Monday, April 25, 2011

NFL Draft Dumbs Down Sports Consumers

Every year sports fans are inundated with coverage of the NFL Draft.  It starts weeks prior and gets heavier and more detailed with each approaching day.  The Draftboard for each pundit contains a mountain of information for each potential high draft pick.  Every team's needs are evaluated and every position is dissected. 

Former players and coaches break things down so well that all of football's secrets are unleashed.  The art in football disappears and is replaced with analysis paralysis.  These analysts take all the fun out of the game.  They'd be much better off joining the military and using their strategy skills in plotting against al-Qaeda.

When did sports become so much about everything but the game?  Too much time listening to daft Draft talk on the radio or watching it on TV can make even the most dedicated of fans tire out.  The commentators who used to seem so knowledgeable, now seem like they are 11 or 12 years old fawning over these players who are mostly the same age as many of the Soldiers and Marines fighting in Afghanistan.

They have glorified and deified football players so much that these players feel a sense of entitlement.  They have worked their bodies hard and learned lots of plays, no question, but they haven't made new scientific discoveries.  Expect ratings to fall this year and each year after.  There's only so much sports fans can take and it seems the dumbing down is reaching its limit.

It is time for sports fans to return to the enjoyment of the game.  Fantasy leagues, endless statistics, video games and Drafts have received too much attention over the last several years.

This is where Soccer can fill the void.  Obviously, something's missing.  Sports fans become sports fans because of the game itself, not the peripheral events associated with the game.

MLS should be gauging every conceivable outlet, every conceivable alternative for marketing its game and improving it for sports fans.  They are out there and they are ready to embrace Soccer.  They don't need to watch other leagues around the world.  They'd prefer to follow their own league. 

A majority of these sports fans are unaware of Soccer's greatness.  Others continue to be unimpressed.  More scoring would get their attention.  So far this MLS season, there are only 2.52 goals scored per game (55 goals in 139 games).

With baseball's reputation damaged irreparably by the steroids scandal and all of its other problems and basketball and football both headed to elongated labor strife, the time will never be more ripe than now for Soccer to make change for the good of the game for the betterment of the fans' experience and for the worthiness of their time invested.  Soccer can give sports fans a reason to feel smart again by improving its drama and entertainment quotient.

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