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Cory's Corner: The NFL fears millennials

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Cory's Corner: The NFL fears millennials

Dean Blandino admitted why the NFL has pulled back the reins on its celebration penalties.

The NFL’s former vice president of officiating said that it was to appease the millennials.

That is incredible. Turning the NFL into a circus by turning more attention to non-football plays is what actually led to a rule change. That is shortsighted and sad.

I’m not saying that every NFL player should be expected to turn into Barry Sanders, who calmly flipped the ball to the ref after he scored. Now we’re going to get players pushing the envelope on purpose just to appease the YouTube culture.

Which is exactly what Cedar Rapids receiver Damond Powell did. He faked a bowel movement and used the ball as a, ahem, prop. Unfortunately, I think that stunt from the Indoor Football League will be small potatoes when this NFL season is over.

And all to satisfy an age group that may not be watching anyway. There have been studies done that say many millenials opt to watch the highlights instead of watching the entire game. So how would more touchdown celebrations lead to more eyeballs?

This is just another example of how scared the NFL is. It started with allowing liquor advertising and it has now spilled into touchdown celebrations. Many people get turned off by Aaron Rodgers’ State Farm Double Check or Cam Newton’s Superman celebrations. But those seem tame compared to the smorgasbord of ridiculousness that we’re about to see.

And all in the name of millenials.

That’s 41 shades of awful.  




Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Alvo's picture

What is meant by the NFL being "scared?" From what I gather, you don't like the touchdown celebrations because they will now go too far, but the two points never really connect.

Hematite's picture

If player celebrations get more bizarre and disgusting, I will simply tune the NFL out.
If it wasn't for my love of the Green Bay Packers I would have done that a long time ago.
Hopefully our Packers players will refrain from bizarre celebrations.

cuervo's picture

Boy , do you even think about what you are writing?

"Which is exactly what Cedar Rapids receiver Damond Powell did. He faked a bowel movement and used the ball as a, ahem, prop. Unfortunately, I think that stunt from the Indoor Football League will be small potatoes when this NFL season is over."

Per the new league rules:

"demonstrations that are deemed offensive, that delay the game, or are directed at opponents are still prohibited."

The article is much ado about nothing....again.

Handsback's picture

Slowwwwwww week for the NFL and Green Bay Packers.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Its the slow time what can we expect. I think the fact they write about anything is a good thing how many other teams have a site like this one.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Its the slow time what can we expect. I think the fact they write about anything is a good thing how many other teams have a site like this one.

Since '61's picture

Cory - the NFL is desperate to maintain their share of their younger (millennial) audience. To do so the lines are being further blurred between sports and entertainment. NFL research shows that milennials watch more of NFL Red-Zone than they watch individual games. This is because they have been bombarded by information overload during their lifetimes and instant gratification from being permanently attached too their electronic pacifiers. They watch the highlight shows to follow their fantasy football players rather than individual teams. Given that environment they cannot be expected to have an attention span which allows them to make it through an entire 3-4 hour NFL game. The NFL is trying to figure out how to keep their younger audience engaged. This is both a sad and slippery slope for the league. Eventually the league will give points for the best celebration dance and what was once football will become a combination of flag football and dancing with the stars. Kicking extra points will be abandoned all together in favor of dancing for extra points. This is just another step on the road to the NFL becoming similar to "professional" wrestling, a sad pathetic joke. As Lewis Black commented several years ago, "Pretty soon the NFL will be able to drop dung from airplanes onto the fans and they will be cheering, Wow this is great!" It won't be long before fans are blaming the Head Coach for calling a less spectacular dance routine than what was called for by the opponents head coach and the idiots in the booth will be commenting on why they called that particular dance routine. The millennials who, as I have said before, don't know what they are watching anyway will think all of this is great until they get anxious over not having checked their Email, STS, or snapchat in the last 2-3 minutes and will even turn off the dancing to get back to their electronic pacifiers. What will the NFL do then? Thanks, Since '61

PackerBacker's picture

Why are we all acting like celebrations are a new thing to football?

If anything, this is a step back to what football was 20 - 30 years ago before the No Fun League starting taking all the life out of football.

Let the boys have fun. If you don't like it, avert your eyes.

dobber's picture

We posted almost simultaneously...

dobber's picture

I would argue that the growth in popularity in RedZone isn't about instant gratification, but rather about the growth in FFL and the increase of "fringe fans" who want to see particular players and scoring plays.

I could honestly care less about the celebrations. The way the rule is written, it won't change things too dramatically (really only on scoring plays). Go back several years before they started clamping down: did they get terribly obscene or offensive then? Not really...enough that when the league DID clamp down people started calling the "NFL" the "No Fun League". FUN. I don't think this is a terribly big deal.

Since '61's picture

Dobber - I hope that you are correct. Somewhere, somehow, some one will push the envelope and claim freedom of speech to legitimize their "dance" or whatever. I hope the Packer players don't embarrass themselves at least. It's unnecessary if you ask me but time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

dnicholson's picture

The point regarding fantasy football is spot on. I have several friends who have long been NFL diehards, but with the proliferation of FFLs and now FanDuel and DraftKings, their football tastes are tilting to fantasy land.

RedZone channel IMO has less to do with attention spans and more to do with fantasy football obsession.

A couple of other notes: Millennials (aged 22 to 37) now make up the largest age demographic in the US, having passed Baby Boomers last year. If the NFL caters to them it's not out of fear, it's just dollars and cents.

I think we could do less generalizing about Millennials. I'm 30, and I feel like I have way more in common with people who are 37 than 22-year-olds. There are VAST differences between 22-year-olds and 37-year-olds. I remember life before smartphones and the internet -- 22-year-olds don't.

Going forward, we'll likely see even more changes in how the NFL produces and presents content. Generation Z, those in the age bracket between 7 and 21, have different consumption habits than Millennials. They're even more wired into devices and consume content on their phones more than any other demo.

Savage57's picture

I'd like to add the closing statement to the article, which somehow got cut out when it was posted.

"Get off my lawn".

Ferrari Driver's picture

I think I'm of the Barry Sanders mentality and I wish he had been a Packer.

The crap with Colin Kaepernick and a few others did more to dampen my interest in the game than any scoring celebration, but don't get me wrong, I'm far from crazy about that as well.

I will still make the trip from CA to Green Bay to watch a game or two each year and watch the remainder on TV, but I will admit my enthusiasm for the pro fame of football is not as high as it was some years past.

PackerBacker's picture

Damn kids these days with their fidget spinners and their YouTubes!!!!

Are you kidding? Just let the players have a little fun. Their playing a game for money. To expect them to not celebrate is ridiculous.

dobber's picture

Not just for money, but they risk their long-term health and well-being on a weekly basis. Roger, you know all about that, right? Find a real reason why they shouldn't be allowed to celebrate their successes when their failures and frailties aren't played out over and over again...

Handsback's picture

Let's not put all the blame on the millennials. (I'm a Baby Boomer) Several years ago if Green Bay wasn't on TV, I would watch some of the games, but seldom the whole game. Now I watch more of the games, although that seems to be changing, as I'm getting pretty bored with some teams. I don't watch Monday or Thursday nights. (Too busy and don't watch that much TV in general)
What changed my watching patterns was fantasy football. Now, that is changing since I get updates on my players...don't have to watch to see how they are doing.
Bottom line, if Green Bay isn't on, or a spetacular game happening...I'm doing something else. Pro football is kind of boring when compared to College football.
The NFL has a good product, but they aren't making it better.

RCPackerFan's picture

The fantasy football and the redzone channel have changed a lot of people and the way they watch games.

But with the millennials they typically want to have everything 'right now'. Not wanting to wait for anything.

That mentality is one of the reasons why i believe that we hear so many complaints about preseason football. I think its part of the reason why the redzone channel is a huge success too.

IMO, a couple of the biggest things they need to change is the tv timeouts. I'd rather them have a longer timeout break then to have 3 shorter ones. For example a team scores a TD and review it, they have a timeout. Kick the extra point, they have a timeout. They do the kick off, have a time out. Why not have 1 bigger time out after the extra point and before the kick off vs having the 3 separate ones. Keep the game flowing more would be a great thing.

Arthur Jackson's picture

Like OMG, literally fear the millenials! LOL.

LayingTheLawe's picture

Everyone has hated the celebration rules for years. To say it is a scared thing to do it now is as wrong headed as most of your articles on this subject seem to be. There is indeed an issue regarding attracting the younger generations to games. Not just in football but in everything. Millenials don't just attend an event. They have to be able to Tweet it, Instagram it, and facebook it or it doesn't really count as an event to them. So football is trying to make the stadiums more fan friendly and I guess as well as the game on tv to look more friendly.

But fear? NFL revenues have raised by more than 50 % since 2010. They are predicting to raise it another 50 % over the next 10 years. They are booming. You must be one of those Goodell haters but try to have at least a shred of facts when you write something.

JDK52's picture

Really getting sick of the millennial bashing. Blandino is more out of touch than I thought if he thinks we would stop watching games because of the "lack" of celebrations. NOPE. Not even close.

I HATE the constant stoppages in games. Let them freaking play! The flags are constant, the action doesn't have flow, and I'm annoyed as hell by the number of games being influenced by penalties.

For all you boomers accusing my generation of having a poor attention span, get off it. We've never had the luxury of being able to watch a game without constant interruptions like you did for all those decades.

I love the game. Many of my millennial friends love the game, some even played it. for us, celebrations are unimportant, and flagging some dude for showing how much fun he's having is asinine and wasteful of our time. We want to watch the game; not a bunch of stripes chucking yellow every time a dude has some fun.

Geez. It's freaking entertainment.

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Cory's goal with these articles, much like the rest of us, is to spark some kind of conversation and engagement amongst readers. I'm sure he wants to challenge you and hear your side of things. So instead of blasting the dude's work and calling it a "slow week," just read it and throw in your take. It really doesn't have to go beyond that.

Good stuff, Cory.

flackcatcher's picture

It's a reach Jacobson. (and you know it:) The comments on this post responding to Cory were written with a light touch, and a understanding of the NFL history of using league rules. Lighten up.(Man it's only Tuesday)

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