Basketball Is Better Than Football

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In Super Bowl 52, the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to the New England Patriots’ dynasty that so many have grown sick of, by strip-sacking Tom Brady late in the game and holding on for a 41-33 win. It was one of the most exciting games in recent memory, though you would never be able to tell from the television ratings. This game had the lowest ratings for a Super Bowl in eight years, even with two large market teams with huge national fanbases playing against each other.

Many would point to the national anthem protests as the culprit. And while I do think that some people were definitely turned off by players kneeling or sitting during the anthem, I think there are more complex dynamics at play here. I wouldn’t even point to the brutal nature of the sport as the main reason people have stop tuning in. Football has always been brutal it gets at a very primal part of the human psyche. People who were turned off by the violence probably weren’t part of the viewership in the first place.

Football just wasn’t made for the city, and as more rural or blue collar areas of America decrease in population, the country as a whole has become far more cosmopolitan. With the rise of personal electronic devices among today’s youth, and the frenetic pace of urban life, people like to consume entertainment in bite-sized pieces more than ever before. Look at how popular Vine was, and how ESPN has built its ratings on the highlight reel.

Football is an ordeal to watch, and this is coming from a huge football fan. Games are usually at least three hours long with many commercial breaks. The pace of play is very slow, especially at the professional level where teams usually huddle between every play. Compare that to basketball: While games usually take around the same time, the pace of play is so much faster. There is actual flow to the game. And objectively speaking, basketball highlights are way more compelling than football highlights. A crazy one handed catch could never compete with the windmill dunk in transition. All of this makes basketball players so much more marketable than football players, and that matters nowadays. Basketball players’ athletic feats just look more spectacular, and players embrace the glamour more than football players. Football players are always in helmets, whereas in basketball, you can see your favorite player’s face on the court. That means something too. Basketball players dominate in apparel, especially in sneakers for all those reasons. Maybe one day we’ll see the Tom Brady 1s, but I highly doubt it. I just don’t foresee a future in which football can keep up when cultural factors make it so much easier for people to follow basketball. Don’t be surprised if ratings drop again next year, especially when the NFL might not be fortunate enough to have two huge market teams in the Super Bowl. Imagine what ratings would have been if the Jaguars had over time, football will eventually have to pass the torch. made the Super Bowl. The NFL will always be popular, but just as baseball yielded to it.

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