Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

FOOTBALL THREAD....Anybody want to chat about their favorite football teams? I'll be cheering on the hated New England Patriots today.

Why? A couple of reasons, I guess. First, like any sensible resident of the Los Angeles area in the post-Rams era, I hate the NFL with a burning passion. Local LA politics might not give us much to be proud of, but it does give us at least one reason to hold our heads high: our steadfast refusal to give an inch to the smarmy blackmailers of the NFL who, to a man, are convinced that every city in the country should shower them with riches for the privilege of hosting one of their teams. The resulting cash, of course, goes to line the pockets of overpaid athletes and fat cat team owners, and if there are any less deserving recipients of public largesse in the galaxy than those two groups, I can't think of them.

So, um, there's that. But if I hate the whole league, why root for the Patriots? Partly because everyone else hates them, and partly because the company I worked for in the 90s bought a small business in Tyngsboro, Massachussetts, in 1996, and I spent lots of time flying back and forth to visit them for the next few years. I liked all the guys in Tyngsboro, and of course they were all Patriots fans, so I figured that I'd start rooting for the Patriots too. Thanks to Georgia Frontiere, after all, I didn't have anyone else to root for.

So that's that. Partly out of loyalty and partly out of spite, I'm a Patriots fan. How about you?

POSTSCRIPT: On the bright side, Georgia (with an assist from Al Davis) is reponsible for the fact that no NFL game is ever blacked out around here. So I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

Kevin Drum 3:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Comments

"Overpaid athletes"? I disagree. The sport is generating the revenue anyway. The money should go to the people who are actually having their ACLs torn for it, rather than team owners.

Posted by: UberMitch on January 20, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Even though I'm not much of a sports fan, I also root for the Patriots. I grew up in Massachusetts and now live in Kentucky which has no NFL team. My ex-husband loves the Colts, which means I don't, and the only other nearby team is the Bengels- enough said.

Posted by: KyCole on January 20, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why do people hate the Patriots? It's not like they're the Yankees: arrogant schmucks with an over-developed sense of entitlement, on a the best team money could buy.(Did I get all the Yankee-hating reasons in there?)

Posted by: Rubric's Cube on January 20, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Longtime Pats fan here.

Posted by: lux on January 20, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Why do people hate the Patriots? It's not like they're the Yankees: arrogant schmucks with an over-developed sense of entitlement, on a the best team money could buy.(Did I get all the Yankee-hating reasons in there?)"

Some insight from a Steelers fan...for what it's worth. My buddy and I were talking about this today...why do people hate the Patriots soooo much? I think it's this. Watching your team play the Patriots is about the most frustrating thing I can think of...there aren't many huge plays or overtime squeekers to say, "We may have lost, but wow that was a good game!" Watching them play your team gives you the feeling that your boys never had a chance...they just slowly and methodically pick your team apart right in front of your traumatized little eyes...and you begin to despise them for it, more and more everytime they do it. F#@$in' Patriots...

Posted by: drosz on January 20, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Football has never been the same since the careers of Howie Long and Steve Young were at their heights.

Howie Long...on rainy days...those massive, mountainous glutes and thighs stretching, covered in wet and muddy cloth. The agony when half-time ended and he came back in fresh, dry tights.

Steve Young: That pristine, manly perfection. Polite, classically attractive, yet with an anger and fire he could not hide and did not wish to.

Their friendship reached across the distance between two teams. Two such noble creatures, their muscles ever-heaving, they were different and yet complimentary.

How many thousands of men dreamed that the friendship between the two was complete, entire, consummated with passion and desire, until, spent, they fell to the floor, panting, exhausted, fulfilled....

Posted by: Anon on January 20, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm rooting for the Patriots this year, because for the last 35 years the '72 Dolphins have been acting like a bunch of first-rate jerks about their undefeated season, and I'd really like to see someone wipe the smirk off their faces.

Posted by: Adam on January 20, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I thought people hated the Patriots because of their coach. Their players, even if they are not superstars, seem to play well under his system.

Posted by: CarlP on January 20, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Meilleures salutations de Genève !

Animalement,
Atome_SAG

Posted by: Stop Animals Genocid on January 20, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kind of ironic, Kevin, that you start off with a screed against greedy NFL owners, and yet you're rooting for a team owned by one of the dirtiest bastards of them all. Kraft spent an entire year toying with the city of Hartford, CT in what was later revealed to be nothing more than a way to blackmail the state of Massachusetts into helping him get his new stadium built. Real class act, that guy.

As for "everybody hates them", well, yeah, for good reason. Their coach is a first-class bastard and their fans are insufferable. That's what you want to sign up for? Have fun.

Posted by: Toast on January 20, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Since Georgia died yesterday, I guess this is your idea of an epitaph.

Posted by: Mudge on January 20, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have no idea. I like the NBA (only at playoff time) and college football, somewhat. I might watch the games today, and maybe some of the superbowl. I usually pick teams based on which have the best colors and coolest helmets.

Posted by: luci on January 20, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you should consider rooting for Green Bay--a publicly-owned franchise whose recent stadium renovations were funded after public approval by referendum.

Posted by: jb on January 20, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'd have to concur with some of things on here, but I think the thing about the Pats is that there's something to hate for everyone.

1. The coach. Belichick comes across as soulless misanthrope who cares about nothing other than winning. The pieces in the NYT about him goading players to practice and play with concussions come to mind (although this is common in the NFL, it seems to be symptomatic of his makeup), his manner, his running feuds with former assistants like Mangini (even before the Tape-Gate scandal), and so on.
2. Cheating. It's hard to root for a cheater, and Tape-Gate fits the bill, even if many/most teams do it.
3. Their winning. People hate dynasties eventually. There's always a backlash.
4. The press coverage. The slavish adulation by many of the press hacks that cover football (notably Peter King at SI) is ridiculous. Calling them one of the greatest teams of all time four weeks into the season was ridiculous. Maybe they go on the list after the win the championship but not before.

Posted by: TheExile on January 20, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Longtime 49ers/Raiders fan here. A few random thoughts about the NFL.

1. I guess that if you are a liberal, you should definately root for the Patriots over the Chargers. Alex Spanos, the owner of the Chargers is a HUGE Republican donor who donates a lot of money to really shady candidates and right wing organizations. Robert Kraft, donates more to the Democrats.

see: http://www.newsmeat.com/sports_political_donations/

1A. Phillip Rivers is a major douchebag and Ladanian Tomlinson is a crybaby. I have to root for Tom Brady because I played against his high school football team...and lost.

2. Regarding the Packers and Giants. I have to go with Brett Favre and the Packers because it is such a great story. And, for the next two weeks, I would rather hear an endless storyline about Brett Favre then an endless storyline about "which Eli Manning will show up."

2A. Liberal reason to cheer the Packers. The Packers are the only publicly owned team in the NFL. Which means that they are not owned by some greedy, worthless, idiotic owners (such as the Yorks).

3. As a 49ers fan, I did not shed a tear when Georgia Frontiere died this past week. She was a horrible owner and a horrible person. She ruined the Los Angeles Rams so she could move them to St. Louis.

3A. As someone who grew up in the Bay Area, you really need a team in Los Angeles to hate. I'm sorry, but you can't work up as much hatred for St. Louis as you can for Los Angeles.

Posted by: adlsad on January 20, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Patriot's new stadium was done without any public money.

Posted by: bmf on January 20, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

TheExile,

It is funny that you mention Peter King of Sports Illustrated's slavish devotion to the Patriots, because I was thinking about something that he wrote the other day. It was after the division series and how this was "the perfect week for the NFL." It just struck me as odd because the press who cover the NFL never really criticize the league or Roger Goodell at all (the only exception that I can think of is Paul Zimmerman (Dr. Z) who is also at SI). They are always so fawning and slavish. It seems they can attack some people (like Michael Vick) but never criticize certain owners, the league, or certain teams.

I don't really know what I am getting at. I just seem to recall that someone wrote that Fox NFL pregame show was not allowed to criticize Cowboys owner Jerry Jones because he was in charge of the committee who determines which television company got rights to the NFC.

Posted by: adlsad on January 20, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

i hate the Patriots because they are a bunch of stupid assholes.

Posted by: bend on January 20, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad,

Tomlinson, contrary to what you wrote, is one of the classiest guys in the NFL. He understands how blessed he is, coming from a low-income, single parent household in destitute Waco, TX.

Rivers, however, is a total douche.

Posted by: yocoolz on January 20, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

You're from LA? Me too! Oughta have some kind of Santa Monica by the beach Wash Monthly monthly gab-and-drinkfest or something.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on January 20, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe you have a front page post where you mention Georgia Frontiere (twice!) and don't at least acknowledge that she died _the day before yesterday_.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3_HzrXG0SOtQTJ2xNCvKtcSjZGgD8U8LKJG2

Posted by: DaveOinSF on January 20, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think bend's explanation really nails it.

Posted by: Toast on January 20, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually rooting for the Pats. I've been following Brady since he was at Michigan (and I am a Michigan fan, although I never went to school there, go figure), and I enjoyed rooting for the Pats when they were underdogs and beat the Rams in the Super Bowl. I did root for the Eagles when they played the Pats in the Super Bowl, though.

Although if the Packers play the Pats in the Super Bowl, I'm rooting for the Packers. I've lived in Wisconsin long enough that I root for them 14+ games a year (i.e., except when they play my beloved but completely inept Detroit Lions).

Posted by: mwg on January 20, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad, I agree with you on Dr. Z. I don't always agree with him, but he's an incredible football mind and you feel like you're getting the straight stuff from him. I can't believe that they haven't made him more the face of their football coverage. I guess King is better on TV, which probably explains the way he covers football, since he has to maintain his access in order to get scoops, which he needs to be on TV in the first place. Anyway, the sports press is pretty terrible, but I reconcile myself to the fact that it doesn't matter that much. Russert, on the other hand...

Posted by: TheExile on January 20, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Like Hillary Clinton, the Patriots have demonstrated that smarts, hard work, and determination can turn one into a dynasty, even if everyone hates your freakin' guts.

Posted by: lampwick on January 20, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

You omit the biggest reason LA doesn't have a team - it is used by the NFL and every other owner as a threat over their municipalities that they could move here. It has worked very well in several cities.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on January 20, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

As for "everybody hates them", well, yeah, for good reason. Their coach is a first-class bastard and their fans are insufferable.

First among their insufferable fans is that insipid tewrp Bill Simmons, the ESPN writer, who uses his national platform to define Boston and New England sports as the epitome of perfection and relevance, win or lose.

Posted by: DJ on January 20, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

i hate all teams from new england -- pats, celtics, red sox.

raid sports fans are losers but sports from new england are the absolute worst. what a bunch of insufferable bastards.

Posted by: Auto on January 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

"First among their insufferable fans is that insipid tewrp Bill Simmons, the ESPN writer, who uses his national platform to define Boston and New England sports as the epitome of perfection and relevance, win or lose."

You mean it isn't? Heresy!

Go Sox, Pats, Celts, and Bruins! :D :D

And anyway, would you rather have those evil New Yorkers defining perfection and relevance? ;-)

Posted by: Steve M on January 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

I like to watch football but hate what the NFL is doing to taxpayers.

Here in Indianapolis taxpayers are building an 800,000,000 new stadium. Funded by a 2% sales tax.

As an aside the Colts got a variance on putting the required number of drinking fountains in a public building so the low lifes can sell $4.50 bottled water.

Can't wait for the Colts to suck. I'm through.

And I've got no problem with the players making as much as they can. Ticket prices and salaries have nothing to do with each other.

Posted by: jharp on January 20, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Headline for an AP Sports story about today's Packers-Giants game in Green Bay:

"Plummeting temperatures mean frozen balls and sleeveless jerseys"

Posted by: Swift Loris on January 20, 2008 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

My reasons for supporting the Patriots are similar to yours - I never met anyone from Boston who I didn't like.

Posted by: Brenda Helverson on January 20, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

I remember rooting for the Chargers when they were in the AFL. Always loved their costumes etc.

Don`t care which group of man-boys comes out of the season as "the winner". People around the world are going to bed cold & hungry; many probably will grow up to be terrorists just like their elders.

Bread & circuses rule the day.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

Posted by: daCascadian on January 20, 2008 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody seriously think it didn't help to know what plays other team were running? You can make the argument that this year's edition has proven they don't need it, but that doesn't mean anything with respect to past teams and what was almost certainly a case of serial signal stealing over the years.

OTOH and leaving that aside, they did earn two Super Bowl rings, so they're obviously good. Just not THAT good.

Posted by: drinkof on January 20, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

The patriots win because they get to hold, both sides of the ball.

Bellichek is a top notch coach, his players are disciplined and his game plans are good, but they go to the Superbowl 75% of the time, because they get to hold.

Posted by: realist on January 20, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

The salaries of NFL players are the pro salaries I least object to. NFL players really risk their bodies for the game, and many endure lifelong pain or limited movement after their careers are over.

Plus, playing in the NFL is the hardest work of any sport.

Posted by: McCord on January 20, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Go Pack Go!!!

I'm wearing my cheesehead hat and waving my pom-poms!

Posted by: grapeshot on January 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

No apologies needed Patriot fan here. I live in Maine...who else would I root for?

But I just want to say (and I know I date myself with this), I was a big LA Rams fan growing up. They used to be the late game on CBS every Sunday. I was in awe of Roman Gabrial and the Fearsome Foursome. I think there are lots of ex-LA Rams fans in New England because we saw them as much or more than we saw our Boston Patriots.

Posted by: Innocent Bystander on January 20, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why I always hated Georgia Rosenbloom -

"In 1957, Frontiere, a well known Miami dancer, began running with an elite crowd. It was Joseph P. Kennedy, father of future president John F. Kennedy, who introduced Frontiere to Carroll Rosenbloom, her sixth of seven husbands, NFL owner and millionaire uniforms manufacturer.

Frontiere inherited ownership of the team, then based in Anaheim, California, in 1979, after the death of her husband. Rosenbloom, an avid ocean swimmer, died mysteriously in the Atlantic. Although no evidence of foul play was uncovered, it is rumored that Rosenbloom, a high stakes gambler, was killed over failure to repay debts. The PBS series Frontline investigated the story and reported mafia involvement. Rosenbloom left the team to Frontiere in his will, but it is speculated that this was only for tax purposes and that Rosenbloom wanted his son Steven to assume control. However, Frontiere quickly dismissed her stepson from the organization and assumed full control to the chagrin of many Los Angeles Rams fans."

Football was never the same to me after she swindled the team away to St. Louis.

Posted by: wolferj on January 20, 2008 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

The one thing I love about the Green Bay Packers is that citizens of Green Bay collectively own the team. Right now, they are the only publicly owned company in American Sports. Thus, you never hear of threats to move the Green Bay Packers from their small city because the owners are invested in the town.

It's been a very successful model in Green Bay, yet professional sports seems to prefer individuals or corporations owning a team. So, as a result, the St Louis Cardinals are now in Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams are in St. Louis.

Posted by: PE on January 20, 2008 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Overpaid and spoiled. They contribute nothing to society. Neither do the vast majority of the owners. Sports franchises should be owned by local governments; cities, counties, townships!

Posted by: Avenger on January 20, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

As an aside the Colts got a variance on putting the required number of drinking fountains in a public building so the low lifes can sell $4.50 bottled water. -jharp

That's what's fucked up with this country in a nutshell.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 20, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

One reason to root for the Patriots: if they win it all Gregg Easterbrook's head might finally explode!

Posted by: C.L. on January 20, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

PE: "It's been a very successful model in Green Bay, yet professional sports seems to prefer individuals or corporations owning a team."

The Green Bay Packers are the exception to the rule, because the NFL specifically exempted the city of Green Bay and the Packers from the league rule stating that teams cannot be publicly owned.

The Packers and the Boston Celtics are the only two teams in professional sports to publicly trade shares issued at public offerings. In the Packers' case, there is a stipulation to stock ownership that requires the shareholder to re-invest all dividends back into the franchise.

When the franchise needed to raise money in 1997 in order to continue competing with the likes of the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, etc. -- whose multi-millionaire owners all had deep pockets -- the franchise issued its first public offering in decades. All the shares issued were snatched up within hours.

The Packers are also the last original NFL team, dating back to the league's founding in 1919, that is still residing in its original home city. As such, they reflect the league's humble roots, and bring with them a certain cache. And of course, it doesn't hurt that the city came to be known as "Titletown, U.S.A.", after the Packers franchise dominated the NFL and won five league titles during the 1960s.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 20, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit! Another Manning in the Superbowl...

Posted by: adlsad on January 20, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the loss, Pack.

As much as I hate dynasties, I hate New York teams more. Go Pats.

Posted by: mkultra on January 20, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Romney (Mass.) vs. Hillary (NY)...

Hmmmm.

Posted by: mlkultra on January 20, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose it's a little late to weigh in considering I already know who is going to be in the Superbowl (Pats vs. Giants), but I'm cheering for the Pats to win. Indianapolis hosed the Browns out of a playoff spot by not even trying against the Titans (yes, I know the Browns could have locked it up against Cincy, doesn't excuse the Colts for not even trying though). Since I live in Indy, pretty much anything that annoys Colts fans has become my standard.

Posted by: Kit Smith on January 20, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

GO BIG BLUE!!! how sweet, how improbable!

Posted by: dcgiantsfan on January 20, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the Chargers, who played a decent game except for tackling, are thinking this run to the AFC will buy them a new, billion dollar stadium. Fortunately for San Diegians, the city is on the verge of BK and the mayor said we can't afford. So now the chargers, owner building billionaires, The Spanos, are trying to bilk poor Chula Vista, a bedroom community just south of SD, out of millions and free coastal land. I hope they don't don't fall for it, but they might. Agree, with abov, footballers deserve the money, but the frigging owners always have their hands out.

Posted by: The fake fake al on January 20, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well... here's a vote for the best possible half-time music event...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 20, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Even though I now live in Minnesota, I was born and raised in NYC, and have always bled Giant Blue (cheering on the Jets is an exercise in futility and frustration).

I was shocked and amazed they pulled it out tonight in Lambeau. I think they are going to be roadkill for the "Patsies" but I am happy they are going to the Super Bowl again.

Posted by: Paul on January 20, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

TOAST - What an appropriate sobriquet, you're it. Go Pats.

Posted by: horatio on January 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

And TOAST, don't you even slightly mistrust someone called BEND calling anyone asshole, without considering irony, let alone agreeing with him?

Posted by: horatio on January 21, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing like rants from the ranks of the last-picked.

Posted by: sherifffruitfly on January 21, 2008 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking of making a bumper sticker that says, "L.A. -- An NFL-Free Zone." Today the 110 was gridlocked. Wednesday the 110 was gridlocked. I didn't use the 110 on thursday, Friday, or Saturday, but others tell me it was gridlocked. We certainly don't need another day of the week where the 110 and the 10 are jammed solid. Councilman Parks desperately wants an NFL team in the Coliseum, which would jam both freeways. It's obviously not going to happen.

The guys at Cal Tech and Stanford have been refuting the idea that NFL teams bring prosperity, and doing so for three decades or so; it's curious that the pols don't listen. And even if an NFL team allowed the city to more or less break even, bringing an NFL team here would mainly serve wealthy law firms and the like; it's not really a sport for the common folk.

Posted by: Bob G on January 21, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Currently all the sports media pundits are killing Roger Clemens for using steroids. "He cheated!!!" they cry. Yet the cheatriots cheated for years and received an historical penalty for it. No media outcries against them however.

In fact the media is helping the NFL suppress a cheating scandal that would rock the league if it were actually exposed.

Posted by: BobbyK on January 21, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

mlkultra: "Romney (Mass.) vs. Hillary (NY)..."

Yet we know going in that, whatever happens on the field, the real winner is Arizona.

Posted by: Mario on January 21, 2008 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'll root for the Pats if for no other reason than that one 72 Dolphin guy is such a fucking asshole "don't talk to me when they're in our neighborhood, talk to me when they're in our driveway...". Or something like that. Was about the most classless rant I've ever heard in sports.

I hope the Pats win just to shut that fuckwad up.

Posted by: sherifffruitfly on January 21, 2008 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

I am an Eagles fan. The Eagles played the Patriots in a really tight Superbowl. In fact the Eagles led most of the game, and were in a good poistion to at least tie it at the end. Then McNabb choked. It seemed like a great game, and the Eagles players pointed out that the Patriots just seemed to call all the right counter plays, etc. Now I know that it was due to cheating. I have nothing against the players, but this team does not deserve thier dynasty. That's why I do not want them to win the Superbowl.

Posted by: Geoff on January 21, 2008 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Donald From Hawaii -

Close, but not quite, on a couple counts:

"The Packers and the Boston Celtics are the only two teams in professional sports to publicly trade shares issued at public offerings. In the Packers' case, there is a stipulation to stock ownership that requires the shareholder to re-invest all dividends back into the franchise."

There is no trading of the shares of the Packer organization. If I remember correctly, if you want to get rid of your share(s), you must surrender them ONLY to the Packer organization, for no money. (I'm going by memory, because right this second, I can't remember where my one share is!)

And there are no dividends; it is true that any and all corporate profits are put right back into the organization. But if that were to happen the way you describe, I'd have to pay taxes on the dividends.

There is, in fact, no benefit whatsoever to owning the stock; no profits, no dividends, no trading of shares, it doesn't even help you move up the waiting list for tickets (except for, I hear, a pretty decent tour of Lambeau Field after the annual stockholders' meeting). Buying the share was essentially making a donation of $350 (?) towards the re-modeling of Lambeau.

"The Packers are also the last original NFL team, dating back to the league's founding in 1919, that is still residing in its original home city."

The Packers were indeed founded in 1919. That which became the NFL (the 'American Professional Football Association') was started in 1920. But the Packers didn't join until 1921 (And by then, the Decatur Staleys had moved to Chicago, becoming the Bears in 1922). So, even though the Packers as a team pre-date the NFL, they are not an "original" team.

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Boy, you'd think that if all I was gonna get for my $200 (not $350) was a lousy stock certificate, I'd take more care in where I kept it!

I found it. It says right on the front "The holder hereof understands and agrees...that no dividend shall ever be paid on said stock...".

The other question that always comes up - and lots of times is answered incorrectly - is 'What happens if the Packers go out of business? Are the shares worth anything then?'

From my copy of the 2003 Packer Media Guide:
Baesd on the original 1923 Articles of Incorporation, "if the Packers franchise was sold, after payment of all expenses, any remaining monies would go to the Sullivan-Wallen Post of the American Legion in order to build "a proper soldier's memorial."

At the time of the 1997-1998 stock sales, the beneficiary was changed from that American Legion Post to the Green Bay Packers Foundation (even though the Sullivan-Wallen American Legion Post still exists).

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Why the hatin' on Philip Rivers? Methinks y'all have fallen for the media narrative, that seems to need to cast him as a bad guy without any real evidence of bad behavior. You think Brady doesn't trash talk? How about the Patriot who stuck his finger in a Jaguar's eye after the play?

Sheesh.

Posted by: other lisa on January 21, 2008 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

I always love hearing people whining about how the Patriots cheated by filming on the sidelines without actually looking into what the rules say a team can and can't do.

The fact of the matter is that filming an opposing teams signals is legal, however according to rulebook (quoted by the NFL when the Patriot's punishment was meted out) all filming must be done from an area off of the field and fully enclosed by four walls and a roof. You can actually see coaches and players using still shots of the game obtained this way during games. Where it gets interesting is that the rules say that these restrictions apply to footage being used during the game. Bill Belichick used some rather strained legal reasoning to conclude that he could have someone film from any location as long as the footage obtained wasn't viewed until after the game was over. The Patriots were caught doing this several times over the past few years and each time Belichick claimed that the rule wasn't clear and that if the NFL wanted him to stop they should clarify it. At the beginning of this season the NFL didn't actually clarify the rule itself but they did issue a memo making it clear that their interpretation of the rules was that any filming on the sidelines was prohibited. Belichick being the stubborn dick he is (and know that as I type this I'm wearing my favorite Pats sweatshirt) decided that since they didn't actually change the rules he could just go ahead and keep using his personal interpretation and taped during the game against the Jets. This time having made it pretty clear how they interpreted the rules the NFL came down hard on him.

Now did Belichick and the Pats deserve to get fined for pretty blatantly violating an NFL rule after being warned repeatedly not to? Absolutely, however the rule they violated was filming the opposing team from 20ft closer than they were allowed. Is it really cheating that they didn't have to put a telephoto lens on the camera?

Posted by: Nied on January 21, 2008 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I hope I am telling you something you already know, but Georgia Frontiere passed away within the last two weeks...

No one seemed to mention her in the past tense, so I thought I would bring it up.

By the way, the outcome of the Super Bowl is looking as inevitable as the outcome of this year's presidential contest. How boring.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 21, 2008 at 6:19 AM | PERMALINK

When the franchise needed to raise money in 1997 in order to continue competing with the likes of the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, etc. -- whose multi-millionaire owners all had deep pockets

I disagree with your premise here. Between the salary cap and the equal split of the TV money, the "deep pockets" of the "multi-millionaire owners" have less effect on the NFL than on almost any other pro league.

BTW, New York's multi-millionaire (Steve Tisch) only owns half of the team. The other half still belongs to the family of Tim Mara, who bought the club for $500 in 1925.

Posted by: Thlayli on January 21, 2008 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

Incredible. With San Diego a mere 50 miles away or so from where you live, you choose to root for New England.

Incredible.

Posted by: chuck on January 21, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Chicago Sun Times's Jay Mariotti has said it best:
"...add Belicheat to the crook list.
We can't even believe now in the one staple of 21st-century greatness in sports, the so-called 'Patriot Way,' because the coach of the three-time Super Bowl champs masterminded an illegal operation that videotaped the opponents' offensive and defensive signals.
The specific episode that busted Belichick and the New England Patriots came Sunday at Giants Stadium, when a team video assistant, Matt Estrella, had his camera confiscated while standing on the sideline of a New York Jets team coached by Belichick's protege, Eric Mangini, who ratted out his former boss and won't be getting backstage passes for Bon Jovi shows anymore.
But there also is evidence of previous video scammery by the Patriots, including last season in Green Bay, which casts a permanent taint over the dynasty and prompts many dark thoughts."

And, significantly, Cheating Coach Bill Belichick released this statement back in September:
"I accept full reponsiblity for the actions that led to tonight's ruling."

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 21, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Although I'm from New England my father's family is distantly related to the Mara family. Blood is thicker than chowder -- Go Giants!

I grew up watching Yelberton Abraham Tittle & his teammates -- Del Shofner, Frank Gifford, Alex Webster, Roosevelt Brown, Andy Robustelli, Sam Huff, Erich Barnes, Joe Morrison. Pete Gogolak, the NFL's first soccer-style kicker came later --

You say that football players are overpaid. That implies you know what a correct salary for them would be. What are those figures?

Since there is typically only one football team per city, are you proposing to regulate them like utilities?

Did you know that the Buffalo Bills paid Gogolak (a Cornell graduate!) the princely sum of $10,000 in 1964, the year before he want to the Giants? Was that what you consider a fair salary, Kevin? FYI, the Giants paid Lawrence Tynes $428,850 for the 2006 season.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 21, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Well, living in New England, where for many years the term "long-suffering sports fan" seemed redundant… Go Patriots!

Posted by: ACK on January 21, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

nied, your extended minimization of what was obviously the tip of the iceberg of a spying operation reminds me of the various (usually inconsistent) explanations of why the 'tuck rule' call was made. Didn't make sense then, doesn't make sense now. Unless, after you tuck, you are literally incapable of fumbling for the remainder of the play, no matter what.

That the Patriots first trophy resulted from such an absurdity was always mitigated by the subsequent wins. Until now ...

Posted by: drinkof on January 21, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Well, living in New England, where for many years the term "long-suffering sports fan" seemed redundant… Go Patriots!

You have spoken a deep truth.

One can't rightly talk about fans being "insufferable" who have watched a weak ground ball dribble between Buckner's legs. There cannot be too much victory to cure that pain.

This is, I hope, with the Red Sox, Patriots, and the Celtics, the annus mirabilis for New England sports fans. Such a spectacle will cross our skies less often than Halley's comet. I intend to enjoy it, and be as smug as I want to be.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 21, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

As a resident of Miami, here is another good reason to root for the Patriots this season to go 19-0 and win the Super Bowl: to shut up the '72 Dolphins.

Posted by: bushworstpresidentever on January 21, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Many people in St Louis would like to give the Rams back to LA.

Posted by: trashhauler on January 21, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Good god.
If all of you Pats hating crybabies think BB is the only coach interpreting the rules to benefit his team, you are delusional. Why no outcry from other coaches (other than that ass Shula) or the media? Because they all know that what BB did is done by them all. BB forced the issue and got caught. Mangini is a pussy. And, really, do you think the Pats have had their successes all due to taping the other side's signals? Come on. As it has been pointed out..it was matter of from where he taped, not that he taped.
As for Boston sports fans...insufferable? Sometimes. But any more than, say, Jets fans harrassing women? Or worse than any other overly zealous fans anywhere who take these things way to seriously. I enjoy the Pats, win or lose. If they had lost yesterday, it would have been congrats to the Chargers (PR is a dick btw)and no reason to watch the SB. But if you have time to hate another team...you have too much time on your hands. There are more important things going on...like hating the Clintons and fearing the rise of John McCain.

Posted by: DCpatsfan on January 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on January 21, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding..

"One can't rightly talk about fans being "insufferable" who have watched a weak ground ball dribble between Buckner's legs. There cannot be too much victory to cure that pain."

While the Red Sox indeed had their share of heartache over the years and the Patriots were indeed a very bad team for a long time, this is certainly a time where Boston sports fans are perhaps the most blessed in all of professional sports. Furthermore, while their baseball and football fans suffered through years of bad luck, the Boston Celtic franchise is one of the most successful in all of sports and the Boston Bruins have won a few cups as well.

Compare the fortunes of Patriots/Sox/Celtics/Bruins to that of Browns/Indians/Cavaliers or even that of Bears/Cubs/Bulls/BlackHawks and I think the New England sports fan has done all right. Even when you compare Patriots/Sox/Celtics/Bruins to Giants/Yankees/Knicks/Rangers, it is only baseball where New Yorkers have had the good fortune and, even then, their good fortune was so last century.

Posted by: PE on January 21, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I should have said that the New York Giants have had success. I just don't think it can be said that they have had better fortune than the Patriots.

Posted by: PE on January 21, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thlayli -

[When the franchise needed to raise money in 1997 in order to continue competing with the likes of the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, etc. -- whose multi-millionaire owners all had deep pockets]

"I disagree with your premise here. Between the salary cap and the equal split of the TV money, the "deep pockets" of the "multi-millionaire owners" have less effect on the NFL than on almost any other pro league."

While what you say about the salary cap, etc. is undoubtedly true, what Don says about staying competitive is also true.

The 1997-1998 Packer stock sale was used primarily (exclusively?) to renovate the stadium, adding something like 15K or 20K more seats, greatly expanding luxury boxes, etc. That was in order to generate more revenue, which was in turn used to upgrade locker facilities, practice facilities, etc. And those kind of amenities help the Packers draw players to Green Bay that might not otherwise want to come (see Charles Woodson's recent comments about how VERY small, VERY white Green Bay being the last place he wanted to play - he didn't say it quite that way, but that was the gist of it.) It also helps them compete for higher-priced coaches and other front office people, another expense outside of the whole revenue-sharing salary-cap discussion.

Yes, money is the ultimate in fungible commodities, so savings from salary cap can certainly be allocated to coaching salary, etc, etc. But the more money an organization has, the more competitive it can be. And that's what the stock sale and remodeling were all about.

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Toast makes a most relevant comment. Kevin, you are rooting for one of the worst offender owners!

Also, ranting against union members, especially union members who often physically scarred by their work, seems a bit odd.

However, I also would like to see the 72 Dolphins put in their proper place.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 21, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

LA football fans should erect a statue to Ms. Frontiere. Without a franchise LA is able to see the better football games on TV. When the NFL came to my city, that was the end of TV broadcasting the best games.

Posted by: Brojo on January 21, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Go Pats. Kick some names and takes some ass.
http://www.flatustheelder.com

Posted by: Cliff on January 21, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Councilman Parks desperately wants an NFL team in the Coliseum, which would jam both freeways. It's obviously not going to happen.

I think everyone but Parks knows it's not going to happen. USC is in negotiations with the Coliseum to have it redesigned to their specifications rather than the NFL's, and there's a lot of back and forth.

As an alumna I was supposed to take USC's side and send a letter to the Coliseum owners, but that would require an interest in football that I really don't have.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 21, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

"I think everyone but Parks knows it's not going to happen."

And maybe the LA Times sports section. If I had a dollar for every time they have written about the NFL coming back to LA....I'd have enough money to buy a team and bring the NFL back to LA!

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Eli Manning in the superbowl?! Our country is definitely on the wrong track.

Posted by: Scott Herbst on January 21, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

As a life long resident of St Louis, MO., I am pissed that the our football team is not called the "Cardinals." Professional teams can move to another city but they shouldn't be able to take the name. STL Rams? Arizona Cardinals? Each are like unwanted step children.

Posted by: plane on January 21, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

...except the Cardinals started in Chicago, and spent 40 years there, while being in St. Louis for only 28 years, so...ahh...er...umm...well...gee...

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah...the Rams started out in Cleveland, so...ummm...

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 21, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Robert Earle,

You're right. But the Rams were in Cleveland for only 10 years, and only had one winning season (their last season in Cleveland in 1945, when they won the NFL). But Cleveland got the Browns who were much more successful (at least for the next two decades). The Rams then spent the next 50 years in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are bad wherever they play. And in Chicago, the Cardinals were always second fiddle to da Bears. And by "second fiddle," I mean "distant second and never able to compete with the Bears."

Speaking of which, I wish that the Oilers would move back to Houston (or the current team in Houston take back the Oilers name). If there is one team name that I thoroughly despise, it is the Houston Texans.

Posted by: adlsad on January 21, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Flashback to shortly before the Iraq invasion - Brady sitting like a big tool as the President's special guest during the SOTU speech allowing himself to be used as a cog in the larger marketing scheme which led up to the war. Screw him. Pretty young Republican stooge willfully offering his services to that cluster-fuck. I hope he steps on an IED when he fades back to pass - miserable fuck.

Posted by: Chris on January 21, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

nied, your extended minimization of what was obviously the tip of the iceberg of a spying operation reminds me of the various (usually inconsistent) explanations of why the 'tuck rule' call was made. Didn't make sense then, doesn't make sense now. Unless, after you tuck, you are literally incapable of fumbling for the remainder of the play, no matter what.

Hey bad officiating happens, sometimes it benfits you sometimes it doesn't. The Pats got called for facemasking last year in the AFC championship and it may very well have cost them the game despite the fact that facemasking hasn't been a penalty for three years.

But I'm more interested in how I'm "minimizing" something thats clearly allowed. I can quote you the rule that says where you are allowed to film the opposing team (the one the NFL says the Pats broke) can you quote me a rule that says "Ha ha just kidding you can't film anywhere"? And if not are you actually telling me that not needing a telephoto lens is cheating? Is Pass Interference cheating in your book too?

Posted by: Nied on January 21, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a die hard Pats fan, but I'm sure if I was from another city I would despise Belichick. I mean really, if he's not winning games for your team, what's there to like? But this tape thing is so overblown it's ridiculous. The Pats weren't sneaking a camera in to secret practices. They were filming what the assistant coaches were signalling in full view of everyone in the stadium. So claiming they didn't really beat the Eagles just reinforces the punk image Philly fans enjoy. They shouldn't have done it, they got caught and got whacked pretty good, but it's not like they were stealing playbooks, for crying out loud. Anyone who has watched Brady for any length of time knows exactly why they keep winning. And the internal discipline of the team is the envy of the league, as many coaches will admit. Do you think other teams keep hiring away the Pats personnel because they think all of the Pats coaches know how to operate video cameras?

As a side note, I lived in LA in the early 90s, and I clearly remembered Georgia screwing Steve Rosenbloom out of his birthright. She represented the fear of the kids of every rich guy. Dad marries a money grubbing showgirl then kicks, and the first thing she does is throw his kids out.

And as someone who never goes to football games in person (why sit in the cold to watch a game that's tailor made for TV?) I thought having two doubleheaders every Sunday was just fine.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 21, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

drinkof, what's this mean? "reminds me of the various (usually inconsistent) explanations of why the 'tuck rule' call was made." The tuck rule has been explained ad nauseum, and not inconsistenly (unless you're talking about the different casual fans you've asked about it.)

"NFL Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2. When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble."

The ref saw him pulling his arm back, which made it an incomplete pass.If you want to argue how his arm was moving, fine. But you'll just be saying you saw it differently than the ref. That's not the same as the rule not being explained clearly.

If you think a guy stepped out of bounds but the ref didn't call it, then go ahead and complain. But don't start talking about this crazy out of bounds rule no one can seem to explain.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 21, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

"dirtiest bastard"? Maybe Kraft did play games, but in the end the state of Massachusetts gave him almost nothing. A few road improvements around the new stadium. (For those of you not in the area, access to Gillette Stadium is horrendous. Modest improvements at state expense were not unreasonable). That's it as far as I know. Kraft already owned the site, so there wasn't even an issue of getting the locals to pony up the land. And the simple fact was that the political culture in the state simply has no brief for the sort of large-scale public-to-private handouts so common in pro sports. Such as, hmmm, George Bush's windfall from the folks in Arlington.

And that's one good reason for me to root for the Pats. They're doing it all on their own dime.

GO PATS! 19-0!

Posted by: RL_PatsFan on January 22, 2008 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, forget pro football (which rule changes have perverted into a quarterback's game to a ridiculous degree -- a Jim Brown couldn't dominate a game today) and let's focus on something really important: in 24 days, pitchers and catchers will report to Washington Nationals spring training in Viera, Fla.

Posted by: Vincent on January 22, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Let me second that emotion about the NFL ... in 2000 (or 2001), I tangled with Art Modell (at an academic seminar of all things) about his opposition to having a team play at the L.A. Coliseum. (Because it was in an awful neighborhood, Modell said: translation, a low-income black neighborhood. Never mind that USC plays in that stadium without incident.) I'm also proud that Los Angeles has refused to accept the NFL rule that a community MUST subsidize its stadium plans. Go, Patriots.

Posted by: melissa on January 22, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Um - how could the Pats have cheated against the Eagles when they hadn't faced them in the regular season and thus couldn't have illegally videotaped their signals?

Posted by: Matt on January 22, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

I assume they're talking about the Super Bowl after the 2004 season. New England 24, Philadelphia 21.

Posted by: Robert Earle on January 23, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Uhhh lets see... why do i hate the Patriots... Ummmmmm they cheated more than once and got what they diserved. A loss to the Giants. 18 and oooooooooo no

Posted by: Brandon on February 5, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK
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