dfwabel

Football and CTE

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4 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

Not really. Check out the article Norva posted above. 

This is purely anecdotal on my part, but dealing with teenagers is pretty much my job. I'm not seeing this worrisome lack of interest in baseball among kids.

 

That's great, really. I want as many baseball players and fans as possible. I'd love for baseball to supplant football as the national sports obsession again. But things like this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/baseballs-trouble-with-the-youth-curve--and-what-that-means-for-the-game/2015/04/05/2da36dca-d7e8-11e4-8103-fa84725dbf9d_story.html?utm_term=.bd81fdf26c42 aren't going away. I'm still concerned about baseball's long-term prospects in the next 2-3 decades as it currently operates because this recent uptick is the result of programs created in response to 2 straight decades of declining participation. It's becoming increasingly niche, it's becoming increasingly expensive to play, the pace of play isn't getting better, the TV audience gets older and deader every day, and we're close to losing African American baseball fans.

 

Things aren't terrible for baseball right now, but there are warning signs that need to be addressed. If they ignore the problems they'll get passed by. 

 

4 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

People have been saying that for decades. And people have been saying baseball's going to die in the next twenty years for decades as well. 

I'm not inclined to give either assertion much thought until I see tangible evidence of either happening. 

 

When MLS gets a tv deal worth $5 billion or is able to tap into the enthusiasm the US national teams have garnered then maybe. 

Neither has happened though. It's all just conjecture. Conjecture that's been circulating for decades. We've been hearing "in the next 20-30 years" since at least the 70s. I don't think I'm being unfair to say "I'll believe it when I see it."

 

This came out of the thread in this topic that was "what will replace football as king in America". The NBA is probably the one that will take over. All I'm saying is don't sleep on soccer. Yeah I'm talking about many years into the future, which has to, by definition, be conjecture. It's fine to say you'll believe it when you see it, but my point is I'm starting to see it. My city is working on a 200 million dollar soccer stadium as we type. If 3 years ago I said "soccer is the sport of the future in Cincinnati, OH and a minor league team will outdraw the Reds" I would've been laughed out of any room in this city, but that's what's happening. It's impossible to forecast what's going to happen, but projecting an optimistic future for soccer is no longer baseless. 

 

It's easy to dismiss it as "oh they've been saying for forever", but there's a distinct difference between saying "soccer is America's sport of the future" in 2017 now versus when that was first thrown around in Pele's day. Back then it was pure conjecture. Now you've got teams in multiple cities all over North America selling out club team stadiums. TV deals won't be far behind, better players will take notice. Better players will get raised on this continent and stay here when they get to the professional level etc etc.

 

 

 

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I don't know if signing guys like Messi in their primes -- rather than their declines -- will significantly move the needle for American soccer fandom. EPL still outdraws MLS on TV, right?

 

A league can't blossom on attendance alone, and if there's any risk for the MLS, it's that it's current high ends up a fad, and that the crowds in Orlando, Kansas City and Atlanta will eventually look like the empty seats at Gillette and RFK.

 

They really need a big-time TV deal and then a big-time roster/salary restructure. It's good that Seattle/LA/NYCFC help keep clubs like Columbus afloat, but that can't last forever.

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I'm noticing that the discussion has moved toward "what will replace football?" (And I've been a participant)

 

We're not anywhere near that.  This has been an emerging issue for a few years now.  I am not convinced it's going to decline in anything resembling a hurry.  If you tell me you think the NFL will be #1 in 30 years, I won't think that's a too out-there opinion.

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59 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

I'm noticing that the discussion has moved toward "what will replace football?" (And I've been a participant)

 

We're not anywhere near that.  This has been an emerging issue for a few years now.  I am not convinced it's going to decline in anything resembling a hurry.  If you tell me you think the NFL will be #1 in 30 years, I won't think that's a too out-there opinion.

That's why I mentioned on the last page about how the youth and prep levels handle this news in both the short (3-5 years) and long terms (10+).

While participation numbers for football have a minimal decline year to year in the 2010's,  it STILL has more HS participants playing it than any other HS sport.

 

We are a Western society which, in the last decade, has embraced MMA and specifically in the last four years, women's MMA. As long as underrepresented minorities are willing to participate, there will be someone to profit from their despiration. DG is correct in mentioning how we'll watch brutality.

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15 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

A Ravens offensive lineman named John Urschel just retired.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20170808/baltimore-ravens-offensive-lineman-john-urschel-retires-abruptly

 

I was not familiar with him.  It's worth noting that he has better options outside of football than a lot of players do.

He does as he's a mathematician getting his PhD from MIT. 

 

He's also well aware that management and coaching staff love smart guys in terms of the game, but are always weary of those who can do something outside of football. Those leaked scouting reports before the draft indicate that.

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14 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

A Ravens offensive lineman named John Urschel just retired.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20170808/baltimore-ravens-offensive-lineman-john-urschel-retires-abruptly

 

I was not familiar with him.  It's worth noting that he has better options outside of football than a lot of players do.

 

He was in the mix for the starting center job if the Ravens don't sign Nick Mangold.  Otherwise, he was going to be a backup.

 

That said, I don't blame him for the decision.  He is truly someone who's long term future is based on his intelligence.  The ESPN article doesn't really touch on how gifted he is in mathematics.  This one paints a fuller picture.

 

NFL’s John Urschel has a brain made for math. And he’s willing to risk it on the field.


Obviously, his outlook has changed since the earlier article.

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On 7/25/2017 at 6:18 PM, McCarthy said:

I don't mean like next year, but I really think the NFL's replacement, if there is going to be one, could be soccer in 20-30 years. 

 

Problem is soccer has several handicaps. One, it can actually be kind of boring to American tastes (and I say that as a soccer fan). Two, it lacks the "American exceptionalism" and always will being that it's the world sport. Third, soccer is one of the sports also suffering from emerging CTE issues (on a smaller scale obviously compared to NFL and NHL). Fourth, it would have to unseat MLB and NBA (the current #2 and #3) and I just don't see that happening.

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1 hour ago, dfwabel said:

He does as he's a mathematician getting his PhD from MIT. 

 

He's also well aware that management and coaching staff love smart guys in terms of the game, but are always weary of those who can do something outside of football. Those leaked scouting reports before the draft indicate that.

I think there was a Rhodes Scholar at Florida State about a decade ago who's draft status dropped because of that.  The NFL has always relied on guys that are almost captive to the sport in order to earn money...and they've always kinda frowned on guys with wider interests, whether it's academics or activism (Chris Kluwe, Kaepernick).  

 

This growing understanding of head trauma probably exacerbates that. A slightly lesser player may be a better draft grade (due to some quantified risk assessment that, if it does not already exist, will exist) than a slightly better player rumored to be thinking of going to law school when his career ends.

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1 hour ago, OnWis97 said:

I think there was a Rhodes Scholar at Florida State about a decade ago who's draft status dropped because of that.  The NFL has always relied on guys that are almost captive to the sport in order to earn money...and they've always kinda frowned on guys with wider interests, whether it's academics or activism (Chris Kluwe, Kaepernick).  

 

This growing understanding of head trauma probably exacerbates that. A slightly lesser player may be a better draft grade (due to some quantified risk assessment that, if it does not already exist, will exist) than a slightly better player rumored to be thinking of going to law school when his career ends.

You are thinking about Myron Rolle, who graduated from medical school (also Florida State) this summer and will began his neurosurgery residency (irony) at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

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1 hour ago, bosrs1 said:

Problem is soccer has several handicaps. One, it can actually be kind of boring to American tastes (and I say that as a soccer fan). Two, it lacks the "American exceptionalism" and always will being that it's the world sport. Third, soccer is one of the sports also suffering from emerging CTE issues (on a smaller scale obviously compared to NFL and NHL). Fourth, it would have to unseat MLB and NBA (the current #2 and #3) and I just don't see that happening.

 

Taking the second point first - that's a feature, not a bug.  Millennials as a group don't have the same sense of nationalism that older ones do, and aren't as afraid of the global nature of the game.

 

As for taste, again I would suggest that is already evolving along with the nation.  Immigration from soccer-loving regions is continuing to change the literal face of our country.  That used to be bulwarked by a relative lack of interest from whites (and the dominant culture they control), but as white kids grow up playing and then watching the sport we don't seem the same resistance.

 

(As an aside, I've often wondered if the "foreignness" aspect hasn't been severely undercut by the average fan's ability to follow the Premiership, Serie A and Bundesliga online and on television.  We don't have the "scary other" feeling about England, Italy and Germany that we do for some of our neighbors to the south, and it's a seismic shift when the favorite team can as easily be from London as Mexico City or Guadalajara.)

 

You are absolutely correct about CTE being an issue in soccer.  But the key difference there, again, is that soccer has been much more willing to engage.  We've already seen headers banned in the youngest youth soccer across the country, and I can definitely see that ban being extended ever upward.  In part, that's because soccer more lends itself to those types of changes; losing headers is less an existential threat to soccer than losing helmets must seem to a gridiron fan.  

 

Finally, as for supplanting MLB and the NBA, you're again correct.  But baseball's fanbase is graying (and I say this as a graying baseball fan myself).  The NBA, I don't know.  They're certainly trying for an international footprint, and that would help.  But the other factors might give soccer a leg up, as it were.

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20 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

But baseball's fanbase is graying...

People keep saying that but youth baseball and softball participation is on the rise.

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So I'm curious as to how much any of this has impacted our football (and not just NFL) fandom.  And, if you have kids (I don't) whether you'd let 'em play.

 

While the NFL has become of significantly less interest to me in the last decade, it's pretty much for other reasons...over-exposure, preference to college football (and the accompanying fact that I'm not able to spend both Saturday and Sunday in front of the TV), and maybe even the fact that I barely remember the Packers not being a contender.

 

Over the last couple of years, I've kinda felt strange watching the sport.  But I don't think it's impacted my habits.  I also briefly tried to sell myself on college football not being as bad...under the guise that most guys are done after 22 and the damage happens to the long-term players.  I don't actually buy that now (if I ever did).  

 

So if I'm really going to let this get in the way of my enjoyment of football, it's college football that's going to be my barometer.  There's a part of me that thinks I have to stop watching.  But with college football just around the corner, I'm not really wanting to do that.  But my blissful ignorance is not coming back.  

 

I still don't know whether I'm going to ever abandon football.  I'm getting closer on the NFL because I'm sick of it and sick of the fans.  The Kaepernick issue may push me over the edge (the league has to black ball him because their fans can't deal with differing views).  If the Vikings ever make a Super Bowl run (LOL) I'll probably tune in.  


But I should be more unsettled than I am that major American universities are bringing in tons of money at the expense of the long-term quality of life of a hundred of their students.  But so far, the impact on me has been minimal.

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5 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

People keep saying that but youth baseball and softball participation is on the rise.

 

Playing baseball and consuming the MLB product are not exactly the same thing.  But yes, the last couple years have indicated a positive direction for youth participation.

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2 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

So I'm curious as to how much any of this has impacted our football (and not just NFL) fandom.  And, if you have kids (I don't) whether you'd let 'em play.

 

Speaking only for myself, it's impacted it in a major way.


There is no way in hell my kids will ever play the sport.  Not while they still need my signature on a permission slip.  I think that would be incredibly irresponsible on my part.  I'd sooner buy them cigarettes and teach them how to smoke.

 

I no longer watch college football in any form. I've long been uneasy with it, but now I'm totally done.  Walked away, and I'm never coming back. 

 

If I was a fan of any other team, I'd probably have stopped altogether.  But the Packers being more than any old team, what they represent to my home state, keeps a connection there.  But even so, that connection is straining.

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21 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

So I'm curious as to how much any of this has impacted our football (and not just NFL) fandom.  And, if you have kids (I don't) whether you'd let 'em play.

 

While the NFL has become of significantly less interest to me in the last decade, it's pretty much for other reasons...over-exposure, preference to college football (and the accompanying fact that I'm not able to spend both Saturday and Sunday in front of the TV), and maybe even the fact that I barely remember the Packers not being a contender.

 

Over the last couple of years, I've kinda felt strange watching the sport.  But I don't think it's impacted my habits.  I also briefly tried to sell myself on college football not being as bad...under the guise that most guys are done after 22 and the damage happens to the long-term players.  I don't actually buy that now (if I ever did).  

 

So if I'm really going to let this get in the way of my enjoyment of football, it's college football that's going to be my barometer.  There's a part of me that thinks I have to stop watching.  But with college football just around the corner, I'm not really wanting to do that.  But my blissful ignorance is not coming back.  

 

I still don't know whether I'm going to ever abandon football.  I'm getting closer on the NFL because I'm sick of it and sick of the fans.  The Kaepernick issue may push me over the edge (the league has to black ball him because their fans can't deal with differing views).  If the Vikings ever make a Super Bowl run (LOL) I'll probably tune in.  


But I should be more unsettled than I am that major American universities are bringing in tons of money at the expense of the long-term quality of life of a hundred of their students.  But so far, the impact on me has been minimal.

 

I'm similar. I never had a great relationship with the NFL. The self-importance of the whole thing rubs against my contrarian side. But diversification of interests combined with specific events (Seau and Duerson deaths, the naked stupidity of how domestic violence cases got handled) have lead me to bail. Skipped my first Super Bowl altogether this year. I connect to football through the college sport- but really only because I'm from a mid-major so the NCAA baggage is less and I tell myself some version of "at least this is where pretty much everyone's I cheer for has their football experience end, which limits the damage" Plus it's the only sport my college is good at, so it's the only real chance I get to have that root for the alma mater thing.

 

I think the answer to what replaces the NFL/football generally in the US is fragmentation. I think of it like TV or most other entertainment really. In a seemingly short window we've gone from 3 networks and the notion of water-cooler TV to whatever we are now, where there are lanes for seemingly interest and the notion of channels themselves almost feels antiquated.

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9 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

Playing baseball and consuming the MLB product are not exactly the same thing.  But yes, the last couple years have indicated a positive direction for youth participation.

The same can be said for soccer and MLS consumption. The explosion of youth soccer in North America didn't rocket MLS to the top of the mountain.

Youth participation doesn't ensure all of those kids become fans. I'm merely saying that if it's positive for soccer than it's positive for baseball. 

 

I'm just suggesting that a lot of assumptions we subconsciously hold may not be true. The assumption has been that baseball's fanbase is getting older. This ignores strong engagement among fans on social media, healthy ratings and attendence, and most importantly? Rising numbers in youth baseball and softball. 

 

Let me be clear. I'm not accusing you or anyone else of willfully ignoring facts to push a narrative. I'm just suggesting that the "greying" of baseball may be one of those things we all assume because it just seems to be true. I can speak from experience.

I assumed the game's fanbase was getting older and that it was heading towards a demographic crisis. I was (pleasantly) shocked to see that it's not the case. The idea that baseball is slowly dying of old age is a strong narrative, but none of the metrics we could use to test the assertion suggest it's true.

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:58 AM, McCarthy said:

 

I've been to two MLS games. One was a Crew game in 96 or 97 at Ohio Stadium and the game was called halfway through due to lightning so I'm not even going to count it. The other was a Sounders game (attended fo free because I won that game's matchday poster designing contest, chumps!: https://www.behance.net/gallery/27809015/Seattle-Sounders-Poster) so I went into the Sounders game with a fresh perspective. It was great, in - continuous action-short break-continuous action - leave, head to the bars. The last few NFL games I've been to even in wins for my favorite team were boring, or hot, or really cold, a lot of standing around, dealing with the dumbest sports fans in sports*, and on the whole it was a less than enjoyable experience. 

 

 

*here's another thing people need to talk about more - A lot of NFL fans are legitimately STUPID people. 

 

I can second that. I've come to the realization that most NFL/Football fans are actually stupid (especially Dallas Cowboys fans). No city is immune to this either. I really enjoy watching the NFL in person, but I hate dealing with the ignorant, blowhards that are prevalent there too. 

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32 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

The same can be said for soccer and MLS consumption. The explosion of youth soccer in North America didn't rocket MLS to the top of the mountain.

Youth participation doesn't ensure all of those kids become fans. I'm merely saying that if it's positive for soccer than it's positive for baseball. 

 

Well, except that I'm using youth participation as an indicator that young fans don't see soccer as this "foreign" game anymore.  

 

32 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

Let me be clear. I'm not accusing you or anyone else of willfully ignoring facts to push a narrative. I'm just suggesting that the "greying" of baseball may be one of those things we all assume because it just seems to be true. I can speak from experience.

I assumed the game's fanbase was getting older and that it was heading towards a demographic crisis. I was (pleasantly) shocked to see that it's not the case. The idea that baseball is slowly dying of old age is a strong narrative, but none of the metrics we could use to test the assertion suggest it's true.

 

But MLB's fanbase is getting older.  At least its television viewership is.  While not the "demographic crisis" we fear, this isn't some artificially constructed narrative, but one that rose from very real data.  

 

Don't get me wrong; I very much hope that baseball can continue to thrive.  To that end, I also hope they're building on the positive trends while addressing the negative ones.

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

they've always kinda frowned on guys with wider interests, whether it's academics or activism (Chris Kluwe, Kaepernick)

Kluwe's outside interests are gaming and reddit posts where he calls people "freaking epic bacon tardtwatburgers"

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