Welcome to a world without football. It’s time for all of us to learn legal terms like lockout and decertification and injunction. There are a lot of questions, and the foremost among them is who to blame.
And fans, it’s time for you to admit: It’s all your fault.
You were the ones who stopped coming to terrible preseason games. Don’t you know you were killing the golden goose? The NFL teams who wanted (10 home games worth of revenue figured the only way to recoup that money was to go to 18 regular-season games – damn the players and their health. The players had the temerity to question the side effects of extra games from a health standpoint, and 18 games became a sticking point in negotiations. Who knew that would create such difficulty?
(OK, so maybe the negotiations got past the 18-game issue, and in plenty of time – at least 8 hours before the extended deadline on Friday. The bottom line is that it never would have been an issue if you would have just gone to the damn preseason games and bought a couple of drinks and hot dogs.)
Don’t try to wriggle out of the blame, fans. It’s your fault, because you’re voters too. As franchises (yes, their values now top $1 billion) asked for publicly financed stadiums, you finally rebelled. You let Minnesota’s Metrodome age until the roof fell down. You let San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium age to the point that the venue (yes, it was good enough to host a Super Bowl just 12 years ago) is no longer an acceptable venue. You forced Jerry Jones to (gasp) spend his own money on the new Cowboys Stadium – and then you got mad when he tried to make money by selling more Super Bowl tickets than he had seats.
At least you anted up personal seat license money to finance part of those stadiums. But it’s still your fault, because you didn’t give these billion-dollar corporations a completely free ride. No wonder the owners’ profit margin is shrinking.
That means it’s your fault, fans, that players wanted owners to open the books and see why the profits were shrinking. It’s your fault that players wanted to see how franchises do business – and how much these billion-dollar franchises finance their lifestyles. If you fans had just done your civic duty and voted for new stadiums, there wouldn’t have been any problem, and we could have all continued with business as normal.
And now, fans, you’re siding with the players. Why the hell do you care if they stay healthy after they retired? They already entertained you. Forget about them and watch the cheaper (meant to say younger) guys.
Yes, fans, it’s all your fault. So when you get your season ticket renewal forms in the mail, write the check and send it back. Watch the draft in record-setting numbers, just like you did the combine.
Actually, we have a better idea. Let’s just make this college football. We’ll take advantage of the players, give them a little something for their trouble just to soothe the conscience, and make rules that make the players disposable. Doesn’t that sound swell? Everyone loves college football, right? (Let’s get our lawyers on that.)
So it’s all your fault. And since we didn’t get our TV-network funded lockout fund, go ahead and pay for those tickets for games that may not happen. You know, the same games we’re cancelling by locking the players out, just so we can get our piece of the pie and the piece that you took away from us by actually expecting us to make business decisions.
Do the right thing, fans. After all, it’s all your fault.
Signed, your friendly neighborhood NFL owner