The fans deeply love the NFL, that feeling isn't reciprocated.

How the NFL Can Repair its Relationship with Fans

If you are an NFL fan and you aren’t upset right now then you’re either not serious, or you are imbued with a Gandhi-like virtue that I truly envy. Chances are though, you’re at least a little bit miffed at the current state of the NFL labor negotiations and the fact that both sides are threatening next season with that proverbial game of chicken they’re locked into. But to me, what’s most upsetting is the fact both sides, despite the empty lip-service to the contrary, legitimately believe fans will come back to the NFL no matter what they do.

The NFL takes its fans for granted unlike any of the other major sports leagues. Case in point, what other league’s championship completely abandon’s that sport’s typically fan-minded approach in favor of a larger mainstream audience who could care less about their product 51 weeks out of the year. Watching the Superbowl is more akin to watching the Oscars than an actual sporting championship. You think they make it like that for their actual fans? You think football fans want to see the Black Eyed Peas murder a Guns N’ Roses song or Cameron Diaz feed A-Rod popcorn?! They make sure the people with the Q-ratings have their seats while they sell the real fans tickets to pile around TV’s outside the stadium or to sit in seats that don’t even exist.

It’s all about money, it’s always been about money. And the fact they can’t agree on how to divvy up that money, nine billion dollars worth of it, means now we the fans may once again get shafted and this time instead of having to watch on TV’s outside, there may not even be football at all. Well I’m starting this today, and I hope you guys will come with me on it. Now that it’s very public just how much money the NFL is making in what is agreed upon to be a horrible economy, I’m taking a stand. If the NFL wants the full support of its fans back next season, don’t black-out a single game. Not one. No black-outs. Clearly, they are already making so much money they can’t decide what to do with it, let’s do them a favor and avoid causing more problems. No blackouts for all of 2011.

Now someone is going to point out that’s crazy, the NFL is a business they would never do that. I don’t care. The NFL banks off its fans, people are still going to go to stadiums and consume the product, but oftentimes when companies screw up they make a good-will gesture to placate their customers. This is the gesture I want. First of all I want the NFL to admit it is making a mistake. Nobody feels sorry for anyone when you’re crying about how you’re going to split up nearly ten billion dollars in revenue. Nobody. Stop appealing for sympathy, both sides are out of touch.

Second of all, what NONE of the owners talk about with regard to the pricey stadiums they need money back to compensate for is that WE also help build those stadiums. Taxpayers almost always foot a big part of the bill for stadium construction. Even if you’re not a fan of the NFL you’ve probably still helped build one of their stadiums and as such you’ve factored into their profitability. Yet unless they get a full house by Thursday, it doesn’t matter if you live in the area and your tax dollars payed for the darn place, you still aren’t allowed to legally watch what’s happening there. And if you do, the NFL actually has the balls to come after you.

No no, screw that. I’m tired of the fans being the ones who get screwed while a bunch of rich boys squabble about who gets a bigger piece of the pie. Regardless of what happens today, I’m starting a fan-oriented drive for no black-outs in 2011. It’s time the NFL rewarded the fans for their loyalty. And this is how. I’ll have more on this in the coming days and if you agree with me re-tweet or re-post this article. If enough pissed off fans make a stink about this, who knows?

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