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The Rise and Fall of the NFL

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The Roman Empire, viewed firsthand, seemed unbeatable. Likewise, throughout history, those living in the time of great change and riches rarely believe there’s ever an end to something glorious. Yet, in very instance we are able to see the decline and eventual failure of great societies, institutions, and peoples.

The NFL is successful beyond its wildest imagination. Television, radio, and Internet coverage is vast and the money flowing in is astounding. People tune in at record rates and pay exorbitant prices for tickets and the ability to watch a network devoted to the league. Can it get any better?

The answer is yes. Eventually we’ll have coverage of each team available to us 365 days a year. For those of us who love the game, it’s a dream; football all the time. If it sounds far-fetched, think again. In the last 20 years, the changes were mind-blowing. In the next 20, we’ll see football worldwide.

Thus, it’s reasonable to conclude we are witnessing the peak of the NFL. Why? As more teams are added the league will become average. Right now, with 32 teams the position of quarterback is fragile. Go back to the 28 team league of a decade ago. Despite having four fewer teams there were was still a dearth of talent. Now, with 32, we see a dozen teams with quarterbacks that couldn’t hack it in an 18 team league.

Big isn’t always better. Is it any wonder that we think back to the great quarterbacks of the past and wonder where they’ve all gone? The answer is simple; we still have great quarterbacks, but the talent is spread thin. The same goes for every position on the field and, as we see clearly each year, on the sidelines.

The diluted talent pool is a major problem. Add it to the ever present desire to cut costs while generating more revenue, and NFL fans are looking at what might be the tipping point at which the decline of the NFL begins. Within a decade we may see 34 teams and then 36 — and that means more teams competing for money and draining a talent pool already shallow.

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