Super Bowl

Ron Hart: 2 Suggestions to Fix the NFL


Columnist Ron Hart looks at the NFL's problems:

It was only under pressure from its $200-million-a-year sponsor Anheuser-Busch that the NFL attempted to do anything morally righteous. It is a sad day when a booze purveyor has to stake out the moral high ground for you….

Goodell has dictorially tinkered with some rules; he recently decreed that players can no longer celebrate TDs by dunking the football over the goalpost crossbars. That was not smart; if Americans wanted to watch a professional sport with no dunking, we'd watch the WNBA.

His suggestions for putting the NFL in its place? First, "get rid of the NFL's tax-exempt status." Second:

Cut NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's pay from $44 million to $1. If you are running a tax-exempt monopoly, you should not pay yourself $44 million. That's absurd. Goodell did not start a business, grow it, risk his own capital, provide an innovative new product, employ many new workers, pay taxes and compete in the free market. Entrepreneurs, not a marginally talented monopoly executive, should make that kind of money.

Donate Goodell's booty, or give it back to some of the cities the league has shaken down for stadium subsidies. Seventy percent of NFL stadiums are at least partly paid for by local taxpayers, yet all profits go to the NFL. The NFL is crony capitalism at its best, in bed with Congress and local governments. They sleep around.

At least Budweiser, Procter & Gamble (which I think is a company that administers SAT tests and runs casinos) and Nike, the true free-market capitalist, quickly did the right thing. Nike dropped its endorsement deals with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, thus freeing them to serve on Goodell's NFL committee.

More here.

Hart's website here.


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  1. Suggestion #3, NFL fans get a fucking life.

    1. Do we really want all NFL fans commenting here?

      1. This might be the best H&R comment ever.

    2. Ah, the fucking life is the best kind.

  2. Cut NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s pay from $44 million to $1. If you are running a tax-exempt monopoly, you should not pay yourself $44 million.

    You know, I don’t really care about the NFL one way or the other, but Roger Goodell pays taxes on the $44 million, yes?

    This line of bullshit always suggests that the people working for the tax-exempt operation are also not paying taxes.

    1. Or just get rid of the tax exempt status. Why the fuck is a commercial entertainment business a non-profit?

      1. Because the NFL lobbied a Louisiana Congressman for it in exchange for setting up a franchise in New Orleans. In the description of tax-exempt entities, football teams are specifically mentioned. And nobody in Congress has ever been motivated to change it.

        1. Why shouldn’t they get the same tax exemption as the Nat’l Ass’n of Realtors or the Bar Ass’n?

      2. The member clubs are the commercial entertainment businesses. The league they’re members of is just an ass’n. Like the Chamber of Commerce.

      3. I wonder what the man thinks the “correct” salary for the job of running a tax-free monopoly is?

        “Less”, I guess. Because reasons. And because he knows better than the NFL’s board what they “should” be paying their Commissioner?

        (And is it really a monopoly? Is there some law saying nobody else can do for-pay football?

        In fact, wasn’t there a competing league just a decade or two back? I mean, it failed, but it does prove there is no monopoly here, just a [stupid, pointless, unjustifiable] tax advantage.)

  3. Fix the NFL? Well, first, bring back the violence and stop all of the pansy rules taking away defense. Passing attacks aren’t better now, they’re just being allowed to happen without anywhere near the threat of violence that used to be there.

    Next, expand the rosters to deal with the higher casualty count.

    1. I guess now that everyone knows that violent collisions shorten life and cause permanent damage, the NFL’s obligation to “protect players” is now at an end, right? I mean, when they were lying and obfuscating they had a duty to not risk injuring players. I figure they just put a new clause into each new contract and by 2019, we can go back to tackling quarterbacks and receivers.

      1. Naturally, I’m fine with developing technology to protect the players. But the point of the game is lost if they’re going to make it a powder-puff league. We already have Lingerie League football, after all.

        1. What’s your beef with the LFL? Frankly, I thought the caliber of play there was much higher than in the World League.

          1. It’s just sexism, plain and simple.

      2. After watching the Vikes get fined for pulling Drew Brees down, I’m with you.

        The worst part of it is that a little guy like Brees has no fear about going after a guy who got him to the turf too violently.

        You never saw Fran Tarkenton go after Butkis because he thought Dick was playing a bit rough for his taste.

        1. As someone who likes good defense, it’s a travesty. Even the teams with decent defenses now are shadows of what the past had, simply because of the stupid rules.

          1. +15 Yd penalty for looking at P. Manning in a menacing manner.

          2. I’m with you. You wonder what would happen to the passing games if you allowed guys like Jack Tatum to start laying people out when they ran routes over the middle.

            My son and I were watching one of those 100 best players of all time shows on TV and he fell in love with Night Train Lane. The showed how when he started playing he started with the head slap (which was outlawed). Then he went on to facemasking people (which was then outlawed). After that he started clotheslining people (which was also outlawed after he used it). The kid was amazed that one guy was such a violent maniac that they had to pass rules every year to stop him.

            1. The head slap was outlawed more because of Deacon Jones. That was his number one pass rush move…smack the guy in the side of the head and blow by him when he blinked.

        2. I hear you. In fact, if he wasn’t Drew Brees, he would have been ejected. When he got up, he threw a punch which normally gets someone ejected (it happened the week prior in the Packer game).

    2. I’d prefer they’d go for full-out gladiatorial combat.

      1. A few days ago, I suggested a robot league but with massively enhanced violence. Like it’s within the rules to destroy an opposing robot player.

        1. We could just watch head coaches play Madden.

          1. Come on, simulated violence versus actual explosions?

            Better yet, robots could be programmed in the style of actual players. So the Dick Butkus-bot could actually hit so hard that robot heads come flying off.

            1. Yeah, but the stump of the neck has to spout blood-substitute while the body spasms.

    3. Mr. Libertate, I like the cut of your jib.

  4. if Americans wanted to watch a professional sport with no dunking, we’d watch the WNBA.

    What’s a WNBA?

  5. #3: Stop subsidizing stadiums.

    (Fastest way to fix this: Any City, County or State that issues bonds to pay for construction of a stadium (or other arena) loses the tax-exempt status for ALL of its bond issues, effective immediately.

    1. Separation of Commerce and State.

    2. Doesn’t matter what law you passed. When the rubber hit the road, the pols will “suspend” whatever law the voters enacted to prevent them from giving money for stadiums.

      Both the Twins and the Vikes were able to get around local laws requiring them to put any stadium deals up for a referendum.

      Same thing would happen for your law.

      1. Oh, I know.

        But I can wish for it, can’t I?

        Just like I can wish that elected officials’ kids would be drafted first and be the first into combat.

        “You two: Sasha and Malia! You take point position. Move out!”

      2. No privately owned or financed facility may be used as a venue by a professional sports league?

        1. Er, publicly owned or financed. I English gud.

      3. Let’s not forget that for some reason people vote for stadium authorizations and bond levies.

        (See e.g. the CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle, approved by state-wide vote.)

    3. I kinda like the idea that government wants to subsidize stadiums to ostensibly make money. Then they want to dictate how the game is played and what the players can do – which is inevitable since government is paying a huge chunk.

      You’d think at this point the paying customers would have abandoned this pansified version of sport long ago. But as long as boobus americanus gets to gamble and see violence-lite, the league will still rake in the bucks from the customers and the taxpayers.

  6. Where else can Budweiser take its advertising business to reach the target audience of 18-to-34-year-old men? To the WNBA? Maybe if you are selling power tools, but not beer.

    Sorry, but power tool companies have already decided to spend their ad dollars with Benny Benassi.

  7. “It was only under pressure from its $200-million-a-year sponsor Anheuser-Busch that the NFL attempted to do anything morally righteous. It is a sad day when a booze purveyor has to stake out the moral high ground for you”

    What a pile of crap. Grand-standing has nothing to do with morality.
    The NFL is an entertainment content provider. If you look to the NFL for guidance on how to run your like, you need to put down the remote and look further afield.

  8. The non-profit thing is a red herring. Goodell likely pays 2x-3x in federal taxes already what a reclassified NFL would pay. There is some economic activity involved in organizing a league the size of the NFL, but it’s not what the knee-jerk critics assume. If they lost their non-profit status, the league would simply pack more expenses into that entity and/or move the relatively small profits back to teams. Public financing of stadiums is a far, far more pressing issue.

    1. If, by definition, a non-profit doesn’t make a profit, then how is taxing non-existent profits going to bring in any revenue?

      1. Non-profits can make profit, they just can’t pass that money out to shareholders in the form of dividends. “Non-profit” is something of a misnomer.

        1. Non-profits can (and if being properly run, often should) run “surpluses”.

    2. The non-profit thing is most assuredly a red herring. The league makes money, but what can they do with that money? They can plow it back into promotion, pay for their game officials, hire office staff, pay a commissioner…then what? Their tax advantages pale in comparison to those enjoyed by the varsity game anyway.

  9. If you are running a tax-exempt monopoly

    I wouldn’t call the NFL a monopoly.

    Seventy percent of NFL stadiums are at least partly paid for by local taxpayers, yet all profits go to the NFL.

    which NFL do you refer to? the tax exempt NFL or to the taxpaying franchises?

  10. Few things stupider than people who buy tickets to watch their favorite sports team funded by their own confiscated taxes.

    1. I can think of a whole lot of stupider things.

      1. True. It’s just stupid then.

  11. When the Vikings were whining for their stadium and telling everyone how great it would be for economic development, I proposed building it in Hibbing, MN.

    For those of you who aren’t from here, Hibbing is in the middle of the Iron Range. The region depends heavily on iron mining and is heavily unionized. It is also usually the worst performer economically in Minnesoda. Lots of Democrats are always proposing one scheme or another to help the Range out.

    So my theory was that a new stadium would be great for them. And best yet, if they couldn’t sell out the stadium the local blackout area wouldn’t cover the Twin Cities.

    1. The thing operates 12 days a year. 12! (Well, in Houston the Rodeo also uses the same venue, so that more than doubles the useage profile. but the NFL tried to stiff the Rodeo guys when the new stadium was going in, even though it sold out the old venue more times a year than the NFL.)

      1. “but the NFL tried to stiff the Rodeo guys”

        Isn’t the NFL just behaving as any large corporation would?

    2. Well played, Pope Jimbo…very well played. 🙂

  12. #3. Make it legal for teams to play defense again. Especially on receivers( I like the high school rule for this)

    #4. Call holding, seriously. Make lineman actually block again instead of headbutting and bumping titties.

    #5. Diversity is the spice of life. Every single team runs the same damn offense(slight exception with the eagles) and 1 of 2 defenses. It’s fucking boring. Show me some jet or rocket series, deleware wing-t, option, power
    I, anything.

    End old coach rant.

  13. Coach children’s football and you’ll never be satisfied with merely watching football again.

    1. No thanks, I coached younger kids one year and it was the worst coaching year of my life. I’m much better with high school age kids. I agree with the larger point though.

  14. “Cut NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s pay from $44 million to $1. If you are running a tax-exempt monopoly, you should not pay yourself $44 million. That’s absurd.”

    It is absurd, if he was paying himself, but it is not. That’s what Goodell’s employers think his contribution is worth. Either they are right in thinking that or they are wrong and hurting their business by wasting that much money on him. But that is their decision not Hart’s.

    And again, while the league may be non-profit the individual teams are not and taxed accordingly.

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