doesn’t get too bloody or personal. But it appears that will be impossible to avoid given this weekend’s slugfest.
This will be like watching your parents fight in the living room, a Vince McMahon-inspired bloodbath where both sides will poke each other in the eyes and call each other liars and then go back to the corner for a standing eight, only to come back and brawl some more.
The wars that Major League Baseball fought with its union have been going on almost as long as the Middle East and the rest of the planet. Under Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw, I haven’t heard a word about NFL labor issues or war since I was a teenager. That’s kind of incredible when you examine the rest of the American sports landscape with the NHL shutting its doors for a full season and the NBA destined to repeat that scenario this coming fall.
It’s all cyclical. Twenty years ago, baseball was the king of American sports. Ten years ago, NASCAR saw unprecedented growth. Right now, look no further than 40 miles to the south where the Washington Capitals have somehow become the toast of D.C. via marketing, excitement and taking care of their fans. (Incidentally, we had as much fun on our Moosehead Puck Bus yesterday as we do at any Ravens game.)
The Orioles OWNED Baltimore for a generation and have fallen so far from grace (yet not from profit) that I can’t think of another American sports brand that’s been more dismal outside of the Los Angeles Clippers, who are similarly profitable. But the Clippers were never the centerpiece of a civic renaissance and a trusted brand that had a lovemark in the community.
And they’ve pissed it all away in a decade of poor ownership.
The NFL has the antithesis of poor ownership, as a rule. Even the lower lights such as Mike Brown, Bill Bidwill, Al Davis, etc. manage to field a competitive product because of the system and the power of the marketing minds in the league.
But there’s no law that says the NFL will be the king of the hill forever. And if any steroid scandal we’re to erupt on the backend of this mess – and NONE of us think anyone has EVER used steroids in the NFL, right? – it’s not unfathomable that people won’t feel so warm and fuzzy about the red, white and blue shield that borrow from the American flag itself.
Don’t think that this battle won’t be held up in front of the American people if it gets uglier and in August the roads to Westminster are empty.
It’s Day Three and I’m already mostly sideways with disgust