One of the most-used buzzwords in today’s National Football League is “parity.” Salary caps and revenue sharing have ensured that every team, in theory, can compete for Super Bowls. It’s the most American of ideals (well, other than the revenue sharing and whatnot - socialism!); with gumption and hard work, any team - even the Cardinals! - can reach the pinnacle of the sport.
(What is Jerry Jones smoking?)
At least, that’s the storyline the NFL wants you to believe. The truth is that not every NFL team is created equal, and some teams have a hell of a lot more cash than others. In Jacksonville, the recession has wiped out their fans so badly they can’t even fill the stadium or get on local TV. Every team manages differently in these troubled times. Take the Cowboys, in comparison. They’ve reacted to the worst economy in decades by…jacking up ticket prices 90% over last year. And a happy recession to you too.
As much as football coaches and players like to think they’re independent Alpha Males boldly willing their teams to victories with superior scheming and execution, the fact of the matter is that football is mostly a game of sheep. Coaches are scared out of their wits to deviate from the tried and true, and players are creatures of superstition and routine. When a coach actually sticks his neck out and tries something even mildly different he’s hailed as a visionary genius, even when said thing has been around for generations *cough*Wildcat formation*cough*.
And then when one football player/coach tries something, there’s a mad rush to copy the pioneer. Again - Wildcat formation. But such copycattery is not limited to gameday routines or play formations. Take financial fraud, for instance. You get one measly coach caught up in a real estate scandal and suddenly the entire NFL is falling over themselves to follow suit.
In many ways, the world of sports has been somewhat shielded from the massive economic meltdown affecting the rest of the world. Sure, the Yankees are having trouble getting people to the ballpark, but with an average ticket price of $230 and a sub-.500 record, those seats would be a tough sell in the best of times.
(No, it’s not.)
Other tough sells in a down economy are things like $250 basketball shoes and $100-plus basketball jerseys. That, however, is what Nike has continued to foist on the world’s sports fans despite the worst recession in generations. Today, this flawed business plan has come back to bite Nike in the rear of their overpriced athletics short as the sporting goods giant announced massive layoffs. Just do it, indeed.