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What’s wrong with the NFL, Part 2

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Wherein six of the issues you identified get special follow-up treatment

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this month, the original FG poll of “What’s wrong with the NFL” asked you to identify the main problem with the league. Six answers stood out to you at the time, allowing us to delve into each one of those a little bit more deeply, or for the first time if you’ve been on offseason hiatus from Seattle Seahawks business.

The top five answers in the poll were:

  1. Poor/unclear/inconsistent officiating, 23 percent
  2. Games are too long/too hard to watch /too commercialized, 13 percent
  3. Offense is prioritized at the expense of defense, 10 percent
  4. Concussion concerns threaten the future of the league/sap current enjoyment, 8 percent
  5. The exorbitant sums of money involved are a turn-off/too expensive to attend live games, also 8 percent

Added as a wild card: this 23-rec comment from user rrrhawkout.

Roster sizes are too small

IR rules should be relaxed (this has fortunately been changing gradually) and all available players should be suited up on gameday with your inactives chosen based on need.

Injuries are a part of the game, but too often it feels like the whole season is hanging in the balance because of it. Like the year John Carlson got knocked out on the Bears’ frozen field, and we only had two tight ends on the roster, so suddenly all of the two-tight-end plays were out of the playbook. (Not that we were necessarily going to win that game anyway, but it hamstrung us. Perhaps more salient is 49, when Jeremy Lane was injured and we had an extra cornerback around who wasn’t able to help because we hadn’t clairvoyantly divined which position group would get injured that game.)

The thing is, the modern NFL doesn’t have 22 starters like yesteryear—it’s probably more like 32 that you need to be healthy to run the full playbook with all the subpackages. I understand that if Wilson or ET gets hurt like last year you’re severely in trouble, and there’s nothing you can do about that, but injuries to some of your lesser contributors could be mitigated by having more bodies available.

Look below: six new bunnies polls are born, out of one. Check back next week — maybe another multiplication will have happened, another generation will have descended upon us.

1. Officiating

The follow-up poll could be about simplifying or clarifying or streamlining the rulebook, but I went with the oft-invoked idea of turning the officials into full-time NFL employees.

Poll

Would making the officials full-time league employees improve refereeing in general?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Yes, by a lot
    (222 votes)
  • 45%
    Maybe a little
    (337 votes)
  • 20%
    Officiating problems aren’t related to full- or part-time status
    (156 votes)
  • 2%
    Not appreciably
    (21 votes)
  • 1%
    Not at all, no
    (10 votes)
746 votes total Vote Now

2. Games are too long / too ad-heavy

Get ready for a theme of fatalism threading through the polls.

Poll

How could the NFL make games more attractive to watch on TV?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Adjust the play clock
    (6 votes)
  • 26%
    Institute fewer ad breaks
    (199 votes)
  • 46%
    Eliminate the TD-ad-kickoff-ad-next drive sequence
    (351 votes)
  • 24%
    There is no putting the advertising genie back in the bottle. We’re never getting fewer commercials or shorter games.
    (189 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (17 votes)
762 votes total Vote Now

3. Offense worship

Part of me wonders if it’s just a cycle in the NFL, and someday defense will be worshipped again like it once was. Well. If it once was. What if defense never was prized over offense? And what if the present “people prefer offense to defense” is just a false narrative too? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a perception overruled reality.

Poll

If the league is too concerned about trying to promote offense over defense, what’s the fix?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Rule changes that benefit the defense (stricter holding, looser DPI, etc.)
    (167 votes)
  • 21%
    Change the interpretation of current rules
    (151 votes)
  • 16%
    GMs building their teams around great defensive talent, in the mold of the 2013-2014 Seahawks and 2015 Broncos
    (119 votes)
  • 33%
    No fix possible. Offense sells and that’s not changing.
    (241 votes)
  • 4%
    Other
    (31 votes)
709 votes total Vote Now

4. Concussions

Tricky issue. What’s especially tricky about it is how head injuries might shape the future of the game. That’s the clearest thing to poll right now, I believe.

Poll

How will the continuing revelations that pro football is noxious to human brains affect the nature of the game in the next quarter-century?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    A great deal. The game will change drastically or die
    (205 votes)
  • 42%
    Some. There will be tweaks of varying significance
    (311 votes)
  • 25%
    A little bit. The sport is too popular, or there’s too much money invested in its current structure, for much change to happen
    (182 votes)
  • 1%
    Not at all
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    The science and the studies are misleading. Football-related brain injuries are a non-issue or a fabricated controversy. Danger to our brains exists in all sorts of professional fields. Next question
    (17 votes)
726 votes total Vote Now

5. Money Money Money... MON-EY

The sums involved can be a giant turn-off to many people. Especially when the business side of fandom makes the football side of fandom take a back seat.

Poll

Which league has the worst image with the money involved? (Excessive player salaries, excessive owner wealth, excessive corporate power, excessive emphasis on business over sport.)

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    MLB
    (134 votes)
  • 55%
    NBA
    (394 votes)
  • 21%
    NFL
    (151 votes)
  • 0%
    NHL
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Other (European soccer, combat sports, golf, etc.)
    (35 votes)
715 votes total Vote Now

6. Roster sizes

There are possible fixes to roster crunches, there are objections to the possible fixes, and in the middle of any labor dispute is the reality/perception that the NFL Players’ Association rarely gets the best of the owners in negotiations.

Poll

What should be done with roster sizes?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Expand past 53
    (254 votes)
  • 57%
    Increase the gameday active roster size
    (426 votes)
  • 6%
    Nothing. It’s working
    (49 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (8 votes)
737 votes total Vote Now