(A friendly rebuttal)
There must be something in the water in Austin! Especially after reading High Groover’s Hypothetical comparing a make believe NFL team(s) and the current happenings in Nascar. If only she had chosen Major League Baseball or even Hockey! So lets dig in, one paragraph at a time.
She begins with:
Once Upon A Time…….
Let’s Pretend that the NFL has fallen upon financial hard times. New football safety rules created by The Commission have forced teams to expend beyond their budgets for new safety equipment and training personnel. The Commission has limited the amount of time a team can access their Commission-owned practice fields, forcing the few football teams with enough left in their kitties to build their own, or suffer in performance during the regular season.
Interesting concept, however the NFL already limits practice and workouts in the off-season, and also during the season as well. If the teams/coaches had their way, ‘training camp’ would begin just a few short weeks after the Super Bowl, and not just a month before the regular season is to begin. See Bill Parcell’s.
Let’s Pretend that as the football season rolls on, it becomes painfully obvious that the only teams who will make it to the playoffs are the few with heavy-duty corporate financial backers – those who could afford the new expenses. In fact, several popular teams had to forfeit games because they couldn’t afford the plane fares and hotel expenses to travel! Sadly, several teams have folded altogether - unable to afford the capital or the stress caused by the "new" rules.
Here is the NFL reality: ‘Revenue Sharing’ and ‘Salary Cap’.
About 2/3 of the NFL's money comes from the TV deal. The players get about 2/3 of team revenue. So, more or less, the TV contract goes to pay the players. The money from the TV contract is share and share alike - the Redskins, Cowboys, Bills, and Packers get identical checks. This money is key to the success of the smaller franchises. Without the TV contract money, there is simply no way on earth that Green Bay could ever field a competitive team.
Let’s Pretend, that in order to survive, my Hometown Professional Football Team (who I’ve supported with my hard-earned dollars and my invaluable loyalty for years) has been contacted by a foreign corporation and offered an avenue to survival – sponsorship $$$. Coincidentially (or not), the Iaintfromaroundhere, gMbH, S.A., Ltd. Corp. also owns an International Soccer Team that at one time in the past was the envy of the planet. Seems the round-ball-with-spots passtime has also gone downhill in the last few years and my new “international” backer is looking for greener pastures – a new place to cash in on the exposure that comes from having their logo plastered all over my team’s uniforms and all over my city’s Super Stadium (which, BTW, is owned by the Commissioner’s sister).
Here is where it really gets good. The NFL offers full, complete and equal among all teams when it comes to licensing and souvenir sales. For some strange reason, I am thinking that the ‘Junior Nation’ would not be too happy knowing that all that stuff purchased at the Souvy Trailer (and every where else) would be used to help the Wood Brother just as equally as D.E.I.
Let’s Pretend that it’s offseason, and I’m looking forward to my team’s upcoming Draft picks – our chance to add the Heissman winner to our roster as well as a few more choice picks from the ranks of Collegiate players (some from my home state) who’ve devoted their youth (and their parents’ life savings) to making it to the pros.
Let’s Pretend that the Commission has decided to allow my Now-Corporate Co-Owner (who now has 51% controlling interest in my team) to forego the draft entirely – opting instead to allow them to fill my team’s ranks from their overseas Soccer team! Their rationale, I’m told, is that these are athletes who are just as qualified to play as our Collegiate hometown boys from U! After all, they can run, they can kick, they can hit things with their heads, and there’s a precedent! Didn’t the Detroit Lions let George Plimpton QB for a quarter way back in 1968? So there!
You want to see some UNDRAFTED NFL players? Just take a look at the 2006 NFL season. Quarterback Tony Romo, running back Willie Parker, fullback Mack Strong, tight end Antonio Gates, guard Brian Waters, center Jeff Saturday, cornerback Rasheen Mathis, punters Brian Moorman and Mat McBriar, place-kicker Robbie Gould and special teamers Kassim Osgood and Brendan Ayanbadejo ALL have one thing in common. They were all undrafted, and all made the pro bowl! Antonio Gates NEVER played a down of football in college either.
NFL history also shows us other examples, players like Jan Stenerud who actually attended college on a Ski Jumping Scholarship and was the first kicker to be drafted solely as a kicker. He is also the only pure kicker in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Let’s Pretend that I’m sitting in my living room, watching the opening season game. My team’s Quarterback is gone (now relegated to coaching Arena Football), replaced by the same superstar soccer guy who used to look down his nose at our “primitive” version of the sport. Our Running Backs are guys we’ve never seen before (with last names we can’t pronounce), and our Fullback, Center, and Special Teams can’t pronounce anything intelligible on camera except the name of the Sponsor! My favorite player – the one I’ve followed since Pop Warner days – is now sitting on the bench on the 4th string, allowing the new “International” players a chance at stardom and TV coverage. Let’s Pretend I’m trying to decide whether or not to renew my season tickets.
There is an omission here I’m thinking, and that omission is the record of said team over the previous couple of years. From the tone of the fable, one can only deduce that said team was mediocre at best.
And finally, Let's Pretend that they lived Blissfully Ignorant Ever After (but with ample capital, a marketing office in New York City, and a Commissioner telling me this is sooooooo good for the sport!).
Let’s Pretend the same thing is happening in NASCAR! No. Wait. We don’t have to pretend anymore, do we?
Actually, the NFL has ‘done it right’ and NASCAR might want to take a page from their playbook. Here is the short list of things that would be good for Nascar.
1) Franchising: Creates over-all stability among teams and allows for the following.
2) Revenue Sharing: There is a reason why in the NFL the teams with ‘deep pockets’ don’t have a significant advantage over ‘small market’ teams
3) Salary Cap: In Nascar, it would be more of a ‘spending cap’, where all teams would be held to an equal budget mainly based on the revenue share.
Now Susan, had your ‘pretending’ dealt with Hockey and the NHL and the things that league went thru before the lockout, I would have been drinking that Austin water with ya! The problem and the points you are making just might have more to do with the bad decisions of the Nascar team owners, not the governing body itself. The Nascar team owners unwillingness to agree to keep costs down with a spending cap, to develop drivers, to even allow for these developing drivers to have a series to show their talent without diluting ¾ of the field with CUP drivers. That just might be the real ‘pretend’ problem.
See ya in a couple of weeks High Groover, we will keep the light on for ya!