Do we love the NFL too much?
The NFL owners think very little of you and me. They consider us lemmings who won’t desert their league even with so-called referees calling touchbacks on punts downed on the four-yard line…. marking penalties from the wrong 44-yard line… giving a team two extra second-half timeouts… oh, I can’t go on, I’m a Packers fan for Pete’s sake.
--Sidenote: The University of Minnesota, Crookston must have used replacement painters. Note the logo on the 45-yard line instead of the 50—
The NFL logo has been called the shield, whose image Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about protecting.
All I see being protected is money.
Boat loads of money.
How much money? The current national television contract alone pays each team $153,125,000 per season. Yes, each team. Stop rubbing your eyes. I’ll write it out. That’s one hundred fifty three million, one hundred twenty five thousand dollars.
Had the Seahawks-Packers debacle not been on Monday night, we might still have replacement refs.
Why am I going on about our treatment by the NFL? Because I don’t like being taken for granted.
Less than 24 hours after the return of the regular referees I witnessed something that had me questioning my status as a lemming. The fun of local high school sports.
I was having dinner with my son and daughter at our local Wegmans Supermarket, which if you’re not familiar, has an outstanding food court and is a popular gathering spot.
My youngest, Julia, is in 11th-grade at Jamesville-DeWitt High in Syracuse, N.Y. JD has an outstanding basketball program—last year’s semi-final loss broke a streak of four straight state championships—but not so much on the football field.
Yet as we ate dinner, the Red Rams were an hour and a half away from attempting to climb to 5-0. They would be hosting Nottingham, a school just minutes away. One of those games that has players who have played against each other since Pop Warner. JD is ranked 17th and Nottingham 18th in the state.
There was a palpable buzz in the store. Julia said hi to a group of girls in red JD sweatshirts ready to go to the game. A group of about 15 kids were in the corner clapping and getting pumped. Assistant coach Jim Tuck sat eating and answering questions about this year’s success.
I hadn’t seen this much excitement over JD football since moving there in 1998. It was great.
The smile I wore was in stark contrast to my expression as I stared at one official signaling touchdown while the other—standing right next to him—signaled touchback at the end of Monday night’s NFL game.
I was a whole lot happier Friday night than I was on Sunday as I watched my fantasy team go down the tubes.
Why do we put ourselves through this?
I know that watching local high school sports can’t replace watching the NFL. But maybe, just maybe it can lessen its importance in our lives.
Why do the owners take fans for granted? Because they can. Fans keep paying full price for preseason games that see the starting players barely play. Teams change uniforms slightly and the lemmings flock to the store to buy the most current version.
Try going to a local high school or small college game. Smile. Enjoy watching players who aren’t considering going on strike as the Packers reportedly did on the plane back from Seattle.
Jamesville-DeWitt beat Nottingham 25-6, as Rasheed Baker ran 33 times for 170-yards and two touchdowns. 5-0. Go Red Rams.
Follow me on Twitter @sprtsramblngman