Is my love affair with the NFL over?

If you read the headline to this post, it looks an awful lot like clickbait. Is my love affair with the NFL over? Click this to find out if it is!

But I’m actually asking the question because I honestly don’t know: Am I heading toward a breakup with the NFL?

The signs are definitely concerning. Sunday was the first time all season I’ve been at home and had a chance to watch the games, since I’m normally on the road at a NASCAR race somewhere.

And yet…I didn’t watch a minute of football on Sunday. Not one. I don’t really have a firm reason why, either.

Before you ask — no, it’s not because of the anthem protests. That has nothing to do with it. And it’s not because I’ve somehow reached a tipping point with CTE/concussions.

But it’s sort of alarming how fast it’s happened, and so I’m trying to figure out why. Football used to be my favorite sport — even above racing. I’ve seen games in 24 of the current NFL stadiums as a fan (my goal was once to see a game in every stadium) and I used to obsess over all things NFL.

Suddenly, though, I just don’t have the same passion for it. Why is that? What happened?

A few theories:

— I cut the cord and no longer have the Red Zone Channel. Now that I watch TV through the DirecTV Now app on my Apple TV, I don’t have access to Red Zone. Maybe I got spoiled by Red Zone, because that’s how I would consume games 90 percent of the time when I had a Sunday at home in recent years. Red Zone had no commercials, the action was constant and it kept things entertaining. Now that I can’t see it, it’s hard to get invested in a normal, three-hour game. Expecting me to sit there and just watch Jets-Chiefs straight through is asking too much.

— I stopped playing fantasy football. I used to run a fantasy football league up until last season, but it got to be too much of a time suck. And since I was on the road at NASCAR races and couldn’t watch the games anyway, I ultimately decided not to play fantasy football. And WOW, does that change things! When I don’t have a player in the Thursday night game or Monday night game or whenever, it removes so much of the reason to watch. And I know there’s always DraftKings, but even that seems pointless without Red Zone or Sunday Ticket.

— My team blows. I’m a huge Denver Broncos fan — that’s the team I care about the most in all of sports — and they suck this year. They’re completely out of it. So there’s no reason to try and find their games on TV or make an effort to follow the AFC West division race, which normally might have kept me interested on a Sunday.

In general, teams aren’t greatAs much as I love parity, it doesn’t make for attractive viewing. After Sunday, 14 teams are within one game of being .500. That’s nearly half the league being incredibly average. And a lot of the “good” teams this year are recently good, which makes it harder to have any feeling toward them. For example: The L.A. Rams are somehow 9-3 and the Vikings are 10-2 (I have no idea how that happened because I haven’t followed it much). A game between a 9-3 team and 10-2 team would normally sound quite interesting — but if they played next week, I probably wouldn’t watch. I’m sorry, but I just don’t really care at the moment.

Check back with me when the playoffs start and I’ll probably care more. Otherwise, there are a lot of other things to do on a Sunday — even if the weather isn’t nice outside — and the NFL just doesn’t have my attention right now for whatever reason.

This all is very surprising to me, because there’s no particular reason I’d suddenly lose the passion for what was my favorite sport. I just don’t feel the NFL is giving me a reason to consume its content. I haven’t been checking scores, watching highlights or following the standings much. I see people make reference to the games on Twitter and post GIFs, but that’s about it.

I’m not bragging about this, because it’s not like I’m happy about it. I’d like to get invested in NFL Sundays again. But the more I think about it, I’m not sure I really miss it.

38 Replies to “Is my love affair with the NFL over?”

  1. I think within the last year your life has moved in a different direction and this is showing in your interests (sports and otherwise)

  2. It’s probably b/c they don’t list the 2-10 positions in the NFL’s Most Popular Player contest.

  3. I took love the Red Zone channel and is my preferred way to watch Sunday NFL. I watched yesterday as four afternoon games were on at once and kept me interested.
    I’m a shareholder for the Green Bay Packers but I can’t stomach watching a Packers game through to the end because there is like 11 minutes of game play and 170 minutes of commercials and talking.

  4. Domestic violence, rap sheets and even murders, Deflategate, penalties for celebrations, replays that take forever. By the time players started kneeling rather than going out into the communities to help, I’d pretty much had it with the NFL. Me. So rabid a Packers fan since the Lombardi years I sent my husband home to get a radio when in labor because the father’s waiting room TV was broken. (Packers won). I still watch the Packers but that is about it. More interested in college football, basketball and baseball. Can’t wait for racing season to start again!

    1. I’m a packer fan also. Rodgers being injured, they suck. The anthem protests really chapped my hide and the misdirection of the league.

  5. Jeff,
    Although I have to admit I’ve never been a huge NFL fan, sure I’ve watched over the years & I too have my favorite team. With that being said just like you, I too have suddenly lost interest in watching the NFL as well.
    I guess my sudden loss of interest in watching was all the attention on the kneeling & protesting. I just found it to be more of a distraction then it needed to be in my opinion! I finally decided I could spend my time doing something more productive & believe or not I found that I don’t miss it. As a matter of fact I seen my favorite team playing this week as I was flipping through the channels & I tried to watch a few snaps & even though it was a close game & the game was just about over, it didn’t even bother me to change the channel.
    Now, I’ve been a huge Nascar fan for over 25 years & I still find that at times I’m at the edge of my seat watching races. I’m praying that, that feeling never goes away.

  6. Sorry you lost your NFL mojo. I still love the games. I hate all the non game related distractions the last few years. I have no use for Fantasy games other than picking the winning teams. For me it is about the TEAMS and NOT Individual Players. Fantasy ruined football for some of my friends since it became about players from all the teams and not about cheering for “Your Team”. So several of my friends just stopped watching and stopped fantasy.
    But NASCAR is still #1 for me, followed by NFL & College Football.

  7. Same thing happens to me when……I moved to Portland! No team, no football culture. When I moved here Monday night football was on a one hour delay. I was dumbfounded.
    Now I see maybe a game each year. My live affair ended well before all the current “issues”. It just kinda happened.
    I think it is something in the air and coffee….,

  8. Having played football as a youth, (high school) , I learned the game well enough that now I cannot stomach how poorly the “professionals “ play. You noted the records are merely average for most teams. The play is as well.

    That and the aforementioned bad behaviors and attitudes of the players in relation to what they get paid has just disgusted me.

  9. For me, the commercialization and increasing non-football activities are the turn-off. Branding stuffed into every shot, over-hyped announcing, every other word sponsored by something or other, screens over- saturated w promos, etc, etc. Announcers w oral diarrhea feel compelled to scream at us what we’re seeing. Same issues in NASCAR I’m afraid. Tho I did enjoy the alternate stream from NBCSN from Homestead. Spent the entire race there. Refreshing!

  10. I think your stance is common with many fans of football. Ratings for the NFL are way down. They are plenty healthy now from a financial standpoint-good grief they pay their unpopular commissioner 40 million a year to bungle everything he touches. What’s the future of the NFL if popularity is declining rapidly? The games are boring and have too many stop downs if there is decent action. They need to make some changes to bring excitement back to the league-fewer reviews. Loosen up the cap and let teams hang on to more of their players. Honestly, college football is better at this time. I think people are turned off by the NFL and the unintentional brand they’ve established as boring, fight with your players, not fun, and take yourself too seriously league.

  11. Brother, I checked out in 1989. When Jerry By God Jones bought the Cowboys and fired Tom Landry in a news conferee before ever having the decency to talk to the man. I WAS DONE. Sure, they won some stuff after that but to me ALL of Sports is about loyalty, family and working together to make it happen. I lost faith when I saw them throw piles of money at it to get a few years in the sun. This from a guy who saw the Cowboys come into the league as a little kid, lived and died on everything Don, Craig, Roger, Danny (both of ’em) Bob, Ed, and the whole bunch did, supported them good or bad, only to see it all be sold out.

  12. The NFL nust isn’t worth it to me. As mentioned in another comment, I think it has a lot to do with how poorly the game is being played at the professional level. It has become more of a show, with guys caring more about looking cool and showboating than playing the game the right way. I suggest trying to get into college football if you haven’t already. 100x better in my opinion. Of course there is still a fair amount of the above mentioned stuff, but as a whole it just feels like college players are more motivated. The fans are just as passionate as the NFL, and so far the college game has been free from the anthem shenanigans as an added bonus. Also to your point on too much parity, its just like Jimmie Johnson said earlier this year; when you have all the cars running within hundredths of a second of each other, it makes for a pretty boring show. Counterintuitive, but both NASCAR and the NFL are currently suffering from too much parity in my opinion

  13. It’s ok, I think that you stopped watching the ReZone & quit playing Fantasy Football that you separated yourself from the hype of football. With that you found that life is good & that you are doing what you really want, whatever it is. Have you seen a game @ Levi’s Stadium?

  14. The rules change every year. I don’t like politics in my sports. Replay on every other play. He didn’t make a football move. Pink October. The average fan can’t afford to take a family of four to a game. I could go on and on.

  15. Fortunately, Stacey Wright pretty much wrote my comment for me. I was a Cowboy fanatic. From 1970 on, I never missed a game and would attend 5 or 6 home games each year. When that carpetbagger Jones showed up and fired Tex and Tom it was over for me. Other points about the NFL are…

    From whistle to whistle, action time is more like 7 or 8 minutes. Now to put that into perspective, that’s like going to the Bristol 500 and having 470 laps run under caution.

    The czar of the NFL, Roger Goodell makes $50 million and is so unpopular, he can’t attend a game without being booed.

    As more and more responsible parents are pulling their kids from youth football, soccer is growing in popularity. And, a game including halftime is less than two hours… two-thirds of which is action. When TV figures out how to get commercials in during the action, there will be more telecasts.

    Jeff, to your credit and my utter enjoyment, you dedicated what could have been an NFL weekend to the COTA race in Austin. It was the best in-depth print coverage I have ever read for an F1 race.

    1. While I didn’t care as much about the Cowboys/Jones debacle, the rest of your post is absolutely spot-on. Thank you.

  16. I quit watching the NFL in the 00’s because I stopped believing in the officiating being fair & impartial. I MISS football, but if you don’t think that the games are rigged then you are fooling yourself. It didn’t help when Jerry Jones took the sport out of it & made it all about money.

  17. In the last couple years I’ve turned more to college football then then the NFL. As a parent of a two sons who grew up playing football in school. They looked up to the players as role models. Couldn’t wait to go to college so they could go pro and play with them. Now, they could care less. Some players getting in trouble for domestic violence another for murder. You have so many rules that NFL itself has put on the players that has not only taken the fun out of the game for them but for us as fans. Then, there’s the kneeling…..
    My husband and I watch NASCAR . It’s gonna be a tough new era for us cause we are JR fans. Hey but Jeff my husband understands your heartbreak cause he’s a Broncos fan too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I’ve stopped watching the NFL as well and it is because of the protests. Every business I know of does not allow employees to be political, protest or raise controversial issues while on company property (hell, people are being fired for things they post on social media or protests they attend on their own time in some cases). It is common sense. You don’t want to piss off customers, you don’t want dissention amongst employees that distracts them from doing their job, you don’t want anything to disrupt the flow of money. If the NFL is too stupid to see that and enforce policies like all other businesses in the country, then I want to make them pay for their arrogance and short sightedness. When I can protest at my place of business on the company’s time in front of paying customers, then I will support the right of employees in the NFL to protest at their place of business on company time in front of paying customers.

  19. I’m Canadian #3down4lyfe.

    In all seriousness I haven’t watched a full 60 mins of hockey this year.(its the only sport I was into besides NASCAR) I find the intensity and the rivalries simply aren’t there during the regular season anymore. Used to be appointment viewing between two cities teams. Now it’s really “meh” till the games truly mean something.

  20. I think fantasy football has a lot to do with it. I am in the same boat as you, traveling most Cup weekends and I didn’t watch any football until the Sunday night game. Just feeling “meh” when it comes to football.

  21. I too am a die hard broncos fan. I watched some of the preseason games but once the season started I didn’t really watch. With racing football always too the scroll or my social media follow. But I wasn’t as vested. The icing for me was bended knee. I watched college football on Saturday but wasn’t home on Sunday to watch and when I did get home still didn’t turn the tv on. Hang in there, nothing wrong with us.

  22. I didn’t watch at all Sunday either. Granted my team, the Redskins, was not playing. Having a bad team to follow will definitely dampen your football spirit. But even beyond that, I looked at the schedule and went….meh. The problem is the elite qbs that carried the sport the last 10+ years are aging out of the game, and the quality of the game suffers when a lot of teams have mediocre or bad qbs.

    When I go visit my dad, who is 77, he’s watching Red Zone exclusively. He loves it. I think hardcore fans would much rather watch Red Zone than a game that involves 2 teams that are not their team.

    I’ve always offset my lack of NFL passion with having a much higher interest in college football. I love college football. The atmosphere, style of play etc. I went to an ACC school so I have a strong rooting interest too.

  23. I did stop watching because of the protests; I thought it was a very poorly chosen forum to address a real issue.

    I broke from that stance on Thanksgiving Day to join with family in enjoying pro football. I thought the games were boring. Personally, I am becoming more of a high school and college football kind of guy.

  24. Years ago I was a huge NFL fan. I watched every game that was televised. That was a lot even back then. My team had a stinko year and I used that opportunity to take the year off. Interestingly, that’s all it took. A year later I had lost touch and the allure was gone. I like that NASCAR’s a sport where you watch all the competitors competing at one time in one event. Add to that the ability to record the race and my family can watch the whole race, commercial free, in about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Works for me!

  25. Please lose your love affair with NASCAR, Jeff! Your writing and analysis sucks. Maybe when all you toadies stop writing about NASCAR, it will simply disappear as if it never existed – which is pretty much true anyway, if you count races that don’t have pre-determined winners.

    I skipped the NASCAR finale at Homestead because I knew who would win. I understand from some who watched that there was actually some potential for an upset, but no one with a brain believes that could actually have happened. The Lifetime Movie of the Week script with Marty and Sherry had been written months ago! Only the fact that Dale Jr. decided HE was solely responsible for Martin’s success was an extra added feature to please the crowd since Junior actually quit racing cars years ago.

    1. Geez, maybe you know who was going to win because Truex led every statistic there was….

      •Average running position (7.205). Kyle Busch was second-best at 8.884.
      •Driver rating (116.1). Kyle Busch was second-best at 108.6
      •Fastest driver early in run (average rank of 4.548). Kevin Harvick was second-best (5.938).
      •Fastest driver late in run (average rank of 4.710). Kyle Busch was second-best (6.156).
      •Fastest laps run (1,338). Kyle Busch was second-best (1,129).
      •Fastest on restarts (average rank of 5.694). Kyle Larson was second-best (7.889).
      •Green flag speed (average rank 3.710). Kyle Larson was second-best (5.429).
      •Laps in top 15 (9,478). Chase Elliott was second-best (8,831).
      •Laps led (2,253). Kyle Busch was second-best (2,023). Truex and Busch were the only drivers to crack over 2,000 laps led.
      •Miles leader (3,058). Kyle Busch was second-best

      … so the most deserving driver won and your ass is chapped?

  26. You’re not alone, Jeff. The NBA has emerged as my favorite pro stick-and-ball sports league this year. Far more entertaining game, with more compelling players.

  27. We’re former NFL fans. Partly because of time conflict with NASCAR, partly because 49ers are not worthy anymore. Also I dislike the uproar that the kneeling has caused (I sympathize with the kneelers).

  28. I believe you just did an article about NASCAR “fans” and labeled it with your own experience on the NFL. Bravo, bravo. You slickly sucker punched Brain Fart and the NASCAR execs about what is wrong with NASCAR viewership as well. People that cared no longer care because he/she found better things to do with a Sunday afternoon, or Saturday evening.

  29. As a fellow Broncos fan, I feel your pain. I also cancelled my NFL ticket BEFORE the season started (very wise call now!) so I may have subconsciously losing interest. I used to fly in to Denver for at least a game every year. Part of my decline in interest is politics being included. I don’t want that in my sports, concerts or movies etc. That’s what fox news etc are for. And we are growing up and they should mean less.

  30. I dropped Playstation Vue after the NASCAR season ended. I decided I could go a couple of months without it.

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