The Super Bowl is tomorrow, and people who are excited about the big game probably don’t want to think about the uncertain future of the sport. Ben Orlando, the creator of an interesting podcast called “History Repeating Itself,” is exploring the possibility that football will suffer a similar demise to the gladiator sport of ancient Rome. The podcast’s first episode, “Part 1: The Decline of Football and Gladiators” looks at the economic impact of football, and uses the example of the University of Oklahoma fans who descend on the town of Norman, Oklahoma to describe how the financial aspect of the sport reaches beyond the National Football League (NFL). Dr. Steven Tuck, of Miami University, outlines the parallels between the gladiators and modern day football players stating that gladiators lived five years less than other Romans, but were willing to take the risk for money and fame. Likewise, it is often stated that football players know the risk of concussion and brain injury, but the decision to participate is theirs to make. This decision is usually made long after the crucial one, however, which is when a parent decides to sign their son up for football. What will happen to the future of the sport as fewer and fewer boys are allowed to play in childhood? With a recent poll by NBC news and the Wall Street Journal showing that 40% of parents would encourage their kids to play a sport other than football, we may soon find out.
Click here to listen to the podcast.