Comedian Bill Maher debuted a New Rule on his HBO program Real Time With… on Friday night. It has to do with the National Football League, and how it has usurped Major League Baseball to become America’s favorite spectator sport. To support this conclusion, Maher points to the 100 million people that are expected to watch next Sunday’s contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Compare that to the 15m that tuned in to the final game of last year’s World Series.
Maher also cites the unlikelihood of two small-market baseball teams facing off in baseball’s championship series ever again. The late, lamented Montreal Expos were a prime example of this. For years, they served as a veritable farm team for the major market clubs, developing players until their initial contracts ran out, then watching helplessly as deep-pocketed Steinbrenner types offered these players salaries that equated to the Expos entire payroll. And people wondered why the Expos couldn’t fill their stadium with fans.
The Pittsburgh Pirates payroll last year was around $40m, which is around 20% of what the New York Celebrities, er, Yankees paid out. As Maher puts it, “[Bristol Palin’s baby-daddy] Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow up and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. They have about as much chance at getting in the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton.”
Compare this scenario with football – not only can a small market team like Pittsburgh compete with any other team in the league, they can excel. The Steelers have won more Super Bowls and played in more conference championships than any other team in the league. Green Bay hasn’t done too badly neither, despite being a community of only 100k people. Chicago’s population is about 30 times larger than Green Bay’s, but Bears fans will be watching somebody else’s team represent the NFC this year.
So how does the NFL manage this feat when baseball seems incapable of delivering likewise? The late great NFL commish Pete Rozelle called it ‘parity,’ but Maher has a different word for it. Socialism. That’s right, Tea Partiers, America’s game is positively gung ho for ‘spreading the wealth around’, which is why we assume that ‘Joe the Plumber’ idiot from the 2008 presidential campaign will be boycotting his TV next Sunday. If he isn’t, he better change his business card to read ‘Joe the Hypocrite.’
Think about it — the NFL’s biggest source of revenue comes from its TV broadcast rights. Despite some TV markets literally dwarfing others, the NFL cuts this money pie into 32 even slices. The league imposes a hard salary cap that all teams must observe. The team that finishes first this year is forced to draft last the following spring. Fucking communists…
So, Tea Partiers, remember that no matter which team you’re rooting for next Sunday, ultimately, you’re rooting for socialist Satan and his anti-free-market, wealth-redistributing, success-punishing minions. Hike!