My Messy Divorce From the NFL

When I played pro football, I never set out to hurt anyone deliberately – unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something.” ~Dick Butkus

 I’m sorry to have to open today’s post with such a tasteless joke. Earlier this week when I read that my (former) football hero Junior Seau, #55, was involved in a wreck going off a cliff, that was the first thing that leaped into my head. And they say Aspies have no sense of humor.

I can't drive...55!

 Sadly, this has been a long time coming. 31 years, to be exact. Since I’m no expert in relationships, I can only liken it to a person who’s been married for a long, long time and has pretty much overlooked his or her spouse’s flaws, only to wake up one morning and realize You know, I haven’t loved my spouse for years. It’s time to move on.

And since the NFL owes me nothing in the way of a settlement, and since I didn’t have a pre-nup done, this is the only way I can get back.

Ocho Stink-o...and some other guy

Let me start by saying that the NFL still has redeeming qualities in my eyes. It puts a hell of lot of people to work, many of them for a hell of a lot of money, when jobs are scarce. It also provides ad revenue (more on that later) and, to some extent, makes life better in otherwise rundown parts of cities.

That’s about it. Now, what did I find wrong about the NFL after all these years? (And while this entry may be targeted at the NFL, I can lump most professional men’s sports under this umbrella.)

I can go right to the fact that Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson probably make more per drive than most members of the America military make in one month, or perhaps a year. Obviously this boils down to the market: people are willing to pay to see their favorite athletes in action, regardless of the economy. Entertainment is a necessary thing, like it or not. But can we put an intrinsic value on one’s ability to throw a football farther than anyone else, or run upfield faster than anyone else? No. At the end of the day, athletes, like all entertainers, are dispensable.

My solution has been not to go to the games, buy merchandise, or patronize establishments advertised by said entertainers. They’re not getting any more of my money. I think if more people did this instead of complaining about ever-increasing ticket prices and seat premiums, the market would adjust accordingly. It’s a simple principle of economics. If demand drops, so do the prices.

The other thing that’s been a thorn in my side has been signing bonuses and guaranteed contracts. Which other profession will allow an often poorly-educated individual to make millions of dollars without having demonstrated his or her skill at the highest level? It’s certainly a good gig if you can get it. The dirty little secret is that the average NFL lasts perhaps 2-3 years, and the millions are squandered soon after, leaving a broken, empty shell of a person with no marketable skills. Only the best of the best (the Mannings or Michael Strahan, for example) escape with a minimum of injuries. In some ways the NFL, and other sports leagues, can be seen as a form of prostitution for men: wrecking bodies and spirits for the entertainment and pleasure of others, in exchange for money.

I did not send pictures of my nads to that woman...

 One of the great fallacies of the League (or any sports league) is that athletes are role models. They are not, with the exceptions of a very, very few. Largely they are like most other entertainers: spoiled men-children with large egos. Many engage in off-field behavior that is anything but worthy of admiration. And those are only the ones we hear about. Hell, the PUNTER for the Colts this week was arrested for being drunk in a public fountain. I stopped calling them my heroes a long time ago.

I used to scoff at the bumper stickers that said something to the effect that football teams should be forced to have bake sales every time they need a new stadium. While I think there are economic benefits to an NFL team in a major city, I also think it’s sad when in the shadow of these stadiums are slums and squalor, and schools whose students can’t read or calculate math problems. And for those same students, the only way out in many cases is to become a great athlete. NO public funding or taxpayer dollars should go towards what is essentially a private enterprise. If the team is good enough, who cares about the stadium? It’s the singer, not the song.

The NFL is only one piece of the pie that is the entertainment industry. Again I stress that entertainment has its place. But when so many things are wrong with our society as a whole (and I don’t care what side of the political aisle you’re on), it should not be the main focus of our time and energy. Greater problems exist in life than the conundrum of whether one freakishly talented athlete can put a ball across a plane or through uprights. To use the old cliche: it’s just a game. If you want to see real competition and don’t want to shell out half your life savings, why not go to a high school game or a Pee Wee league game?

So, to the NFL and Commissioner Goodell: I’m officially divorcing you. I may still casually stop in to see how things are going (it would be un-American of me not to watch the Super Bowl.) But I’m not going to be one of those horrid ex-wives who wants the car and the kids and the condo. Nope.

I only want back the lost time from all the Sundays over the years. Maybe I could have finished a novel or two. I suppose it’s not too late to start.

And if you run into Terrell Owens, please tell him I said he’s a pompous self-centered jerk.

Got comments? Drop me a line at!

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on October 22, 2010.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

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