American Football is dangerously lacking in redneck participation and spectatorship. And apparently no one has told Roger Goodell, or he’s simply too dandified to know better. Without its minions of redneck guardians, the sport has been left easy prey for city slickers, tyrannical owners, agents and each party’s army of blood-doping lawyers so hopped up on their own oxygen-enriched red blood cells that they can sue you six ways to Sunday before you can say, “Are you ready for some football.”
In the old days (pre-1990) a hearty contingent of rednecks and urban-no-good-nicks ensured that football maintained a healthy lowbrow reputation, thus giving it’s swankier enemies no real good reason to target it. Instead global forces focused on perfecting the soccer riot while in the U.S. America’s pastime (remember baseball) was taking the heat. Hell, there once was as time when the Raiders alone ensured that anyone of a pretentious nature look away (leaving only two-bit lawyers and good-timing agents and a bunch of happy fans).
Then two things happened in the early 1990’s: the fall of baseball and the rise of NASCAR. While Canseco and the rest are juicing right through the 1994 MLB strike, California beach boy, Jeff Gordon storms to the top of NASCAR. Suddenly baseball is out of the spotlight, toppled from its pedestal, some say to never rise again. (You think this alone would be enough for NFL owners to get the hint.) Simultaneously NASCAR solidifies its presence as a no-longer-southern sport and begins gobbling up redneck fans across the U.S.
The NFL owners (and the league itself) saw this as their big chance to clean up their act. Creating rule change after rule change to protect players, stop drug abuse, and punish lowbrow behavior at the same time rednecks are being wowed by infield car fires and outrageous multiple car pile-ups, has lead us all to this inevitable bypass.
Now football is a life-shortening gentlemen’s sport (like the America’s Cup or snorting coke before it went mainstream) controlled more by lust of money than lust of blood. A devastating strike is the only feasible cure to the illness that inflicts the NFL. Break the league’s profit-harvesting spine and let the money-grubbing marrow drain out with a year of owners curling on cruise ships, and a Madden Playstation playoffs for the players. Once the sport starts seeing itself for what it really is, a barely-legal means of scapegoating society’s violence while gently fleecing fans, then we can all get back to it.[divider]
In the meantime, who’s up for some ultimate frisbee and an old-fashioned hog ride?