like the evidence is unclear at this point regarding CTE and rugby https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5926651/


It's possible, but the "minor" league which debuted Saturday night got higher overnight ratings than the Rockets-Thunder which was the league's marquee game Saturday. The sport is just fantastically more popular than other sports in the US. That might change, but I wouldn't count on it.

Technicians fall to their deaths from cell towers all the time. Do you think wireless data services are threatened by this? What about factory conditions in China?

We stomach real harm to other people all the time. I don't think the NFL is going anywhere and if they do the concussion issue will be a minor factor.


> Technicians fall to their deaths from cell towers all the time.

I now have significant reservations about allowing my child to partake in the great American tradition of professional cell tower maintenance.


Sure, your child, but what about someone else's?

Way more people use cell phones than watch the NFL and more people die or suffer life altering injury supporting that industry than they do playing football in the NFL.


I think the fear is that you're wrong, and that a substantial fraction of those who play in the NFL suffer life altering brain injuries, it's just slow and mostly affects players well after retirement so it's not as obvious.

I'm not disputing the health risks to players. Not sure where you got the impression that I was. I just don't think the health consequences to the players will significantly harm the viability of the NFL as a product.

I don't believe this, mainly because football will always be an easy and cheap sport for 20+ people to play and be entertained because the only equipment you need is a football and a grassy field.

Meanwhile, safer and more affluent communities will put their children in sports that have a higher bar of wealth to join. Sports such as golf or tennis require a golf club membership, expensive clubs or equipment, and expensive maintenance for playing and earning lessons.


Cheap? Do you mean association football?

All the gear makes is more expensive than many sports.


No, I'm talking about recreational football, which is how people get into the sport before they enter high school football.

Some of the most refreshing coverage I've heard of football, the NFL, and even CTE has surprisingly come from Freakonomics (the podcast). They had an episode covering CTE [0] entitled "How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?" that was sparked by Brian Urschel withdrawing from the NFL after a CTE study came out. Recently, they did an entire series on athletes, and their full interview with Dominique Foxworth [1] was also enlightening from a business / incentive perspective. He's a former player, and former COO of the Player's Union.

One thing that gets lost in all of the discussion of the NFL are the vast majority of former players who were amateur (although it is debatable if NCAA players are amateurs), who are likely to experience a similar result as NFL players, but without the enormous cash-generating machine or potential future settlement money.

[0] - http://freakonomics.com/podcast/brain-damage/

[1] - http://freakonomics.com/podcast/domonique-foxworth/


Also of interest, Malcolm Galdwell's podcast* "Revisionist History" had an excellent episode on CTE in football. He made an analogy to smoking. Evidence had long suggested that smoking was dangerous, but it was only that -- evidence, not hard proof. Evidence continued to pile up, but so did the counter evidence (primarily from tobacco firms and those they funded). At what point do we say -- OK, maybe the evidence isn't 100%, but isn't there enough evidence to suggest something is wrong?

* http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/22-burden-of-proof


>the counter evidence (primarily from tobacco firms and those they funded)

One of those that they funded was Malcolm Gladwell himself: https://shameproject.com/profile/malcolm-gladwell-2/


Sometimes it becomes obvious whether you'll be on the wrong side or right side of history. When we look back on this in 20 years it's become clear to me that the NFL's stance on CTE and Kaepernick will have them squarely on the wrong side of history.

John Elway, who is the GM of the Broncos, gave an interview a few months ago about Kaepernick after he had given a deposition as part of Kaepernick's lawsuit against the NFL. Elway knew he'd get in some trouble since I guess he wasn't supposed to talk about it, but he sniped that teams (or it might have just been the Broncos that he was sure of) had offered Kaepernick a contract but that Kaepernick turned them all down because he simply wanted more money.

Surprise! Not only was Elway being misleading, he was also admitting to complicity:

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/john-elway-blames-colin-k...

> Not that it was hard to find: you can easily fire up a search engine and figure out that Elway talked to the 49ers about trading for Kaepernick, before the quarterback was released, back in April of 2016. [...]

> In other words, this is also not great for Elway [...] because it creates a pretty clear juxtaposition: the Broncos were interested in Kap before he began to protest and not so much after he began to protest.


Regardless of whether or not Elway was being misleading, the problem is that Kaepernick is suing the NFL because he says there is collusion to keep him out of the league. The plain fact is that he can't get a job in the league because he's too expensive.

Before last season he met with the Seahawks about the backup position and apparently wanted anywhere from $3-5 million to be the backup. There are very few teams that would waste that salary cap space for a backup QB, when that can pay for another player or two who can actually contribute to the games. The Seahawks declined signing him, and got a backup that only cost them $700k for the season.

It's hard to win a collusion case when you have job offers but you just don't like what they are paying.


3-5 million would put Kaepernick in the same category as Chase Daniel, Matt Schaub, Mike Glennon, Chad Henne, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Stanton and Colt McCoy. That doesn't sound like crazy money given the company he'd be in.

Yep... but 25 years from now they will have "Kaepernick Day" once a year, and give everyone a free bobble head and everyone will be free to celebrate the NFL guilt free.

Despite the fact that most of the teams will still be owned by the same individuals, and definitely the same families....

IF I was a conspiracy guy I would almost think that all the flag waiving and controversial decisions are designed to distract us from the fact that the NFL is the world's sketchiest non-profit. Not only does it not pay taxes as an entity despite its CEO's $31 million dollar salary, but the teams receive billions in tax payer funds to build the new stadiums they require.

And they must have these new stadiums to stay competitive with the other NFL franchises... who just got new stadiums. It's a crazy arms race to keep your NFL team, and no one is talking about that fact that we could also level the playing field by having all the states agree NOT to build stadiums with tax payer dollars, instead of letting the NFL play different tax bases off each other to extract the maximum dollars from us.


The NFL dropped its tax-exempt status a few years ago (in order to make compensation - and other business practices - secret). Furthermore, the non-profit status only applied to the NFL League Office, not to the teams themselves, thus the vast majority of revenue was taxable.

The NFL isn't the only sports league who once rocked the not-for-profit status, NHL is currently a nonprofit and MLB was formally one.

I can think of much. much sketchier non-profits.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/04/28/t...

The public is starting to lose interest in subsiding for-profit teams, thankfully.


The NFL isn't as bad of a tax scam as you make it out to be. The central coordinating organization doesn't pay taxes, but that's because they distribute all the money they make to the teams, which DO pay taxes, and lots of them. That's why cities are happy to subsidize them. Because with the revenue sharing, they get taxes on money that wasn't even made in their state.

Building stadiums with public money and then charging the public to enter is really crappy, but in the end it does in fact benefit the location in some cases.

And you can see the pushback already starting. San Diego and Oakland wouldn't build new stadiums, so those teams moved. One went to LA, where they are building a new stadium with Olympics money which will be used by the Chargers, and Las Vegas was happy to bring in all the extra people to gamble. So in both cases those stadiums will probably be net positives for their cities.


I'm from Las Vegas and that's not a great description of the situation.

The vote to approve the stadium will rank as one of the top 5 most corrupt things to ever happen in our city... which was formerly ran by the mob.

And think about this... the capacity of the stadium is 65,000. If all 8 games are SELLOUTS, and every single attendee looses $100 to the casinos after every single game, that's 52 million dollars. So it would take about 20 years to pay for the Billion dollar stadium.

Obviously thats disastrously simplified, but if you think we can pay for this stadium with just a small tax on the increased revenue.... that's way way off.


Presumably that person coming to the game is not only betting, but is also staying at a hotel, eating a few meals, flying into and out of the airport, and gambling at the hotel. It's how you guys make most of your tax base, so I'd assume an increase in the tax base would be good.

Now the new traffic on the other hand...


As a Raiders season ticket holder, I can assure you that their division games (Chargers, Chiefs, Broncos) don't draw well. The visitors that draw, when you get them, are Steelers, Pats, Cowboys, maybe Chicago if their uptrend continues. But being Vegas is a wild card; there will be an attraction to Vegas, though not necessarily the stadium, on game weekends.

That's why I was saying my model was over simplified.

Obviously those people will spend a lot of money, but even if they ALL fly here Airport visitation stats won't go up 1%.

If we wanted to bring more visitors to Las Vegas pretty much any other way to spend a Billion dollars would have been more productive. The politicians never even tried to make that argument, at least to a sophisticated audience.

It's all about legacy, and home town spirit. Apparently a lot of people can't really be proud of a city that doesn't have an NFL team to root for.

Bottom line is we spent more to get an NFL team than any other city, and we are getting less out it than most cities, because we already have to many things to compete for a tourist's dollar and we didn't need a "star attraction" to revitalize an aging downtown or some of the other rationalizations other cities have used.


  So it would take about 20 years to pay for the Billion dollar stadium.
Except it's actually a two billion dollar stadium. Double the fun!

The stadium can be used for non-NFL events during the other 6 days of the week or 8 months of the year. That’s what every other stadium does.

That's what other cities do, but we already have 4 other stadiums of that size which are competing to book those events... and nobody has that much stuff going on, so it will be empty a lot more than your thinking.

And a bunch of awesome venues all over town.

Levi's Stadium doesn't get much non-football use. Even the Pac-12 Championship is moving elsewhere.

> ...in the end it does in fact benefit the location in some cases.

This is a really low bar for redistributing money from taxpayers to wealthy owners. It also ignores opportunity costs.


The Inglewood stadium isn't being built with Olympics money— it's privately funded. However the stadium will benefit from some rail and other infrastructure projects that are having their timelines accelerated due to the Olympics.

While technically correct (the best kind of correct), the owners expect to make back a good chunk of the construction cost from the Olympics licensing fees that they will get and from the tax breaks they are getting, which were justified as being funded in part by the Olympics. So yes, it's private money, but private money backed by Olympics money.

From the numbers I've seen, the proposed tax subsidies* are gonna cover _maybe_ 5% of the construction costs of the stadium.

As far as Olympic revenue, I wonder how the stadium's income from a day of the Olympics will compare to a Rams game or a Taylor Swift concert? Supposedly LA isn't giving the stadium any money for capital improvements, just whatever they get for renting it out and a few million for a temporary archery building. Maybe the stadium gets a cut of the $2,000 opening ceremonies tickets, but I imagine that'll be less than they make from the 2022 super bowl. I know a lot can change before 2028, but I'm cautiously optimistic that LA won't screw anything up too bad.

*which IMO are pretty tame— Inglewood pays for police overtime, shuttles to train stations, utilities improvements, etc but only for the first 5 years that the city makes $25+ million from the stadium


> "The NFL is the world's sketchiest non-profit."

While I don't disagree with the rest of your post, I'd like to point out that the NFL is no longer a non-profit:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/tax-season/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/04/28/t...


> Not only does it not pay taxes as an entity despite its CEO's $31 million dollar salary

I'd never shy away from ragging on the NFL for being a shady organization, but:

a) The NFL gave up its tax-exempt status in 2015 (and even then, it was only the head office [~$10M in new taxes paid], not the teams, that was tax exempt).

b) What does the CEO's salary have to do with it? The salary itself is taxable as income. Non-profit employees don't get to dodge the IRS. (Of course, I expect Goodell to do his best to avoid paying income tax as many wealthy people do.)


> Not only does it not pay taxes as an entity despite its CEO's $31 million dollar salary

So it operates like every single partnership out there, tax-wise.


> "... the NFL is the world's sketchiest non-profit"

Ehh, broaden your perspective.

At its absolute worst, the NFL can't begin to touch the corruption of FIFA at its absolute best.


> "...Kaepernick will have them squarely on the wrong side of history"

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Remember Craig Hodges? Michael Jordan's teammate, who won two championships and lead the NBA in 3-point shooting for three years? Probably not. He was the Colin Kaepernick of the 1990's, and virtually doesn't exist now.

Never underestimate the ability of money and power to shape the history books. Likewise never overestimate people's attention spans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Hodges#Political_activis...


A bit different. Hodges didn't press his case in front of cameras at games, and media/news is much more pervasive now on general.

You know I probably shouldn't bother wading into this, but in 20 years nobody is going to care about Kaep. While the league officially didn't do anything towards him, and multiple teams gave him a chance, there are worse QBs that got rostered while he was on the street, so yeah, it was unfair.

That being said, he statistically was a really mediocre QB. You can be as outspoken as you want if you are good, but if you're mediocre and you bring distractions (and while important, it was a distraction), you're not going to get hired in lots of industries.

IIRC, Kaep got a tryout by the Ravens and his girlfriend called the owner a plantation owner. That kind of stuff isn't going to fly, you can't just burn bridges. But teams like the Hawks (who seem progressive enough) declined having him as a backup, so maybe he wasn't good enough.

You can look it up yourself. His last two years in the league Kaep had a QBR of 43 and 49. Bortles, who nobody feels is great, had a QBR of 59 and 44 his last two years, in comparison. He's a backup level QB in a league with lots of backup level QBs.


So only the greatest QB's are allowed to take a stand?

Not at all. I'm just saying, the guy got repeated tryouts. He was not shunned the way people act like he was.

It really helps your cause when you are great, and you gotta be realistic about consequences (and narratives) when you aren't because people will find every reason to tear down even those that are great.

Nike's selling shoes off that. That's not commercially exploitative?


>I'm just saying, the guy got repeated tryouts

He never got any try out's. That's the whole basis of his grievance. The Bronco's offered to trade for him before he was cut, but he'd take a $4million paycut so he declined. After he was cut there were no try outs or offers.


These are both bad, but 20 years from now I think we'll look back on the NFL's refusal to play Sweet Victory as their real undoing.

Kaepernick? Oh, please. He barely had the arm (and that ended with his shoulder injury) and never had the mind (as was ultimately revealed by the whole checkdown-sequence talk being a fabrication and all plays instead being specifically scripted). He took a Super Bowl caliber team and ruined it with basic mindless play.

I say this as a 49ers season ticket holder who saw every game and training camp he played.

Every NFL bad actor with talent gets lots of second chances. He simply lacked the necessary mindset.


[flagged]


Kaepernick does take more sacks than most, instead of making low-percentage/interception-likely pressured throws, he holds out. A lot of that is on his offensive linemen, though.

Regardless of whether you like the guy, Chart Party had an excellent special on Colin, and feels quite differently:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I0cUTXwr-k


Look again at the the PFF (Pro Football Focus) link in my post which the moderators flag banned : https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/fantasy-football-metri... .

Check out the PFF grades in the graphic for the last 2 years of his career: way, way down : https://media.profootballfocus.com/2017/05/Kaep.jpg. Way below average. NFL careers tend to decline after age 25. Kap was looking at 30. He was past his prime and riding the bench. He was not banned from the NFL, he lost a step. It happens.

BTW, your link has the narrator questioning why Goff and Cam Newton have jobs but Kap doesn't. What the what? Seriously. wth?


No such thing as too much drama, just lazy thoughts.

Drama is in the NFL's DNA. It just wasn't the type of "drama" that the owners wanted to be bothered with.

And you forgot to add the poignant response that Colin had to those dumb socks.


[dead]


Sadly that kind of thing picked up with some crowds in Canada regarding our PM's chosen attire as well.

It seems to really strike some people for some reason.


If we set aside the concussion issue for a moment, the story boils down to a sports announcer that admittedly said, " I decided long ago that I had misgivings about football, and I tried to use the forum they gave me to make those points."

In other words, Costas doesn't like football and used his air time during football games to talk about how he doesn't like football. Why would anyone keep him on the air? I don't think we need to brew some crazy conspiracy theory to explain this.


The implicit assumption here is that a news organization has the duty to provide only favorable coverage to its subjects. Presumably for fear of alienating them with bad coverage.

Disastrous PR incoming. Did NBC not foresee this biting them back?

It must be a PR coup for those responsible, because you are blaming NBC, rather than the NFL.

Wha? We can blame both. But the NFL is in the business of that sport specifically. NBC has all sorts of ties to being a news network. And it's not just MSNBC, because they broadcast journalism under the "NBC" brand and they're basically denying science here.

NFL can deny science all they want, they are in the business of smashing heads together for entertainment. I think that should probably be their position -- this sport is dangerous and it might ruin you, sign this release form -- because football is going nowhere in America.


How are NBC not at least partly culpable in this?

Not that I believe this but the article says "McCarthy says the NFL did not ask NBC to remove Costas from the Super Bowl."

Eh, nothing will happen. It's also hilarious to see ESPN doing the shit-flinging here because they did the exact same thing to Bill Simmons in 2015. He called out the NFL's gross mishandling of the Ray Rice debacle, and a couple months later, ESPN announced they weren't renewing Simmon's contract. Nothing really happened to ESPN then, nothing will happen to NBC now.

I doubt it will do anything PR wise. Costas already did his morality lectures during football games, so I wouldn't worry much about fans actually caring. Heck, a lot of fans will be relieved they kept him out of the booth so they didn't get some lecture during the game.

Adding some context since I suspect much of the HN crowd may be unfamiliar - this is being published by ESPN, who previously have suspended and fired employees for calling out the NFL and its commissioner [0][1]. Not saying there isn't a story here, but to me this reads like a very hypocritical hit piece.

[0] https://www.si.com/nfl/2014/09/24/espn-bill-simmons-roger-go...

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2015/05/08...


I only knew of him as that guy who wouldn't stop talking over the 2008 Olympic opening ceremonies. I never tried watching again when I found out NBC owned the rights for years.

This is one thing where he should be allowed to talk.


We can see that "legendary" means nothing in the face of perceived profits. Greed is the only true factor that rules that everyone wants to pleasantly ignore.

But it means all of NBC is compromised by the NFL. Their reporting is compromised by money. They cannot be trusted to truthfully and fully report on the real implications of American football and its danger to health.

Its shame to see honor and professionalism dying in news to in favor of greed, but with money bound to sports it was bound to happen there sooner than later. Costas just had enough history and was from a better era, to delay the impact of greed over integrity.


Why do we think football players are incapable of weighing the risks when choosing whether or not to play?

Well, for one, they start playing while they are still in their youth. You could make a better argument for free decision making if you don't allow tackle football under 18.

Second, in order to weigh risks, you need to not have billion dollar companies spending millions of dollars to hide the effects of concussions.

Third, do we let people take any risk they want? If a company wants to pay someone for a job that has a 95% fatality rate, do we let them do it? What if it was 100% fatality rate, but the person knows this and agrees to it? Can you pay someone to kill themselves?

If we agree that a company shouldn't be allowed to pay someone to kill themselves, the rest is just deciding what level or risk we are comfortable with letting people trade for money. Football might be on the 'too risky to allow people to trade for money' side of the equation, once we know the actual risks.


> Second, in order to weigh risks, you need to not have billion dollar companies spending millions of dollars to hide the effects of concussions.

I just don't buy this. Forget whether they hid results of studies. Forget if the studies ever even existed. No one honestly thinks you can make a career out of lining up across from this [1] and still live a consequence free life.

1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Rh6KuuH6w


People in general are bad at judging risks, worse still at trying to judge the risk of head trauma decades down the road from now, especially with the number of people involved loudly pitching for their views to take sway.

I've no doubt some of them have the training and understanding to examine the data (math majors in college - must be some, I'm sure), run the statistics and pick out noise from signal, which I expect wouldn't be an easy thing given the long stretches of time and the many confounding factors involved, but I expect few of those capable of it even try, so the majority are left with the same vox-pops and media segments everyone else has on the subject.

Couple that with the macho attitudes and self-image in the sport, and that the entertainment needs to keep working for the sport to keep making money (nothing entertaining about permanent head trauma), and that the people having to judge these risks are young males being offered life-changing opportunities and sums of money, and it seems that the default position here should be that we consider football players incapable of weighing the risks (much as we should, by default, consider people bad at judging risks).

Why would we think they are somehow especially capable of judging the risks?


Making poor eating decisions can cause bodily harm much quicker and more severe than repeated concussions from playing football.

Should the default position also be that we don't deem adults to be capable of weighing the risks when choosing what food to eat?


You brought this up as an "ah ha! I caught you in your absurdity!" kind of thing. However it is absolutely true that the US needs to better regulate food ingredients to shield consumers from their bad decisions. Right now the industry is set up to exploit how easy it is to make those poor decisions and become addicted to them, and most food ingredients for sale are consequently more calorific than they need to be.

(Some personal context for me: I lost 100 lbs over 2017-2018. So I have some experience both unwittingly falling in the trap and successfully getting out of it, the latter part seems pretty rare from what I can tell.)


I don't think we share enough common ground to have any further useful conversation about this.

OK. I will ask this of you though. I don't know if you are in the US to witness this or somewhere else. But next time you are in a crowded restaurant where all the portions are in the thousands of calories.. Look around you at all the people wolfing it down. And maybe ask: how many of these people do this regularly? How much exercise do they get to balance it out? How did these people get into this cycle, binging day after day? How irritated would they get if you took it away from them? Is it their fault, or are they stuck in some kind of bad loop? Was that cycle entered into well informed or something else?

Losing 100 lbs caused me to think about this, and the answers are very depressing.

Even for any given meal or ingredient, there has been a change. Look at videos of 70s and 80s America, the average person is way more fit. Or, to take a random example, I re-read the novel "Cannery Row" a few years ago. Now, it's fiction, though based on some real people. It takes place in the first half of the 20th century, and one character is said to drive regularly from Monterey to Los Angeles, a sedentary activity, stopping several times for burgers. Not once does it say he was overweight, nor do I think the real person he was based on was. Could it be that a 1940s burger was better for you than a burger today?


Yes, that does seem to be what the evidence indicates.

People generally rate their diet and exercise as significantly better than it really is, leading them to significantly underestimate the risks to themselves.


Are you claiming only math majors are capable of understanding statistics and therefore should be the only people legally entitled to make decisions?

I don't think it's about pro football players -- we're pretty sure the players in the NFL know the risks (well, now they do). Rather, it's about educating FUTURE potential players so that they too can make an informed decision, or the parents of kids who might say, "you know, I don't want my kid to have a bunch of concussions, because that's been proven to have permanent significant damage".

We don't, as evidenced by the fact American football and other contact sports both aren't banned and are extremely popular.

We can still criticize the league for downplaying/covering up the risks of brain damage. After all, to make a proper cost/benefit analysis you'd need to know all the (known) costs.


Why do we think workers in a nuclear plant are incapable of weighing the risks when choosing whether or not to work there? Employers (in this case the NFL and the team owners) have had a long history of endangering the health of their employees if there was profit to be made.

[flagged]


There's no other option than boycott if one falls into a) and b) and wants to not be hypocritical? There's a lot of social pressure to watch the Super Bowl for a large portion of the population. I fall into a) and b) and did watch the Super Bowl. I'm freely admit that I'm a hypocrite just not sure if this should be considered part of my hypocrisy.

I know about horrendous foreign policy actions of the United States Government. I disapprove of coverups done by the government and I actively benefit from said government. I haven't fled the country. Is that hypocrisy?


You are a grow up. You can stand social pleasure, or at least make up some excuse like a big headache.

I very much doubt you are immune to social pressure. I do withstand it sometimes but one can stay vigilant only so long

Then everyone is a hypocrite. Every product that people consume, at some level, has some known "problematic" aspect in its production. Usually people don't move out into the mountains and become hermits because of this.

That just feels like a hand-waving bullshit statement though. It appears to me that it's just a way to get out of any sort of personal responsibility to say 'well everything is garbage, so what does it matter?'

KNOWING about the problematic issues and choosing to ignore them is much different than not knowing at all.


You really think everyone had a responsibility to not watch the Super Bowl? You think that was going happen?

Happened pretty well in Orleans Parrish.

You're not qrong thst everybody is a hypocrite on some level. That doesn't mean we can't raise a fuss about a man getting fired for speaking an uncomfortable truth.

For anyone who has ever wondered why American Football is so popular in the US in spite of being fairly boring to watch (and in spite of being fairly unpopular nearly everywhere else in the world), the NFL receives significant funding every year from the US Government and is part of the PR strategy to promote military enlistment as a patriotic act (1).

I'd argue that many Americans view watching football to itself be a patriotic act.

NBC removing Costas for speaking out about the injuries is significant because increased awareness of concussive and spinal column injuries would have no negative impact on the entertainment value of the sport. Nobody wants to see athletes who have worked their entire lives to get to the NFL suffer career ending injuries.

So why suppress Costas? His effort to spread awareness was viewed as undermining the foundation of the game. The idea that the athletes are extremely tough, etc. Worrying about injuries makes the game less manly, and it is the association with manly duty and physical strength that makes the tie-in with military and patriotism so powerful.

It's really absurd how Football announcers have these gruff, hyper-masculine voices and how the entire sport coalesces nearly every negative aspect of masculinity and bro culture (2).

In reality, the NFL has blocked overhead cameras from the telecast (3) because they would reveal significant coaching and execution mistakes that would make the sport seem far less professional.

1) https://thinkprogress.org/nfl-dod-national-anthem-6f682cebc7...

2) http://theconversation.com/big-game-days-in-college-football...

3) https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/wh...


You're describing a caricature of a typical American Football fan. You say its popular despite being boring. Have you considered that maybe it's not boring? Sure, you don't appreciate the game (and that's okay), but it's obviously not boring to millions of fans who pay good money to see the games. If you're on reddit, checkout /r/nfl for what fans of the game talk about, and for an idea of the average fan.

We're not a bunch of redneck 'Murica types. At least, not any more so than US fans of baseball or basketball.

> It's really absurd how Football announcers have these gruff, hyper-masculine voices and how the entire sport coalesces nearly every negative aspect of masculinity and bro culture (2).

I need to know which announcers you're talking about. All the ones I'm thinking of are not that at all.


>boring to watch

I bet you enjoy watching people pass a soccer ball for 90 minutes to a 0-0 tie


This post is full of unfair generalizations and misinformation.

> For anyone who has ever wondered why American Football is so popular in the US in spite of being fairly boring to watch (and in spite of being fairly unpopular nearly everywhere else in the world).

People watch the NFL because they find it entertaining. It's not boring to the fans and viewers. NFL football is a carefully constructed entertainment product that goes to great lengths to remain competitive and engaging to audiences. There are no teams outside the United States so it's not surprising there is little viewership outside the US.

> the NFL receives significant funding every year from the US Government and is part of the PR strategy to promote military enlistment as a patriotic act (1).

The money "provided by the US government" is specifically provided by the US military for recruitment purposes, it is not a significant part of the NFL's revenue (that comes from advertisements). It is also not the only place the US Military spends money for recruitment. They also sponsor a drag racing team, created a video game, host air shows and public events on bases and have two air show teams that tour the country.

> NBC removing Costas for speaking out about the injuries is significant because increased awareness of concussive and spinal column injuries would have no negative impact on the entertainment value of the sport.

That's wrong. By raising awareness of the injury risk viewers now know the big impressive hits they like to see have real potential consequences. This makes them less entertaining to watch. This reduces appeal for advertisers and directly threatens the NFL's core business. I am not defending what the NFL and NBC are doing here but it's really not complicated to follow the motives (money).

> So why suppress Costas? His effort to spread awareness was viewed as undermining the foundation of the game. The idea that the athletes are extremely tough, etc. Worrying about injuries makes the game less manly, and it is the association with manly duty and physical strength that makes the tie-in with military and patriotism so powerful.

The NFL is only tangentially associated with the military and even then only before games and even then only starting around 2009. The selling point of the NFL is not that it is "manly", the selling point is potential (suspense) for and eventual realization of lot of action and excitement.

> It's really absurd how Football announcers have these gruff, hyper-masculine voices and how the entire sport coalesces nearly every negative aspect of masculinity and bro culture (2).

Amazon has a female announcing team for their Thursday night coverage. Many of the announcers were previously NFL players, it is not surprising they would have male voices. I don't see any connection to bro culture whatsoever other than "bros" like to watch football, just like a lot of other people.

> In reality, the NFL has blocked overhead cameras from the telecast (3) because they would reveal significant coaching and execution mistakes that would make the sport seem far less professional.

The NFL is selling an entertainment product. This is editing.


> NFL football is a carefully constructed entertainment product that goes to great lengths to remain competitive and engaging to audiences

How do you reconcile that with the NFL not wanting Costas to spread awareness of serious injuries?


Easy, it makes the product less entertaining and appealing. I even explained that in my response.

> By raising awareness of the injury risk viewers now know the big impressive hits they like to see have real potential consequences. This makes them less entertaining to watch. This reduces appeal for advertisers and directly threatens the NFL's core business.


For anyone who has ever wondered why soccer is so popular outside of the US in spite of being fairly boring to watch (and in spite of being fairly unpopular in America, the "entertainment capital of the world"), Association Football receives tens of millions of pounds in subsidies from the British government[1] (which even has a minister of sport!), and is part of the PR strategy to promote promote British Imperialism by influencing the Laws of the Game to resemble traditional Cambridge Rules.

I'd argue that many soccer "fans" view watching their nation in the FIFA World Cup to itself be a patriotic act, despite the rampant corruption which soccer loving nations refused to prosecute until after the United States took action[2].

Before any arrests were made, British Prime Minister David Cameron actually criticized the BBC for investigating FIFA's corruption because it might interfere with England's bid to host the World Cup [3]. The Oxford man in charge of the World Cup bid called the BBC "unpatriotic"[4] for trying to reveal the rampant corruption that is endemic to soccer.

So why suppress the BBC? Their effort to spread awareness was viewed as undermining the foundation of the game. The idea that the sport is egalitarian and based on merit, etc. Worrying about finances makes the game less appealing to poorer Commonwealth nations, and it is the association with rags-to-riches stories (like Pelé's) that makes the tie-in with wealth and imperialism so powerful.

It's really absurd how some soccer announcers scream "GOOOOAAAALLLLLLLL" as if the length of their shouts is proportional to their manhood[5] and how the entire sport coalesces around "hooligan" culture[6] and promotes values like sexual harassment and destruction of property. Soccer's rampant homophobia and sexism probably stems from soccer hooligan culture's "ritualized male violence"[7].

Even though Britain has passed multiple laws to limit hooligan culture (Football Spectators Act of 1989, Football Offenses Act of 1991, Football Disorder Act of 2000, etc.), MPs are currently considering a new law to ban specific homophobic chants[8] now that they've become loud enough to be audible on television broadcasts, making the sport seem far less professional.

[1]: https://www.sportengland.org/media/13753/all-awards-april-20...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_FIFA_corruption_case

[3]: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/27/sports/soccer/27sportsbri...

[4]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/9201248.stm

[5]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkIGO2UA-u8

[6]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMynJt3pUvM or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUUOLFAbJ6A, which features soccer fans harassing women at a lingerie store in Copenhagen

[7]: https://dare.uva.nl/search?identifier=756c8e86-9b1a-4d82-b5d...

[8]: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/homphobic-cha...


[flagged]


My guess is because of this:

>For anyone who has ever wondered why American Football is so popular in the US in spite of being fairly boring to watch... I'd argue that many Americans view watching football to itself be a patriotic act.

I love football and don't find it boring at all. The GP is writing off millions of people as irrational, overly patriotic morons. The comparison to the rest of the world is silly as well because a lot of us find soccer to be about the most boring thing ever behind NASCAR and golf, but obviously many disagree with me.

>> It's really absurd how Football announcers have these gruff, hyper-masculine voices and how the entire sport coalesces nearly every negative aspect of masculinity and bro culture (2).

Yeesh, spare me. Yeah, it's insane how most announcers have "gruff, hyper-masculine voices" considering the majority of them were players themselves. Players in a sport which attracts the most athletic and physically gifted men in the country. How could it be? It's almost as if high levels of testosterone are correlated with higher levels of strength, athletic ability, and a deeper voice.


To be clear, my point is not that Football is boring -- I like to watch it now and then when it's a close game. It's that without the government sponsorship, the sport and viewership would be significantly smaller, probably about as popular as rugby.

It seems to me that your point was exactly that it was boring and that its popularity is due solely to US government propoganda. It seems that way because that's exactly what you said. I just don't know how you escape that given what you wrote:

>For anyone who has ever wondered why American Football is so popular in the US in spite of being fairly boring to watch (and in spite of being fairly unpopular nearly everywhere else in the world), the NFL receives significant funding every year from the US Government and is part of the PR strategy to promote military enlistment as a patriotic act (1).

>I'd argue that many Americans view watching football to itself be a patriotic act.

And now we have

>It's that without the government sponsorship, the sport and viewership would be significantly smaller, probably about as popular as rugby.

Where did you get this idea? The military stuff is very recent and does not in any way constitute a large portion of the NFL's revenue. You're just making things up to fit your own notions of how the world works.


The government sponsorship thing is very recent. Football has been very popular for much longer than the whole military recruitment angle has been in effect.

People didn't start watching football when they heard that a few jets would be flying over before kickoff.

(And, for the record, I hate all that jingoistic crap. The sport would be much better without it)


The government sponsorship is the exact opposite of what the OP thinks: it's military recruiters latching on to something popular to get military recruitment up, not the NFL getting bolstered by government sponsorship.

That's absolutely wrong. The main revenue stream for the NFL is advertising, not government subsidy.

And even if it was, football is still very popular outside of the NFL.

Calling an activity 'boring to watch' is not a cogent argument.



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