Tuesday, March 03, 2009

If the NFL Front Offices Were Fourth Graders Trading Football Cards at Lunch

While other professional sports leagues are hemmorhaging money, the NFL is thriving, and it's mostly because their business model makes no sense. Especially when it comes to the free agency season that began this week, the average fan needs an M.B.A. to follow his favorite team's moves. For years, the Players' Union played Rihanna to Commissioner Tagliabue's Chris Brown, and they're still paying the price, as the most dangerous, life-shortening sport has the least job security. When I heard a fan complaining today about how the Eagles could not re-sign defensive bullwark Brian Dawkins, I decided we had reached an impasse. To make sense of how teams can release franchise players with no warning and trade Pro Bowlers for fifty cents on the dollar to get under some nebulous cap number, I think we need a relatable analogy. That's why TANBR brings you "If the NFL Front Offices Were Fourth Graders Trading Football Cards at Lunch."

"While you were in the bathroom, I was rooting around in your Trapper Keeper for all your rookies. OMG j/k!"

Washingston Redskins
None of the other kids like Washington because his dad is rich and just buys him whichever individual players he wants from the card store. He never has to open packs to find the stars. Plus, he eats his boogers. Washington's parents are going through a rough divorce, so his dad is trying to buy his loyalty. On alternating Thursdays, he takes Washington to the card shop and tells him he can get whatever he wants. Washington decides on Albert Haynesworth for $100 million. His dad then throws in Deangelo Hall for $54 million, but only under the condition that the card stays at his house.

Did Mommy's friend spend the night?

Philadelphia Eagles
Like many kids who have been collecting for a long time, Philadelphia's main problem is that he doesn't have enough room in his binder for all the cards he owns. It's going to be a while before his mom can get him new plastic sheets from Sam's Club, so he has to get rid of some of his cards to give his favorite players prominent placement. He had Brian Dawkins in a center slot for years, but he has to throw the card away since the new Upper Deck series came out. He just doesn't have room.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle was out for three weeks with the chicken pox, so he was out of the loop when he returned to the card shop. With the money he saved up over the three weeks, he bought an insert TJ Houshmandzadeh card for $45 million and hurried home. Later, when he checked his Beckett guide, he realized that he was thinking of an older card. He overpaid.

My dad had a hang-up about pogs with skulls on them and always commented on players with tattoos. Hopefully, someone out there is discouraging greasy ponytails.

New England Patriots
New England has doubles of some really good cards, so he tries to swing a few deals with other guys to unload them. Since he has a complete set filled in on his checklist though, he decides to deal Matt Cassell for Snackwell's Devil's Food Cakes. As anyone knows though, Snackwell's Devil's Food Cakes are quite unpredictable. If they're kept below room temperature by the kid with the tiny Igloo ice chest for a lunch box, they can be delicious; but if you get them from some sweaty brown bagger, they're gross. New England decides to take the risk with Kansas City but then kind of regrets it. He almost trades for Denver's Oreos but calls it off at the last minute, to which Denver says, "You're not coming to my birthday party."

Houston Texans
Houston doesn't have a father and knows nothing about sports. On a whim, he decides to start collecting football cards. On his first trip to the card shop with Detroit of all people (the kid whose parents are being investigated by DHS because he smells like pee), he finds a Dan Orlovsky on the floor near the trash. He makes the mistake of asking the owner the price of the card, and the guy tells him, "You touch it, you buy it. $9.15 million."

Not having a father.

New York Jets
Other collectors in the class know that New York is a sucker when it comes to stars at the twilight of their careers. He has a brother who used to collect football cards but gave it up, so all of his information is a few years old. Everyone thinks he can pawn a Ray Lewis card off on New York, especially since it's a hologram. After taking a close look at the card, however, New York questions its condition. Sure, it's a hologram and everything, but it's kind of scratched up and inauthentic, like it came from a cereal box or something. He thinks better of it and gets Bart Scott instead for $48 million, rubbing it in by repeating, Handi-Snacks dribbling from his mouth, "I'm so glad I didn't waste all of my money on that stupid hologram card."

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota sits in the corner, sipping from his pink lemonade 10-K and scratching up desks with a protractor. The other kids try to include him, offering great trades just to be nice, but he declines with a simple "I'm good." Everyone suspects the worst.


Will said...


The King Of New Orleans said...


I must say that I am very impressed/amused by this post. Good job! Building on your thoughts I'd like to explain a trade I had with a kid over a Kurt Warner card. We started the trade last year and then he shows up recently for the transaction and it turns out its a Kurt Warner Upper Deck premium(what was the premium UD set again). Its the same card same stats but it just made itself polished to ask for more in the trade. Besides it was an old card anyway.