The NFL just wants its money. Its paid mouthpiece, Brian McCarthy, told fans so through this statement to USA Today just before the Christmas Eve blackouts:
"The blackout policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets; keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV. Playing in full stadiums with thousands of fans is an important part of what makes NFL football an exciting and special entertainment event, both live and on television. We have a limited number of games and do not want to erode the incentive to buy tickets. Every market receives more than 100 NFL games on free TV every year, regardless of the blackout policy."
There you have it: Just shut up and watch some other city's team, will ya? The league doesn't want to hear Bills fans complain about their city's average 36-degree temperatures and two feet of snow each December or the fact that the 73,000 people required to fill Ralph Wilson Stadium is not only far greater than the 61,500 it takes to sell out Soldier Field in Chicago, but amounts to nearly a quarter of Buffalo's 293,000 population. They don't want to hear the Bills faithful drone on about management moving one home game to Toronto each year, the team's refusal to commit to Buffalo once owner Ralph Wilson's tenure ends and the $40 million to $100 million the team wants from Erie County to revamp the current stadium on top of the $7.3 million it already gets in maintenance and game-day subsidies.Despite the fact that fans of a playoff-caliber team in Cincinnati missed six of their team's eight home games, the NFL doesn't want to hear it from Bengals fans either. Sure, nearly $500 million of their tax dollars went into building Paul Brown Stadium and the recession took its toll on the local economy, but that's no excuse not to pony up an average $72 a ticket or $400 for a family of four just like everyone else. Is the billionaire Spanos family that owns the San Diego Chargers seeking money for new stadium and considering moving the team to Chula Vista or Los Angeles? Doesn't matter. The league wants its money and won't abide your two blackouts. Are jobs scarce and mortgages underwater in the Tampa area? It doesn't matter that taxpayers plunked down nearly $170 million for Raymond James Stadium or that owner Malcolm Glazer has enough cash to own Manchester United as well. The NFL wants to get paid.