Around the League with Garrett Hart S1 E3

Around the League Series 1, Episode 3 (October 3, 2014)

Good tidings to you, fantasy nerds,

 I begin to write this article on Monday morning. I currently hold the top score and excepting a big game from the Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce, should hang on to it. The Colts offense is also flying high and it looks like the California weather might be cooling off. In other words, I’m feeling good and I hope that today finds you well also, wherever the day finds you. As I have said before, here at Around the League we love the stories surrounding football, be they great triumphs or heartbreaking defeats. And what is better than an underdog story? Sports history gives us many examples of teams with no expectations rising above adversity to win. This year we’ve gotten to see a great Kansas City Royals team hit almost no home runs and still win a lot of games. My personal favorite story is the 2004 Red Sox coming back from a 3-0 hole to win the ALCS. I’d love to hear yours. Here’s the deal though. I don’t like underdogs. I never have. I suppose it’s the fact that I love rules and want the world to be just the way it “should be". I want the best team, the one with the most talent, to win. Where am I going with this? Why do I keep talking about baseball? Well, in the NFL so far we’ve seen a number of personnel changes. Most of them were due to injury, but we’re starting to see quarterbacks that probably shouldn’t be starting in the NFL get replaced. Quarterbacks like Derek Carr, Chad Henne, and EJ Manuel, among others. Suffice to say that their replacements may not be studs, but it’s exciting to see Bridgewater and Bortles get their starts in the NFL. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by watching so much of Peyton Manning. In order to be a successful NFL franchise many successful individuals are necessary. Today we’ll look at one of the most important of these, the owners. NFL owners come in many forms from those you’ve never heard of to the truly polarizing. Let’s take a look at Jerry, Jones, Al Davis, and Green Bay Packers, Inc.
 Jerry Jones is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, a team that would be hard-pressed to find a man that more closely embodies wealth in Texas. Jones is fascinating. He was actually born in California and is rare among NFL owners by having success as a football player while at the University of Arkansas. Jones went into business after college. Among his footnotes is a pass on the purchase of the Chargers in 1967. He then struck it big in oil and gas in Arkansas, finally purchasing the Cowboys in 1989. Right after buying the team Jones fired Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry and anyone who had power that he could exercise instead. Jones draws controversy every year by refusing to hire any other personnel executive. He makes trades. He decides who plays for the Cowboys. Many things are big in Texas, but Jerry’s ego may be the biggest. Just take a look at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Cowboys. The stadium is enormous and at its inauguration in 2009 it housed the largest high definition video display in the country (Since surpassed twice). It is the only NFL stadium in the country that can’t be accessed by public transportation. There was intent to build one, but too much of the city of Arlington’s funds go to pay for the stadium itself. We could go on about the things that make Jones and his Cowboys polarizing, but it’s hard to argue with what is by far the most lucrative organization in the NFL.
 Al Davis is the former owner of the Oakland Raiders. Before I go on to say anything poor of the man I wish to give my condolences and blessings to his family. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 82 after one of the most remarkable careers in the NFL. At any point in his career he was found as an assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, and owner. He is one of only a handful of coaches in history that never played for his high school varsity team. Through a combination of dedication and misleading information he came into a career as a football coach. As a college coach, Davis was accused of bribing players and convincing teachers to change athletes’ grades. Davis was certainly a rebel, loved and hated. He was commissioner of the American Football League and helped merge the league with the NFL. The most interesting move of Davis’ time as owner of the Raiders was trading his head coach Jon Gruden (current ESPN color commentator for Monday Night Football) to the Buccaneers for a couple of draft picks. Gruden’s Buccaneers went on to beat the Raiders in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Raiders have been terrible ever since. 
 Finally, the Green Bay Packers are owned by Green Bay Packers, Inc. By NFL regulation franchises must be owned by an individual or a small conglomerate of owners. The Packers, however, are much older than this regulation and are the only publicly owned NFL team. It reminds one of the ability to buy a star and one a part of the universe. You could own your very own slice of the Packers. The ownership model is unique to the team among any professional sports team and has played a big part in the success of the franchise. Most of the residents of the small town of Green bay own shares in the team. The Packers also cultivate a cult following all around the country much like the Cowboys and have a waiting list for season tickets of around forty years.The last major stock sale occurred in 2011 to support the expansion of Lambeau Field with shares costing 250 quid a pop. That’s a lot of cheese, but so are the Packers. 
 Thanks for reading and thanks for contributing your thoughts and analysis to the league as well. 

Nonsense of the week:

Garrett’s favorite artistic (read: pretentious) films

The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky

The Thin Red Line by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick

Why not The Fall?