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The End

The End of Football by David Gornoski.

By 2050, the National Football League (NFL) will be like the Barnum and Bailey Circus of today. Bankrupt, closed, irrelevant, morally passe.

In the early 20th century, the circus was all the rage. After a century of the product’s consumption by a culture increasingly sensitive to the abuse of the weak and helpless—in this case, circus animals—the “Greatest Show on Earth” has been relegated to an empty sideshow. It is simply too brutish for sophisticated moderns who wince at the crack of a whip on an elephant’s rump.

Football will soon follow. Its massive billion dollar stadiums and marketing machines seem immortal for now. But these titanic play pens will soon crumble under the same cultural force that killed the circus: our culture’s growing concern for victims.

I am not judging football’s coming demise as a good or bad thing. I see it as simply a symptom of larger social forces that we should understand.

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