PORLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The NFL Draft is a search for answers in a league facing too many questions.
Can Jadeveon Clowney or any defensive end fix a pathetic pass rush overnight? Has quarterback Johnny Manziel found a home and fan base 'Murican enough to buy into the Johnny Football brand that put Texas A&M on the map? Can any National Football League fan see through the smokescreen these questions create?
The National Football League has some very real problems on its slate in 2014, and freshly drafted players don't make any of them go away. A league with nearly $10 billion in revenue, a federal antitrust exemption and public money in the grout of 30 of its 31 stadiums shouldn't have to keep engaging in stadium politics, television blackout battles and public relations quagmires.
While fans and front offices watch the seconds tick by, names go up on the draft board and deals go down behind the scenes, here are a few things everyone should keep in mind before cheering the new talent on stage or the commissioner shaking their hands and handing them hats:1. NFL fans still won't be allowed to watch some games in 2014: The NFL kept exactly two games off of television stations in their home markets last year, which is a dramatic decline from 26 blackouts in 2010. The locations of those blacked-out fanbases, however, should give the league tremendous cause for concern. The first took place during Week 13 in San Diego, where the Spanos family of owners has been lobbying hard for a new building to replace the Chargers' aging Qualcomm Stadium. Not surprisingly, a fanbase that's been repeatedly blacked out by the Spanos clan during the last few seasons and has watched their team flirt with relevance since is unmoved. They need only point to last year's Chargers' playoff appearance as evidence that the team can compete in its current facilities, and that the Spanoses can put together a good thing when they're not begging for public dollars. Chargers fans also know that the Spanos family would have blacked them out twice last year if ESPN didn't step in and buy up extra tickets for a Monday Night Football matchup that didn't meet the attendance threshold. However, Chargers fans still have a better deal than Bills fans in Buffalo, who had their last home game of the season blacked out in 2013 -- almost exactly a year after Erie County and New York State pledged more than $220 million in tax dollars to help refurbish Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium.
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