It seems like so long ago that NFL football was strictly a kid’s game played by grown men. Long gone are the days of loyalty to a franchise. This includes both players and, even more so, fans. Does the term “bandwagon” ring a bell? Ding, ding!
Relegated to oblivion are the times in which one had no doubt that their favorite player would retire with the team that drafted them.
Free agency has made it a foregone conclusion that even superstars will finish their career with a team that did not sign them to that first contract.
While Free agency has accounted for the parity that small market teams die for, it makes the word dynasty a long forgotten term.
Although the Bills went 0 for 4 in consecutive Superbowl appearances, this is a feat that, in my opinion, will never be duplicated. To go to four consecutive Superbowls is utterly unfathomable in this day and age.
Additionally, it has become that much more important that a team has an extremely solid ownership, management staff, and, most of all, a coach that is able to adjust from one season to the next.
The fact that the Patriots won three Superbowls in four years is an absolute testament to putting together a darn near perfect organization from top to bottom. Having that supermodel’s husband play quarterback certainly helps as well.
The growth of the game since the 1966 AFL-NFL merger is one that any person trying to form a business model could only dream of replicating.
The first professional football contract was signed in 1892 by William Heffelfinger. He signed for $500.00 to play that season.
The lowest fines incurred by today’s players are 5 to 10 times that amount. That includes the jersey infraction fines for things as simple as not keeping the jersey tucked into one’s pants.
Speaking of fines, I was thinking the other day that perhaps Mr. Goodell could take half of the money for each fine delved out to players, and teams, and use that money to go towards increased medical benefits for the reitred players that built this game with their blood, sweat, bodies, and minds. That’s a story for another day.
The veteran’s minimum salary in today’s NFL is also at an all-time high. Not to mention, despite the new rookie wage scale, players that have never played a down in the NFL are making astronomically more than Mr. Heffelfinger did when he signed his deal.
Being a Chargers Fan that is not currently living in San Diego, the blackout rules have yet to effect me due to having NFL Sunday Ticket. Although I understand the need to have fans in the seats at home games, to deny families the opportunity to watch their teams from the comfort of their couch only confirms the business side of the NFL.
The NFL has made an attempt to adjust the blackout rules but teams such as San Diego and Indianapolis have already come out and said that they are choosing to stay within the old guidelines.
Going to the stadium is not always conducive to a family’s needs as far as viewing one’s favorite teams. I am fully aware of the family section that each stadium has to “attempt” to bring in NFL-following families. These sections also limit what Mom and Dad are allowed to drink while in the stands.
I am sure that those of you with small children completely understand what I am getting at in this statement. I can only speak for myself but I find it hard to believe that I am the only parent that would like to have a beer while taking the family to a game.
By the way, have you seen the ticket prices recently? Don’t get me started on the price of concessions at the games.
For those of you that know even a little bit about me, I happen to really like collecting football jerseys. My collection of Chargers jerseys has now reached somewhere around 50. I haven’t counted them recently. Needless to say, the pricetag on jerseys has seen significant growth the 20 or so years that I have been purchasing jerseys.
Along with jersey prices, all NFL licensed merchandise has seemed to have gone up in price.
It may sound like I’m complaining when in fact I am not. I am plainly speaking of the contributing factors as to how the NFL has evolved from a game into a business.
A business that earns annual revenues upwards of 9 billion dollars a year. Not a bad haul for a game played with an oddly shaped, oblong ball that is lovingly referred to as the pigskin.
In conclusion, I’m definitely going to continue to support the Chargers and the NFL. I’m all for parity, Free Agency, etc. knowing that it all continues to help this game grow. Errr, I mean business grow.
Thanks a lot for reading.
P.S. I’ll have an “update” article later which includes BoltCave video date, GARAY’D progress, and Fan Perspective opportunities via phone. It’s about time I do another phone interview. Or two or three. Can’t wait.
P.P.S. Also, really excited to announce this….. My father has been doing “football sheets” since before I was born. I have been a part of them for over 2 decades now. Do you think you can outpick me or my dad? I don’t, but I’d love for you to try. This Saturday I will be doing an article giving the first 50 commenters an opportunity to jon in. I will display the rules as well. It’s pretty simple. Stay tuned BoltFamily!!!