Was Troy Aikman right? Hall of Famer Troy Aikman made a statement weeks ago addressing the possibility of the National Football League not being America’s number one sport in the near future. Reasons due to owners and league officials concerned over the rapidly growing concussion issues involving the NFL and its players. Not to mention NFL commissioner Roger Goodell incorporating new laws to protect players in which players and fans alike have argued has dulled the game. Aikman stated “I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to be the No. 1 sport. You talk about the ebbs and flows of what’s popular and what’s not. At some point, the TV ratings are not going to be there.”
With the recently released recording of suspended New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams targeting the NFC West Champions players and body parts by name, Aikman’s statement may have validity to it. Why? This new discovery will arguably slow football down to a turtles-pace with the abundance of new safety laws that will be introduced due to Gregg Williams and his bounty scandal. Adding insult to injury a recording that caught Williams explicitly giving details on how his defense needed to cause bodily-harm to rival 49ers players on tape was leaked. Ironically just 12 hours before Roger Goodell was to hear suspended New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton’s appeal to get his one-year suspension reduced.
The recording is by documentary filmmakers, Sports by Pamphilon. The Pamphilon crew had behind the scene access to the team due to filming of a documentary about former Saint Steve Gleason. Pamphilon films caught the suspended coach’s pregame speech to his defense which targeted 49ers players Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and quarterback Alex Smith. Williams made ghastly statements such as “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.” This is one of many ill-willed gestures Gregg Williams used when trying to convince his defense to take out superstar 49ers.
Football is a gruesome game and fans watch the sport because of violent collisions and its tiptoeing of the sanity line. If players start tapping each other on the shoulder and asking its opposing team to fall down then Aikman’s statement holds all the validity in the world. Once NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gets a hold of this recording, (if he does not have it already) his willingness to drop the proverbial “Hammer” will introduce more safety laws, undoubtedly slowing the game down even more. Goodell has made it clear that “dirty play will not be tolerated”; fining several players and now coaches and teams. With all the recent events the commissioner will have no choice but to implement these new changes and suspensions for what was once considered “clean play”, causing NFL fans to eventfully start changing the channel due to the pace of the game. Aikman is either a pure genius or holds a crystal ball to the future.