November 3, 2009

Grassroots Unrest Spreads to the NFL

Marc Comtois

The "political arena" isn't the only place where the grassroots are ticked off and ready to show it. Fans of both the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins are planning on making a public statement about the sorry state of their teams. In Cleveland:

Lifelong Browns fan and season-ticket holder Mike Randall, aka "Dawg Pound Mike," is encouraging other Cleveland fans to stay away from their seats for the opening kickoff of the Browns' Nov. 16 home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Sickened by the nearly constant losing since the NFL team's return in 1999, Randall hopes the sight of empty seats for the start of the nationally televised Monday night game will send a loud message to Browns owner Randy Lerner and other club officials that fans have had enough.

"We're tired of losing," said Randall, 39. "We're tired of the booing, of seeing fans leave in the fourth quarter. There are fans who have had tickets for 30 years who are turning their seats in because they can't take it anymore. So many fans are fed up."

In Washington, D.C.:
Daniel Snyder wants to ban signs at FedEx Field? Then let's turn the stadium itself into a sign he can't ban.

Everyone sitting in the designated upper-level sections for the Washington vs Denver game (Nov. 15th at FedEx field) can be part of a giant "FIRE SNYDER" sign just by wearing the color designated for their seat.

These are more examples of how technology is helping average folks organize around an issue in hopes of making a statement. Sports and society do indeed mirror each other.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I never understand how walkouts or show-up-lates work in sports. Owners only care about a couple things:
ticket sales
concession sales
parking lot sales

So if you've come to the game, you've bought a ticket and paid for parking. Clearly the best way to send a message to the owner is to simply not buy a ticket. The problem comes in if there's someone else there waiting to buy it instead. So that leaves one alternative, stay away from the concessions. Eat before you get there and drink only the water. Maybe it's a challenge for some of these people, but if you really want to send a statement, and all of a sudden a couple thousand people don't drop $50-100 on concessions, the ownership will feel that pinch.

Then again, sports owners usually didn't get that rich by being dumb. Look at the Bruins' owners, the Jacobs brothers. They were stingy as hell for years and happy to just make some kind of profit as fans mindlessly filled the Garden. Then came the years with 8,000 fans to a game and the profit wasn't quite there any more. Enter the salary cap era and Jacobs finally figuring out that you can make even more money by winning, and the Bruins have gotten better.

Maybe Snyder and Angelos in DC can figure it out, by simply staying out of the business. Their biggest problem is getting involved in the business. Lerner is similar. He's no dummy, just stay out of the business and start hiring good people. How hard is it to call a Parcells, a Belichick, a Gibbs, a Reid, and just start asking, who would make a great GM? Who's the next great young coach?

Any of this sound familiar, Al Davis?

Posted by: Patrick at November 3, 2009 3:24 PM

Cleveland's GM deserves sacking for being stupid enough to hire Erig Mangini after he ran the Jets into the ground last year.
As for Snyder, there's two big differences between his and his idol George Steinbrenner: he's a lot younger and a lot more stupid. Firing Jim Zorn would've been wiser and more humane than emasculating him by taking away the play calling.
And as senile as Al Davis has gotten, he may not have been entirely wrong about Lane Kiffin, who is proving himself an arrogant twit at U. of Tennessee.

Posted by: rhody at November 3, 2009 5:20 PM

I guess sports posts are like political posts, everyone has an opinion yet basic facts are wrong. Clevelands gm didn't hire mangini, he was brought in by Mangini. The only way for fans to show anger is do what they do in jacksonville, dont show up. The team takes in little money, has an ever smaller fan base, and local games are blacked out. Gov.Schwartzenneger (sp? no time to check sorry) recently agreed to build a stadium in LA, which JAX is high on the list. The harder the economic conditions, smaller market teams are at huge risk. The economic impact of having a sports franchise, esp. an NFL franchice, would appear to be big for a city. Anyone who has been to foxboro has seen how owner Robert Kraft has created a whole commercial center out of what was once a wasteland. Interesting post

Posted by: steadman at November 3, 2009 5:35 PM

Jacksonville is also one of the smallest (if not the smallest) markets in the NFL, has a large stadium to fill, and is in an area where college sports are bigger than the pros. They can fill it up when they're winning, but the moment the winning stops...
Wouldn't be surprised to see them go to LA.

Posted by: rhody at November 4, 2009 12:39 AM

Wow, awesome coverage of the election results last night.
Timely as always!

Posted by: Tim at November 4, 2009 6:06 AM

Hey Rhody - you are mistaken on Cleveland...The GM was hired two weeks AFTER Mangenius was brought on board.

Posted by: PatsFan at November 4, 2009 2:56 PM
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