Over the last 20 years this was the time of year when I would pull out my inner Ron Jaworski and be in full blown NFL mode. Buying the latest magazines, anticipating the release of Madden on PlayStation, watching hours upon hours of coverage on the NFL Network. Football and the NFL was my sport, my life. Flash back to this past January when then NFL announced the move of the Rams organization back to L.A. That was the day the NFL died to me.
I have had six months to go through the stages of grief. From the denial that Stan Kroenke, the hometown businessman, would care more about his portfolio than his legacy. From bargaining, pushing for a new stadium. Through depression onto anger and finally acceptance. Although being totally honest there is still an anger that lingers. But I have accepted the move. It is a business and had nothing to do with St. Louis fans or support. But that doesn’t mean I accept the reasons for the move or the way it was handled.
As I sit here with preseason games starting this week, I can honestly say that I have not watched a single minute of any of them. I no longer follow anyone associated with the NFL on Twitter because I don’t care about the league anymore. When stories come up on Sportscenter about the NFL, I feel nothing. It doesn’t affect me anymore. I am the founder of a Fantasy Footbll league with my friends that we have been doing for over 10 years and I still have yet to do any research; and most likely this will be final year of Fantasy Football. I am just not into it anymore.
From my perspective the NFL is dead to me. I know that I am just one fan. And the NFL is the biggest sport right now with millions of other people who watch the games and follow the league. But I also feel that I am not alone in burying the NFL. The Rams move to L.A. exposed the league for what their true motives are; money. And while any league, and more importantly their owners, ultimately cares about making money there is a way to go about it. MLB is looking at ways to improve their on field game, the NHL listens to their fans, and the NBA embraces social media like no other league. Yet the NFL believes it is better than all and can do what it wants.
I have talked before about the NFL’s lack of inclusion with their fans. Their abrasive attitude, the in-fighting even among the league and players, the focus on growing the league rather than actual on-field product, they have numerous legal issues, and a diminishing youth participation. The curtain has been pulled back and the light showing on the NFL is showing the leagues’ numerous cracks and faults. I was aware of these before the Rams move and talked about concern for the league. But the Rams move was the final nudge. It was the final scoop of dirt to pile on the NFL’s grave. The NFL is dead.