Troy Aikman thinks concussions may ruin football’s status as No. 1 sport

Player safety continues to be a growing issue in football, and Troy Aikman thinks it could wind up hurting the NFL if the league doesn’t proceed appropriately.

The Hall of Fame quarterback was on a forum panel in Los Angeles on Friday discussing the city’s NFL prospects when he expressed concern about concussions harming the league’s status of being the country’s No. 1 professional sport.

“The long-term viability, to me anyway, is somewhat in question as far as what this game is going to look like 20 years from now,” Aikman said, according to the LA Times.

“If (I had a son), I wouldn’t tell him he couldn’t play football. If he wanted to, I would say ‘OK, great.’ But I don’t know if I would be encouraging him to play. Whereas, with the other sports, you want your kids to be active and doing those types of things.”

That sentiment is what Aikman, who suffered 10 concussions in his career, believes is going to drive people away from football, opening the door for other sports to supplant the NFL in popularity unless the league takes a proper course of action.

“I think we’re going to look back at this point in time and say these were the missteps that the National Football League took that kept football from being the No. 1 sport,” he said.

“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.”

Aikman certainly voices a valid opinion. Football is always going to be a violent sport. But one can only hope standards and equipment are improved to the point where player safety doesn’t ruin the NFL’s reputation. You know, before having a team in London will.

Photo credit: Dale Zanine, US Presswire

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  • Anonymous

    Mr. Aikman is 100% correct.  I have been saying the same thing for years.  It’s only a matter of time before the NFL is put on government probation.  I enjoy pro football, but until they get serious about safety and drug use,  the pressure with be intense on the NFL to improve their sport.  

  • http://www.clevelandsports360.com/ CS360

    Troy Aikman was a great quarterback and he has 10 concussions. It was Troy who had the headaches 10 times. Why did he continue? Better yet why does Peyton Manning want to return to the NFL with 3 or some say four neck surgeries? These guys love the competition that is why.. Manning is a great example of just how much these guys put on the line. So before they place the blame on the NFL they should take a hard look as to why they continued to play. Manning could risk being paralyzed returning yet he is still willing to do so. The NFL has made efforts to protect these guys. Years ago they didn’t even play with helmets on or face-masks.

  • Gene

    Football lends itself to great television.  Maybe less great athletes will go into football, but the basics of the game will not change and most people will not even recognize it if there is a minor decline in athleticism or skill.  I believe the NFL and college football will continue to thrive even as safety standards are enforced. I also believe that safety standards should be enforced.