Mid-Week Thoughts on NFL Greed, The Masters and More

NFL Jerseys
Get ready to pay more for your favorite player's jersey as the NFL ramps up the greed.

No one can deny that the National Football League is the premier professional sport in North America. It has surpassed Major League Baseball as ‘America’s Pastime’ and while some will lament that, the hard truth is that the NFL is king in terms of many things across the spectrum and that includes merchandising as well.

While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to change the game and looks to expand to London, the company that licenses NFL jerseys and sideline apparel has decided to jack up the prices on jerseys. Although Nike has not made the formal announcement, retailers nationwide have reportedly been told to expect price tag changes to team jerseys which are often the most sold of any of the NFL’s products.

Your basic replica jersey will jump to $100 while the closest thing to what the players wear will cost $295. We as fans only have ourselves to blame because we continue to pay the high prices for tickets, concessions and of course team apparel. We bitch and complain about rising salaries yet we continue to pay.

The rise in cost of jerseys isn’t surprising yet we are still left shaking our heads at the fact the NFL just won’t stop. Yes, its capitalism 101 but how much longer before the NFL prices itself out of the casual, middle class market.

Phil Mickelson may be the only one who can keep Masters' ratings high without Tiger Woods.

The Masters sans Tiger

The Masters will tee off tomorrow morning in Augusta, Georgia and for the first time in his career, Tiger Woods will not be participating. To no one’s surprise, the absence of Woods will have a great effect on the television ratings. With that in mind, the Professional Golfers’ Association needs to start planning for the post-Tiger world.

Nationwide, recreational golf is down. Not surprisingly, it peaked during the height of Tiger Woods’ dominance and has declined a great deal since his off course issues in 2009. While golf will always have a significant following it will almost always come from a core group of people.

Other sports, like football, baseball and basketball, will always gain casual fans who tune in during big games and especially during the playoffs. So what can the PGA do to maintain a semblance of TV ratings as Tiger’s career winds down?

It’s hard to say but it starts with personalities and winners. Let’s face it; we watched Tiger Woods because of his reactions and his consistency as a winner or at least as a guy who was always in contention. Because the purses that tournaments offer, players rarely play full schedules any more so getting to know the best players becomes difficult for fans.

Adam Scott, the defending champion, and Rory McIlroy are your favorites to win this weekend but will they be able to draw in the type of television ratings that would satisfy the PGA? That’s doubtful and the only name I see doing anything to move the ratings’ needle is Phil Mickelson. That’s a lot to put on one player and especially one who is on the down-side of his career.

The Ultimate Warrior Passes

This is one of the few times you’ll see me mention professional wrestling in this spot but I have to mention the sudden passing of The Ultimate Warrior who died yesterday at the age of 54. Born under the name Brad Hellwing, The Ultimate Warrior grew in fame in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s in the former World Wrestling Federation.

He was one of very few wrestlers to rival Hulk Hogan in popularity and his death comes just three days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. For anyone between 35 years of age and older, The Ultimate Warrior was ‘must-see’ TV. Now he joins a never-ending list of former pro wrestlers who have died too young.