“NFL-Letters Have New Meaning”
This is the modern day National Football League, where everybody makes profits, from the brilliance of Robert Kraft in New England with Patriots Place, to Jerry’s World-home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Small market Green Bay is so very profitable, and even smaller market Buffalo, and the pride of the Tri State fan support, the Steelers.
It’s different in other leagues.
Early day life in the NFL was a hodge-podge of franchises that moved around. The Portsmouth Spartans became the Detroit Lions. The Decatur Staleys became the Chicago Bears. And there were franchises known as the Duluth Eskimos, Dayton Triangles, and the Pottsville Maroons in Pennsylvania.
There was the All American Football Conference with the likes of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, yes that’s right. Of course that league spawned the legendary Cleveland Browns and more.
There was the Continental Football League with the Toronto Rifles and Wheeling Neptunes.
We had upstart leagues, like the AFL, where the Chargers were born, but also containted failing teams like the New York Titans. It did merge with the NFL and the rest of history.
We had the World Football League. Anybody remember the Hawaiians and the Detroit Wheels.
There was the USFL, where President elect-Donald Trump owned the New Jersey Generals, and played the likes of the Washington Federals and the Arizona Wranglers.
And for awhile there was NFL-Europe with the Scottish Claymores and Frankfurt Galaxy and London Monarchs.
The Arena League had a place and a great run, remembering Kurt Warner and Iowa Barnstormers.
The XFL was here today, gone tomorrow, with its most famous player, a running back “He Hate Me”.
But modern day football is a raging success, only marred by franchise shifts, despite the profit brought in thanks to the great TV contracts.
But not everyone is a good operator.
Teams moved for lots of reasons, some triggered by renegades like Al Davis, who left Oakland, went to LA, sued the league and won, then went back to Oakland. He was the most successful of all.
The list of owners of transferred franchises come in all sizes and shapes and backgrounds.
The Chicago Cardinals were owned by Stormy Bidwell and family. They became the St. Louis Cardinals, then moved to the Valley of the Sun, becoming the then Phoenix Cardinals. A mom and pop, poorly run franchise.
The Baltimore Colts legacy, Unitas, Marchetti, Berry and Moore were put on a Mayflower Moving van and moved in the middle of a winter night during a snowstorm, by the disgrace that was then owner Robert Irsay. HIs son Jim inherited the team now in Indianapolis. Mention the father, and you can feel the hate.
The most painful move came when Art Modell, a tremendously influential owner in the NFL, responsible for the early years TV contracts and Monday Night Football, took the Browns out of Cleveland led them to Baltimore as the Ravens. That despite averaging 82,000-fans a game. Modell was a brilliant exec but over extended. He lived his life in exile, disgraced, never to be forgiven.
Bud Adams was eccentric, explosive, and overbearing. His Houston Oilers were beloved in the Bum Philips ‘Luv Ya Blue era’, but they left, headed to Memphis then onto Nashville. Stadium issues more than anything else triggered to move to the mid-south.
Georgia Frontiere inherited the Rams on the death of her husband. The franchise relocated from the LA Coliseum to Anaheim Stadium, was in a love relationship with its fans, though she was hated. It wound up going to St. Louis in a new TWA Dome, had success, then failed, was s old and now moved back to LA thanks to the maverick Stan Kroenke.
It all sets the stage of where we are today. The Spanos Family yanking the Chargers out of San Diego, again because of stadium issues. A team that has become a loser, run by a family looking for a money grab.
NFL history should write the Bidwell’s were the worst owners. Irsay was the worst person. Frontiere the most unethical. Modell the saddest case of near-do-well going bad. Team Spanos maybe the most greedy.
The NFL has a major crisis on its hand. Not just the concussion lawsuits. Not PED’s nor domestic violence. But rather this.
The money-grab that seems to be everywhere in the league. No idea what Roger Goodell, the Commissioner, is going to do about it. Not much of an idea of whether the filthy-rich owners really care what anyone thinks.
Old time coach Jerry Glanville had that favorite phrase he coined a couple of decades ago, as he ran the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL means “Not For Long” if you don’t play better.
Maybe the updated version should read.
NFL…”No Fan Loyalty”. Just ask Chargers fans what they feel this day.