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Recently Grantland.com ran a piece by economists Tyler Cowen an Kevin Grier, who postulated that American football could soon cease to exist. The premise is that injuries and subsequent litigation would eventually lead to so much fear that the monied class would end their support and it would all come crashing down.
It is quite likely that litigation will soon overrun football, as it has nearly every facet of our lives. But litigation never puts an end to things that people love. It can and will likely make it more expensive in the coming years, and we will pay for it in any number of ways. This could be through increased cable rates, more or better commercials, and possibly pay per view.
But they are overlooking a couple of important things. First is informed consent. As we learn more about the risk, future generations will go in with eyes wide open thus reducing exposure to purveyors of the sport. One example of this is, rather than banning the silica packets that come packed in all our electronics, I’ve now been admonished to refrain from eating them. Like mowing in the rain with bare feet, I no longer do it. Thanks lawyers, I really dodged a bullet.
Another thing that they get wrong is when they cite examples of other things that have gone by the wayside. For example 40% of companies on the 1983 Fortune 500, no longer exist. A quick look will show that list contains companies like Eastman Kodak and Polaroid. Another example they cite is Napster. These companies are gone because somebody came up with a better way. Not because nobody wants pictures or music anymore. They also put forth as evidence of invetible change, the collapse of the USSR. So because Polaroid and Communism failed, football will as well?
It makes people look really smart to make bold predictions like this. In 15 years if football is gone, they look omniscient. In the more likely scenario, in which the NFL claims MLB and the NBA as its bitches, we have all forgotten their quaint little premise.
I hate to get all “Oliver Stone” here, but I feel like ESPN (Grantland’s benefactor) has been trying to ram soccer up my descending colon for the last couple of years. With their radio guys telling me how much they now love soccer, despite years of mockery and disdain. They see the writing on the wall. Simple math dictates that those who make more babies will eventually take over.
They are just greasing us up for the inevitable. Football will not end because of injuries in 15-20 years. It will eventually be subjugated by other more Euro sports in maybe 50 or 60 years. By then I should be several years in the ground. But for you whippersnappers out there: Are you ready for some futball?! Look on the bright side you be able to get fresh produce on the freeway off-ramp.