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Is football dying?

Jan 2, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT

Deflated Football

As baseball news is at its offseason nadir, it’s time to take note of something everyone is noticing but no one is willing to discuss openly: professional football, which used to be America’s most popular sport, no longer has a hold on the nation’s consciousness.

Over the years, you have heard myriad explanations for football’s declining popularity. High-definition television making people less likely to go to stadiums. The increasing sophistication of video game consoles creating a more appealing form of home entertainment. People’s increasing love of Sunday marathons of “Top Gear” on BBC America. All are valid explanations. But they have not seemed to detract from America’s new favorite pastime: baseball.

Look no further than this past season’s playoffs. Sellouts in Boston, St. Louis, Detroit, Los Angeles. Everyone from the cop on the corner to the man on the street enjoyed the baseball playoffs and Fall Classic. It really brought our nation together.

But the NFL? Costs are skyrocketing, pricing out the common fan. Playoff teams struggle to sell tickets. When the league should be celebrating its moment in the spotlight it finds itself enmeshed in controversy. A mere five years ago no one would have predicted that baseball would trump football in a popularity (non)contest like it does now. But they probably should have.

And to be clear: football’s declining allure has nothing to do with costs, the prevalence of social issues in the discourse or even the natural ebb and flow of popular entertainment. It has to do with the sport itself. There’s too broad a canvass on which to paint needed progressive change in football. Literally. There’s too much space.

Including end zones, a football field is 120 yards long and 53 yards wide, giving it a playing-surface area of 8,242,560 square inches. Eight million-plus square inches is far too much space for its participants to cover, both literally and thematically. It’s strategic schemes are simultaneously far too broad and far too intricate, and thus there is far too much required of the fan to accommodate the sport’s advancements.

Baseball, on the other hand, has a relevant playing surface area of a mere 216 square inches. That’s the area of home plate. Yes, baseball fields are about the same overall size as football fields, but the field does not become relevant until someone hits one of the pitches thrown to home plate. The sport hinges on what takes place near those 216 square inches. There are only so many things an athlete can do when confined to such tight parameters. There are only four things, really: throw a strike or a ball and swing the bat or don’t. Fans can handle something as simple as that. The entire game’s perfection is confined to a reasonable area, clearly seen by the home viewer and the fan in the overflowing stands alike. Granted, this is an oversimplification of a long-lived sport like football, but it is a clear explanation for why football’s best days are behind it.

Is football dying? The playoff game ticket sales, the sport’s own natural evolutionary limitations and the history of similar sports say yes. It’s just a matter of how quickly. The rate of football’s demise can easily turn into something of a mathematical argument based on presumption and perspective (two things that do not mix well with numbers). The National Football League came about in 1920. The sport’s golden age – its teenage years, if you will – was the 1960s through, oh, let’s call it early 2013. So perhaps football hasn’t even reached its midlife crisis yet. And yes, football’s TV ratings for the upcoming playoffs may show the sport to be back in full swing.

Bt in the big scheme of things, fewer people are going to playoff games. Meanwhile, the Spring Training is a little less than a month and a half away, and new records for attendance will probably be set.

Evolution at work.

My thanks to Kyle Daugherty for inspiring the idea of this post and to the New York Times’ Andy Benoit — and many other silly doomsayers of baseball — for inspiring the structure.

396 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sjhaack - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I hate and love you, Calcaterra.

    Golfclap for this.

    • scott47a - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Anyone who takes this ridiculous post seriously ought to maybe head over to Sports Media Watch, where today they released the list of most-watched sporting events of 2013 – 46 of the top 50 were NFL games.

      http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2013/12/2013-ratings-wrap-nfl-dominates-list-of-most-watched-sporting-events/

      • nategearhart - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        No one is supposed to take it seriously, because it’s satire.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        Craig may be subtly trolling the PFT fans by coating them with delicious irony, but I’m serious.

        Pop Warner participation is down 10% from 2010, and CTE is only just beginning to make the headlines. Between legitimate parental concerns about head trauma and the likelihood that the NFL will soon be playing two-hand touch, I’d say football is in serious trouble.

      • dondada10 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        There was even an SVU episode about CTE. A Joe Namath parody ends up shooting himself in the chest to preserve his brain.

        The SVU motorcycle was well over the shark at this point.

  2. nymets4ever - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Nope

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Football? Isn’t that the game played by fatsos who bulk up by using “ahem” natural means? For some reason, football players also tend to die young and suffer from brain damage.

      • paperlions - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Quite up there in North Minnesota. If we want your opinion, we’ll ask for it.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        tsk! tsk!

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Fatsos? Defensive linemen are the best and most agile 450-pound athletes in the world.

      • nbjays - Jan 3, 2014 at 6:20 AM

        I thought that was sumo wrestlers.

  3. jm91rs - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I can’t believe you took the time to type this up.

    • nymets4ever - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Well, like he said “baseball news it at its offseason nadir.” But instead of accepting that fact the way a normal person would, he decided it would be a good idea to randomly trash football just when its playoffs are about to start.

      • bfunk1978 - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Hey I’ve missed sarcasm before. I feel dumb when it’s rightly pointed out. I won’t point it out here, though, so you can feel smarter when you figure it out on your own.

      • anxovies - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        But who can resist trashing a sport that soon will have players wearing helmets the size of pilates balls and running around in sumo suits? The concussion lawsuits have sounded the death knell for American football as we know it, next comes the knee injury lawsuits for the coup de gras.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Sometimes people get stoned and need something to do.

        You smokin the reefer, Craig?

  4. brohancruyff - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    This is all I have: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3rtyerfHZ1qir45xo1_500.gif

  5. cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    And baseball managers and coaches are better looking than their football counterparts. How could you for get to mention that, Craig?

    Tsk. So disappointing.

    • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      hmmm…”for get”? Tsk.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      Truthfully, there is no NFL coach who compares to hunky Brad Ausmus — you are correct, Sir. Another sign of superiority, natch.

      • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Even the ugliest Baseball Manager is better looking than ay football staffer. Know why? Because football players make their living running their heads into stuff. Its hard to look good after using your mug as a battering ram.

        As for Brad “McDreamy” Ausmus, well all I have to say is that when Roger Bernandia becomes a manager, old Bradley better be prepared to get a different answer from his mirror on the wall.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        While I like “McDreamy,” I rather feel that Ausmus needs a moniker that captures his smoldering quality as well…something that Sir Ditka will certainly never see referenced about himself. Verily, there will never be a ranking of NFL managers by hotness; thus spake the Lord.

        I’m not even going to acknowledge that Bernadina nonsense. Put your shirt back on.

      • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        I’m going to leave the whole Ausmus-moniker thing to you. I believe a person should care deeply about their subject matter to “brand” it. Since I could give a pair of fetid dingo kidneys about Ausmus, this one’s not for me.

        And your lack of Bernadina acknowledgement is acknowledgement enough. So there.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        I’d wager that Mike Tomlin would go for more at a Ladies’ Auxiliary Date Raffle.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        Well, bid on whoever you want then.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        He’d go for waaaayyyy more if guys could bid. ;)

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        And that would be ‘whomever.’

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      Do you really feel that comfortable leaving the naming to her? After all, that’s how Jose Iglesias got tagged “Little Sexy Fire.”

      • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        “Little Sexy Fire”????? Zowie. Was that hers? Well. I hadn’t thought of this angle. If she’s got a specious history of branding her hotties, perhaps we should appoint ourselves editors of her choices? With rapier-like wit, cutting comments, and barbed word-play we can harass her into changing anything we don’t like. That’s how we roll, after all. Wouldn’t want people to think we were treating her any different just ‘casue she’s a gurl, y’know.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM

        Not her best work that, and she’d be the first to admit it. Everyone needs an editor sometimes. Just ask “Maury” Chass.

      • indaburg - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        I read all 162 comments (at last count). I cannot believe how many people did not get this was satire. The terrorists have won.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Nah – that’s PFT & Yahoo commenters. Bad sample to judge. Now if they can turn US into that kind of mental slobber, then and only then have the terrorists won.

      • indaburg - Jan 3, 2014 at 5:53 AM

        Okay, okay.

        My favorite was the guy who said I know this is is satire, but I’m still going to take this completely seriously anyway. I wonder if he writes letters to the editors of The Onion. Stephen Colbert must blow his mind.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 5:59 AM

        Top o’ the mornin’ to ye, Burgie. That guy was amazing, I definitely enjoyed that.

        To be fair, these folks didn’t wander in here by mistake. They were carefully lured in by the CalcaTrolla’ – and they are who we thought they were. Led down the primrose path by a guy who likes to wander into Columbus, OH sports bars & play a half hour of The Smiths on the jukebox.

  6. philyeagles5 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Someone’s been drinking the haterade

    • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Boooooooooooooooo.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        Finally some boooing up in here!

  7. chadjones27 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    I was wondering when you were going to write this. I was thinking the same thing. Imagine having a playoff game blocked out in it’s team’s hometown. The NFL block out rules are a joke.

    • chip56 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      Well first of all they’re called black outs not block outs. Secondly, they’re not a joke they’re just no longer necessary.

      • chadjones27 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        My apologies for the mispeling

    • paperlions - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      You want to complain about NFL black out policies while ignoring MLB blackout policies and team “territories”?

    • jsips - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      Really as compared to MLB stupid rules about viewing games. I live in New Orleans and I can’t watch any Astros or Rangers games live because I’m in their viewing area. Poor Oklahoma and Arkansas they can’t get Rangers, Astros and Cardinals games.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        I also can’t get the Royals either. It’s a four-team blackout where I live.

      • okcyankeefan - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        Well, we do get local coverage of almost every Ranger and Cards games. And who cares about the Rockies, Royals, and Astros?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        I care about them every time they play Detroit.

        You must pay for TV.

  8. chip56 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    A very nice sarcastic column that those who have championed the death of baseball probably won’t get.

  9. Kevin S. - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Some of you guys really need to change the batteries on your snark detectors. This should be done every six months.

    • APBA Guy - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Kevin-exactly what I was thinking while I was reading the comments. I guess to many people wander over here from PFT.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        Shhhh. Don’t tell them. It’s funny to watch them huff and puff in ignorance. he he

    • jfwiii - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      I got a Nest Protect so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Once it detects the snark, I just have to wave at it and move along with my day.

  10. kidpresentable - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Not dying, just better to watch on TV. Baseball generally has an advantage of having nicer weather for the vast majority of the season and even when we get into the fall, we’re talking 45 degrees rather than blizzards or sub-zero temps you can face at a football game.

    This is only news because the Packers haven’t sold out their game. They didn’t sell out their game because they asked season ticket holders to buy their playoff tickets in the midst of a 5-game winless streak after they got smoked by the Lions on Thanksgiving. For the first time, deposits for playoff tickets were non-refundable meaning that if the Packers failed to make it, the money went to the team for a four month, no-interest loan to be applied to 2014 season tickets. So tickets are made available to the public who can look at the weather forecast and see that their living rooms, with their 6-pack for the price of a stadium beer, no lines for the bathroom, and crystal clear HD picture might seem like a better option – especially when the thermostat being set at 72 degrees is going to be 80 degrees warmer than Lambeau Field.

    Lambeau is one of the best places to have on your bucket list as a football fan, but it’s easier to enjoy in October. With most other stadiums, it’s better to watch the game at home. With baseball, it’s better to be at the game hence TV ratings trending downward in the postseason, but league-wide attendance remaining steady or growing.

    • protectthishouse54 - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      So what is the Colts’ excuse? Or the Bengals? Because those teams still have tickets to sell too. My problem with the NFL (and I love it, despite of this), is not the blackout restrictions. It’s the drama that arises every season. From bullying, to brain damage, to cheating, to referees, to the constant criminal behavior, there’s always a story in the NFL that makes me cringe.

      • kidpresentable - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        Baseball has many of the same problems, it just takes on different forms. They just suspended 20 guys not for failing a drug test, but because they found a way around baseball’s drug testing. There are unwritten rules about when you can throw at a guy, when you can celebrate an accomplishment, how you can slide into a base, etc. They cannot figure out a competent instant replay system. They’re looking to ban home plate collisions because of concussions. Baseball players get caught with drugs or dealing drugs like their NFL counterparts. Retired players get caught money laundering or murdering like ex-NFL’ers. These are the same types of people, they just chose different career paths.

  11. historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Ima drop this Kluwe nugget and leave y’alls’ heads to explode as you wander through the fog of war.

  12. musketmaniac - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Today’s top teen athlete would be an imbecile to chose football. less guaranteed money and a professional life expectancy under three years.

    • barrywhererufrom - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      I don’t understand the inferiority complex that baseball writer’s and some sportscasters have with football. I actually hear Michael Kay rip football every chance he gets on espn radio. Football’s ratings beat baseball consistently. Both sport’s have huge followings. Passions run deep for both games. Football may have a problem with off field issues that are turning some fans off from the sport. I think the blackout issue may have to deal more with our struggling economy then fans not liking the nfl. I know I see many empty seats behind home plate at Yankee Stadium but Michael Kay will never mention that on his radio show.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        I love giving this guy thumbs down. I really do.

      • billyboots - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        This entire column was a joke. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        18th st that is,why you are a clown. That being said I knew my point about the inferiority complex of some baseball people may strike a nerve. Both leagues have its issues. To say a league that has the highest ratings of all major sports is a joke.the joke isnt as bad as 18th Streets life but it is pretty bad.

    • chip56 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:06 PM

      Today’s top teen athlete would also have to be an imbecile to choose baseball. It’s the longest road from draft pick to professional with no guarantee that you’re ever going to sniff the professional ranks and if you don’t make it, your lifestyle is, in many cases, worse than that of an actual high schooler.

      Plus you’re competing with international players on a huge scale.

      The bottom line is that the NFL player’s career is shorter than that of the baseball player but your odds of going from draft pick to major leaguer are very low in baseball.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        You’re a professional as soon as you sign your contract. You are eligible to sign that contract three years earlier in baseball than you are in football.

      • chip56 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        There’s a difference between being a professional and being in the pros.

        It’s true that kids can sign with an MLB team out of high school whereas they can’t with the NFL, yet with the exception of the occasional Bryce Harper, how many of those kids are playing before they’re in their early 20s? And instead of being in college where they’re treated like demigods, they’re riding buses in the south and midwest. Something they likely could still be doing when the 7th round pick of an NFL team is flying on team charters.

        As a father, I would prefer my son play baseball over football for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is his long term health. But which has a quicker road to the show for the kid who has the talent to make it? Easily football.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        They may be treated as demigods in college, but they’ve already cashed bonus checks in the minors. And as for quickness in reaching the majors, there were 52 players last year in MLB 22 or younger, 117 who were 23 or younger. It’s not just the Bryce Harpers who are getting to the bigs at the same time as football players are.

      • chip56 - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        You’re talking about a very small percentage of even those who get drafted. For players in rounds 4 and on – there aren’t usually that many bonus checks (especially given the new slotting system)

      • Kevin S. - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        And what of the football players who go through college and don’t get drafted at all? We can go back and forth on this all day, but the fact remains that baseball players are eligible to get paid three years early, they draw at least some salary during their developmental years, and they tend to make the bigs at roughly the same time as football players do. Pretty much the only football argument is that with more roster spots open one doesn’t have to be as high up on the talent pole to make it to the NFL.

      • frank433 - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:53 PM

        By demigod, you mean highly paid, right? I didn’t know we were talking about the SEC here.

  13. losangelesfan - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    It’s dying for me. The game has gotten soft. Penalty’s for hits that just a few years ago were legal. Quarterbacks should be wearing skirts. Why have kickoffs? They don’t get returned anymore. Concussions are keeping kids away. The officials are terrible, much worse than they have been.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      I think saying football is dying because a few cities didn’t sell playoff tickets is absurb. There are plenty of unsold playoff tickets in baseball every year and there’s no football stadium that holds less than 60,000 people. Dodger stadium leads MLB capacity with 56,000. Football playoffs are generally played in much harsher conditions than any baseball playoff game ever would. I’m thinking if St. Louis Cardinals fans had to sit through -5 degree playoffs in the snow, that stadium would be quite sparce. I think Craig is just bored and clinging to any hope that baseball will be back on top one day.

      With that being said- Goodall is ruining the sport. He’s turning the NFL into the NBA. The game has slowed down because of all the flags and all you see is guys throwing up their arms and looking for a flag when they don’t make a play. You’re even seeing players taking flops like those wusses in the NBA. You can barely make contact anymore and every NFL passing record is becoming meaningless because you can’t cover receivers anymore. It’s sad to see.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      There’s a lot to hate here, but the reason you think the officials are worse is because the quality of the picture has gotten better. You can see mistakes that you never used to see.

      Moreover, because so little happens in a football game, every mistake gets replayed 450 times before the next snap. And because there are so few football games, every mistake gets replayed for a week.

      • jrobitaille23 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        so little happens? maybe the dumbest thing I have read on this site. congrats!

      • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Read on! http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704281204575002852055561406

      • teamobijuan - Jan 3, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        More happens in a football play than an entire baseball game, lol.

  14. clarkwgrizz - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    The only reason that I clicked on this article is because it had the word “football” in it.

  15. js20011041 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    While this is a rather well done troll job by Craig, I don’t think that the NFL’s demise, or more accurately, it’s marginalization, is that far off from the truth. The increased awareness of the effects of repeated head trauma are a major long term threat to contact sports. With a sport like football, there simply is no way to remove that threat or really to even minimize it. It’s simply a reality of the sport. I don’t think it’s far fetched to see it affecting participation down the road.

    • braxtonrob - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      @js200, you said, “there simply is no way to remove that threat or really to even minimize it.”

      I disagree. If they (NFL) were to make the helmets less indestructible, you’d have a big decrease in players using them as weapons on each and every play.
      I believe, ironically, the way to decrease concussions is to make the modern helmet LESS protective.
      Either way, they (NFL) have a HUGE problem on their hands, and they’re doing their best (via rule changes) to keep the sport’s decline from ebbing out of control.

  16. ramrene - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Dude, are you an idiot?

    Where’s the statistics to back up your presumption that the reason football is so called dying is because it’s field is too big? That’s just typical CCBS (Craig Calcaterra BS). That’s just your crazy opinion getting in the way again.

    If you want another equally unsupported reason how about football is a game that changes year to year due to the many rule changes and now with all the concussion lawsuits the rules are changing again. In effect the game itself is changing and that is turning people off and turning them away. How about that?

    I’m pro-baseball but your reason for football’s playoffs non-sellouts is just ludicrous.

    Dude, seriously pull yourself together.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      the joke
      ————
      your head

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Stop giving it away!

      • paperlions - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        Moar blank space needed in there.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        “Their,” you looser.

    • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      If you’re playing poker, be aware that there’s always a designated sucker at the table. If you look around and don’t know who that is, well then its YOU.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        Also, you know what, he didn’t mention Phan-tipping. None of that in football. And hot dogs. And baseball caps.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Just know this – Teddy KGB always goes for an Oreo when he’s bluffing. You’ll do fine.

    • bmh9500 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      This is the second-best troll job on this page.

  17. ewyorksockexchange - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    I would much rather go to a baseball game than a football game. The weather is better, the view is better, the experience is better. Not to mention that cost of entry is much cheaper than a football game. That being said, football is a better sport to watch on TV, IMO anyway. Baseball has a ton of downtime, as does football, but the highlights they play between the action are much more exciting in football. While football’s attendance is going down, the TV ratings are going up and up and up. So no, it’s not dying. It’s just a different experience than baseball, and is better enjoyed from the home.

    As for the complexity and size of playing field argument… what? I don’t see how a larger playing area is a bad thing. If anything, I’d argue that baseball is at a disadvantage because the meaningful playing area is too small. Baseball is more station to station than any other sport out there. And while I love both sports, I think they are appealing for different reasons. Football because of it’s complexity, and baseball because of it’s simplicity. Chess is a different game than checkers, but that doesn’t mean either one is better.

    And before you go talking about how baseball is ahead of the curve in terms of gay rights, I would point out that no major American sport has an openly gay player actively playing. And I would also refer you to Yunel Escobar’s wearing a gay slur on his face last year, Torii Hunter’s comments on the matter, and that Kluwe is one of several active or recently active players in the NFL advocating for gay rights. Who in baseball is currently doing that… no one that I know of.

    So no, football is not dying, and baseball isn’t either. They’re both great games which are wildly popular.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      Kluwe is one of several active or recently active players in the NFL advocating for gay rights.

      Love me some Kluwe, but he’s also the same person who essentially believes he can’t get a job because of those same discussions. So let’s not try to argue the NFL is so advanced on the issue of gay rights.

      http://deadspin.com/i-was-an-nfl-player-until-i-was-fired-by-two-cowards-an-1493208214

      • ewyorksockexchange - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        I wasn’t trying to say that the NFL is advanced in the way that they are approaching gay rights. I was just pointing out that it’s absurd to conclude that baseball is better at approaching that issue, because they’re clearly just as bad.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:40 PM

      As far as the gay rights and baseball thing goes, a number of teams recorded “It Gets Better” videos for the Trevor Project. I don’t know if any football teams did.

      Overall, I’d guess professional baseball is more progressive on civil rights than professional football is, but I haven’t given it that much thought.

    • indaburg - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      Pertaining to gay rights–I have given Curt Schilling a difficult time about a lot of things, but I’ll give him his props too:

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/02/01/curt-schilling-on-gay-players-why-the-hell-would-what-they-do-in-the-bedroom-ever-matter/

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/curt-schilling-mlb-pitcher-gay-athletes_n_2631871.html

      He’s probably the last person on earth I would have expected to defend his gay teammates. Now you know of one person involved in MLB who made a stand for gay players. Granted, he’s retired, but he’s still a broadcaster and involved with the sport. Note he said this the same week NFL cornerback Culliver made homophobic remarks.

  18. doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Dead for me. Football dies every year when the Lions suddenly remember they’re a terrible team.

  19. sdelmonte - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    So I know this is meant to be a lampoon and all, but…

    Football might be in trouble. Because of concussions. Because of parents who don’t want their sons to get concussions. Because of high schools that don’t want lawsuits connected to concussions. Popular or not, football is clearly dangerous in a way that baseball isn’t.

    Will the NFL collapse? I can’t say it’s likely. But it seems a lot more possible than it did five years ago. And the NCAA, already riddled with corruption of every sort and maybe facing a player revolt in the next decade, might give way even without the concussion question.

    Baseball will probably never regain its place in American culture. Odds are that if any sport passes football, it’s either basketball or soccer. But baseball might be a lot healthier than football right now, and with a willingness to do things like banning home plate collisions and creating a DL just for concussions, it might stay that way for a long while.

    • paperlions - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      Agree completely. When I saw the headline, I actually thought it might be a piece about the potential effects of concussions on the sport…all the way from parental concern to law suits at any and all levels.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        Do you think all these football commenters have concussions too? It would explain some of their responses, I think.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Nah, most people aren’t that bright or subtle pre-concussion.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        I’m sure you would have loved the weather here yesterday/today. We only got about 5″ of snow. But it was cold (about 12F at sundown, 5F this morning, high today of about 14F), so it is dry and powdery.

        I worked from home, had a fire going in the wood stove all day, and made a big pot of soup.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        You sure know how to hit a gal hard. :( Is it pretty? Man, I miss the snow. I’m jealous. Sigh.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Yeah, it is nice….especially since I live in the woods. It is a bit windy (which is not nice), but it is quiet and peaceful feeling.

        I tell ya, I love Molly (my rat terrier), but it sure would be nice if she was the same size as a real dog….sucks having to shovel trails for her every time there is more than a couple of inches of snow. When she was younger, she really liked the snow. Now she’s 10 and not such a fan of it.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        When CoCo got older, I had to carry her out so she could go. What a pain. I feel you on that. Still, it’s better than watching football. ;)

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        When it snows and I know it isn’t going to melt, I have to dig: trails in the back yard, trail to connect driveway to back yard, trail to wood pile, trail to shed, trail to kindling pile, and driveway. That isn’t horrible if it is 6″ of snow. If it is 28″ like we got in 1 day last year….well, it took about 10 hours of digging over 2 days. A few years ago, we got repeated snows between 6-18″, by back yard has a 3′ tall picket fence, for over a month you couldn’t seen any fence. The trails were so deep you couldn’t see Ajax (65 lb Australian Shepherd) if it was on one of the dog trails. It was a pretty cool winter wonderland, but man….it was a lot of digging….you run out of places to put the snow…..and that year I had to use a roof rake to keep the roof clear to prevent ice damns from forming….not good times.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        When we lived in the woods in Western MA, CoCo would bolt out the door and burrow through the snow. Her little black head would just pop up in the snow somewhere in the yard. It was funny. She had tunnels going after awhile.

  20. karlkolchak - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    I speak as someone who, after the 1994 lockout, became an NFL season ticket holder in 1997 and pretty much ignored baseball for the next decade until the Nats finally moved to town. I gave up my NFL season tickets in 2010, primarily because I became disgusted by how much “parity” (read: mediocrity) and free agency had lowered the overall quality of play. Look at how many games are now decided by one score, which is exciting when it happens occasionally, but not every week. And especially when a bad referee call can change the outcome.

    That’s a long way to go to say that I have come full circle and am back to having baseball as my number one sport. Even with all of its problems the quality of play on the field remains much as it ever was, unlike the NFL.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      I would guess part of the explanation is that your (and my) local NFL team is so loathsome.

  21. bigbuffguy95 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Ok, I know this is “satire,” but it’s such poorly-executed satire that I feel that the headline is so stupid that it warrants a real response.

    Football is still No. 1 by a wide margin and probably will be for the foreseeable future. The most recent edition of Sunday Night football (a regular season game) drew 27.36 million viewers and a 9.3 in the key 18-49 demo. Meanwhile, the decisive Game 6 of a World Series between two of the most popular MLB teams (Red Sox and Cardinals) only pulled 19.18 million viewers with a 5.3 in the demo. Game 7 of the NBA Finals (involving the Heat) drew 26.32 million viewers and a 10.6 in the demo. That is a victory for the NBA, but again, I had to compare a LeBron James Game 7 of the NBA Finals to a regular-season Sunday Night Football game, and it barely won (needless to say, the Super Bowl out-rated Game 7 by a *lot*) Game 6 of that same finals drew 20.64 million and an 8.5 in the demo. Football is still No. 1 in this country, and it is not close.

    Again, I know it’s “satire.” But it was still a waste of a few minutes of my life. Note to self: stop reading anything with “Craig Calcaterra” at the byline.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      Your self-selected handle belies the lack of humor your post suggests. Let it out, man.

    • bmh9500 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:20 PM

      what

    • nategearhart - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      “I know this is satire.

      Now here’s a lengthy paragraph with data refuting the satirical context of this article, which I know is satire.

      Again, I know it’s satire.”

    • jrobitaille23 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      here here. don’t worry about the downvotes. PBT especially Craig’s followers are a moronic bunch at times

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 3, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        What’s here here? Oh, you can’t spell or think. That’s sad and funny since you accused PBT readers of being moronic.

        Hey are you the same turd-fondler who doesn’t like the NBA anymore because there aren’t enough white players? Is that you? It is you, isn’t it Jonathan?

        I love it when severely concussed bigoted jackholes like you suddenly pop out of the woodwork. Let me guess – you’re 25 and you live in the crap-hole known as Minnetonka you’re a bitter, bitter, bitter stupid cracker. My fearless prediction for you is an early death from cirrhosis and an empty funeral parlor. Good luck with all that.

    • braxtonrob - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      @bigbuffguy95, you said, “a waste of a few minutes of my life.”

      Reading your long mono-sentence paragraph was a waste of a few minutes of my life

  22. phillyphannnn83 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    I was inclined not to even read this after seeing the headline. I stopped when you tried to argue that football’s playing surface, every square inch of it, is relevant at every moment of the game, while trying to say baseball,s is only relevant when the play goes to that part of the field. That is such a ludicrous statement. First of all, a baseball field has players on and covering its entire surface at all times, thus making the entire playing surface relevant for every single pitch. When a football team is I the red zone, the entire field behind them is essentially out of the play. There are no players on it, there are no player guarding it, and the play isn’t even going that direction. So, the correct argument is actually the exact opposite of what you made it; the entire baseball field is always in play while a football field is not.

    That is where is stopped reading the rubbish you put forth today. I’m fairly certain the link you provided was once that only spoke of the games which were not sold out yet and made absolutely no mention of the Philadelphia Eagles selling out in under 2 minutes, the Seattle Seahawks selling out in under 5 minutes, or the Carolina Panthers selling out in under 8 minutes. Just because a couple teams haven’t sold out yet isn’t an accurate gauge of an entire sport. Heck, one of those teams is hosting a game that has a forecasted wind chill of minus 15! Yeah tell me the the Kansas City Royals would sell out a wildcard game with that weather! You’re argument is blind to facts Craig.

    I hate to burst your little bubble Craig, but football is still number 1 in this country, the Superbowl is still the most watched sporting event in the world, and not everyone was as fascinated with the baseball postseason as you think. I, for one, did not watch a single pitch.

    • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      Hmmm….I suppose that when you read some of the other comments or even the END of the post itself, you’ll realize you’ve been trolled. When that happens, just act like your own comments here were a counter-troll attempt, ok? It’ll ease the sting a bit.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        It would take a brain to feel that sting.

      • phillyphannnn83 - Jan 3, 2014 at 4:02 PM

        Congratulations, you won the internet. I’ll send you a trophy that’ll look great in your moms basement.

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        A trophy? Wut fer? But thanks.

        Hey! I learned a new word today, courtesy of this very post. You’ll find it useful:

        Noun: Sarchasm (‘särˌchazəm’)

        Def: The gulf between the intent of a passage and the reader’s ability to interpret that intent.

  23. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Well the Ravens could not get the Orioles to move there schedule around….so, yes :)

    Seriously though, Football will see increasing unpopularity because:

    A) they have never gotten serious about PED’s – it ain’t steak and potatoes creating 290 pound lineman that run a 4.4 40. But the NFL does everything to make sure it stays quiet. That will change
    B) they can not get there heads around consistent officiating. And I don’t just mean roughing the passer, etc. (which can be bad enough). Look at the Chargers “non-fumble” that put them in the playoffs. Why didn’t the refs review it? Where they allowed to review? Was the play dead once the helmut flew off? Who knows!
    C) they had 25 years of total peace between the Union and Owners. That is starting to crack. Lets see how much the public likes the 4 work stoppages in 15 years
    D) Concussions. The NFL knew. They covered up. HOF’ers are becoming invalids at 50. It will only get worse

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      I’ll take E) – all of the above. But D) is the single best answer.

  24. phillyphannnn83 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I’m curious, to all of CC’s brown-nosers…when does the trolling get old? When you’re the guy who only writes things to troll people rather than writing legitimate stories, you should stop questioning the BBWAA about why they haven’t credentialed you. Seriously Craig, you’re like the 13 year old high school girl of sports journalists, I mean writers, I mean bloggers.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      I want you to know that when I was a 13 year old girl (which did not make me a high schooler, by the way), I already could punctuate better than you do now. You should think before using being a girl as an insult. It is not.

      • cur68 - Jan 2, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Thing is, that MANY 13 year old girls are ready for high school. Girls just mature faster, both physically and mentally. So perhaps he writes from experience? Perhaps all the 13 year old girls he knew were functioning at least at a high school level?

        Anyhow, lets be generous to the poor soul. He got trolled, like mega. That’s gotta burn…

      • jrobitaille23 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        it is an insult when you are referring to the maturity and subject matter Craig writes about ad nauseam. But you must be one of those CC brown nosers so I can see why you are offended. Oh, many high schools have 8th graders in them nowadays so there are 13 year olds in them…just sayin! Congrats on your perfect grammar.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        Clearly, I also have better reading comprehension than you because you missed the point there. I don’t give a crap what you think of Craig, and you’re obviously too obtuse to get it. Go back to your football.

      • phillyphannnn83 - Jan 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        I was a freshman in high school at 13. Sorry I was moved ahead. I guess I’m just too busy with a real job to be such an enlightened veteran of an internet forum like yourself. Loser. BTW, I’m all for gender equality but you’re a moron if you don’t think its an insult to call a man a little girl.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        “too busy with a real job” LOL

        Yes, you strike me as having advanced intelligence. Don’t you waste another moment tying your Great Brain up with silliness about internets and little girls. Here’s a tip for you though: when you talk about your great/real/high-paying job on the internet, it means you’re actually not that successful. We only brag when we raps, phannnnn.

  25. jbaxt - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    I’d take a 0-3 football score (bucs vs bills) over a 12-11 Boston vs NY baseball game any day. The ratings prove I’m right.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Last Man Standing gets better ratings than Mad Men. I wouldn’t lean on ratings to prove your point.

    • sportsdrenched - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      Do you want to go down this road? I mean Reality TV gets ratings. That doesn’t make it good.

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