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Op-Ed February 7, 2011
By most accounts, Super Bowl 45 (XLV) was a big disappointment to fans and viewers, despite the actual game and Fox show being good. Due to incompetent planning, more than a thousand fans were kicked out of their seats because the fire marshal deemed the temporary seats to be unsafe. To start off the game, a Snooki-looking Christina Aguilera botched the National Anthem. The halftime show was diminished by audio problems, and the sideshow of it all, the TV commercials, were not received well.
This Super Bowl took place amidst contentious negotiations between the players’ union and the owners. The economic depression forced severe cutbacks in corporate spending on luxury box seats, and overall attendance has been down in the NFL. The reduced revenue now has the owners proposing measures that would cannibalize the game and further erode the integrity of the sport.
The sport of football has risen to become the most popular sport in America because, unlike the NBA and MLB, each game actually means something. When the NFL expanded to 16 regular season games and a longer playoff series, the game was tarnished. The owners now want to go even further and expand to 18 games.
Star players, particularly running backs, are wearing out sooner. Helmet-to-helmet collisions and increased violence have been ignored and viewed as ways to increase viewership. Rampant use of steroids and HGH is seemingly tolerated.
2011 could be the year in which the negatives of NFL have reached a critical mass and viewers could tune out. If the players and owners cannot come to an agreements, perhaps a year off is best for the game.