bill-swift - June 12, 2012
If you ever wanted proof that football players are not always the brightest bulbs of the bunch, look no further than the Arena Football League. Players are in danger of killing an awesome opportunity (play football and get paid) because they want more money.
Since the owners have not bent to their demands their have been some labor issues this season. Whole teams have been let go with replacement players brought in. Friday night the NFL Network cancelled a broadcast because they were not sure a game was actually going to be played. Another game was canceled when one of the teams decided to go on strike (just for that game).
This is stupid (no better way to put it folks).
Here you have a bunch of guys that are essentially getting paid--all be it not a princely sum--to continue living the dream that millions of kids have. They get to keep playing football and get paid for it. Ask anyone if they are in it for the money and most will say no. What they want is reason to hold onto the dream of making it onto an NFL roster. Every guy wants to be the next Kurt Warner.
Of course the vast majority will not be, and maybe some are starting to realize that, hence trying to get some more money out of the owners. Typically, players only get a couple hundred bucks a game. Definitely not enough to live off of, but if you don't get drafted or picked up as a free agent out of college what other choice do you have?
What the players are forgetting is that the league nearly folded for good because of financial issues, and this was after 20+ seasons. As good as the game can be, it can also be a real dud if one team dominates another too easily or if guys fail to catch the ball. So while it has a following and is generally pretty good, it is not an overly lucrative business venture (yet).
There is hope for the AFL if it can get back to solid financial ground. Many aspects of the game are great and very entertaining. Unlike other attempts at spring/summer football leagues, this game is different (yet the same) from the product fans get in the fall.
Most teams get pretty creative with their entrances almost putting a show on just for the players to come out of the locker room. Fans do get to keep balls that go in the stands. Being able to play balls off the wall or net does add an interesting dimension to the game. Seeing guys get flattened over the wall is pretty cool too.
The latest word is that the players are demanding $600 a game; the owners have offered $500. If the players are smart they'll shut their mouths, take the $500, and be glad they are stilling putting on cleats to go to work. Too many missed games and fans will simply not come back.
(Even some of the kickers are bad *sses!)
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