‘Is This Professional Football?’: Troy Aikman Not Impressed with the Quality of NFL Play

Troy Aikman
Getty Images/Wesley Hitt

More people are watching the NFL now than ever before. A fact that Troy Aikman no doubt believes is a good thing. But, according to Aikman, that doesn’t mean people are watching good football.

Aikman, a Hall of Famer and 3-time Super Bowl champ, recently sat down for an interview with Jimmy Traina on the SI Media Podcast in which he spoke about the increased popularity of the sport but lamented the quality of play on the field.

“I just would like to see more emphasis on improving the product on the field,” Aikman said.

“I’d like to see that there’s some interest in that as well. It seems like all these decisions are made to increase revenue, which is great, but then it’s less time on the field for players, and then it’s less time here, and the product begins to erode a little bit, and I think we’ve got to be really, really careful about that and I’ve been saying that for a while.”

When pressed for specifics about the diminished quality of play, Aikman said, “I think it’s the fundamentals of the sport. Football is the only sport that you can’t practice the way that you play it. All the other sports get to go practice and then go and play. In football, you don’t, and so we see the fundamentals of tackling aren’t what they once were.”

All of that would have been bad enough, but then Aikman got even more critical of NFL football.

“There were games that we watched, and I won’t say what network most of them were on, and I had to ask myself, ‘Is this professional football?’ There was some bad bad football being played, and that’s not good.”

Traina believes Aikman was referring to the spate of ugly contests hosted by the new Amazon Prime NFL package on Thursday night, and that’s a reasonable suspicion. The reduction of practice time has definitely impacted the quality of play. But it isn’t just the players. The officials are also missing blatant calls. Like, how does this go unnoticed?

Two officials were watching that play. Not that I’m upset about Deshaun Watson getting a raw deal. If anyone deserves it, it’s him. But this isn’t about Watson. There have been too many missed calls and bad calls for it to be about Watson.

In any event, the NFL is making more money than ever. So I wouldn’t expect anything to change.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.