NFL Controversies

September 4, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 31
Can pro football remain the nation's No. 1 sport?
By Reed Karaim


Several former NFL players who committed suicide (Getty Images/MTC/Karl Mondon)
Several former NFL players who committed suicide, including Junior Seau, an all-star San Diego Chargers linebacker, had a degenerative brain disease found in people who suffered repetitive brain trauma. The NFL has agreed to pay nearly $1 billion to former players with certain neurological disorders. (Getty Images/MTC/Karl Mondon)

Professional football reigns as the king of American sports, attracting not only millions of male fans but also growing legions of female enthusiasts. National Football League games regularly top U.S. television ratings, and more than 100 million people tuned in to this year's Super Bowl, setting a viewership record for the annual spectacle. But football at all levels is embroiled in controversies that sports scholars believe could tarnish the NFL's iconic stature. Studies showing a high incidence of brain injury in former players could reduce youth participation in football, a key source of players for the NFL, and repel fans concerned about the sport's violent nature. In addition, domestic violence and other criminal acts by NFL players have made big headlines and put NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the hot seat for his handling of player discipline. Meanwhile, economists and other critics are questioning whether cities that have helped owners build lavish, tax-supported stadiums to attract or retain NFL teams are getting a solid return on their investment.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Professional Sports
Jan. 04, 2019  Esports Boom
Sep. 04, 2015  NFL Controversies
Jan. 29, 2010  Professional Football Updated
Apr. 03, 2009  Extreme Sports
Jul. 23, 2004  Sports and Drugs Updated
Sep. 25, 1998  The Future of Baseball
Feb. 10, 1995  The Business of Sports
Apr. 22, 1994  Soccer in America
Jul. 26, 1991  Athletes and Drugs
Feb. 09, 1990  Free Agency: Pro Sports' Big Challenge
Apr. 08, 1988  High Stakes of Sports Economics
Jan. 27, 1984  Advances in Athletic Training
May 21, 1982  Soccer in America
Jun. 28, 1974  Sports Business
Sep. 01, 1971  Professional Athletes
Jun. 12, 1963  Deaths and Injuries in Sports
Jul. 27, 1951  Monopoly Controls in Organized Sport
Economic Development
Men's Health Issues
Radio and Television
Sports and Recreation