Is the NFL the new Phillip Morris?


Suppose you work for Phillip Morris. Er, Altria. Whatever. And suppose you’re making a commercial, highlighting advances in cigarette filter technology. The theme is forever nicotine. The target audience is moms, kids, potential customers, anyone with a sneaking suspicion that smoking might be, you know, bad for them. Crazy, right?

Anyway, you need celebrities. Familiar faces. Names viewers can trust. Like Walt Disney. He was a smoker. As was Paul Newman. And Peter Jennings. Thing is, all three men died of lung cancer. With that in mind, would you still include them—well, actors portraying them, touched up with a little digital magic—in your spot? No? Congratulations. You’re officially less cynical than the NFL…

....When Deion Sanders says on NFL Network that he doesn’t “buy all these guys coming back with these concussions … half these guys are trying to make money off the deal … I wish they’d be honest and tell the truth because it’s keeping kids away from our game,” Goodell could levy a fine. Or maybe pretend to be as upset as he was with BountyGate. When CBS announcer Jim Nantz cites an imaginary statistic that women’s soccer players are 2.5 times more likely to get a concussion than college football players, the NFL’s new-and-improved concussion committee could provide accurate numbers…When concussion expert Dr. Robert Cantu—a senior advisor to the NFL’s new committee—says that children under age 14 shouldn’t play tackle football because their immature bodies and developing brains are particularly vulnerable to injury, the league could concur, and perhaps even lead the way, signaling to concerned parents and a confused public that a multibillion-dollar industry cares about something beyond its public image and publicly-subsidized bottom line.

Whatever your view on the NFL and concussions, can you imagine if Cantu's advice was heeded, and kids didn't play football until they reached the 9th grade?

I think you can safely assume Roger Goodell and the NFL want no part of that nightmare.  Kids would gravitate to other sports, NFL jersey sales would plummet, and MMA (or I suppose baseball, in another universe) might become America's national pastime. 

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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