MGoBlog membership interest in the NFL

Submitted by Section 1.8 on December 20th, 2018 at 12:29 PM

A long time ago, the Michigan Athletic Department polled Michigan season ticket holders to ask (among many other things) how many of them also had tickets to NFL games.  In reporting the results, Michigan reported that very few season ticket holders had NFL tickets as well.  They took it to mean that Michigan football fans (at least the season ticket holders, which may be a far different demographic than "Michigan fans" in general) were uniquely interested in college football.

Of course, taking just Michigan as an example may not be representative of college football more broadly.  Particularly given the fortunes of the NFL franchise in the state of Michigan.  There may be a lot more crossover among season ticket holders for the University of Pittsburgh and the Steelers.  The University of Wisconsin and the Packers.  USC/UCLA and whatever NFL franchise resides in Los Angeles this year.  Et cetera.

I don't have a good simple poll formulated for this, but I thought I'd open it up to anecdotal comments on the MGoBoard to try to guage it.

I have not watched a single NFL game start to finish this year, or the previous year or the year before that.  I would be tempted to say that I haven't really watched an NFL game in 10 years.  But there have probably been a couple of Super Bowls or random games where I was trapped socially, and watched.  I have seen somewhat-entertaining portions of some games; a quarter here or there; usually less than that.

I have not purchased a ticket to an NFL game that I can recall.  I went to a handful -- a small handful -- of games in the Silverdome, including the electrifying first game when I thought that rookie WR and former Michigan QB Dennis Franklin might have gotten killed on a crossing route.  I think it was his last play in football.  And I have been to one game as a guest at Ford Field.

In contrast, like many of you, I attend 7 or 8 or 9 Michigan games a year, in Ann Arbor and on the road.  The rest I watch start to finish on television.  There is almost nothing about college football that does not interest me; there is almost nothing about the NFL that does interest me.

So as we see more and more players leave college football before their eligibility is finished, and now even before their final seasons are over, I am just wondering how many MGoBoard members will watch our departing players in the NFL?




December 20th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

Even though I don't watch it, I am OK with hockey. Something about it seems better.

And no, it's not that it is an overwhelmingly white-guy sport, before someone even goes there. It's that it seems like almost all the players, even after they make $50 million, would still get drunk, break into your house, and have sex with your couch, then give you $100 and laugh with you about it afterwards over a breakfast Bloody Mary... 


December 20th, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

I agree with this.   It is also the problem with having a College football playoff.  The regular season becomes meaningless and only the playoff is interesting.   College football used to be a 10-13 game playoff where every team was in it. 

Fantasy football makes the NFL.  Otherwise I wouldn't watch at all.


December 20th, 2018 at 2:02 PM ^

This argument is false.   Everybody was not in it over the course of a 13 game season.  Expanding the playoff would increase the value of the regular season by a lot.   

While it is true that teams like Alabama would probably have 1 or 2 games near the end of the season that didn't mean as much because they would make the playoff regardless, you would add 20-30 games that would have playoff implications.  7-2 Iowa vs 7-2 Wisconsin would hold zero interest to the playoff as currently formulated, but expanding it to 8-12-16 games would increase the excitement for those fan bases.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:34 PM ^

I pay attention to the NFL, but college football is so much more exciting and interesting in so many different ways.


For NFL, I watch most Lions games (not all), and the Super Bowl, and an occasional playoff game or top-tier matchup.


I watch every single Michigan football game start to finish, and I consume as much college football as I possibly can. I will watch any bowl game.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:34 PM ^

Being on the podcast takes away from the time I used to spend watching more NFL but I do enjoy watching it. The play is at such a higher level that it helps me be more critical and have a better idea of what a good college player should be doing. But mostly I like to have it on and not care or pay too much attention. I like to watch with a friend and talk through it. Or my daughter and I will put on our Lions jerseys and sit on the couch and basically play watching the game.

UM Fan from Sydney

December 20th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

I know you like college more than NFL, so I'm not saying you're in this group. When I hear/read people say the NFL is better because the level of play is higher/better, my response is always of course it is. They are professionals. That is expected. That also doesn't make watching NFL games more fun to watch.


December 20th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

Fun to watch and watching high levels of excellence are not the same thing.

If you have ever watched a Formula One race (best drivers and equipment in the world) versus a local dirt track rubbin-is-racin' race, you will know what I mean.

Most F1 races are boring as shit even though the level of excellence is the highest.  The local dirt track race can be fierce and have you holding on to your seat from start to finish.

NFL games have the highest level of excellence, but like F1 it can get kind of rote.  It's the imperfections and the mismatches that can make a college game more fun. 


December 20th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

I try to watch the NFL every year but it doesn't do it for me, at all.  It puts me to sleep, particularly the regular season.  If there is like a really compelling conference championship game (Cowboys/Packers - Steelers/Patriots) I can watch some, but typically not all, of a game.

In general, I have found that there is not much overlap between college football and NFL fans.  A lot of the NFL fans I know have very little knowledge about college football, even down to general things like "who is kinda good."


December 20th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

I used to watch the random NFL game during the season, and in the fall I enjoyed listening to NFL games on the radio while I was raking leaves/painting/etc, but now I watch almost nothing, and it's harder to find radio broadcasts these days, at least what I can tune in on my old-school transistor radio.

I've made a habit of not watching Super Bowls for over two decades—it's a great time to go to the gym, since nobody's there to hog the machines.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:39 PM ^

Michigan is my highest priority, obviously. And the mediocrity of the Lions makes it hard to be passionate about it. 

But I follow the NFL. From a schematic standpoint is it more advanced than college (though at the expense of the diversity of playing styles that is part of cfb’s rich pageant) and the players are of course more talented, sometimes electrically so.

The Red Zone channel is the best thing on television. No commercials, a host that treats viewers like knowledgeable adults, and non-stop action. 

It’s not as good as college. Not at all. But football is a magnificent sport, and the NFL is still quite entertaining. 

Wolverine 73

December 20th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

As a Browns fan, I have not watched pro football for years until this season.  Having hope that things are turning around makes sports much more interesting.  I never miss a Michigan game, but during the Richrod years, I did abandon the games at times before the final whistle.

Guy Fawkes

December 20th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

I enjoy the NFL for the parity it provides. I think something like in 9 of the last 10 years a team has gone from last in their division to 1st. (Bears this season). In CFB, that parity doesn't exist. it's same teams as the cream of the crop every season. That and along with half of the college schedule being garbage blowouts (Rutgers, Maryland, WMU, Smu, ect) the NFL has a more consistent excitement factor. 

Also I enjoy gambling and fantasy football so those alone gain my interest. 


December 20th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

As Fawkes said, we’re talking about 2 games out of 16. The scheduling used to be more dramatic, but not anymore. All teams play each team in their division twice, each team of one other division in conference, and each team of one other division in the other conference. That leaves two games that vary. For the Lions that netted them the Cowboys and the Panthers; the Vikings, division winners, played the Saints and the Eagles. The Bears lucked into the Bucs and the Giants. 

All three teams went 1-1 against those opponents. 

Schedule is not a major factor in parity. The draft and the salary cap are. 


December 20th, 2018 at 6:07 PM ^

The other bonus for the NFL is that you get guaranteed every division winner from the same conference playing each other the next year, plus at least one division winner from the other conference.  While it is frequent that teams go from first to worst and worst to first, you still end up with a lot of high caliber inventory for your league in addition to the divisional matchups.

Bando Calrissian

December 20th, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

Never really watched the NFL, then got into fantasy football and watched for a few years, and now do not watch it on a matter of ideological principle. I cannot support a league that doesn't support its own players, nor other segments of society merely to kowtow to their ownership and, well, other prominent people. And I'll leave it at that.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

I follow the Lions and watch most games, but am not nearly as emotionally invested in them as I am in Michigan football and basketball. I probably would've become a Vikings fan by now if they had not signed Kork Coupons...


December 20th, 2018 at 12:45 PM ^

I live in a non-Detroit NFL city and usually go to maybe one game a season with friends. I definitely have a better appreciation for the NFL than I did before moving to an NFL city. The quarterback play (at the highest levels) and some of the skill position play is unreal. I found it more interesting too when I realized the NFL is essentially equivalent to CFB top 25 match-ups week in and week out. Every game is relatively solid in that regard.

OTOH, nothing will ever beat the pageantry and tradition and energy of college football for me. Give me the Big House or Death Valley or the Swamp (or even the Shoe or Happy Valley) over any NFL environment. CFB will always be my favorite


December 20th, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

A lot of us Michigan alums and fans grew up in southern Michigan and are Lions fans. The Lions have been abysmal since the 60s. I'm sure if the Lions were a good team there would be a lot of Michigan fans/alums who are both Michigan football season ticket and NFL season ticket owners.


December 20th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

As a Bengals fan, I can only watch a whole game if they are on. Since they suck, I don’t care. The league was fun, but the last 5-7 years I’ve lost interest. Not sure if it’s because I’m getting older or what. The players seem to be whiners and divas more so now then when I liked nfl in the 90s and early 2000s.

Winchester Wolverine

December 20th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

I've said it here before when this topic is brought up, but I'll share my opinion again. The NFL is bland, boring, and lacks substance. Everything from the boring uniforms to the artificial, sterile stadiums. 

There is no tradition. No pageantry. No homecoming. No Senior Day. 

There's very little crazy/awesome uniforms, unbelievable upsets, or storming the field.

The NFL has no heart. Its football. But its football that has been commercialized, packaged, and consumed. It's your standard, run-of-the-mill, generic, Dollar General soda.

College football is classic Coke.