It is strange how situations end up flipping, cart-wheeling onwards through time; on February 9, 1950, Joe McCarthy said famously:
“I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”
Well I have a list of 32 — all members of the “National Football League”.
Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production, it was the definition of evil. Communism was evil before “terrorism” became the updated definition of evil, and after the original terrorists, “pirates”, became the subject of kid-centric Hollywood blockbusters in the constant merry-go-round of history.
Ironically the NFL mirrors all these “Commie” ambitions. There is no concept of relegation, teams’ change owners, often with huge uproar but in the end, the owners rule and the fans are of tertiary concern. Franchises can even be liquidated and moved, Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the United States, has not had an NFL team since 1994 after both the Raiders and the Rams relocated elsewhere. The NFL also shares the wealth of new talent in a totally communist manner. At the end of the season the worst team gets first pick and the best team gets last pick. Pick? In the UK it is a rampant free for all, players being signed at the age of 12 at the merest hint of talent. The Detroit Lions are an abysmal team, and they are abysmal with such a consistency that one could be forgiven for thinking that they have a cunning plan of Blackadder proportions, finish as near to rock bottom every year. In the US, get top draft pick every year and then, once the dream team has been built, explode onto the scene. The NFL is a stagnant lake, isolated from everything else. Can you imagine a top-flight English league without any transition? And can you imagine what that would do to the lower leagues? They would be throttled to death by avaricious owners , grabbing the necks of these minnows in the same way they grab money. The Lions have no true rivals – not in the Celtic/Rangers sense of the word , and noone really has a choice about who they support, you support the team in your state (if there is one). Everton and Liverpool play down the road from each other, most NFL teams play a plane ride apart. The season is hyperbole, as of 2006, The NFL season features a 4-game exhibition season (or preseason) running from early August to early September a 16-game, 17-week regular season running from September to December or early January and then a 12-team playoff tournament beginning in January culminating in the Superbowl in early February which is watched by most people for the new adverts and the half time music show. At the end of the Superbowl Football’s “World Champions” are crowned whilst the rest of the world sleeps.
Manchester United, Aston Villa, Liverpool, and soon Arsenal are all owned by Americans — crucially all these owners have experience with American teams, and the universally accepted draft method. The NFL draft is the opium of the masses, bad teams can always look to the draft to satiate their desire for BIG names – the system has utter power, but is also utterly flawed. Drafted players may ONLY negotiate with the team that drafted them (or to another team if their rights were traded away). The drafting team has one year to sign the player. If they do not do so, the player may reenter the draft and can be drafted by another team. Bo Jackson famously sat out a season in this way. The draft is supposed to even the competition out so finely that everybody is fighting on a tightly contested playing field, the reality is very different. Let’s not go down this street, we can still go back – please, please, let’s not go this way. My nephew tells me he hasn’t missed a hockey game for 90’s straight games, of course he means watching 90 games on TV. Games over here urge people to cheer; you shouldn’t need to be urged. Local rivals reside in another state, failure is sweet, you get 1st pick next season. Communism is alive and well in the USA — the draft system is their welfare state…. and the UK eschews a very American approach when it comes to football – long may it stay that way in Albion.