Looking back on the 2014 season

Last year I made some good and worthless predictions. Looking back on some of the off field happenings I see some positive trends unfolding.

Diagnosed concussion decline continues: In 2013, concussions were down 13% from 2012. In 2014, concussions were down 25% from 2013. Hopefully this trend will continue because concussions are serious injuries with long-term consequences. Players, coaches and trainers are realizing it’s no longer acceptable for the tough guy to hide the injury and keep on playing. Props to everyone in the food chain who is helping to make the game safer.

The blackout rule finally getting blacked-out: In September 2014, the FCC unanimously voted to end the long-standing blackout rule, which prohibits games in local markets to be televised only when a team sells out. The spirit of the rule was to force fans to buy tickets to see a local game and to control what NFL games are seen locally on “FREE” TV.

The blackout rule still exists with the NFL but it’s no longer a Federal rule or law. The NFL can still encourage or even demand that its broadcast partners not show a game in the local market. However, they have to be careful not to piss off the federal government. But with live streaming for pay (or certain media plans) here now, they will most certainly use it arguing the game is available in all local markets, regardless of sellouts.

Personally, I want access to all NFL games, on every screen I own, wherever I am located and I am willing to pay for it. And the NFL knows you are willing to pay as well. It’s simple supply vs. demand economics.

2014/15 season NFL player and employee behavior: Being a former investment consultant, I always take a contrarian view on everything. With all the attention given to the Ray Rice incident, Adrian Peterson’s fall from grace, Johnny Manziel entering rehab, Terrence Cody being charged for animal cruelty, and Warren Sapp being arrested for soliciting prostitutes, there is a silver lining in the number of off-field social issues facing the NFL.

In 2014, there were about forty NFL players arrested, mostly for DUI’s/DWI’s and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Considering there are over 2,400 coming on and off rosters every year, the percentage of arrests compared to all US males in this age range is well below the national average. Additionally, these young alpha males have more time, money and status on their hands, which is the perfect cocktail for even more potential trouble. There are also over 3,000 NFL employees who for the most part, according to arrest records also behave better than the overall population. Given the circumstances, NFL players and employees as a whole are better well-behaved citizens than we give them credit for.

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