Is the NFL in the Middle of a Meltdown?

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Is the NFL in the Middle of a Meltdown?

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Is the NFL losing its popularity? Is the National Football League having an identity crisis? Could we be witnessing the beginning of a long decline in the game so many of us have grown up playing in the back yard and fantasizing about starring in “when we grow up?” In a piece for ProFootballTalk commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the many possible explanations for the league’s poor TV ratings this year to which he replied: “We don’t dismiss any theory.” Theories as to the league’s dwindling TV ratings do abound though including:

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+ It’s an election year

+ Quality of games has been poor

+ Fans fed up with off-field misconduct

+ Too many penalties

+ National anthem protests

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Game Changers

One of the possible reasons for the poor television ratings not listed above could also be the lost identity of the game. In the past three seasons alone, NFL owners have voted to change 24 rules in the game. Here are the 24 rules changes for the past three years alone:

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2014

2015

2016

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I have written about the changing face of football before. It’s clear that the game we are watching today is very different from the game I grew up playing as a kid… although I will admit that was many, many moons ago. It does raise the question: when changing the rules of any game, how may rules can be changed before that game is no longer the same game? Sports Illustrated has listed, “The Ten Reasons NFL Ratings Are Down” which include:

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10. Concussions

9. Crackdown on Celebrations

8. The Chicago Cubs Playoff Run

7. Daily Fantasy Sports Bans

6. Officiating

5. Increases in Competition adn Cord Cutting

4. National Anthem Protests

3. Over-saturation

2. Lack of Star-studded Matchups

1. The Presidentail Election

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While these all appear to be legitimate “reasons”… and not just deformed disguises, for a diminished interest, it’s becoming harder and harder to put your finger on just what the (NFL) game of football is or what the owners want the game to be.

 

The Election Excuse

The reason given more than any other is the drama and volatility of this year’s presidential election. However, I would argue that the past three or four elections were nearly as divisive and the 2000 election result which saw George Bush ultimately winning over Al Gore was hotly contested. Four years ago the numbers of NFL TV viewers dipped a bit but not on par with this year’s 11% slater crater. In 2010, the average NFL viewership was 20.0 million. In 2011 it dropped ever so slightly to 19.8 million and in 2012, an election year, it dropped a little more to 19.3 million. 

 

While the presidential election’s juicy ratings have been off the charts it doesn’t explain the drop in viewership in non-competitive time slots. A debate vs. a boring NFL matchup is something I can understand but I doubt there are many fans giving up watching their team play so they can Google “Clinton” or “Trump.” Consequently, we must assume there is more to the story.

 

 

In the list above, Sports Illustrated appears to have baked a more complete apple pie chart as opposed to others who only want to give us a tidy bite at the apple, as to a legitimate reason or reasons for a drop in television spectators. Over-saturation looks fixable. There are only two days per week that separate an NFL fan from the game they covet. Junkies can watch on Monday but only have to sit cold-turkey for two days until Thursday Night Football. Then Thursday Night addicts only have to go into withdrawal on Friday and Saturday (and of course there’s college football to assuage those who get the shakes if they can’t go two whole days without snorting some pigskin).

 

 

Stadium Attendance

It’s not just TV watchers anyway. In a piece written for BusinessSideofSports.com called, “Why Has NFL Attendance Declined By Over 2 Million Fans in the Last 36 Months?” which focuses on attendance figures from 2011 to 2014 it states,

 

 

“The NFL has done this to itself because they created these multimedia packages and allowed its constituents to be able to access their content online with the NFL Mobile Network. So by them trying to branch out and gain more fans, they have also hurt themselves at home with fan attendance.”

 

 

Ticket Priciness

The problem is that now, the TV viewing has fallen off as well. I can’t say if handheld devise-viewing is a reason for fewer TV viewers, or if devise-viewers were included in the TV viewers figures above (but that also seems likely). This piece also points out that game attendance may be in decline because of the high price of seeing a game. From Statista.com comes “The Average NFL Ticket Price by Team” in U.S. dollars in 2015,

 

 

average-nfl-ticket-price-by-team

 

 

While the graphic may be small and hard to read, it begins with the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots at over $130.00 per seat and cascades to the Jacksonville Jaguars at $61.36 per seat (for the average cost of one NFL ticket to a team’s home game).

 

 

The Attrition Condition

I’m also of the opinion that each team is suffering another identity crisis of sorts. Take any roster like the Chiefs. I don’t know the exact numbers but would guess that over the course of the past year, more than 100 different players have called themselves Kansas City Chiefs by holding a position on the 53 man roster. The attrition rate is incredible. We love us some John Dorsey but by bringing in every Tom, Dick and Harry every single week of the year, he may be diluting the team identity pool. If not for the specific “star” players, the face of a team would be non-descript. It would be a logo… or a coach… or an owner and it’s stadium. While I can see the appeal of Wrigley Field holding a special place in the hearts of fans, inanimate objects are never great role models for fans to associate themselves with.

 

 

Using the Game as a Pulpit

In years past, I would have said that a movie star or great athlete should use their fame as leverage to raise their voice for important causes in our world. However, now it has become Chicken Little on steroids and too much has become way too much. On Friday, a parent of two grown boys said her kids played soccer growing and that now, she and her husband didn’t watch much NFL football anymore because of the “attitudes of players.” That seems to be a trend. Consequently, those who use the game to speak their minds… may be causing irreparable damage to the game that the league is putting out there.

 

 

My Way or the Highway Rules Changes = the Highway

I’m in no way arguing that this “micro-society” we call the NFL should resist changing. In fact, it’s a recognized truism that every society faces an inevitability of change. However, I am suggesting that the changes need to reflect the culture itself. As an example, Instant Replay for red flagged plays reflects the capabilities of equipment found in this era. It wasn’t possible in the 1960s, so it wasn’t offered. No, I don’t want the game to go back to the 1960s, I’d like the game to do a better job of reflecting the “capabilities,” as well as the “customs” of this period in time. Consequently, I whole heartedly believe the league’s ban on celebrations is outdated as well as unjust. The NBA and some other sports do a better job of reflecting our societies’ customs than the NFL and fans are likely growing weary. I recall when center Dikembe Mutumbo would block a shot and then wag his finger back and forth as if to say “not in my house.” Now, if Marcus Peters does that, it’s a huge penalty and a game changer. It doesn’t make sense at all, and fans are just tired of the game’s outcomes being dictated by non-sense rules. The same could be said for celebrations. The natural outpouring of emotion that comes when a player scores is being stifled by the league and it’s my contention that the penalties that ensue are damaging the game’s reputation.

 

 

Will Football or Futbol Rule the USA?

One very real and obvious reason the NFL may be struggling is the ascendance of other sports like soccer (futbol). Each school I’ve worked at in the past 20 years has been filled with students who play soccer. Nearly no one plays football until they’re in middle school and although Texas is a big football factory, it’s soccer that has been gaining in popularity. The following comes from an article called, “Soccer is Here, For Real This Time” at Huffington Post and this graphic (on the right side) notice at kids from 7 to 17 between the years 2000-2013 and shows the participation-progression for each sport in the millions:

 

 

popularity-of-soccer-increase

 

While Basketball and Soccer have taken a major leap in the numbers of kids participating, Football initially looks like it’s progressed but apparently 2006 was a hallmark year at 5.4M and since then has taken a step backward, by 2013.

 

 

What’s surprising is that the numbers of NFL TV watchers has been on a steady upward climb… until this season. This comes from USAToday:

 

 

“NFL owners gathered Tuesday for their quarterly meeting and assessed the league’s unusual and precipitous dip in TV ratings. Assuming the results aren’t, well, riged, NFL game — the undisputed king of U.S. Sports viewing — were down 11% for the first six weeks of the season when compared to a similar point last year.”

 

 

Options, Options, Options

One of ArrowheadOne’s writers, Ransom Hawthorne, so caringly pointed out, that he had other things to do during a Chiefs game last week like, “taking his family to the Zoo” — ah, a man with his priorities in the right place. Of course, this day and age brings with it a plethora of other things to do: multiplex cinemas with 3-D, indoor rock climbing, skateboard parks, wind tunnel skydiving, interactive Science museums, zip-lines, Legoland… and the list goes on (BTW… none of those activities were available when I was a kid). Perhaps there are aspects of the game that the NFL needs to figure out and then… “change with the times.” Hopefully, the owners can figure that out before the game has… passed us by... like the old games of Tug-o-War, Capture the Flag, Badmitten or Marbles.

 

 

Ya know, I could always go for a good game of Croquet. I used to be pretty darn good at that. Croquet anyone?

 

 

 

 

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  • Laurels and limitations

    I think you have to add parity in there as being a problem also. When I flip on the telly and the only difference in the teams I can see are the uniforms it is hard for me to have any kind of vested interest. The league has tried so hard to make the playing field level that teams are missing the flamboyant identifiers that used to make them so special in the first place. Honestly, unless I am entertaining company I rarely watch teams other than KC just because I could not care less with what happens in say, the NFC South. I’ve said it before, but I used to love me some Nascar, as in when Super Bs and Camaros were battling it out, now every single car is the same except for the sticker, and that’s boring.
    Last part, and this is going to tick some people off and I don’t care, the Tyreek Hill effect. As fans we are expected to just shut up and except players no matter their character, even though those same players being included on the team cause a large amount of apathy to occur.

    • PaulfromnorthMO

      I agree with most of what you are saying, but like Laddie is saying the new rules have taken the ‘flamboyant identifiers’ out of the game. Players can hardly celebrate a TD without drawing a team penalty. I have never cared for the big celebrations myself, but I also know I’m in the minority in that regard.
      I know people that have quit watching after a couple weeks this year because of Kaep kneeling, and for the most part, I blame the media. If the media would refuse to televise him and others and refuse to talk about it, it wouldn’t be an issue, at least not to the extent it is.
      You’re last paragraph probably will make some people mad, but a lot of my friends and acquaintance’s, myself included are past tired of hearing about things like deflategate, etc. Plus the entire NFL has taken a black eye because of players like Ray Rice et al.

      • Stan Colbert

        I don’t like all the celebrations either! However, doing a summer salt, really?

        • Laurels and limitations

          I like the celebrations, to an extent…even though I think it was excessive, I still laugh about Terrel Owens pulling the sharpee out of his sock. Lol, that was funny as all get out.

          • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

            With the exception of maybe Brown’s twerking, I haven’t seen too many celebrations that I thought were too much.

          • Laurels and limitations

            the players gyrating their hips a la Von Miller and even our very own West has to be a major reason as to why celebrations are being limited via rules. Kids don’t need to see that trash on national television.

          • ladner morse

            Yes… I agree… and since the NFL owns the rights to having the games filmed, they can also dictate that certain things NOT be shown… just like they have agreed to not show fans who run onto the field.

          • Laurels and limitations

            See? I would love to see fans running on to the field, THAT’S entertaining.

          • ladner morse

            hehe….. they could set up a “charity of your choice” web site where people sign up to watch online when…… fans run onto the field!
            🙂

          • Laurels and limitations

            Wasn’t that called “American Gladiators”?

      • Laurels and limitations

        I think your last paragraph can be attributed to media saturation also. The news outlets are so preoccupied with shock and awe in order to garner ratings that Ray Rice knocking his old lady out will always receiver more attention than Tyrell Pryor visiting kids in the hospital, and that is a crying shame.

        • PaulfromnorthMO

          I agree with that. I never watch the news any more, except to maybe catch the weather segment. I’ve often said that we need a ‘good news’ station. One in which the only bad news is weather and if your sports team has a bad day.

          • Laurels and limitations

            there is a local rock station around here that has a segment each morning where each of the three hosts deliver an example of “good news”, I love it.

          • PaulfromnorthMO

            There used to be a local tv reporter that would interview a high school kid that had done something special and air those about once a week. Anymore I think there are too many murders, etc. to have time for that.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Ha, the other weekend we were up in KC again and I made the mistake of turning on the news, I couldn’t wait to get back to my little quiet town.

          • PaulfromnorthMO

            I can understand that, we almost never go to the city, but I put up a long range antenna and our only tv is KC stations. Fortunately there are enough of the 2nd and 3rd parts of each station we can stay away from the main stream stuff. And we watch a lot of PBS.

          • Laurels and limitations

            I watch westerns and the Chiefs, I used to watch a lot of Discovery but those channels have become all about semi-reality shows now.

          • Laurels and limitations

            or is that pseudo-reality?

          • our whole society is pseudo-something. just sayin’.

          • berttheclock

            I find Pat and I have even drifted away from watching many programs from the networks. Got a little tired of all of the super heros. We do watch a couple of regular Prime Time shows, but only On Demand. For most of our viewing, we have been able to find a slew of DVDs from two libraries and watch a great deal of ACORN British films and even Irish, New Zealand and Aussie DVDs.

            But, I recently read a article in the Oregonian about so many younger folk doing away with cable and hooking up antennas and going off the grid to watch only what they want. Well, not completely off, as many of them end up using ways to watch Amazon, Hulu, Netflix or others.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Admittedly my wife takes care of the finances, and this is a good thing..trust me, but I found out the other day exactly what we pay Direct TV every month. Holy crap, I am STILL mad about this one so the antenna thing is looking more and more inviting.

          • ladner morse

            I disconnected from DirecTV in June and will be saving $1,900 per year. Now it’s just hulu, netflix, online shows and a digital TV antennae. Don’t miss it really. Only big change is running to a bar to watch Chiefs games… but get to see Chiefs friends, a nice crowd of people.

          • Laurels and limitations

            going to bars would necessitate me being social, socially…I just cannot have that.

          • PaulfromnorthMO

            That’s a huge reason we’re antenna people, that much money and we were only watching maybe 10 channels.

          • Laurels and limitations

            seriously thinking of returning to antenna, but I’m not sure we would receive the Lifetime network and my wife would just perish. Perish I tell you.

          • PaulfromnorthMO

            Well, you can’t have that.

          • Laurels and limitations

            yeah, I’d be single and a man can only eat so much hamburger helper, you know?

          • larry mckinney

            LOL. Shake-N-Bake works for chicken and pork. Rounds out your potential diet.

          • larry mckinney

            Unplugged Direct TV about 3 seasons ago. Now, for $99 per season (even less if you skip the first few weeks) I watch any NFL game after it has concluded. Wait a couple of hours and the commercials are then edited out and you can listen to Mitch Houltus (sp?) synced with the game instead of network broadcasters. As well, I spend my Sundays getting the house cleaned up, then sit down to war he the game at my own pace. Wouldn’t dream of going back. Internet connection is required.

          • Chiefly Bacon

            The news has control over what they report. That’s why every time we see a major news event there are about a thousand little ones that get reported on shortly thereafter. Is there really a sudden rash of train derailments? No. They just compile what they think will interest people, i.e. whatever is the most popular disaster at the moment.

          • Chiefly Bacon

            I pretty much never watch the news. When I watch football, that’s the last thing that I want. In the past, when I watched the game, I never had to think about anything, but football. Not about the divisions in our society or the problems with the world. Just football. I don’t keep my head in the sand, I’m aware of national issues, but when I turn the game on, I don’t want to hear Bob Costas’ opinion on gun control, or Collin Kaepernick’s stand on BLM. I want to hear the pros and cons of a wide nine front.

          • Laurels and limitations

            I follow the suit of my Dad and my uncles and tend to turn the volume off when watching the games anymore, or just tune them out in general.

          • berttheclock

            I refuse to listen to anything coming out of the mouth of Costas. When, he was first introduced to Kentucky Derby broadcasts, he inserted himself in front of the legendary Jim McKay, who was the lead for “Wide World of Sports” for years at ABC. McKay was there as a farewell to TV sports and Costas treated him as though he was dirt as in “I’m the new guy in town, old guy, your time is history”. Costas was the Young Turk and it was very unpleasant.

          • ladner morse

            You can always tell… when a guy thinks just a little too much of themselves.

        • Chiefly Bacon

          I’m reminded of a line in a song from one of my favortie Ska bands: Five Irvon Frenzy “Turn it off until it’s right, that’s the news that’s all goodnight.”

  • Stan Colbert

    I am actually surprised, this is the first year ratings have dropped. I haven’t watched much for years. I don’t have a T.V. anymore, so basically watch at bars and read blogs on Chiefs. I remember thinking famous people should speak, as well! Wow! I have a new appreciation for scriptwriters! On this day and age it is hard to imagine any situation where people aren’t offended in some way! I would think kids would be more interested in playing Madden where they can control the game than participating in the NFL where they cannot.

  • Chiefs-Kings-A’s

    I was watching a 49er game awhile back (I think the first game of the season) and they received a 15 yard penalty for pushing the opposing quarterback to the ground, mind you, the quarterback still had the ball in his hands and was scrambling…..the play was not whistled dead yet.
    For me…..it’s the rules they have implemented to OVER protect QBs and the new Kickoff rules that have ruined it for me…… I understand both were for safety issues, but I believe they have gone overboard.
    Politics these days have consumed every one as well…. never in my 52 years have I seen so much turmoil, divisiveness and straight up hatred…… lots of things have taken a backseat to politics recently.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      Eliminating kickoff returns was a huge mistake. Mainly because of commercials. Each score leads to a double commercial break, but, at least in the past, we used to be able to watch a potentially exciting play instead of a guaranteed touch-back that’s boring as heck.

      • ladner morse

        Right. I didn’t even bring up long c o m m e r c i a l s so, don’t get me started there! That’s why I used to tape games and watch them later, to bypass commercials. But I just don’t bother taping other teams anymore.

        • Chiefly Bacon

          http://www.thedrawplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2016-10-11-RatingsDrop.png For anyone who hasn’t read the Draw Play. It’s a web comic on the NFL. Sometimes inappropriate, but always hilarious. This was Dave Rappoccios’ comic on NFL ratings. Sometimes the best part is his rant at the bottom of the comic explaining it. Excerpt from this one: “By week 4 we’ve seen all the commercials already. If I see that guy say “She was born on Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Day” again I’m going to burn down a Subway.”

          • ladner morse

            Awesome! We should post these regularly!

          • berttheclock

            The mute button is fine, but, I believe there should be a blackout button for hitting every single time Peyton appears in any commercial.

          • Laurels and limitations

            like we needed another reason to dislike Peyton, lol.

          • Ol’ KR

            I’m sick of that publicity whore. If there were a blackout button, I’m not sure I could hit it fast enough. But speaking of him, I have tired of the NFL protecting and promoting him so much. They’ve done the same with Favre and Brady (although the 4 game fine was delightful). I seriously considered that the Chiefs took a dive last January so the NFL could have one more peypey/brady matchup. I remember saying that Spencer Ware was the key to winning the game and then he didn’t play. I have to stop now, I am starting to sound like a conspiracy theory nut.

          • Laurels and limitations

            the black helicopters are real man, they are real.

          • Ol’ KR

            Not as real as the disgust I have when I see another peypey commercial…

          • Laurels and limitations

            lol

      • Laurels and limitations

        The NFL catering to paid advertising is a very real thing and I can guarantee you that an added opportunity for additional commercials is always a major factor in the league’s decision making.

  • Chiefly Bacon

    I few things stand out to me. I may talk a little politics on occasion, but that’s not what I want from football. Even if I agree with the position a player or announcer may be taking, I come to football to be entertained and think about football and nothing else. Perhaps the bigger issue, though, is that the NFL lacks meaningful play at QB. Sure there’s Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers, but aside from him who do you see. Rothlesburger is often injured. Brees, Luck and Wilson are all great QBs, but the Colts and Saints still lose more games then they win each year and Wilson is propped up by his defense, because the supporting cast on offense for Seattle is abysmal. Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers are great QBs, but their teams never seem like a threat to go the distance. Today in the NFL most teams don’t have elite QBs and the ones that do are too flawed to win.

  • PaulfromnorthMO

    I believe that the fines players pay go to charities that help retired players. I have read that some players have asked that their fines go to a charity of their choosing but the NFL has refused. I know that Laddie is a supporter of celebrations, so here is a solution. Set a celebration fine that doesn’t escalate with each infraction so the players know exactly how much it will cost them. Do not flag the celebrations so it doesn’t penalize the team. Let each player choose their own charity for the celebration fines to go to, and then the player can decide if he wants to pay or not. Plus it could increase viewership because people associated with a players charity that would not normally watch football, might tune in to see if their “player” will provide them with a donation.

    • ladner morse

      I could get on board with that.

      I just get tired of feeling that the stars of so many games… are the referees. NFL should change it’s name to… FLAGS-R-US.

      • PaulfromnorthMO

        So it would be FRU, formerly known as NFL?

        • Laurels and limitations

          Actually, the title of NFL still holds merit, No Fun League. The path that the NFL is traversing right now is that same path that has ruined everything that gets overregulated, it’s not too late to turn the course but I think the first thing that has to happen is the players, and the league for that matter, wresting control from Goodell.

      • berttheclock

        I believe you might change that to FRUBAR, which is a take off on FUBAR, which was a take off from an earlier one used in WWII.

    • Chiefly Bacon

      That’s a neat idea. Instead of the discount double check, we could see the Habitat for Humanity nail gun or the Red Cross blood-donater.

    • berttheclock

      Hmmm, an Old Broken Down Fan charity is one I might qualify for receiving. As I still belong to the Old Broken Down Thoroughbred Horse Players, I could receive double compensation.

  • berttheclock

    Hmmm, Laddie, lots to ponder on a Saturday morning. I’ll begin by just speaking for myself. I, rarely, watch any NFL football unless it is a Chiefs’ game. I do check out the highlights the following morning, but, the only game I have viewed other than watching the Chiefs was the second half of the recent game between the Bolts and the Broncos. I even laugh each time some sales rep offers me a deal at Costco should I switch to Direct TV for their Sunday Ticket package. I read about the other teams by going more to their respective fan sided blogs and their area newspapers than I do by watching their respective games. Even though the average ticket price at Arrowhead is among the lowest in the NFL, if I lived back there, I doubt if I would see many of the games from there. But, I would still find a way to view the games. That is imperative.

    I will refrain from the political part as I have even more passion for politics than I do for football and the Chiefs. However, I decided years ago to keep my politics apart from any football discussion. But, I still recall a comment from Keith Olbermann when he was still with MSNBC. He commented about some fans of the Seahawks trying to boycott Seahawks’ games due to both Hassleback and their starting FB, Strong, trying to help elect a Rebublican representative from the east side of Lake Washington. Olbermann said if you are going to boycott a player due to his political stance, then, you are going to have to boycott the majority of games. Now, that plays equally well if you happen to disagree with any player taking a stand for a Democratic politico or even an independent one. Keep politics out of the equation, if you can.

    However, for any demonstration concerning the National Anthem, I spent 39 months in the US Army, mostly in West Germany. It was during the Cold War and our eight inch self propelled howitzers were constantly training to fight the Russians. I was very fortunate the “balloon did not go up” as we used to say should war really break out. But, I feel part of the duties serving this nation was to recognize the individual rights of any citizen of this great nation to protest should there be some conflict happening which they believe to be unjust in any manner. So, I understand why Jason Seibel was adamant about the protests begun by Kaep, but, I feel the opposite should stand. No protest has stopped me from watching the Chiefs and I applaud Conley and a few others for standing by their inherent rights as a citizen to join the protest.

    • ladner morse

      I’m in complete agreement in regards to your last paragraph. However, I’ll echo what Paul has said below about the media possibly being to blame for feeling it’s become too too much to take. As Chiefly Bacon has stated… I come to watch the Chiefs games to be entertained and get away from all things political only to have it thrown back in my face… it would be akin to going to the movie theater to get lost in the world of… say… Harry Potter… only to have the movie interrupted with ads for one of the candidates. Not saying it’s wrong… nor that it should stop……… but it has affected the NFL games watchability and interest.

      • larry mckinney

        If I were in a protesting mood, with an important cause to move forward, I would choose the most viewed venue possible in order to focus others upon my protest. Those who would disagree must learn that, like military service, disagreement with the exercise of free speech is a cost of freedom. I can think of things more important than football, or one’s comfort when watching football.

  • berttheclock

    Two things really do bother me about the current NFL. One is the ridiculous stance taken by 345 Park Avenue concerning celebrations. They have joined the NCAA’s zealots in going to extremes. Such as the rule set up not allowing any player to use the goal post for celebrations. A few weeks back, Vernon Davis, TE for the Redskins, scored a TD and shot the football over the goal posts. He, not, only was fined $9,115, but, Blandino, the mouthpiece of Goodell defended the fine. Or, acting as an archer is not allowed. As Laddie points out the finger wagging is absurd. I recall the game where Peters was flagged for dong so, yet, the Raiders LB who sacked Smith stood over him and flexed his biceps while looking down upon Smith. No flag was thrown.

    It is really this part of the NFL officiating that really gets to me. They are very inconsistent in what they call or even what they do not call. I review the propensities of each crew which will work Chiefs games. I have found every crew differs in what they call. Some call far more defensive pass interference, but, never call any offensive pass interference. Others try to reach some sort of balance. Some crews pay far more attention to the line of scrimmage and really do not watch downfield plays as well. The refs come from many different college conferences and bring their own set of rules with them and even their own bias. That is why I firmly believe the NFL owners should get rid of all the current refs, set up a training program for refs to all learn the same rules and, then, hire those who qualify full time. No more part timers, many of them who are simply too slow to match the fast paced NFL athletes on the playing field.

    • Laurels and limitations

      Ah, once again we segue in to the idea of a development league. somebody should really loan me a billion dollars so I can get this thing rolling.

      • berttheclock

        A case in point is the fact Craig Wrolstad and his crew will work the Colt’s game. They were the crew for the Pats playoff game last year and called 11 penalties on the Chiefs. His crew is know for not throwing many offensive pass interference flags and, as the ref in charge, he is the one who calls roughing the passer which he has called often in games. The crew pays more attention to false starts than they do to actual mugging and/or holding.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Another reason as to declining ratings…..laziness. I witnessed it back when I was coaching youth sports, less and less kids are playing sports (or going outside for that matter) and instead are playing the x-box which causes a very real disconnect.

    • berttheclock

      Ah, Professor Harold Hill has a plan to form all of them into a marching band. That could solve the problem.

      • Laurels and limitations

        I miss Buddy Hackett, that guy was hilarious.

        • ladner morse

          Shirley Jones was an angel.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Oh Lord, no, just no!!

    @ArrowheadAdictN @Njakey they could put Nelson out wide and have Eric Murray play slot corner/ safety covering.— NFLDraftwannabe (@NflDraft_KC) October 28, 2016

    • ladner morse

      Thank you for quoting the Rand and McNally of the Chiefs sporting world…… I’m sure we can depend upon their 20th century knowledge to guide here in the 21st.

      • berttheclock

        Wasn’t that name officially changed to Arrowhead Anonymous?

        • Laurels and limitations

          It’s a shame actually, I really like the work of some of their guys, some, but the absurdity of the commenters has almost completely ruined the place.

          • berttheclock

            I only have two problems with two of their writers, one more so than the other. But, they do have several writers who are very good, including both Lyle and Stacy and I love the GIFs by Mavani. It is with their editors I have the problems.

      • Laurels and limitations

        I haven’t been impressed one bit by the pay of Nelson this year. I was watching him the other weekend and I kept thinking to myself…no wonder he is so good tackling, he’s always a single step behind, lol.

        • berttheclock

          Have you read about the problems the Panthers are having in trying to work in their rookie DBs? Of course, their biggest goof was to let Norman leave ( I do not feel the same about Smith going to the Raiders). But, lots of rookies to break in all at once.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Secondarys take time, I’m a firm believer that most people do not understand the complexities of getting so many guys on the same page in order to field a great unit. But yeah, Norman leaving has been a huge blow to Carolina.

          • berttheclock

            I still recall a comment from a former Pro Bowl D-back, who, now is a pundit for NFLN. He said his biggest shock in coming to his NFL team was the fact he had to learn so much. He said back at Jacksonville State, all he ever did was to walk on the field with the other DB and say which side he wanted to cover.

          • Laurels and limitations

            He, my now-favorite announcer? John Lynch, I used to love watching the guy play and now he is entertaining to listen to, he knows his stuff. Now, if Sorenson could emulate him just a tad more, it won’t take much, just a tad.

          • berttheclock

            Eric Davis talking about the first practice with the Niners.

          • berttheclock

            Two All Pro and three Pro Bowls.

  • berttheclock

    As this is National Cat Day, I trust Merlin will drop by with his excellent photo of his cat.

    • tm1946

      Mmmmmmm BBQ cat, way to much fur though.

      • berttheclock

        Shhh – My bengal occasionally reads over my shoulder. He thinks he can take over by heading off to some LeChat Salon site.

        • tm1946

          Truthfully and somewhat sadly, we have feral cats in the area, my boxer mix has an issue with anything not a child or woman. Loves to race rabbits, torment snakes, and cats….. let’s just say more than a few are now missing tails… sorry, she takes after my wife not me, I am warm and fuzzy.

      • Laurels and limitations

        tastes like really tough chicken.

        • PaulfromnorthMO

          And you know this, because……………

          • Laurels and limitations

            I did a stint in Korea once…not many strays over there but lots of vendors if you take my drift.

          • tm1946

            In Panama City, Panama there was one of the finest Chinese restaurant s I ever ate in, far better than Hong Kong. The government closed it for serving cat for beef. At that time a major act by t h e government.

          • Laurels and limitations

            that’s a crazy town. We were down there doing jungle training and they let us loose one weekend. A bunch of us went to the grocery store to get food and whatnot and walking out the police were carrying automatic street sweepers….it was nuts.

          • berttheclock

            Wasn’t Fort Sherman, before it closed, the place where they had the Green Hell Obstacle Course? There is a YouTube up from 1993 showing it.

          • Laurels and limitations

            not sure, I was pretty busy when I was there, except for the 24 hour marshall before flying home. I was there back in the late 90s.

          • tm1946

            In my day, worked with Guardia National, they carried hand grenades if they wandered in the wrong area, would find their bodies in ChaGras River. That was in 1968 – 1969. Met Noriega before he got in charge, as I remember a mean guy.

          • Laurels and limitations

            that same evening we went to a bar named “My Place” (almost positive that’s it), and the only thing I knew in Spanish was how to order the number 5 at Burger King and to order beer. A cop comes up to our rental car with an old revolver sticking out of his belt speaking entirely too fast and gesturing at his rusty pistol. I had already dove across the car planning my escape route before my Spanish proficient friend informed me that the policeman was offering to guard the car while we were in the club. It’s funny now, was even funny once the situation was explained to me then, but at the time I was about to poop my pants, lol.

          • Laurels and limitations

            Can’t remember the name of the base, I keep trying to say Campbell but that’s not correct…Fort Sherman, that’s the one.

          • tm1946

            I was the security officer for Quarry Heights, later XO for MP Company.

          • berttheclock

            I don’t know if it was an urban myth, but, in Germany, several years ago, there was a story floating around about some wealthy German lady who had taken her poodle to a restaurant in Hong Kong and asked the waiter for some food for the poodle. Apparently, a great deal was lost in the translation, but, the waiter did return with a platter of…………………………

          • larry mckinney

            Great International Urban…..myth?

    • Merlin
      • berttheclock

        Great. Our Bengal and Burmese appreciate your response.

        • Merlin

          I really want two Tonkinese kittens.

          • Merlin

            bert, are you going to let us take a look at your two cats?

          • berttheclock

            I’ll see if Pat can find a way to do so. Probably, somewhere in the future.

  • tm1946

    Lots of opinions. Mine? Just a sign of the times and usual greed of owners tied to a commissioner not loved by anyone. More to it but this is sports and not an opinion on politices, PC junk and white privilege.

  • John Davenport

    I’ve pretty much given up on TV period, sports are about the only thing I watch real time and anything else I want to watch, which is not much, I record. The main reason I do it this way is there are simply too many commercials. When I watch a Chiefs game it takes 3 hours minimum, that seems to me like way too much time for a game that is supposed to be 1 hour long and the ball is actually in play for about 15 of those 60 minutes. So where does all that other time go; well there’s half time, that’s about 20-30, minutes, including commercials, I’ll guess about 10 to 15 minutes for challenges if all available are used, have to throw in a couple of commercials there too, I don’t know how much time to add for the ref’s to retrieve their little yellow rags that they love to throw around, because we all know they’re the real reason we’re watching. There are commercials after every kick-off, punt or any other change of possession. I have probably overstated my point and you probably get my point, it’s just not worth the time it takes to watch a game anymore so I watch KC and I’m done. Besides, why would a Chiefs fan living in Minnesota want to watch two loser teams from Tennessee and Jacksonville anyway when there are thousands of good books out there just waiting to be read.

    Thanks for letting me rant, as if you had a choice, I fell much better now. have a good weekend and enjoy the game.

    • berttheclock

      Plus, a new puzzle to start, eh?

      • berttheclock

        Speaking of commercials, I have had Diabetes Type II since the VA discovered I had it back in 2006. I used to joke about which came first, diabetes type II or the fact the pharma industry realized they could make money from pushing pills to counteract it. However, recently, the number of commercials being shown for new medications for that disease have become rampant. In fact, many of the commercials on TV today are from Big Pharma. You know the ones which plead for you to “Ask your doctor……………….”

        • larry mckinney

          One of the worst disassembled restrictions is our broadcasters now being allowed to push BigPharma with commercials. I wonder if younger generations know this was not always so. The result? LOTS more pills pushed. LOTS more people asking for this pill or that which the Docs are obliged to grant. LOTS more opioids on the street. And a general lessening of Americans’ health.

      • berttheclock

        I wrote this as John has said he likes to do puzzles and this AM, Pat and I are finishing a 1,000 piece one.

        • John Davenport

          Good luck with that. I can bring home a brand new puzzle, get started and here come the grandkids to help, some how or another there always seems to be a piece missing in the end, but I’m not blaming anybody.

    • larry mckinney

      When buying NFL Replay, you’re given a choice – watching the full game as a replay, or watching an edited version as a replay. The edited version shows no commercials, time outs, challenges, or other empty moments. The edited version is rarely longer than 30 minutes for the whole game.

      • berttheclock

        Hey, larry, thanks for the tip as to the taco outfit. We have tried them and we really like their sauces. Plus, quality food.

      • John Davenport

        Good point, unfortunately this year I am invested in NFL Sunday Ticket but maybe next year. At least that will give me some time to work on my will power so I don’t look up the score, watching isn’t as much fun for me if I already know the outcome.

        • larry mckinney

          I had to strive mightily to not learn the score ahead of my viewing the replay. Radio silence, no TV at all, turn off notifications, etc. But it can be done. Also, my move here was necessary when I cut my cable cord. Over the air TV at my home isn’t possible, a mountain is in the way. I really like the change though.

    • a lot of things extend the game, but the latest flagrant is waiting for a contested play film review. It’s just too much. Also: 100 bucks per ticket plus? I think about baseball and Houston has the new stadium. But they sold the naming rights. It was to have been THE BALLPARK AT UNION STATION. But along with that are high ticket prices. A food menu that is big bucks per plate etc. Jeez, now telling, I took the boys to about 15-20 games per season at the dome. We did early bird, parking, and early bird tickets(1.00 parking, 4 bucks for me, 1 each for the boys), 3 dogs and cokes maybe was the highest cost, can’t recall what that was now, 15.00? Like that. That was what it cost to go to a movie theatre on any given night so the cost of entertainment was in line with the alternatives. I took them to the new stadium once. it cost us 125 or 135 bucks plus(3 guys), parking, tickets and eats. That is a once a season, not once a week type deal.

    • here’s another kicker: I have had the nfl sunday ticket, the last 3 years, and sat tv is required where the house is in a river valley in remote idaho. It’s the only way to get TV. I like dir tv over dish btw. otoh, I watch NFL Sun/Mon&Thurs Plus, do film review and other stuff so I am busy with that.

      I have dish here in MO(working in MO for the time being, but that proly will end cuz I am about to be 65 and if I keep working, lose SS and medicare and the salary with no health benefit isn’t enough though the position is to perform services for the VA and the Vets), and of course, this is an apartment in the biz facility. It doens’t carry local channels(cost basis). Have to have an antennae. So, Pittsburg has koam and for some reason, the antennae doesn’t always get koam. There is a repeater here in Joplin, UHF, but the antennae I bought for last week doesn’t get UHF(go figure). I’ve shot myself in the foot 3 times in other words. No one at the house in idaho cares about the nfl sunday ticket, or even film. I don’t watch ABC, NBC, CBS. Nor CNN, nor MSNBC, etc. With the female genitalia of Fox News, i have stopped altogether, watch Fox as well(save Brit Hume). TV covers each major disaster(whether it really is or not), 24/7/7 and even worse. We are deluged by media. Another example: I bought a hotspot for my pc access. 60 bucks for 5 gig. I made it 24 or 25 days on 10 gig so if I re-upped, it would hav been a good part of 180.00 just to do what I do with the net-genealogy/history research, NFL game analysis and 2 or 3 pieces a week for a not very well known Chiefs site(I am not doing that now since I will be working for awhile agani), heavy email for the plus the DNA project for genealogy… so I was always using about 10gig per month as it was (lived on the sailboat I bought after the Tornado, May, 2011, had ATT Hot spot with my phone–but don’t get me started about ATT either). Generally at 90-100 month. 180 with verizon plus 45 for a personal phone? I went a bought a phone from T-Mobile. dropped the verizon m-t-m(45.00 unlimited phone and messages, etc), have a verizon hotspot device I will sell. Picked up unlimited gig for the pc via the hot spot on the phone, so the total cost for both? 95.00 per month. I think I may retire from modern civilization.

  • larry mckinney

    Thanks Laddie, for a timely and thoughtful article.

    • ladner morse

      Thank you Larry. Good to hear from you.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Priest was the man, now back to your regularly scheduled program

    Hi Priest pic.twitter.com/PuMj3dgMrK— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) October 29, 2016

  • ladner morse

    If Conley is ready… I’m confident.
    .

    I'm ready!!! #AlwaysADawg #BeatFlorida pic.twitter.com/P3qdG4ART4— Chris Conley (@_flight17_) October 29, 2016

    • Laurels and limitations

      Conley is starting to impress, dude has tangibles.

      • berttheclock

        Height, speed, hands and smarts.

        • Laurels and limitations

          the truthiness shall set you free.

      • ladner morse

        I can see him being just as dependable and productive as JMac before this year ends.

        • Laurels and limitations

          if not supersede.

  • ladner morse

    The #Jaguars did make a coaching change after all. I’m told they’ve fired OC Greg Olson.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 29, 2016

  • ladner morse

    8 days before the Chiefs are to face the Jags… they fire their offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

  • ladner morse

    In life, things change: pic.twitter.com/e6pR6gkBay— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2016

  • ladner morse

    The new #Jaguars offensive coordinator is Nathaniel Hackett, source said. He moves up from QB coach.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 29, 2016

    • berttheclock

      Paul Hackett was the DC of the Chiefs from ’93 to ’97 under Marty. Nathaniel is his son.

  • ladner morse

    Ferris Bueller: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

  • ladner morse

    It’s official:
    .

    Broncos signed RB Juwan Thompson from their practice squad and placed RB C.J. Anderson on injured reserve.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2016

    • berttheclock

      Juwan Thompson, the former Duke RB, has been with the Broncos since 2014. UDFA who played for a couple of years for them, but, this summer, he ended up being forced out by Booker, was cut, then, resigned to the PS. He has had 3 rushing TDs for them.

  • Laurels and limitations

    Not confident? What’s up with that?

    As do I. I had it 24-20 Chiefs on the pod this week. Sticking to that. #FearTheWare https://t.co/xvGsVIiGBi— Ryan Tracy (@RyanTracyNFL) October 29, 2016

  • tm1946

    Am sure many have heard Marty has Alheimers (sp), very sad thing.

    • berttheclock

      In our over 55 complex, that disease has taken a toll. Several residents, both female and male, have ended up going to assisted living centers and a few have passed.

    • this is a very hard thing to be part of for the afflicted, and family. My uncle passed 3 months ago having suffered with this. Fortunately, the severity of it was perhaps only 2 years of the last 6. about 5 days before he passed, we were eating lunch in the kitchen and as I wheeled him out, he asked me what I was doing these days, and this a totally clear question. The next day, he could not help get himself out of bed, and my Aunt had to take him to a home to get some help and relief. My uncle(Dad’s older brother), had experienced no health problems all of his life. He was fortunate in the last days. Glenn passed 4 days later.

      When I heard this about Marty, I too was saddened.

  • berttheclock

    For trivia buffs out there. In 2008, Greg Olson was hired to become the OC of the Tampa Bay Bucs. This was due to Paul Hackett being fired by Tampa Bay. Now, Olson is out of a job with the Jags and the son of Paul Hackett, Nathaniel, has taken his place.

    • ladner morse

      Karma is a bit…. Hackett.