FanDuel - WFBC

May 08, 2006

In a league of its own: The Economist on the reasons for the NFL's comparative success. Among others, "because it is the most violent of the four sports. Since the average player does not last more than four years as a professional, labour strikes are difficult and the union is weak."

posted by DrJohnEvans to football at 10:08 AM - 21 comments

the league likes to leave one prominent city without a football franchise, “like an empty seat in musical chairs”, so that teams in other cities can threaten to move if they do not get their way. Wow, I had never noticed that. I knew LA was without a team but I never thought that the league could be doing that to give its teams a bargaining chip with their own city and fans. Good informative article

posted by timdawg at 10:26 AM on May 08

Thanks for posting this, Doc. A few things to ponder after reading the article: 1). Why would the other NFL franchises let the Bengals get away with being such a shitty team in the '90s while being the fifth most profitable franchise? It seems like there should be some sort of unwritten rule by the franchises that if you are x profitable, you must spend that money on bettering your crap-o-rific team. 2). Someone needs to tell The Economist that the NHL lost a season due to a lock-out and not a strike. I realize that this publication is in the UK, but still, one tiny bit of research would've corrected this glaring error. 3). I wonder what the average career span is for a NHL player. Anybody got any figures for average career spans for all four major sports? 4). Does anybody think that the NHL can keep its current popularity after Tagliabue leaves? Or is a commissioner just not *that* important to a league?

posted by NoMich at 10:44 AM on May 08

NHL guys seem to play until an older age to me. I'd guess it would go NHL>MLB>NBA>NFL in terms of average career spans. But MLB might be weird because the player base is so deep and lots of guys get a cup of coffee before bouncing out. I'd bet the MLB distribution is skewed towards the low end.

posted by mbd1 at 11:12 AM on May 08

NoMich, According to this article, as of 5 years ago, the average career lengths for NHL, NBA, and NFL were: NFL 3.5 yrs NHL 4.4 yrs NBA 4.9 yrs (scanning through, I don't see a value for MLB) I found this on google - I just looked through it for the numbers. I have no idea if their methodology is valid (or what it even is!). Seems interesting, though.

posted by blarp at 11:53 AM on May 08

The article is wrong, football is and always will be the easiest game to gamble on, and it has a monopoly on Sunday sports viewing. Any other analysis is a waste of time.

posted by jbou at 12:07 PM on May 08

NoMich, there are minimum spending limits set for player salaries... However, it's hard to get an owner for not having enough scouts, or enough PR people, etc... Much like the Clippers did the same in the NBA....

posted by LostInDaJungle at 12:59 PM on May 08

jbou, I think that you've neglected to think about the various and complex ways in which the NFL has become so "easy" to bet on and how it secured its "monopoly" on television. that said, i think that is something that is also missing from the article. yes, Tagliabue has done an admirable and exemplary job of leading the NFL to and through its present state. however, the hegemony of (professional) football isn't the result of Tagliabue and the recent successes alone. cf. Michael Oriard's works on the rise of football in America (Reading Football and King Football) secondly, while the NHL has a lot of ground to make up in comparison to the other three majors in the US, I dare anyone to come for a visit in Edmonton right now and say that hockey isn't the single biggest thing on earth, despite the lockout and despite the changes made under Bettman

posted by Spitztengle at 01:39 PM on May 08

NoMitch, you are correct saying that if the Economist did a little research they would have know the NFL had a lockout not a strike. If YOU had done a tiny bit of research you would know that Tagliabue is NFL commissioner NOT the NFL commissioner and YOU would not have made this glaring error.

posted by joromu at 01:55 PM on May 08

Tagliabue is NFL commissioner NOT the NFL commissioner Am I just easily confused?

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:58 PM on May 08

I'm the NFL commissioner, and so is my wife!

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:16 PM on May 08

Is your eyesight OK, joromu? I think you need to re-read my item #2. Read it closely.

posted by NoMich at 02:22 PM on May 08

joromu that was an attempt at sarcasm/assholeness gone seriously wrong. 4). Does anybody think that the NHL can keep its current popularity after Tagliabue leaves? Or is a commissioner just not *that* important to a league? I think a commissioner is very important and that the direction that the NFL goes in will be affected by the quality of the incoming commissioner. The commissioner often reflects the spirit of the league, when people find problems with a commissioner they are often finding problems with the league as well.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:28 PM on May 08

it's funny, joromu tried to bust on nomich for a typo, and then joromu did the same thing. also, the dude's name is NoMich, not NoMitch. I think joromu needs to take a few deep breaths.

posted by DudeDykstra at 02:49 PM on May 08

Ah, I see my typo now. It's in item #4. If I had an editor, I wouldn't have this problem.

posted by NoMich at 02:53 PM on May 08

I think your use of the name "Tagliabue" cleared up any confusion. It's obvious what you meant.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:11 PM on May 08

It's really amazing that there's not one word in the article about gambling. There are a lot of other resaons that aren't covered. Like the fact taht it's easy to be an NFL fan, because NFL teams play way fewer games than any other sport's teams The revenue sharing system has overall been good for the NFL. But the NFL more or less stumbled into it because CBS offered to pay every NFL team more tv revenue than any team was receiving at the time if the NFL would move all its games to the network. If the NFL had been a more established league at the time, this would never have happened.

posted by spira at 07:27 PM on May 08

you guys all need to get laid. Comment icon posted by Mr. Shizzle at 7:02 PM CDT on May 8 You know, I've noticed that the guys who use that line are usually the ones that need it most.

posted by grum@work at 07:30 PM on May 08

I'm just here to say I didn't realize you lowly proles could get access to these articles or I would have posted this when I got my copy last week. That and I demand our mailman start getting the mag in my mailbox on Saturday.

posted by yerfatma at 08:01 PM on May 08

There are a lot of other resaons that aren't covered. Like the fact that it's easy to be an NFL fan, because NFL teams play way fewer games than any other sport's teams I think this is a huge reason for the NFL's popularity compared to other sports. While I enjoyed the article, I think they're overthinking the topic a bit. A game during the NFL season is more like an event. The buildup lasts all week, and you don't necessarily have to spend all week keeping track of what's going on. If you start paying attention later in the week, you can still be up to speed by the weekend kickoff. There's no watching the schedule to see how many times per week a team plays what is often a meaningless game. In the NFL, all the games mean something, with very few exceptions. The NFL schedule is something no other major sport can compare to, and why it will continue to smoke all the other sports, popularity-wise.

posted by dyams at 08:04 AM on May 09

you guys all need to get laid. Comment icon posted by Mr. Shizzle at 7:02 PM CDT on May 8 You know, I've noticed that the guys who use that line are usually the ones that need it most. No -my God, he's right. I need to get laid more. How did you know Shizzle - HOW DID YOU KNOW?!? Ahem. I too am surprised about the gambling not being mentioned. It's a big reason for the popularity of the sport. However, the relative strength of the labour union has always been a bit of a surprise to me, too. This is easily the most lucrative sporting league in North America, but compared to the NBAPA and the NHLPA the NFLPA has no teeth.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:42 AM on May 09

I think one of the reasons the labor union is as weak as it is for pro football, is that the game itself is more of a organizational and team effort. Individual stars certainly exists, but have a much smaller impact on the game. In fact a great team makes its players stars. The game itself is great when competitive regardless of the individuals playing. That is why college football is just as exciting. As long as the teams are relatively equal, a great spectator event can happen.

posted by Atheist at 12:05 PM on May 09

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.