Everyone does it…staring out of your car window as you pass a particularly nasty accident on the highway. You hope that the drivers are OK, of course, but you also want to get an eyeful so that, when you finally get to where you’re going, you can say, “You’ll never guess what I saw today.” Millions of people tuned in to the October 15 “Balloon Boy” incident, riveted by both the potential tragedy and the resulting spectacle of the media ploy. Despite our claims that we “try not to get sucked into the drama that surrounds a bad situation,” be it a twenty-car wreck or Britney Spears’ latest public meltdown, we all have those moments where we see a situation and think, “Thank God (or fate or common sense) that’s not me.”
The NFL is no different, and at this point in the 2009 season, it’s clear which teams have become the accidents that draw our attention, in the hopes that we’ll be there when the whole thing blows up. In an article today, Michael Silver lays out the most self-destructive franchises of the year. The Browns (1-7), the Raiders (2-6), the Redskins (2-5), and the Bucs (0-7) are laid out as examples of how not to do business in the NFL, and it’s pretty clear why. In each case, the ownership is having problems driving the team toward success. The Browns and Bucs owners seem content at this point to not even try to stop their coaches from digging their way to the cellar. By contrast, Al Davis and Dan Snyder seem intent on being the ones with the shovels.
As a fan of a publicly-owned team, where one would like to think that majority rules and that managers can be ousted with public will, I find the lack of judicious ownership infuriating. This is your team, into which you have poured many millions of dollars. How do you let this happen?
Unfortunately for me (and for fans of these teams), ownership is not dependent upon sound judgment or wise leadership. As a result, the whole league suffers. We can say, “Oh it’s so hard to watch” as loud and as often as we’d like, but we still tune in, grateful that it’s not us.