Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nailed to the cross. Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell

Jerry Jones, the ever-present, flamboyant owner of the Dallas Cowboys said the Super Bowl held at his mega-stadium was a huge success. Excuse me? While it was a great game, between him and Roger Goodell, aka God, or at least commissioner of the NFL, they couldn't have possibly screwed everything else up much worse.
JJ managed to get his palace built at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion dollars. A lot of that money likely came from him leaning on his yee-ha, good ole boy, network deep down in the heart of Texas. And the taxpayers, of course, but they didn't matter.
A snowstorm hit the Dallas/Fort Worth area a few days before the game. While rare, it's certainly not unheard of in those parts. If he could afford to put a "jumbotron" screen above the field the size of Rhode Island, than he should be able to heat the roof, so there's no ice accumulating and sliding off it that might injure innocent bystanders. That might only cost as much as, say, one more politician.
Then there was the problem with "temporary" seating for out-of town fans. First, between JJ and the NFL, they had 2 weeks to pull this off. Second, the dome can be opened or closed, so the weather excuse goes out the window. Third, everybody available cubic inch in that building has already been accounted for (cha-ching), so where was he going to put temporary seats anyway?
Hundreds of fans with tickets never got in to see the game and had to watch it from a bar stool somewhere. They were rightfully not happy campers.
So what did the Roger the dodger and the NFL do to rectify the situation? Tried to make them an offer they couldn't refuse.
Free tickets, air fare, and accommodations to the Super Bowl of their choice in the next few years, along with a $2400 cash rebate. Sounds fair? Think again.
Most of those fans were coming from Green Bay or Pittsburgh to see THEIR team. Who knows if either team will get back to the Super Bowl anytime soon? As an example, would those same fans get the same thrill out of watching the Jets play the Falcons in a future Super Bowl, regardless of what city it happened in? I seriously doubt it.
The "devil is in the details" regarding the rest of the offer as well. Ask your tax person, but I suspect the NFL's offer would be considered taxable income. The "beneficiaries" of this rather, ahem, generous proposal, might be in for an unpleasant surprise on their 1040 the following year. Even if not, that would be several thousand dollars worth of stuff and it would have to show up on an IRS form somewhere, which would likely raise a red flag with those wonderful people called auditors. Good luck with that.
Besides, how would those fans know what they were getting? If they flew first class into Dallas or Fort Worth, would they have to settle for a "cattle car" with screaming babies the next time? If they put up big bucks to stay at a posh motel close to the stadium, within walking or cab distance, would they be relegated to a sleazy-easy 50 miles out of town the next time in the next city,and have to rent a car? Beats me, but I smell a rat.
The NFL rakes in somewhere between 8 or 9 BILLION dollars a year. While that's chump change to our federal government, you could probably lay $100 bills end to end from Earth to Neptune with that amount of money, or maybe even afford the courtside seat next to Jack Nicholson at Lakers' games. Well, unless the Celtics were in town.
Still, Goodell and Co. are being scrooges about this. $2400 dollars is an insult. A fair offer might be $100,000 each for the fans they screwed over, and to pay their taxes, if necessary. I dare say those people would be happy with that. Maybe it adds up to a hundred million dollars. Big deal. That's a little over one percent of their revenue, for only one year.
If I had the choice between giving up 1% of my revenue for a year or potentially facing a hoard of legal sharks smelling blood in the water, I'd gladly give up the C-notes. Of course, in my case, things are scaled down some. Those end to end bills would start from Earth and never find their way high enough to the wallet in my back pocket, let alone Neptune, but still -- it's all in what you can afford to make something bad go away.  Roger and his merry band of billionaires CAN afford it, their public relations people would have a field day with it, and it's possible a few of those fans could even afford to find their way courtside for the Lakers. If Cleveland was in town.

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