Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban elaborated on his controversial opinion that the NFL "is 10 years away from an implosion" in a 1,585-word Facebook post published Monday night, upping the ante to include player safety and behavioral issues as additional threats to pro football's future.
Cuban's comments about the NFL on Sunday night focused on what he perceives as "greed" by the country's most popular sports league.
He contended that the oversaturation of the NFL's expanding television package would eventually turn off fans. That subject was the third of five points in Cuban's Facebook post to explain his prediction for a drastic decline in the popularity of the NFL.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello offered a sarcastic reply to Cuban via Twitter.
Dear Mark: We appreciate your interest & for taking time to share your views. It's the passion of fans like you that makes the NFL special.- Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) March 25, 2014
Cuban's first point was that the decline of popularity of football at the youth level due to safety issues could have a trickle-up effect. Concussions, in particular, are a hot-button issue for the NFL office.
"I wouldn't want my son playing football, would you?" Cuban wrote. "I'm sure helmet technology will improve over the next 10 years, but why risk it? There are plenty of sports to play. Plenty of ways to get exercise and if my son decided to do anything outside of sports and never pick up any ball of any kind, I'm fine with that. I can think of 1k things I would prefer him to get excited about doing.
"As far as watching, I [am] good with that.
"I don't think I'm alone. If we start to see a decline of popularity at the high school and then college level because kids choose other sports, it will hurt the interest in watching the NFL."
Cuban then explained why he considers off-field player behavior to be a potential threat to the financial health of the NFL.
"The NBA learned this lesson," Cuban wrote. "Fans don't like to see players acting the fool. While fans may forgive players over time, advertisers have long memories.
"It is hard to ask players to be warriors on the field and perfect citizens off. Across a population of more than 1500 players under the age of 30, you can bet that they will have continuing issues. With the unquenchable thirst the online and media world have for HEADLINE PORN, and the ever growing availability of pictures of those mistakes appearing online, it is not inconceivable that over the next ten years something could impact the perception of the game enough to impact attendance and viewership."
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, also chairman of the NFL's broadcast committee, told reporters Monday at this week's NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., that he had "great respect for Mr. Cuban but I'm not sure I agree with his conclusion."
"He's a very intelligent man," Kraft said. "I can only speak what I know and I've been privileged to be chair of the broadcast committee. We have pretty lucrative contracts going for almost the next decade."
Kraft pointed to the popularity of the NFL on TV.
"Our ratings have gone up dramatically -- just look at the Super Bowl. It was the most-watched program in the history of TV," Kraft said. "Thirty-four of the top 35 prime-time programs in 2013 were NFL games.