On Sunday, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the football world by announcing that he would retire. What does this bombshell say about the state of the NLF?
It’s not often that a player at the prime of his career and under contract decides to hang it up and walk away from the game for good. On Sunday, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck did just that; he put himself before football and decided to hang up his cleats.
This has left many wondering what’s really behind the retirement. Others wonder if the star QB would at some point return in the future.
However, few have speculated on what this bombshell of an announcement says about the state of the NLF and football in general. On the latest episode of the Welcome to THE SHOW podcast, we did just that (minute marker: 52:37).
First, consider the number of injuries Andrew Luck has suffered throughout his 7-year career. According to Indianapolis Colts reporter for The Athletic Zak Keefer Luck’s injury list is six deep and includes:
- Torn Cartilage in two ribs
- Partially torn abdomen
- Lacerated kidney
- One concussion… that we know about
- Torn Labrum in his throwing shoulder
- Current calf/ankle issue
This has led Luck to miss a significant number games, including all of the 2017 NLF season, nine games in 2015, and one game in 2016. Also, he’s walking away from the remaining two years of the $122M deal he signed back in 2016 and, potentially, millions of dollars more.
So, what does this announcement mean for football?
It spells a bleak future for America’s number one sport. This is evidenced by a recent study conducted by the Sports Fitness & Industry Association between 2013 and 2018 which showed that:
More than 25 million kids played baseball or softball in 2018, and nearly 15 million of those were “core” players who played 13 or more times in a year. The number of participants in youth football — including tackle, touch and flag — was down by nearly 1.7 million over the same stretch, and soccer participation dropped by nearly 900,000.
What’s more, football’s popularity has been on the decline and according to VOX report from 2018, Donald Trump can’t be blamed for it anymore. In that report, Peter Kafka points out how ratings are down 12 percent during the regular season, and even more during the playoffs
Now, take into account the decline of another sport which once held the mantle the NFL currently does in America, boxing. Now, recent polls conducted by Gallup have boxing ranked 10th in the US.
In fact, the most recent Gallup poll in 2017 has 1% of American households watching boxing. That’s the same as rodeo, figure skating, motocross, gymnastics, volleyball, and golf.
Now, that’s not to say that football is on the same path, but pair these facts with an NFL superstar’s decision to prematurely walk away from the game, leaving a reported $43M on the table, and the future can’t be good for football.
It just goes to show that “nothing gold,” as Robert Frost said, “can stay.”