The following economists say head injuries might eventually transform football, if not the entire sports landscape, in the United States. Within 10 to 15 years, they argue, the NFL might slip below the NHL’s popularity. Is that possible? Had you asked Americans in the 1930s about horse racing, they’d have said you’re nuts, that horses like Sea Biscuit and War Admiral would be remembered forever. Americans in the 1950s would have mocked any suggestion that boxingwould be marginalized within a few decades. In fact, Americans in the 1950s would have rolled their eyes had you suggested football would grow so strongly that Super Bowl Sunday would essentially become a national holiday.
The authors chronicle a doomsday scenario where CTE fears will prompt football to slowly lose its economic, social and entertainment values, eventually rendering it less popular than rugby in the United States. The argument is a hybrid column, really. Like any good column, this one is alarmingly logical and specific evidence supports all claims. Check it out – even if afterward you’ll probably need to leave the light on in order to sleep. Sweet dreams.