Does the NFL Have a Credibility Problem?


There are a number of people who believe that the NFL has a deceitful commissioner and a franchise with a questionable name. Most fans know that the league doesn’t tolerate disrespectful players or athletes known for causing trouble — yet every season, owners, players, and fans alike tune in to watch the Super Bowl.

In this current season, however, things have started to change — at least for now. The NFL is now starting to see something ugly develop among football fans. The new penalty epidemic that came into effect this year, for example, has bled over into the regular season, causing players to get fined, eliminated, and sent home for “targeting.” The NFL has also had its fair share of drama involving concussions, lawsuits and most recently, protests during the National Anthem.

So, why trust that the NFL and its teams will take care of these problems?

Well, that’s just what fans are wondering as well. Truthfully, the NFL seems to be going downhill, with 30 percent of self-described fans watching less football, and more than half of the players in the NFL protesting discrimination by taking a knee; everything seems to be blowing up all at once. In fact, there has been so much controversy surrounding the protests that it has even made its way into the White House. Because of this, a large number of millennial football fans now have a negative view of the NFL. This could be one reason why ratings have dropped so much within the past couple of years.

How can the NFL fix this problem?

So far, the NFL has tried to increase their ratings again by ignoring controversial issues. In other words, some television networks no longer broadcast the National Anthem before the game since they know players will be kneeling. By simply ignoring the topic, it might appear that the NFL is trying to sweep everything under the rug.

To fix this problem, however, the NFL should allow networks to continue to show and report updates on this subject to fans and viewers. The truth is, the television networks play a major role in the ratings of the game. If they continued to speak on the subject and acknowledge the problem, fans might be more inclined to watch their beloved teams again. It’s important for the NFL to understand that fans tune into sports to get away from everything else, but when an organization’s credibility is in question, then fans are more likely to get burned out.

Other factors for why the NFL’s credibility is in question doesn’t always involve the organization itself. In fact, it actually involves individual players. When individual players do things to sabotage their reputation and their team name by acting rebellious, it not only affects them, it affects the entire organization as well. These acts might include getting in trouble with the law, getting caught abusing performance enhancement supplements or recreational drugs, and avoiding things like training camp and practices. You also can’t forget about star players who get injured throughout the season (2018 casualties include Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green, Aaron Rodgers, and Marcus Peters), which decreases fans’ interest all over the world and impacts the fantasy teams that they worked so hard to build.

Needless to say, the NFL has some serious issues to address within the coming months — issues that deal with controversy, politics, and most importantly, credibility. Although it’s not easy running a multi-billion dollar organization, it’s even harder to do if athletes, fans, coaches and other members alike find it difficult to put their trust in your hands. So, rather than asking how the NFL plans on restoring their credibility, the question becomes: “When will the problem reach a tipping point that the NFL simply can’t ignore?”

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