(USA Today) – Ten or 15 years from now, the business barons who run the National Football League will look back at the 2014 season and know the answer:
Was the crisis of September 2014 only a temporary setback in the quest to achieve $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027?
Or was it the start of an insidious pattern — the comedown of a league that had gotten so popular and arrogant that it failed to effectively address serious threats, from the long-term health risks of concussions to a disturbing trend of NFL players accused of committing crimes against women and children?
It all depends on what the league does next, various experts told USA TODAY Sports. But one thing’s certain: The most powerful sports league on the planet is facing challenges unlike anything before, driven by a new awareness of the game’s ugly underside and an expanded social media landscape keeping the public’s attention on the pervasive societal problem of domestic violence.