Take this past weekend. I spent $75 to attend a professional football game between my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Now, when it comes to brazen money-grubbing organizations, the National Football League has few rivals. Already awash in billions in profits, the ownership continues to find new and creative ways to squeeze money from their diehard fans.
They think nothing of charging attending fans $50 to park, $7.50 for 12 ounces of lite beer, insist we pay full price for meaningless pre-season games, and hold entire cities hostage by enforcing cruel TV blackouts if the stadiums don’t sell out.
They showed their contempt for fans on Christmas when they scheduled an 8 p.m. game between the Tennessee Titans and the San Diego Chargers. Fans in Nashville had to choose between leaving home and hearth on the holiest day of the year or sitting outside in near freezing temperatures to watch professional football.
So the stadium was about half empty. More and more fans with better and better big screen TVs are wisely opting to stay home.
That’s why an increasing number of games are being broadcast on the premium cable channel, The NFL Network. If fewer people are going to attend the games, they need to make money off those who like to watch it at home.
Pay-per-view professional football, brought to you by The NFL Network, is already here.
So why would I bother trying to make such a greedy, nefarious organization even more money? I guess I just can’t help myself so here goes:
The NFL needs to start selling replica Throwforward uniforms.
That’s a term you’ve never heard before. But most fans have certainly heard of the obnoxious Throwback uniforms.
Once nearly every fan in America had purchased for about $250 an authentic replica NFL-issued jersey of their favorite team, the NFL realized the apparel market was saturated.
So in a greedy panic they turned on a time machine and began forcing teams to wear throwback jerseys from the olden days. That way the truly obsessed fan would need to spend another $250 for a jersey that represented their team in, say, the 1930s. Then the 1940s. Then the 1950s, and so on.
And here’s the thing: the uniforms are uniformly hideous. I’ve seen plenty of archival pre-1970s footage of professional jerseys. In faded black and white photographs, the uniforms appear drab.
It gives the impression that our ancestors grew up in a time when no one smiled and everyone wore hand-me downs from folks with the fashion sense of bitter Pilgrims.
But when our favorite teams raced out onto the field wearing their throwback jerseys we were stunned to learn we were wrong.
Our ancestors weren’t boring. They were insane.
The jerseys had psychedelic stripes, odd insignia and bewildering color schemes that jarred the senses. It’s a shameless marketing ploy that interferes with the enjoyment of the game.
The genius of the Throwforward jersey is that NFL flacks could unveil jerseys that will be worn by the home team in, say, the year 2029.
It would let daffy fans of teams like the perennially hapless Miami Dolphins delude themselves into thinking that maybe by then -- cross your fingers -- the Dolphins will be competitive.
And the best thing from the NFL perspective is that they’ll be able to justify charging $1,250 per jersey because that’s what the actual price will likely be in the year 2029.
So there you have it. Throwback. Throwforward. For an increasing number of disgusted fans like me, there’s only one direction we feel like throwing any more.
And that’s up.