There is a sizable subset of the sports culture that believes NFL stands for "No Fun League." Included among that group is apparently one of the NFL's best and most popular players: Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
At Sherman's Thursday press conference, he sounded off on several issues, including the league's sliding television ratings in 2016. Ratings are down, Sherman asserted, because the NFL isn't fun anymore.
Richard Sherman on NFL ratings going down this year: "The league isn't fun anymore."— Stephen Cohen (@scohenPI) November 3, 2016
There are plenty of people that would agree with Sherman, especially in the wake of two ties in two weeks, including a 6-6 "Sunday Night Football" draw played between Sherman's squad and the Arizona Cardinals. That game ended with both teams missing field goal attempts. Several other theories have been put forth as to why the league's ratings have dropped (the World Series, the election, Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest, the over-saturation of the market with single-game windows), but Sherman's lack of fun argument and the "quality of play" argument are certainly the most popular.
Sherman didn't stop at the ratings issue when giving his thoughts on the league. He also tackled the performance of commissioner Roger Goodell:
As well as the league's propensity for issuing apologies after wrong calls, rather than rectifying those wrong calls:
Richard Sherman on penalties during games and hearing from NFL later:— Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) November 3, 2016
"We probably lead the league in NFL apologies the next day."
Sherman is no stranger to criticizing Goodell, or the league itself; rather, he has long been one of the NFL's most ardent critics among current players. He's called Goodell's disciplinary policies hypocritical, asserted that the NFL doesn't care about the health of its players, stated that Goodell needs to give up some of his power, and asserted that the automatic ejection rule is "foolish," and that's just a short list -- there are plenty more.
If you're looking for a quick summary of Sherman's Thursday comments, there's a pretty good one right here:
Just re-listened to Richard Sherman's Thursday press conference. A summary:— Stephen Cohen (@scohenPI) November 3, 2016
Sherman is the second high-profile player this week to take the league to task for its officiating errors. Cam Newton called out the inconsistent enforcement of roughing the passer penalties, which can't make the league too happy. We'll just have to see if there's any on-field reaction to the comments.