I decided to write an email to Futterman in response to the concepts he presented, and I suggested the way by which the NFL – and by extension, society itself, could go beyond. To quote from my email:
I read your article today on the Wall Street Journal website questioning whether or not we are seeing the “Apotheosis” of the National Football League. As I read your piece, the metaphor of killing the Golden Goose pervaded my thoughts. It seems to me that you are striving, in your writing, to get the NFL to see that they are in the process of killing said Goose. The amalgamation of Safety, Labor, and Technology, your three major points, suggests that the NFL has reached the peak of this particular bubble. As such, the NFL needs a way to transcend the existing situation in order to prevent the burst of the bubble.
Your article also suggests the subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, shift of the NFL to financial investments, much like Wall Street, to try to force the Goose into laying a few more eggs before succumbing to blood loss. The financial derivatives such as NFL Redzone and the contract with Verizon Wireless are not succeeding at keeping the bearings of the NFL true.
John Wooden’s UCLA players, Bill Walton comes fresh to my mind, talk about how Wooden did not teach them anything about basketball. Rather, Wooden taught them life. He taught them how to learn to learn. Wooden’s players were taught how to transcend and go beyond.
The National Football League, rather than killing the Golden Goose, should instead seek this concept of Learning to Learn, and apply it to the current climate of the sport. Financial derivatives are just that: derivatives. For the NFL to maintain and extend the life of its sphere, it must seek to earnestly go beyond the principal issues of Safety, Labor, and Technology. The NFL must be an organization that does not just Teach Football, but rather, to Learn how to Learn.
Matthew Futterman’s depiction of the current climes of the NFL positions the NFL on the brink of the precipice; looking over the edge of the cliff as the bubble stretches ever thinner.
This is why I wrote my e-book Going Beyond: Vision, the NFL, and the 2010 Carolina Panthers. Going Beyond is the manual for the NFL, and again, society by extension, to Learn how to Learn.