The NFL Is on the Brink

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The National Football League celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. This should be a time of self-congratulation for the brutal sport, which has no similar counterpart outside the United States.

The NFL’s megaprofits dwarf those of other professional sports in the U.S. The Super Bowl, not the World Series, is America’s national sports event.

The league survived all sorts of crises in the past. It was one of the first professional sports to integrate its teams, doing so in the 1920s. But the integration unfortunately ceased, and the NFL didn’t reintegrate until the mid ’40s, becoming one of the last sports leagues to embrace fully a racially blind meritocracy.

The NFL successfully absorbed the rival American Football League in 1966. So far the NFL has avoided federal safety regulations that could curb the incidence of physical trauma inherent in the sport.

The league’s owners are a cross-section of America’s most successful entrepreneurs and old-money families — many of them politically well-connected.

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