Dave Zirin for The Nation, on the cronyism that is NFL ownership:
These are not franchises in need of “someone inspiring” or “smarter game schemes” or “Jon Gruden” or whatever threadbare hooey gets expectorated from NFL talking heads. The problem is owners whose duplicity, meddling, graft and parasitical parsimony have turned their teams into joy-sucking failures. Most damning is that in each and every case, with the possible exception of Detroit and Tampa Bay, the team would be better served by just firing the owners and keeping the head coaches who were sent packing. Even in the cases of Detroit and Tampa Bay, where it is a definite positive for all concerned to wave goodbye to Jim Schwartz and Greg “Chet” Schiano, you are still left with owners who once thought it would be a great idea to hire Jim Schwartz and Greg Schiano. These are teams who are blaring advertisements for the idea that “sports without owners” should be a universal aspiration. If our taxes are now paying for the stadiums anyway, if the NFL’s annual flood of revenues, divided at the top, guarantee profitability and if we can all agree that no one has ever bought a ticket to watch Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer fire a concession worker, then what purpose do any of them serve? I have written often in the past that the Green Bay Packers model of fan ownership should be the goal in every city. It ensures your team won’t continue to bleed municipalities of millions and it also guarantees that football decisions would be made by football people and not billionaires working out their junior high gym class pathologies. Look at what just happened in Green Bay. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone earlier this season. Message boards and the media alternated between shouting for him to get back in the damn game or to just hang it up for the season so the team (really the fans) wouldn’t be in limbo. Instead, football people made football decisions and Rodgers returned for the team’s last game, sneaking a suddenly dangerous Packers team into the playoffs. If Dan Snyder owned the Packers, he would just have had Rodgers stuffed and mounted in his living room wearing a knitted sweater that read, “Friends 4ever.” I'd be all for a widespread community-owned model a la the Packers, but it'll never happen. Green Bay's model, progressive though it may be, is unique unto itself, and I can't see leagues voluntarily adopting such an idea.