Chris Borland stunned the NFL by walking away from a sport he was was excelling at out of concerns for his safety. A flurry of recent, high-profile retirements – Jake Locker at the age of 26, Patrick Willis at the age of 30 – has prompted more questions about the future of football.
This isn’t Enron. Football is a billion dollar enterprise at the height of its popularity and it is not going anywhere. The Super Bowl in February set a record for the most-watched TV event in US history. Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 was arguably the greatest Super Bowl ever played. Was this the sport’s apex? Can it only go slowly downhill from here, with legends like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady retiring in the coming years, and the ongoing safety concerns?
Toss in the changing demographics in America. The Hispanic population will double in the U.S. by 2050. The foreign-born population in the US is exploding with every decade. Athletes from both groups may be more inclined to choose soccer. Middle class and upper middle class parents around the country are steering their kids away from football. What will the sport look like in 2045?
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