Sorry to all the Scrooges, I’m not done with Christmas. Not yet.
Unfortunately, this year Santa Claus didn’t follow the instructions on my Christmas list (I thought I made it pretty clear). I managed to mail it to the North Pole; maybe he didn’t receive it, or maybe his elves couldn’t make it. I don’t know. All I know is that Mr. Santa didn’t buy me my stock in the Packers.
Before I indulge you with the details (I cried for two hours and later taught my little cousins some new words to describe Santa), I want to explain why I wanted a stock in the Packers in the first place.
I’m the kid who believes the Packers are my team. If I were living in Green Bay this may be true, since the Packers are community owned, but I don’t. This is my terminology when talking about the Packers…
We- “We need to get our running game going.”
Us- “Don’t be hating on us because we have the first seed in the NFC.”
Aaron (Rodgers)- “Aaron and I are really good friends. He’s coming over today to play some Madden.”
You guys- “You guys just blew that game against the Raiders.”
To put it simply, my friends don’t really appreciate it. They seem to think that because I’m not on the Packers, I can’t use that terminology. And so, that’s why I wanted a stock in the Packers: no longer would one of my friends be able to say that I’m not a part of the Packers organization, because, heck, I would have owned them.
After getting over Santa’s minor blunder, I realized that I don’t need a paper certificate (That’s really all it is considering it is non-tax deductible) for me to proclaim that the Packers are my team, and I urge all fans of all sports and of all teams to take a similar stance.
Let’s face it; we aren’t a part of our respective teams. I’ll be honest, if I went out on Sunday and played with the Packers, I think Ndamukong Suh wouldn’t even have to stomp on me, he could just fall on top of me, and I would be done. It would save him the headache of trying to explain why he tried to stomp a guy’s head off, and it would save us the headache from hearing every ESPN guy talking about how they like Suh’s toughness but think he took it too far (No? Really? I couldn’t tell).
But without the fans, these athletes are nothing. Without us cheering our asses off in sub -freezing temperatures, without us purchasing tickets, without us buying their merchandise, these NFL players are playing just another backyard football game. What’s to separate my CYO basketball game, or my uncle’s softball league from the NBA and MLB besides the rampant fan interest in the latter examples (OK, I guess the talent level is a little different too).
The game and the league, for that matter, would have no implications without its fans. When playing in front of an audience, the game feels more important, because it’s more than a game: it’s about winning for the team’s community, for their fan base.
Speaking from a strictly business perspective, it’s obvious that without fans the NFL, or any other sports league, would be nothing. Consider the new reported nine year television contract expansion the NFL agreed to with Fox, NBC, and CBS. Although the financial terms have not been released, the three networks are expected to pay roughly $3 billion a year (Forbes). Yes, you read that correctly, $3 billion. The only way the NFL receives this incredible amount of money is through the support of its passionate fans.
So the next time a friend asks you what you think of the Chiefs or the Royals, you can proudly say the re-occurring chant for both organizations, “We are building for the future.”