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RightNation.US: How the NFL Illustrates the Dangers of Collectivism - RightNation.US

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Two big pieces of news from the Nerf Football League today.

1. It looks like Tebow is going to the New York Jets for a couple of late round draft picks--essentially nothing.


The NFL Network is reporting that Denver, in an unprecedented move, is asking for part of Tebow's signing bonus back in cash. This is something no team would ever agree to according to the sports-holes on the NFL Network.


2. The New Orleans Saints head coach, Sean Peyton, is suspended for 2012. Greg Williams, the former defensive coordinator, is suspended indefinitely. The general manager is suspended for six games and other coaches as well. Player suspensions are coming out as I write.


Some of the assistant coaches participated in a bounty system where defensive players would receive bonuses if they hurt an opposing player or put him out of the game.

So what do these two stories have in common? They both illustrate the dangers of collectivism.

The NFL is a government monopoly. The federal government grants it anti-trust exemptions and allows it to run like one company. And that's all fine. No problem. A professional sports league needs to be allowed to protect its product, and no one does a better job of it than the NFL.

But we can learn some valuable lessons about decision making from the NFL.

Let's start with Tebow. Because the NFL is a revenue sharing league, teams with higher selling jerseys and other merchandise have to share that money with the teams that don't make very much. Same with ticket sales. Moreover, an individual like Tim Tebow, who accounted for some of the highest merchandising, has to share it with the team and the rest of the league. Again, no problem with that. It's all about competition within the league. If you let one team rake in all the dough, the other teams become less competitive, and the NFL product more than anything else is about competition within the league. The lesson is in how Tebow is being treated right now. He brought in millions of dollars to a team that started the season at 1-4. He gets the starting spot and takes his team to the playoffs and wins a playoff game. He did more for the NFL product than any player in the league this season.

Now he's being traded for barely anything and the Broncos actually want his signing bonus back. Only is an organization with a collectivist mindset does the guy who brings in the bacon get asked to hand it back.

It's not like there were high hopes for him and he blew it. That I could understand. If you give a guy a hefty signing bonus and he fails to come through, it's understandable to want it back. But this isn't one of those cases. Tebow did better than expected while bringing in all kinds of merchandise money, ratings and ticket sales. They should be giving him a golden parachute rather than asking for his bonus back.

As of the Saints, it's perfectly reasonable for the NFL to come down hard on the organization given the fact that there are rules against bounties and the league did warn them repeatedly to stop. The lesson, here, is that the rules themselves are largely unnecessary. The NFL already has fines for illegal hits. Big ones. No assistant coach has the kind of money to offer bounties that would cover the cost of the fines. No, these hits were supposed to be legal. So, the rule is to somehow change the intent of the defensive player and that will somehow keep backs and receivers safe.


Every coach I ever had told us to go out there and hurt someone. They didn't tell us to cheat or play dirty, they just told us to go out there with malicious intent. That's how the game is played. It ain't bean bag.

The no bounty rule is about appearances, which again, is fine. But it's a symptom of collectivist thinking to believe that such symbolic gestures actually accomplish anything. There's no proof that players get hurt any less because of such a rule. The best ways to protect players is to make their heads off limits, teach better hitting and to put huge fines on illegal hits. Taking a monetary incentive away from making legal hits as painful as possible only serves to make some league office people feel better about themselves.

My Mind is Clean

2 Comments On This Entry

My understanding is that the Jets are having to pay the Broncos some portion of the money. NOT Tebow having to surrender part of the money back to the Broncos.

USNJIMRET, on 22 March 2012 - 01:06 AM, said:

My understanding is that the Jets are having to pay the Broncos some portion of the money. NOT Tebow having to surrender part of the money back to the Broncos.

It represents his signing bonus which was structured as an advance on his salary. Lombardi on NFL Network said it would be tantamount to Tebow giving back all but one year of his bonus. But it looks like they worked it out. I haven't read how yet.
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