Roger Goodell and his bodyguards, Robert Kraft and Jerry Richardson.
Dear NFL Owners:
Yesterday, you guys lost. I won.
When Judge Susan Nelson ruled that your lockout should be lifted, football fans everywhere rejoiced. Well, sort of. You see, because you requested a "stay" on the ruling, the lockout isn't officially over until you are allowed to appeal the decision and see what happens.
If Judge Nelson grants your stay, you will be able to continue locking out the very men who make money for your league. I pay good money to see these men collide with each other, not to see you negotiating stadium naming rights with (insert large corporation here). And that is the most frustrating part of all of this.
You don't see Al Davis in Gatorade commercials, do you? Dan Synder and Malcolm Glazer don't have their faces on the cover of video games. Arthur Blank and Robert Kraft have about as much marketing appeal as a doorknob.
The average fan doesn't go to a football game to see a business plan in action. No, Jerry Jones, I don't really care if your various investments are paying off. I don't really care if there's a rookie wage scale or not. The whole TV deal, salary caps and salary floors, the concept of revenue sharing? Just minute details in comparison to being able to go to the game I love.
At this point, all an appeal does is anger me more. My beloved draft is on Thursday, and it is a chance for the league to show some unity. Obviously, at this point the league has about as much unity as the Bloods and the Crips, but at least wear a fake smile for me. When I see Cam Newton or whoever is the first pick go on stage, it will be the first real glimpse at the future of professional football. Don't take that away from me again.
Let our respective teams sign their draft picks and free agents and let's get this thing on the road. I want minicamps. I want offseason workouts. I want training camp, and I certainly want games. For the $75 you charge me on average to go to a regular season game, I think you can afford to have one more season where the players take advantage of your pockets.
Let the legal crap work itself out, work on a new CBA, and agree to it. After all, if you can't agree, owners, you will be subject to antitrust violations. Not many of us know what those are, but it sounds scary. So you better agree.
At this point, you are going to be forced to have a season whether you like it or not. Nothing excites me more than winning this battle and seeing you white-collar, Ivy League, fat pocketed schmucks get destroyed in court. Everything bad a fan has ever wanted to do to an owner for a decision has been accomplished in court already this week.
So now, here we are. We're two days away from the draft, and just over 19 weeks away from the opening of the regular season. While you guys are in St. Louis appealing Judge Nelson's decision, I'll be watching your TV deals make you money while I wear a jersey that you receive royalties for.
On behalf of all fans, I would like to thank you in advance for taking your appeal and shoving it in a place not normally designed to fit legal decisions. I will be happy to patronize your stadiums in the fall, and you will continue to make gigantic profit margins because of people like me.
Have a nice week, and I'll see you in full force come September.
An Average NFL Fan