As I wrote my piece earlier, I was watching the opening ceremony for the Colts/Texans--more on that later.
When I saw that the players were holding the flag, well--I don't know if they actually ran with it from the field or if they grabbed a hold of it when the runners got to the sideline, but I thought that it was a real good move either by them or the NFL to be personally involved in the ceremony like that (I'm assuming that all the stadiums were like that).
Just a little while ago, my wife read my post and pointed out a typo. When I went back in to correct an idea hit me.
The NFL owes us.
These guys--and by these guys I mean the players and the owners-- put fans through a lot with all the crap surrounding the lockout.
I know the preseason is not considered to be very important, but I look forward to the Hall of Fame game every year as the first football game since the Pro Bowl. It doesn't matter that the game is not very good; it's football. I miss it.
All summer long these guys complained about money, respect and all sorts of other things. They even tried to act as if the players are suffering without paychecks. When fans and analysts pointed out that these guys make crazy amounts of money and only the irresponsible ones could be hurting for cash, the players countered talking about the amount they give to agents and other people.
I don't know the numbers, but even if these guys gave up half their salary to agents, publicists, security, trainers, nutritionists, lawyers, massage therapists, etc., rookies making league minimum in 2010 ($325,000) would still get over $160,000.
Average income per household in the U.S. is just over $50,000; it's less than $30,000 per person. Yeah, so every time I heard that I felt insulted (especially since I've been largely unemployed for the last three years).
When it came down to it, the owners and players were able to get their act together and come to an agreement with the Hall of Fame game being the only casualty. Like many fans, I was ecstatic, but after the crap the NFL had put us through (including a lot of their logic backing up things) I felt they owed us (the fans).
So when I heard about some of the fan-friendly things that teams were doing I thought that was a nice touch. I read about one team that lined up fans in a replica jerseys for the entire team and the player come out an autograph the jersey. That was pretty cool.
As I read my earlier post over and thought about the sacrifice that the men and women of the armed forces give every day protecting this country; the people on United Flight 93; the victims that died as part of the attacks and everyone who dropped everything and risked their own lives to help on that day and in the days after at Ground Zero--I could go on, but I think you get the point--I can't help but think that the NFL owes us.
I don't want anything from anyone, but if the NFL wants to really show its appreciation to the fans I think it needs to make a bigger gesture than signing jerseys. AND I have an idea.
I read a story about Bill Clinton and how he said he was going to help raise the additional $10 million that is needed to complete a memorial to the brave souls of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.
The NFL needs to make that donation; yep, the whole $10 million.
All summer long I read article after article that mentioned how the two sides were arguing over $9 billion in annual revenue so we are talking about just over 1 percent of a rather sizable pie.
If these guys really want to show some fan appreciation, I say they should show to some people who can't watch a football game with their families anymore some much deserved appreciation with more than a moving, 5-minute ceremony.