In Week 10 of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Krystal Spencer, challenges News Editor Hilarey Wojtowicz and Correspondents Joshua Fidler and Chloe Fama to answer questions about how the lockout and recent rule changes will affect the NFL’s popularity, if Derrick Rose should be the favorite to win the the league’s MVP award and whether or not MLS is starting to grow in the United States.
1. With the National Football League locking out its players and multiple changes in rules and regulations (such as moving the kickoff closer), is the league poised to lose some off their loyal fanbase this season?
HW: Definitely not. If anything, the new 18-game season and the closer kickoff will have fans more excited than ever to have football season start. Football season is always my favorite and I was sad for it to end. Having it be longer will only make fans happier. Actually, I feel bad for the MLB fans because, once again, I bet a regular season football game will get more fans viewing it than a World Series game in the fall.
JF: Whenever there is a lockout, the sport always suffers greatly. The best example of this is the baseball strike and lockout in 1994. Baseball lost a lot of fans because of that year, and some believe that the lockout caused baseball to be overtaken by football as the nation’s most popular sport. The 2004 hockey lockout also devastated the NHL, and they have had a hard time recovering ever since. The rule changes themselves are not drastic enough for the NFL to lose fans over, if there is a season.
CF: I would like to say that no matter what, a fan is a fan, and the NFL’s supporters will always be there to cheer on their favorite teams and players. Yet, with threat of a lockout, this leaves no players and teams to be supported. The NFL’s Competition Committee seems to be doing all they can to change the sport of football, and ultimately, it will lead to some aggravated fans. Many “old time” loyal fans watch the sport because they love the game; the excitement of a kickoff run, back from the goal line, or the beautiful blitz that pushed the offense 15 yards back. By drastically changing these rules, you are changing the sport. Football fans want to watch football. If the sport they know and love is no longer what’s being played, why are they going to watch?
KS: Hilarey gets 3 for saying the sport will not lose fans and that football is better than baseball. Chloe gets 2 because the rules aren’t drastically changing, they’re just annoying to those who enjoy seeing a 102-yard kickoff return. Joshua gets 1 because the NFL won’t be as affected by a strike as the NHL or MLB was.
2. There are only a few games left in the regular NBA season. Is Derrick Rose a sure bet for MVP, or is there someone else in the running?
HW: Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is definitely the No. 1 candidate for MVP. He is so humble about his playing and his team, and I think that really does help him play
his best on the court. After leading the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference, Rose is still playing with an edge that is helping his team win and regaining fans. He’s a sure thing for this year’s MVP.
JF: What Derrick Rose has done this year is very impressive. He has the Bulls in the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He did this without having Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer for a large amount of time. He is averaging over 20 points and around eight assists a game. I think to say that he is a lock with games remaining, though, would be foolish. There are other people out there, including Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and I think that when you do MVP voting the league is forced to include Kobe. My personal vote would go to Stoudemire.
CF: It seems as if the race is over and everyone expects Derrick Rose to win MVP, but honestly I don’t think he is deserving. Being the Most Valuable Player means that you are critical to how well your team does. Sure, he is the best player on the top seeded Chicago Bulls, but what makes Chicago great is its defense, which Rose is not an integral part of. Personally, I think LeBron James should be a very strong MVP contender. Two-time defending MVP and on one of the top teams in the league, he is putting up fantastic numbers again. He is clearly the most valuable Heat player and most definitely deserving of another MVP title.
KS: Hilarey gets 3 for commenting on the effect of Rose’s character and refreshing the Bulls franchise. Joshua gets 2 for reminding us that Rose has been a one-man wrecking crew without Noah and Boozer. Chloe gets 1 for naming LeBron James as an MVP contender, when Wade should be the only Heat player considered for the top honor.
3. Major League Soccer unveiled two new expansion teams this year, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. Is soccer in America growing, or is the MLS making a desperate attempt to build a nonexistent fanbase?
HW: The MLS is making the right moves by bringing in two more teams for the league, and I really do think soccer is growing because of it. Teams from these cities and others in the north are helping to generate a feeling about soccer like that in Europe. There is more energy, more knowledge about the teams and it is growing. Of course it is no where near the popularity of the NFL or MLB, but the MLS is making its way up. All it needs is more advertising, and Americans will soon be hooked.
JF: I just want to make one point first:Vancouver is not in America last time I checked. But I do believe that soccer is growing in the U.S. With these two new teams, you really have to wait until the second year of their existence to see if they will be profitable. The first year the team is a novelty, the second year is where fan attendance really counts.
CF: Trying to make soccer grow in America is like trying to keep a fish alive out of water. It’s just not going to happen. Sure, there are always going to be devoted supporters who will get excited at the idea of the creation of new teams, but, in reality, America doesn’t care about soccer. No matter how many teams we create, the country as a whole is not focused enough on the sport to neither create a half-decent team nor care about watching the games.
KS: Hilarey gets 3 for understanding soccer’s limited audience but being optimistic. Chloe gets 2 because the U.S. National Team at the World Cup this summer really gained the interest of the country. Joshua gets 1 for not only forgetting that Seattle had more fan support in their first year than most teams combined, but for not realizing that for American soccer to grow, it needs to take a cue from international fans, including Canada.
Hilarey sweeps this week’s AtD, 9 – 5 – 4.