Monday, October 17, 2016

NFL Questions: Are you a TRUE fan of your team?

In what was yet another in a long list of near-unwatchable NFL prime-time broadcasts Sunday night the Texans mounted a furious comeback to beat the Colts 26-23 in an overtime that felt more like punishment than bonus football.

They did this in front of a half-empty NRG Stadium as several fans took their overpriced jerseys to the car when the home team was down 23-9 with 6 minutes to go in regulation. What was billed as a "battle for supremacy in the AFC South" was really just a test to see which below-average franchise sucked less.  On Sunday night, it was the Texans that sucked just slightly less than did the Colts.

But it was the fans booing and leaving that raised the dander of Texans players most of all.

Never mind that the Texans had made it a franchise tradition to crap the bed on Nationally televised games, or that they hadn't shown any signs of life so far when facing good teams, or that many of the fans probably had to be at work the next morning sometime before the butt crack of dawn and the time on their cell phones was already well past 10. (And kids had school etc.)

Nope, according to fringe roster player Charles James II only the "true" Texans fans stayed to the end while all of the other fans were....not fanatic enough?

But James' ill-conceived rant brings forth some important questions.

Are you a TRUE fanatic for your team?

Why do you even root for the NFL team in your city?

Are you OBLIGATED to suffer through a crappy product because....home town pride?

Are you a TRUE fan?

Because I'm not. I root for teams and I pull for other teams to win, but I'm not a "fanatic" for any team. My favorite professional tackle football team is the San Francisco 49ers. This despite the fact that I have never been to San Fran.  But right now the Niners are awful and that's because the owner and general manager are incompetent. The head coach is a gimmick and the newly minted starting quarterback is more of a social warrior than a football player.  "Fanatics" ignore this and, much like the cartoon of the dog sitting in a fire, sip their coffee and say "This is fine" until they look up and the team is 3-13 and just about to blow another set of draft picks.

But these are the type of people that players like Charles James II and Vince Wilfork value. They don't want fans who realize that things aren't fine, that the team is broken and ran by a coach who's in over his head, a General Manager who is clueless and an owner who's just happy with sellouts and making a crap-ton of money.

THOSE people, non-fans, are people that won't support a shit team and stop buying tickets and stop having their Sunday's wasted. You get enough of THOSE fans and suddenly even the most disinterested owner notices the revenue drying up and makes changes. Changes that, typically, involve declining players like Wilfork, and players who never had much of an incline such as James being jobless, or working for Cleveland.

Why do you even root for the NFL team in your city?

What is it about the NFL franchise, or any professional sports team, in your city that causes you to root for them?

Do you believe they are an 'integral part of your community;? Do they fill you with a sense of 'civic pride'? Do you think the team doing well makes the city look better?

I hope you don't buy into any of the above because none of them are true.  Los Angeles did just fine without an NFL franchise for years. And it's only because the NFL so coveted the television market that they are back. (and they had to get Jerry Jones to prop up the character of Stan Kroenke, a horrible man, to do it). That's right, THAT Jerry Jones. The one seen in creepy shots with co-eds.  Or maybe you like Jim Irsay, an owner who was suspended for drug use, broke up a marriage and had to testify to it in the divorce proceedings.

Are THOSE people integral parts of your community?  Politicians (horrible people themselves) seem to think so, because they continue to throw Billions of dollars of tax revenue into the coffers of team owners in a desperate attempt to retain the world classiness of an NFL franchise.

Truthfully?  Houston was better off in the gap years between the Oilers and the Texans.  Football on TV (where most Houstonians watch the NFL) was more varied and interesting.

Are you OBLIGATED to suffer through a crappy product because of civic pride?

But, what if your team sucks?  Does it make you somehow less of a city?  Ask New York that.  Because they seem to be doing fine despite the Jets and the Giants being awful.  San Francisco is still a global city despite the complete mess that are the 49ers, and Cleveland is doing just fine despite the Browns being possibly worse than the Crimson Tide.

The problem is that the stadium wars are heating up.  Soon that $500 Million stadium in your town is going to be hopelessly out of style. With the Cowboys having the Billion dollar Jerry World in operation, and the Vikings opening up their $1.5 Billion pleasure palace and Los Angeles in the middle of plans to build a $2.3 Billion dollar "football entertainment complex" what you currently have will soon be seen as 2nd class.

Which means that the tax money you've spent on your current stadium (and are still spending in many cases) is not going to be enough.  This means that the Billionaires who are raking in Billions from NFL football are going to go back to local politicians nationwide and stamp their feet for more tax money to build bigger football complexes in an effort to stay "world class".

The selling point for this is to "attract Super Bowls" to town.  Trust me when I say this, you don't want a Super Bowl to be held in your city any more than you want a raging case of bird flu to sweep through the populace.  In fact, the bird flu might be preferable.  Here's the thing:  You won't be able to attend the Super Bowl because ticket prices are going to be sky high. Thousands of people will descend on your town and will gather in approved areas with approved (meaning those that pay the NFL kick-backs for exclusivity) vendors eating approved junk food and drinking approved $15 beers which will not add as much to a city economically as will be advertised.

Your city will also be inundated with prostitutes and out-of-town drug dealers who, responding to the law of supply and demand, will ensure that the seemingly never-ending stream of celebrity "Super Bowl Parties" are fueled the entire two weeks.  Traffic will suck, and no matter how great your city is there will be people who come there who trash it.

Sure the league will talk about "what a great host" you were but other cities, feeling a case of Stupid Bowl envy, will write horrible things about you and your sub-par something that they can get at home but can't get where you live.

And if you don't pony up and give the NFL what they want?

They'll just go and find another group of suckers that will.

On the bright side you'll then get four NFL games broadcast on a Sunday instead of two, and typically those games will be the National games of interest.  Meaning that they are slightly less entertaining than the 10th best college game that aired on Saturday.

In short: Don't be a FAN of a team, root for them.  And if they suck?

Stop watching.  That's the ONLY way to drive change. Hit the awful people that own the teams in the pocketbook.

As a side benefit you might get rid of the players that don't like you as well.  Win-win.

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