This is the 100th anniversary of the NFL. There is no question that pro football is now the No. 1 professional sport in America.
Money flows into the league from television revenue and promotions on every street corner in the country. The league is set up for all of the teams to be competitive. The NFL has kept all the power and money in the hands of the owners.
The salary cap helps to keep all of the teams relatively equal. However, the New England Patriots have been on a dynasty roll for the past decade. Whether you love or hate New England, the team has made a lot of shrewd moves to keep a step ahead of the rest of the league. They might sell their own mother down the river in exchange for a win.
The world of the NFL – just win baby!
The league will promote the history of the NFL throughout this season. Football is the best team sport in the world. A single individual cannot cause a win or loss. It takes all 11 players on every play for the team to be successful.
Football has three separate phases and all three phases involve every player. An NFL team has 53 players on a game roster. Generally, all 53 players will contribute during the course of the game. It is difficult to get every player to successfully execute. Football has become an enormous success because of a team effort.
The league will be full of information this year about the great players in its 100-year history. Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Lawrence Taylor invoke positive memories of formative years that made the league a giant.
The NFL, though, has to be unhappy with some of the ridiculousness of many current players. Wide receiver Antonio Brown would make some of the old-time legends roll over in their graves. He has made the ultimate team sport look like a circus act of ugly elephants as the center of attention. Brown may be the greatest receiver in the league, but the guy is a poison pill for the NFL and/or any team he plays with. He does not present a great look for the 100-year anniversary.
Odell Beckman is another “I” guy. He likes to brag that he should wear his $325,000 watch during the game. He is about one thing only and that is himself. The NFL is filling up with more and more “I” guys each year. The teams are becoming secondary to all the prima donnas in the league.
Current players receive huge bucks and the self-promotion of a rock star. It will be interesting to see how long it will take fans to grow tired of these selfish players.
The game of football will always be about the team and not about individuals. Unselfish players need to be highlights of the league – players like Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and many other great team players.
The NFL also needs to continue to improve to advocate the safety of the players. CTE is a real issue and a lot of young kids are avoiding the game because it exists.
The NFL spent too much time pretending that the physicality of the game was OK. The way the issue is handled will determine the future success of the NFL. Every generation has necessary adaptations to make in order to move forward and the NFL has done better than most for 100 years, but the league does face some challenges in order to stay at the top of the sporting world.
I hope the game will meet those challenges and still provide entertainment to football fans across the country.
• The quote of the week comes from sportscaster Gib Shanley: “I would like to impress upon young people the importance of honesty and integrity. If they have both, they’ll never want for anything in life. The other less important things – the material things – will follow.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.