NFL’s Impact on Sports: An Overview


Football is America’s favorite sport and the NFL is the only professional football league in the country. So, it probably won’t surprise many of you to learn that the actions of the NFL have an effect on all the sports that are played in the USA.  

In this article, we are going to look at three of the areas that the NFL has had a big impact on over the last 50 years. 

The NFL and player safety 

Sports, particularly full contract sports, have struggled to find the balance between creating an exciting spectacle and looking after their players’ health. Head injuries have been a key problem for the NFL. 

A study in 2017 tested American football players and found that 99% had some stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE has caused multiple football players to die young, and its other symptoms are memory loss, depression, anxiety, headaches, stress, and sleep disturbances. 

In 2011, 7 players took the NFL to court seeking damages for the injuries that they had obtained while working for the company. One of the filers was Ray Easterling, who was suffering from many mental issues because of his head injury including depression and early-onset Alzheimers. Easterling committed suicide during the trial and the NFL ended up settling out of court. 

One of the sports that has learned a lot from how the NFL handles head injuries is the sport of Rugby Union. This year 6 former world cup champions have taken the sport’s leading governing body to court. All 6 players are suffering from similar injuries to the NFL players. 

Rugby Union has taken on a lot of the anti-concussion measures that the NFL uses. 

The NFL and fairness 

This is one area in which the NFL really stands out compared to other sports in the world. Here we really see the impact of the NFL. 

The Draft system helps to prevent the most successful team or the richest team from taking all the good players. It helps to promote fairness amongst the teams and it prevents a wealth gap from developing between the top and the bottom of the table. 

This system means that you don’t have talented players spending their whole careers on the bench just so another team can’t have them. 

Many other leagues around the world could benefit from using this type of transfer system. Perhaps most notably the Premier League in England. The PL is the richest soccer league in the world and fans have long been complaining about the money gap in the sport. The 6 biggest teams make more money than the rest of the league combined. 

This is why many soccer fans have been delighted at the success of Leicester City over the last few years. The team has not invested a huge amount of their wages into new players, instead, their profits have gone back into the local communities.  

The NFL and racism 

Finally, let’s look at how the NFL has affected how to world connects racism to sport. 

On 1st September 2016, Colin Kaepernick took the knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality in the country. Kaepernick received both an outpouring of abuse and support. 

By the end of the next week, multiple players in each NFL club were taking the knee. And it wasn’t just black players, players of all races were taking the knee. Sadly, the NFL introduced a new rule that would result in clubs being fined for taking the knee during the national anthem. But this has not stopped the players. 

Over the last few years, we have seen players all over the world taking the knee. Most notably Black soccer players in Europe – who face daily abuse online and have had fans throw bananas at them during matches. 

The soccer players in the English national team have faced particularly bad abuse after their loss in the European Cup finals. Instead of punishing the players, FIFA asked the UK government to step in, and now fans who racially abuse players at games or online can face lifetime bans from matches. 

FIFA has also banned countries from being able to play in front of their fans, after bad incidents of racist behavior. 

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