I am not a fan of football – I couldn’t name five starters on any NFL team – but while reading about the Draft Town event that muddled up downtown traffic all weekend
When N.F.L. executives chose last year to move the draft for the first time in a half-century, the decision was based as much on issues in New York as opportunities elsewhere.
But the three-day event in Chicago went so well that the league now faces a new choice: whether to return here next year or move the draft to yet another city.
On Thursday and Friday, 110,000 people visited Draft Town, the free fan festival in Grant Park across the street from the theater where the draft was held. On Saturday, larger crowds were expected when selections in the fourth through seventh rounds were announced at the festival. The crowds far exceeded the league’s original estimates.
Many fans who came to Chicago were from N.F.L. cities within driving distance — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis — giving the draft a Midwestern feel.
“How could we not come?” said Alex Paszkowski, a Packers fan who drove 90 minutes from Milwaukee with two friends.
The league attracted sponsors for its fan festival and persuaded the host city, Chicago, to contribute. The success of the event this year could give the N.F.L. leverage in negotiations with other cities.
“When you negotiate with the N.F.L., you usually lose,” said Allen Sanderson, an economist at the University of Chicago, who added that while the draft helped market the city, it did not provide many economic benefits.
Wait, does that mean the City of Chicago got hosed by the NFL? One of the largest corporations on the planet – a nonprofit corporation even, for some crazy reason – needed a cash-strapped city’s funds to host an event that benefits only the NFL? /shakes fist at Rahm Emanuel Mayor 1%…
Joe Paterno, social conservative and proud Republican, was allowed to remain coach of Penn State long enough to break the record of most victories because Penn State valued the contribution of the football program’s revenues more than raped children, and that is shameful. In the 2009-2010 school year alone, Penn State’s football program reported revenue of $70,208,584 ((as reported to the U.S. Department of Education)) and profits of $50,427,645! ((Of course, student/athletes don’t get any of that cash – all they get is free tuition, another scandal if you ask me)) That’s the reason Paterno wasn’t fired in 2002. Or rather, $700,000 reasons, give or take. (( roughly $70 million times ten years))
The university’s most senior officials were clearly seeking to halt the humiliating damage caused by the arrest last Saturday of the former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Mr. Sandusky had been a key part of the football program, but prosecutors have said he was a serial pedophile who was allowed to add victims over the years in part because the university he had served was either unable or unwilling to stop him.
Mr. Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, and two top university officials — Tim Curley, the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business — have been charged with perjury and failing to report to authorities what they knew of the allegations. Neither Mr. Paterno nor Mr. Spanier was charged in the case, though questions have been raised about if they did as much as they could to stop Mr. Sandusky.
On average, [the richest 68 college football programs] earned $15.8 million last year, or well over $1 million per game.
They posted that jump in combined profit even though revenue rose by only 6% to $2.2 billion. That means the schools had a combined profit margin of 49%, enough to make any pro team owner green with envy.
Increasingly lucrative broadcast deals and strong ticket sales have been driving revenue. And, of course, not having to pay your athletes gives big-time college football the ultimate business model.
After top Penn State officials announced that they had fired Joe Paterno on Wednesday night, thousands of students stormed the downtown area to display their anger and frustration, chanting the former coach’s name, tearing down light poles and overturning a television news van parked along College Avenue.
The demonstrators congregated outside Penn State’s administration building before stampeding into the tight grid of downtown streets. They turned their ire on a news van, a symbolic gesture that expressed a view held by many that the news media exaggerated Mr. Paterno’s role in the scandal surrounding accusations that a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, sexually assaulted young boys.
“I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for JoePa going down,” said a freshman, Mike Clark, 18, adding that he believed that Mr. Paterno had met his legal and moral responsibilities by telling university authorities about an accusation that Mr. Sandusky assaulted a boy in a university shower in 2002.
Demonstrators tore down two lamp posts, one falling into a crowd. They also threw rocks and fireworks at the police, who responded with pepper spray. The crowd undulated like an accordion, with the students crowding the police and the officers pushing them back.
“We got rowdy, and we got maced,” Jeff Heim, 19, said rubbing his red, teary eyes. “But make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend.”
Really, clueless college students? You are rioting because a child molester-enabler was eventually fired, years after he should have been? Disgusting. Are football victories really that important to your self-worth? More than protecting kids from being raped? I hope for your sake, you don’t post any photos of yourself rioting in support of this creep: future employers might not think your logic skills are sound.
Tony Auth’s take on Penn State’s priorities
Update: Elizabeth Gettelman of Mother Jones concurs:
Penn State did the right thing tonight when it fired its storied football coach Joe Paterno (and its president, Graham Spanier). But it’s pretty little, and it’s way late. Joe Paterno remained Coach Paterno for nearly a decade after learning that his former defensive coordinator had allegedly raped a 10-year-old, and for nearly a year after a grand jury investigation confirmed as much. In fact, he stayed coach just long enough to become the winningest coach in Division I college football history, a record he achieved two weeks ago, 11 months after said grand jury investigation (see page 8 referencing December 2010 interviews). Had his complicit role come to light last December would Paterno have had a shot at his record-breaking victory? If present outrage would have held, and it should have, then no, he wouldn’t have coached at all this season.
The timing is probably not a coincidence, and it’s illustrative. This whole hellstorm was swept under the rug for so long because of the money machine that is college football, a successful program with a superstar coach and a sterling reputation is money in the bank, and when you’re Penn State that’s $50 million a year kind of money.
and Mike McQueary should be drummed out of the coaching business for his cowardice:
Penn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary allegedly witnessed Jerry Sandusky performing a sexual act on a young child in a Lasch Football Building shower in 2002…and didn’t intervene.
This detail is in the grand jury report about the scandal surrounding Sandusky and Penn State University.
I’ll start this by saying my knowledge of the law is limited, but I understand the idea of an accessory. Usually, however, the person is a witness to murder. In this instance, McQueary was a witness to an alleged rape.
And he left.
These are all things that McQueary has admitted. He must feel terrible, being that he was 28 years old at the time and did nothing. However, the thought that he physically walked away from a rape is disgusting.
No wonder I hate football, the overwhelming majority of coaches are Republicans, at both college and professional ranks.
During the 2008 campaign cycle, college and NFL head coaches (and their wives) contributed a total of $13,286 to John McCain and the Republican National Committee. From that same group, Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee received just $4,600—half of it from Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and the other half from San Jose State’s Dick Tomey.
In all, 20 coaches active in the 2008 season gave to Republican candidates seeking federal office. Three donated to Democrats. This disparity is even more striking given that, among the individual donors in the ’08 campaign cycle, Mr. Obama outraised Mr. McCain by more than a 5-to-1 margin.
Some coaches display their largely conservative instincts in non-financial ways. Jack Del Rio of the NFL’s Jaguars led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance at a Sarah Palin rally in Jacksonville last fall. Longtime Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs addressed last summer’s Republican National Convention. Lou Holtz fired up congressional Republicans with a pep talk in 2007 and recently flirted with running for Congress in Florida. Ralph Friedgen, the portly University of Maryland coach, good-naturedly called one of his Canadian players a socialist last fall.
There’s no evidence that coaches with a conservative bent are better coaches or more likely to get jobs. Football coaches aren’t the most diverse group, which may help explain their political similarities.
The reasons the Wall Street Journal opines as to why Republicans are pretty ridiculous1: more marketing for the Republican brand, in my opinion, but you can make up your own mind whether Republican virtues translate onto the grid iron.
discipline, self-reliance, loyalty to core values – yeah, the Republicans I know and read about don’t fit any of these parameters [↩]