And Now For Something Completely Different… A Momentary Departure from The Walrus

February 17, 2011

Protesting – whether non-violent or otherwise – seems to be all the rage these days. From Cairo to Bahrain, Iraq and Iran, Libya – even in Wisconsin and Ohio – the people are sticking it the man.

Of course, these protests are based on civil and liberal rights, political and religious freedoms, and – in the case of U.S. teachers – a better collective bargaining agreement. But we’re about to see something very similar in the NFL… just, you know, without the violence and tragedy(*).

(*)Though Panther’s owner Jerry Richardson seems game.

The looming labor war/lockout/work stoppage/whatever you want to call it, is getting nasty. There are owners taking shots at star players (see the aforementioned Richardson), talks breaking because the owners didn’t like the Union’s initial proposal, the Union threatening to decertify, the owners calling their bluffs… all the while, the man at the center of it all, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, seems pleased to simply fan the flames, rather help than put out the fire.

Sure, he released an op-ed this week urging both sides to come together and reach an agreement – or, at least, a starting point in the negotiations. But how much of that was truly sincere and how much was a public relations ploy? I’m not saying that Union President DeMaurice Smith is any better – he’s not – but at least he’s being consistent in his mud-slinging politicking. Goodell simply talks out of both sides of his mouth.

His stance on player safety and concussions was marginalized by the push for an 18-game schedule. The player conduct policy – and its precedents for punishment – was turned on its head with his Brett Favre-sexual harassment ruling. He claims he desperately wants a labor deal in place, but everything the league does seems to throw water on that. He is entirely untrustworthy and the past 12 months have made him look like nothing more than a snake oil salesman. I am convinced that Goodell is setting himself up to one day have a gig in politics. Like many high-profile attorneys, a role like commissioner is a major steppingstone into the political world. He even posses the ideal characteristics and attributes to make him the perfect, sleazy politician.

When Goodell took over the role of commissioner, he clearly wanted to put his own stamp on the league and take the NFL to new heights. He has, in terms of television ratings and net revenue. Hell the league and Union are arguing over how to split more than $9 billion. But the NFL’s most important priority should be the fans, and that is just not a part of Goodell’s MO. The impending lockout is ludicrous. The league is printing money, hand over fist and Goodell’s (nor Smith’s) stubbornness should not be a factor in the equation. He is there to represent the owners and bridge the gap between management and players. Why does it always seem like he is driving a stake between the two?

Meanwhile, Jerry Jones builds a billion dollar palace monstrosity – better known as Jerry World – simply for the gratification of hosting a Super Bowl and being the envy of all other owners. Sure, fans feel like they’re sitting in the comfort of their own living rooms, watching the game being played in front of them on the world’s largest TV, but the whole thing reeks of overindulgence, ego and greed. Then of course there’s the whole temporary seating snafu during the Super Bowl, which left Jones with egg all over his face(**) and the league with a black eye. Guess what Jerry… much like your face, your stadium turned out to be a superficial disaster.

(**)As opposed to the usual botox and surgical bandages.

The safety of the fans, spectators and executives that filled those Super Bowl seats didn’t matter to Jones – much like the fans don’t matter to the league now. Jerry Jones’ only concern was the number 103,220 – one more than the current (and still standing) Super Bowl attendance record. That insignificant and meaningless number could only be used to brag to the other 31 NFL owners – presumably while they sit around a gold and diamond-plated conference table, dining on Lobster and extinct Dodo Bird eggs, smoking cigars rolled by Castro himself – and is completely meaningless to fans. And so is the labor battle.

The NFL – as it stands today – is no longer concerned with annual traditions like the Scouting Combine, the Draft, Free Agency or Minicamps… It’s all about legalities, decertification and litigiousness. Lockouts, work stoppages and bitter disputes held in a court of law, not on a playing field. And who’s the big loser in all of this? Me and you. The fans. The customers. The gamblers, the gamers and the fantasy players. The loyal devotees of the greatest sport known to man (sorry Baseball fans).

Sure, the owners or the players may lose out on a few bucks here or there… but what about the average fan making $50,000 a year who shells out a minimum of $1,200 on tickets alone (before you throw in parking, concessions, etc.) – two of which are meaningless pre-season games (at full price)? Where’s our relief? Why does the division of our hard-earned cash and ad-generated television revenue need to be fought over publicly like two fats kids fighting over the last Nestle Crunch bar?

Guess what NFL… you owe us, not the other way around. Figure out how to split the pie (which doesn’t stop growing, by the way) and get on with the 2011 offseason. The longer this drags on, the closer we get to missing actual games, the worse off the fans are.

All across the globe, a blueprint for “justice” is being laid out. The people are speaking and, in time, the powers that be will eventually listen. Even Mubarak. Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith better start listening(***).

(***)Please note that that was tongue-in-cheek and in no way am I encouraging an NFL fan uprising. I’m just saying… it’s becoming an interesting trend.


The Day After: Super Tweets and Dangerous Rumors

February 7, 2011

The first thing I saw when I woke up this post-Super Bowl morning was the following text message: “Get on Twitter, there’s a rampant rumor that Andy Reid is fired!”

Thankfully, my bullshit meter was wide awake (even though I was not), because for not one second did I remotely believe that that was true. Of course, I did my due diligence and tracked down the origin of the “Andy Reid out, Jon Gruden in” rumor that almost exploded Philadelphia Twitter feeds. We can all thank @PhillySprtsWrld and @jaypot23 (an Associate Producer/Multimedia Editor for SNY.tv) for pushing out Kyle Eckel’s (yes, former Eagles Fullback Kyle Eckel) “report”(*) and causing Eagles fans nationwide to lose their collective shit.

(*)Eckel tweeted the following this morning: “If I’m your ‘source’ to this [Eagles/Gruden] rumor please get that out of your mind. I wrote the rumor from pure hear/say. Careless of me.”

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I didn’t see that text until this morning. If I saw it when it was first received (slightly after 12:30 a.m.), I would have spent the entire night furiously searching for answers to debunk the rumor, arguing with the Andy Reid-Kool-Aid drinkers and simultaneously dancing around in joyous celebration. So, I’m happy I at least got to sleep… But what a crazy way to officially begin (what figures to be) a crazy offseason.

And yes, that reminds me; today should be a day of mourning… no, not for Steelers fans… but because football season is over. What a horrible, horrible thing. Even worse? It may not be back for a long time. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

For now, let’s take a look back at last night’s NFL finale, through the lens of the @FireTheWalrus Twitter feed, in real time (and thanks to everyone that followed along and joined in on the fun last night):

12:27 p.m. Happy Super Bowl Football Fans!

12:36 p.m. Every time I see the SB 37 logo (or the Bucs celebrating their win) I want to puke… That was our damn Super Bowl… #Eagles

12:37 p.m. From @loctastic: @FireTheWalrus was that the year we had Levon Kirkland on the team? You are correct sir. Gonna go slam my head on a Vet seat.

1:03 p.m. 18 game season. Team in London. Possible lockout. No celebrating. Roger Goodell is the worst thing to ever happen to the #NFL #FireTheCommish

1:03 p.m. Addendum to last tweet: No hitting.. Duh! That’s the most important one. And no blizzard games. Goodell is awful. #FireTheCommish

1:13 p.m. From @DaveCoulier: The @NFL will be showing a couple Full House clips during the #superbowl today. Really?! Not Step By Step or Mr. Belvedere?

1:26 p.m. From @AdamSchefter: Cardinals soliciting opinion of Larry Fitzgerald as to which QB he wants them to acquire/1st recommendation was Kevin Kolb.

2:11 p.m. So Deion Sanders is now a Hall of Fame Douchebag… #InsteadOfJustADouchebag

2:33 p.m. @NFLONFOX and @nflnetwork are both in hour 8 of their 13 hour pregame shows… What happened to replaying all the classic Super Bowls?

3:05 p.m. Ok, prediction time: As a #Steelers-hater I’m rooting for the #Packers… Unfortunately Pitt will get their 7th ring 31-30 #Sucks

3:07 p.m. @NFLONFOX‘s #SuperBowl Red Carpet is so stupid… Why isn’t @JoanRivers there making fun of @DeionSanders‘ suit and Michael Strahan’s gap?

3:25 p.m. Hey @NFLONFOX why does “Moose” look like he’s going hunting with Bing Crosby? #SuperBowl

3:42 p.m. From @sportsguy33: Dallas’ stadium looks like it landed here. It’s fitting, considering Jerry Jones’ face is made from space age technology

3:43 p.m. I so wish the #Eagles were in this game… Solely for the fact that we’d be terrorizing Dallas with #DallasSucks chants… #AndAChanceAtASB

3: 55 p.m. If only Conan’s Puppy Lingerie Bowl was a real thing…. http://j.mp/i1Zj4b #ButNotInAWeirdWay #SuperBowl

4:07 p.m. Construction workers were too busy working on Jerry Jones’ face to finish the temporary seating sections #SuperBowl #TrueFacts

4:15 p.m. Yikes who’s the worse @NFLONFOX personality: Bill O’Reilly, Joe Buck, Terry Bradshaw or Frank Caliendo? #DeadEven

4:24 p.m. Michael Strahan sponsored by @Gap.

4:51 p.m. Is Troy Aikman’s face made of clay? He looks like a character from “Celebrity Death Match”…

4:56 p.m. Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones to charge fans forced out of stadium $200 a piece to watch #SuperBowl at nearby bar

4:56 p.m. From @_S810: Leave it to Dallas to fuck up the SuperBowl. And somehow #Eagles fans will be blamed.

5:02 p.m. From @jasonjwilde: Airfare: $600. Hotel: $2000. Ticket: $800. Not having an actual seat at SBXLV: Priceless.

5:47 p.m. From @SheridanScribe: Aaron Rodgers emerges from tunnel without playing any imaginary instruments. I just lit my SB XXXIX seat cushion on fire!

5:49 p.m. Isn’t Frank Caliendo in “Black Face” racist? Or does nobody care cause its Frank Caliendo?

5:52 p.m. From @BrentCelek: Man I am so jealous of these guys. So are we Brent, so are we… #Eagles #WheresOurSB?

5:59 p.m. From @NFLONFOX: The inspirational reading of the Declaration of Independence by NFL greats is next! This is what happens when FOX has the SB…

6:01 p.m. From @dhm: Curt Menefee: “We are moments away from kickoff” Kickoff is at least 40 minutes away! Goodell changed the meaning of “moment” for the SB.

6:01 p.m. From @sportsguy33: Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Football! Soccer?

6:08 p.m. Is it me or does Joe Buck’s face scream “IM A HUGE DOUCHE AND YOU SHOULD THROW THAT BOTTLE THROUGH YOUR TV AT ME!”? #NeedNewTV

6:11 p.m. #Steelers #SuperBowl introduction is the exact polar opposite of what the #Eagles introduction would be….

6:12 p.m. From @skjensen: Jerry Green of the Detroit News said this is the worst run SB he’s been to. Credible since he’s been to them all. HA! #TakeThatJerry

6:23 p.m. Brett Kiesel’s beard ALMOST makes me want to root for the #Steelers #NotReallyButItIsAmazing

6: 26 p.m. From @nickkroll: I just bought a used car from Deion Sanders’ suit. Did it smell like snake oil and douchebag? #DeionSucks

6:52 p.m. These teams need to calm down a bit… Little too nerved up to start, reminds me of #Eagles-Patriots SB 39.

6:57 p.m. NOTE TO MARKETERS: Kenny G, not funny. #SuperBowl

7:03 p.m. Running and Defense huh? #TakeNotesAndy #SuperBowl

7:15 p.m. Remember when #SuperBowl commercials were funny?

7:16 p.m. Love the commercial for the NFL Draft that might not even happen… #LaborArgumentsAreDumb

7:16 p.m. Cowboys vs. Aliens looks a lot like an Indiana Jones movie… with aliens… again…

7:37 p.m. Man, if Mike McCarthy could possibly win a #SuperBowl I guess anything’s possible #TakeNotesAndy

7:39 p.m. From @philsphan19: @danieltosh will Christina Aguilera get a web redemption?

7:43 p.m. The #Packers Defensive gameplan is reminding me that we just made Juan Castillo Defensive Coordinator #IHateAndyReid #Eagles

7:44 p.m. Defense. Defense. Defense. #TakeNotesAndy #SuperBowl

7:52 p.m. From @pdomo: Two Big Ben turnovers, 14 Green Bay points. So that’s what having real Defensive Backs is like? I forgot…. #Eagles

7:54 p.m. Sick pass/catch… Why are Roethlisberger’s passes always epic looking?

8:04 p.m. This #SuperBowl Halftime Show is like being at Tavern on Broad… #OrAnyAwfulPhillyBar

8:05 p.m. Full disclosure: I thought the Black Eyed Pea with the long hair was a mute… #Superbowl

8:09 p.m. Oh @Slash…. What would 1987 you think of yourself now? #Ashamed #MakingAxlLookGood

8:09 p.m. From @gjb512: Axl rose is rolling over in a grave of heroin.

8:10 p.m. From @PhillyFansVoice: My 6yo son has not stopped dancing since the halftime show started. We’ll pray for you…

8:11 p.m. The half-dead Who were better than this atrocity…. And why is the halftime show longer than the second quarter?

8:13 p.m. Comment of the night (via Facebook): That was the most offensive #SuperBowl halftime show since Janet Jackson!

8:27 p.m. From @TheIdleRich: Sorry, Andy-haters: Packers called 16 passes, 7 runs in the first half. And they have a real Defense…

8:31 p.m. Wow Woodson is out?! #SuperBowl is far from over….

8:45 p.m. James Jones is looking like the Hank Baskett of 2011 #NoHands

8:49 p.m. These #SuperBowl commercials remind me of Jason Peters’ contract #AHUGEWasteOfMoney #Eagles

9:07 p.m. Again…. Defense and Running… How many times does it need to be drilled into our collective heads #TakeNotesAndy

9:11 p.m. From @ChefNizzy Green Bay has made a habit of letting teams hang around it just hasn’t bit them in the ass yet. The key term being “Yet”

9:16 p.m. The only thing more overrated than #SuperBowl commercials right now is the #Packers passing attack

9:17 p.m. “Keep Detroit Beautiful”? Was there a time when it was?

9:23 p.m. Really, Moe Syzlak is the only #Eagles representation in that commercial?! #NationalMediaHatesUs

9:48 p.m. Move over Bart, move over Brett… Aaron’s the new king of Wisconsin! #SuperBowl

9:51 p.m. From @Jeff_McLane: Packers’ run-to-pass ratio: 11 to 33. Somewhere Andy and Marty are smiling. And their 3 Turnovers have Juan Castillo cringing…

10:02 p.m. Wow, Roethlisberger has a chance to create his legacy here…. He’s historically clutch…

10:02 p.m. If I was a #Packers fan, I’d be more nervous than Charlie Sheen’s Publicist escorting him through Columbia.

10:08 p.m. Suck it #Steelers fans!

10:09 p.m. Wow… Mike McCarthy just gave hope to all #Eagles fans… you know, if we had a Defense…

10:10 p.m. Shit, football’s over….. 😦

10:13 p.m. Ok @NFL… Now its time to get a deal done, and make sure football is back by the week after Labor Day #Please #ForTheFans #YoureAlreadyRich

10:16 p.m. Hey remember before the season when everyone was picking the #Packers to win the #SuperBowl….

10:18 p.m. I’ve asked it every year since I was 5, and I’ll ask it again…. When is it OUR year? #Eagles

Just a remainder, “Andy Reid fired” rumors are not a joke. Someone could have seriously been injured while celebrating. Let’s be careful out there.

And again, Eagles fans… When is it OUR year?