Everywhere you look it's 9 billion dollars. That's the number that keeps being reported day after day after day. It's almost incomprehendable. I never thought that I would start to turn bitter when it comes to this labor situation. I figured that they would find a way to work it out before it got too ugly. Then I asked myself, at what point is this not already ugly? Hearing 9 billion dollars talked about everyday has made me take a turn for the worst and here's why...
The NFL has become such a giant because of one thing and one thing only....the fans. It's been said a billion times. Hard-working men and women spend their hard earned dollars to create this "pie" that everyone at the table now has the audacity to feel it's their right to the biggest slice. It's not your pie, it's our pie. I have never once been ashamed or felt wrong about the amount of money I have spent going to Arrowhead or taking my wife to Qualcomm this year. Those are/were unbelievable experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm paying to watch the best in the world do what they do and I do so willingly without hesitation.
I respect the players for the talent they have and the work they've put into their craft to get to where they are. I respect the owners for the product they've built in the NFL and that it is the most popular sport in the country. The NFL has never been bigger. But just like anything that has been popular before, it doesn't always stay that way. Most of the time things will begin to crumble and it becomes a cautionary tale for its followers to try and learn from for the future. I'm not saying that the NFL has a chance to completely crumble or anything like that. What I am saying is that the NFL has an opportunity to capture an expanding fanbase and capitalize on a growing business by not burning the bridges of those who built the road you're driving down. Last time I checked nothing that is described as a reason for why the NFL is where it is today has anything more to do with than the fans. And a little perspective might do everyone involved a little good.
I don't know everyones financial situation...obviously. We are all at different points in our lives and we all have different responsibilities. But to be honest it makes me a little sick when I start to think about all the things I have given up to make a gameday trip available. My wife and I flew into KC from San Diego to go to a Chiefs game with some friends. Needless to say it wasn't just a couple of bucks. We had saved up the money to take this trip because it was something that I wanted to to share with her. I had grown up going to games with my father before he passed. She knew how much it meant to me and the bond I felt with the team and Arrowhead and the bond I shared with my dad going to the games growing up. The time I spend on AP was justified in her eyes after we went to the Tennessee game this past season.
There is a certain percentage of our disposable income that we saved up in order to have an experience like that. I honestly believe if the players and owners would take that same percentage of their disposable income that we spend in taking this kind of trip, and apply it to something of their choosing, it may open their eyes a little bit to the disgust we could begin to feel when we don't feel as though our thoughts or feelings are being represented. We hear them talk to the media about how they care about the fans but I'm honestly starting to believe less and less that anyone really cares about what we think. We are smarter than they think and it pisses me off when I start to feel as though we are being taken for granted. They know how popular the NFL has become and one trip around AP tells them that we're still actively engaging in football talk, even if we're pissed about something, in March.
It's hard to explain exactly how I feel as a whole about this situation because I don't think I have the absolute right to tell a player that he should give in and the owners should get whatever they want.....and vice versa. Do what's best for you and your family. But don't pretend as if you are getting the short end of the stick when you give as much away at a night out at a restaurant or bar as I do saving up for a month to pay for a ticket that helps you pay for that dinner. Don't post pictures of your new Lambo or tweet whether or not you should file for unemployment. Chances are you'll find someone in line next to you that is willing to spend every dime they have to watch you play this game. That shouldn't make you cocky and arrogant, it should make you grateful and your actions are showing us that this isn't how you feel.
I feel as though there is a huge game of tug-of-war going on right now and I've personally got my scissors. I would have no problem taking a three-day trip to Cabo with that money and catching the games on TV. I won't say that I won't watch the Chiefs every Sunday because I'm not delusional and I won't leave AP, but I will say that you all are making it much easier to want to sit on a beach with my wife rather than continue to buy the ingredients for this fu*kin pie.
And I'm not alone.