Unconditional Love

When I used to teach, there were so many obnoxious kids in my class. I would wonder to myself ‘who in the world would love this creature? I bet his/her parent(s) are terrible’. Granted, I would right most of the time about the parents, but it is their kid. I get that.

Mainly because that is the way I feel about football.

Football is by far the most popular sport of all in the US and the NFL is by far the biggest behemoth of a sports organization in the world. If you need convincing, here are some facts:

  • NFL led all sports league in revenue last year with $11 billion. MLB was second with $8.7 billion and the Premiere League was third with $4.8 billion. Not even close.

  • All 32 teams are in the top 50 of estimated team worth (Dallas being #1 with $4 billion)

  • Everyone watches the Super Bowl. Well, not everyone. But in the US, around 80% of TV’s watched at least part of the Super Bowl against two cities that are not in the top 10 in US population.

Regardless if you think soccer is bigger internationally (using other value metrics) and American Football is the platypus of world sports (only in one country and weird), no one can disagree that the NFL rules the roost in America.

And I love it. Unconditionally.

How do I know this? Well, because the NFL does everything in it’s power for me to hate it.

Recently news has come out the NFL has ‘improperly attempted to influence the grant selection process’ in concussion research led by the NIH. In other words, the NFL wants to hide the fact their game is dangerous on a grand scale.

Read this thing, it should send chills.

Now obviously football is dangerous. I mean colliding into each other as hard as possible at all times may lead to harm. But for the NFL to outright try to downplay the long-term risk to the players, the very players that generate the money and interest in the sport, is so……..well…….expected.

Think about it. The NFL (in the way I am using the term ‘NFL’) is really the owners. And what do owners all have in common? Money. And lots of it. And what do all rich people have in common? They don’t like to part with money.

Whether the money was inherited (ala Robert Kraft, The Rooney family, the Hunt family, etc) or the money was ‘earned’ (ala Paul Allen, Stan Kroenke, etc), they all love value not just making money, but not letting other make more money.

Two months ago news came out the NFL (owners) ‘forgot’ to pay the players $100+ million dollars that was agreed upon by the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2013. Yes, you read that right….million! The owners said it was an honest mistake and cut the check. But you know as well as I do there was no forgetting in this.

I know players seem to be overpaid and that can rankle the average Joe fan and sometimes players seem entitled and greedy, but think about this:

The player who we all pay to see, has a short span of financial success, and literally puts their body on the line every week for our amusement or the owner, who tries to bilk the players out of every cent and goes out of his way to hide dangerous side effects of the job? Let’s put it another way: every player started playing their sport because they liked it and they were good at it. They play through pain and go out of their way to play despite being broken (when was the last time you were that eager to go to work and perform?). Every owner started their business to make money. So out of these two factions, who is more motivated by money?

There are even more examples of the nefarious nature of the NFL, but I’ll save it for another day (I may be needing for more material soon), but probably the saddest thing is that none of this matters. The owners can get away with all of this because their product is soooooo deliciously good, that is really all that matters to us in the end. I guess I truly understand the idea of unconditional love; no matter how dirty and disgusting the sport, the kid, or the whatever is, you just keep loving them.