It’s November 2009. Turkey Day is around the corner. And on the schedule this Thanksgiving Day is an NFL contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans.
Nothing out of the ordinary—the 'Boys have been a mainstay on the Turkey Day gridiron menu for many years.
But this game is different.
To give our troops a little R&R, the game will be played at the new 100,000-seat BushDome just outside Baghdad, Iraq.
After all, the NFL has been pursuing the international market for several years, scheduling games in Beijing, China, London, England, Mexico City, and Edmonton.
Iraq, of course, was a logical destination, considering that the American taxpayer footed the bill for the two-billion dollar stadium in the Iraqi desert, just outside of the capital city.
In addition to the bulletproof luxury boxes, special equipment has been developed for the participants on the field. A lightweight body armor provides protection without discomfort. The helmets have been redesigned to protect the players from explosive devices that may be hurled in their direction. To top it all off, the entire field is encircled by an electric fence.
OK, so it’s all pretty ridiculous, isn’t it? Well, it’s not actually true...yet
But who's to say that it can't happen somewhere down the road?
The NFL is intent on sending its product to the international market—at any cost.
Does it matter if teams lose the advantage of a home game—a game that could be the difference between a playoff berth and an early start to the offseason?
Of course it doesn't; the NFL could care less.
All the Shield sees are the dollar signs in the international marketplace.
The NFL has already set up websites in China, Japan, and the UK. Just think of all the "officially licensed" league products the world is ready to buy.
And who gets the short end of the stick?
The fans right here in the good old USA—whose teams get saddled with extra road games.
In the NFL's short 16-game schedule, every matchup is crucial. Think about home-field advantage in the playoffs—if last season’s AFC Championship game were in Foxboro instead of Indianapolis, the Patriots probably would have been playing in Super Bowl XLI instead of the Colts.
One game can make that much of a difference. One less home game on the schedule can be the catalyst for losing that big, big advantage in January.
The NFL is making money by the busload. How much more can they squeeze out of the fans while still ramming it right up their buttinskys by taking away home games?
This is wrong. It's dead wrong.
And the fans need to speak up.
For too long fans have allowed NFL owners and Commissioners to roll them over and over and over. International play for the NFL must be stopped, at any cost.
If the NFL wants to take early preseason football to international destinations, they're more than welcome to do so.
But leave the regular season alone. The fans of every NFL team deserve to see a full schedule of home games, not to be cheated out of one of them.
Far too much is at stake.