How to Find a Leader: Joe Biden is not one

It is one of the most misunderstood concepts of our society.  I am going through the editorial process with a publisher on a book on this topic called The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business. Still, we need to address the difference between a leader and a politician for our case here today.  Because obviously, most people don’t know the difference.  Every day in the news, somebody talks about Joe Biden as if he’s our “leader,” even Tucker Carlson on Fox News.  There is a treacherous psychological mind trick going on here that is costing us a lot of national bandwidth that we need to straighten out because we are different in America than other places globally, and we need to understand why.  We don’t elect leaders into office in the United States.  We don’t make an effort to be led by titles.  Remember, unlike what everyone tells us, we are not a Democracy; we are a Republic.  And we elect people to represent our views in America.  Not to lead us, leadership is scarce, and when we find them, we like them.  But we can’t limit our scope to always waiting for some leader to emerge before leaving the campfire and exploring the nearest cave the way leader-driven cultures tend to do.  We built our country to assume that leadership would be hard to find and was very rare, so leadership wasn’t needed in the political class.  We just needed representatives to carry out the interests of the people who elected them, which is a vast difference from what we are told. 

As I talk about in my upcoming book, leadership is forged like gold from the massive pressures of the universe.  Not everyone has the stomach or the heart to be a leader.  Typically we don’t see leaders emerging in our political circles because the conditions for making a leader do not exist there.  We see them come about in military life to some extent, we see them in sports, but most of our leadership in America comes about in the business world.  The percentage of authentic leadership is noticeably low; it’s a fraction of the total percentage of an overall population.  For example, Tom Brady is a prominent leader in sports.  He makes his coaching staff better with his leadership and teammates no matter what team he’s on.  Tom Brady manages always to find success.  You can see that type of leadership in CEOs, such as Steve Jobs.  Modern-day Elon Musk has excellent leadership.  It’s not the money he has which exhibits it, but it’s in his long string of successes and how he can communicate complicated vision to many people.  Of course, when we think of leadership, we think of General Patton.  I think of Claire Lee Chennault, who created the great Flying Tigers.  But these are all names unique to the history and within our populations.  They are far from commonplace. 

The health of any culture should always be measured by the number of leaders it produces.  But for that to occur, you have to understand what a leader is, and by calling politicians leaders by their titles, or worthless CEOs who expect to lead by title, then we are kidding ourselves toward the objectives of success, in a healthy culture that proportionally, America is the best globally. We have our Tom Brady types coming out of leisure activities and our Elon Musks in science and industry.  Other countries don’t have those people.  It’s not because the skills aren’t in the population.  But those cultures do not have a means of emerging them from obscurity into change state contributors, just as Indians of the Wild West spent much of their lives walking over gold but having no means to bring it out of the ground. And even if they did get to it, what would they have done with it?  They had no economy to make money.  They had no concept of money, so they never extracted gold for sociological use.  There needs to be a means to bring about the treasures of existence, and if that culture does not develop those means, you will never get to the prize. That is what leadership is; it’s a treasure of human endeavor that can advance a society when it is found and utilized.  But it is not created by silly titles, which is the prevailing belief by those too lazy and ill-equipped to develop a culture that produces leadership.

If we recognized that simple leadership trait, we would eliminate much of the corruption we see in politics currently and in the past and future.  Because we have by default given out leadership designations to people by title and not merit, we have prevented authentic leadership from emerging and improving our lives and circumstances.  Back to Tom Brady, think of all the professional football players we have seen over the years.  But not until Tom Brady came along was the whole leadership package developed into a guy who had taken his football teams to so many Super Bowls and won when the surrounding players were all different, and even the teams were different.  Tom Brady is proof that it’s not teams that win big games; it’s one individual who is a true leader.  Socialist and Communist countries always fail because they have no interest in finding leadership.  They have built their entire societies around collective consensus instead of leadership.  That is undoubtedly the case of our institutions of learning and our government of today in general.  They think leadership comes out of group behavior when it is forged from the pressure of success and failure—through much pain and turmoil and a refusal to take the loss as an answer to living. 

By calling any political person a leader, we are cheapening the word for its true meaning and use.  It is worse than all that it is a general punt by a declining society to be so quick to call worthless people leaders because the culture desires to shift away responsibility for leadership to people with titles instead of hashing out the problems themselves.  They might fail in the task if they did try, but by not trying and giving the responsibility over to a titled person who does not have leadership, but is like Mitch McConnell, a politician in a high office, then a failure shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Mitch McConnell will never be a leader of anybody.  Joe Biden will never be a leader, nor is Vice President Commie Harris.  Skin color can’t make a person a leader.  Bootlicking doesn’t make a leader.  Diversity training won’t make a leader, so globalism will ultimately fail because they seek to suppress leaders in favor of a system that makes politicians by title into positions of authority without earning the right through the pressures of living and becoming the best, thus creating leadership. 

Not understanding leadership has led to many of the problems we see today and destroys the lives of those unable to see leadership for the value it brings.  But make no mistake, just because someone wins an election, it does not make them a leader.  Just because someone gets a promotion, it does not make them magically a leader.  Not even a Super Bowl can do it; in the case of Tom Brady, he has shown that you must win many Super Bowls under many different conditions to show the power of leadership.  But without these tests and high expectations, you get sorry performance and a culture destined for failure.  And that is the danger of calling worthless politicians leaders when they are only haphazard politicians who represent us in politics at best.

Cliffhanger the Overmanwarrior

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Tom Brady is going to Tampa Bay: Lessons in leadership that our government could stand to learn

In spite of the entire country being shut down due to stupid politicians overreacting to an obvious power play by the CDC and World Health Organization to get funding for their mythical universal vaccine that they want to implement by 2025—more on that later—I’ve been having a fantastic week. With everything closed it has given more time to read with less distractions and honestly, I wouldn’t mind if it went on this way forever. If I have a reading light and we lost everything of modern convenience, I wouldn’t notice much. But I do not like having the culture we have built as Americans robbed from us. It’s a punch in the face and it deserves us hitting back. So, it has been fun to learn that Tom Brady has signed with my favorite football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which I haven’t talked about in a while because there hasn’t been much to talk about. However, in the realm of leadership the Glazer Family in Tampa continues to show truly what is at the heart of American innovation and optimism. The Buccaneers have not been to a playoff game for a number of years, but its not because the ownership hasn’t been trying. They have went through a number of coaches and players looking for just the right combination to find a winning team and now that they have signed Tom Brady after his two decades with the Patriots and his six Super Bowls with them, the Buccaneers have nearly guaranteed themselves a shot at that final elusive game at their home stadium since the next one will be at Raymond James Stadium. And the way the deal went down and why is something about leadership worth talking about.

The problem with government is that they don’t understand people and human innovation. Even well intended governors in top tier states like Mike DeWine through limited intellectual bandwidth thinks that his top priority as a governor is to save lives. But through his leadership if he mismanages those priorities he could scare everyone to death trying to save them and that is not uncommon in any top political office where they are put there by popular majority opinion rather than the true nature of a skill set. If you can scare people enough and get them to vote for you, then in politics that is a measure of success, but when real leadership is needed, nobody is there to do it because the job doesn’t flush out those traits in people and you end up with a bunch of losers trying to put a cap on life to measure success within those limits—then we end up with a society of losers. I know Trump understands this trait and he is personal friends with Tom Brady and all those guys get what real leadership is, especially in the context of games. Trump didn’t have much of a choice but to go along with this massive CDC, WHO scheme to get funding for their projects. Panic driven politicians will pay them anything they want now, so the mission has been accomplished for those organizations and if Trump resisted during an election year they would have massacred him in the press. So he is using the virus to unite people from both parties which will pretty much guarantee his re-election. It’s going to cost us trillions of dollars, but who’s counting anyway? We must save lives. (LOL) Trump, like Tom Brady has such great leadership that they think there is no surrender so long as there is time on the clock. If Trump gets re-elected, he figures he can fix everything, which is why he’s a winner. And that is likely what attracted Tom Brady to the Buccaneers, a chance to do the same and punch his own ticket as an individual for a return to a Super Bowl with a loaded team looking for that much needed leadership.

The Glazer Family is unlike other NFL team owners in that they don’t stick with a losing formula long. They will make quick and drastic adjustments to get a winning team, which works in every field—not just sports. So, I have been a Tampa Bay fan since the days that Sam Wyche was with the team after he was fired from the Cincinnati Bengals. I have not been a Bengal fan since. I cheer them on because the Bengals are my home town team, but the Mike Brown ownership of the Bengals and that family in general has a loser mindset that has sealed their fate as long as they own the team, so my decision was to put my sentiment in central Florida, a place I consider my second home anyway. The Buccaneers are loaded with talent trying to make a mediocre quarterback that they had there a champion, but the kid just couldn’t do it. Tom Brady can see it, so he has signed to lead the team to one of the most spectacular seasons that the NFL will ever see. The passing attack will be unstoppable with a quarterback as good as Brady. But those conditions weren’t created by Brady, they were created by an ownership trying every day to win. They had all the pieces in place with the payroll to show for it, but a quarterback. Now they have the best that there has ever been and anybody would have to admire that effort.

As we look around at a world closing itself off from a hidden virus, afraid of their own shadows, it was refreshing to hear from the real world and culture of America when there wasn’t any other positive news. And as bad as things have been, I enjoyed tremendously getting this news. It has been such a let down to see that the mighty American economy could be switched off so easily over a fear provoked by health officials who are always looking for money and attention that it has ground our culture to a stop and given our enemies the benefit of a laugh. I have watched the Buccaneers struggle through many seasons where they entered it with optimism and ended in failure but what I always love about them, and why I have stuck with them for so long is that they always keep trying and are perpetually on the hunt for great leadership. And that’s why they were willing to do whatever they had to do to acquire Tom Brady. In politics we have elections that allow us to look for great leadership and when we have had it, the established order of losers have attacked it with everything they have. And what’s depressing about this China Virus scare is that we have allowed it to even ruin our elections. That’s why this news about Tom Brady going to my favorite team was so optimistic. Its good to see out there that some people still get it, Brady gets it, the team gets it, and the ownership in Tampa gets it. And maybe when other people see all these elements coming together they might learn something about having a winning attitude, even when failure and loss is the only thing they experience. There is a lot of merit in continuing to try until you do get it right and after America comes out of this fake virus scare, they’ll learn a few things by watching Tom Brady pick a franchise up on his back and carry it to a victorious season. The same kind of sentiment can be done in politics if only people had the courage to do it.

Rich Hoffman

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Mike Brown is Terrible for the Cincinnati Bengals: Embracing a losing mentality is bad for creating value for his customer base

Long ago I wrote an article about why the Cincinnati Bengals would never be a championship team, even if they could load their team with all first-round draft picks. It was never about talent; the Bengals have always had great talent that was worth watching. I usually go to a few games a year even though I am not particularly keen on the Bengals because of their losing reputation, and I really enjoy watching Carlos Dunlap play, along with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. There are others as well. There is a lot to like about having the Bengals in Cincinnati and the NFL experience in general, but I typically don’t get very excited about them because of their front office approach to the customer base. Mike Brown as an owner never really understood what his role was as an owner and people do resent him for it. Sure they buy the product the way people in Russia bought bread during the height of communism, because there wasn’t any other option. Mike Brown was happy to just barely get by and keep his team in the black financially, but he has shown that he doesn’t care about the customer in the stands buying his product.

Since I do love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I did go to the home Bengal game when they played in Cincinnati at the end of October. Tampa Bay has been good some years and not so good other years, like this year. But what I see out of their organization every year is an attempt to win. They may get the combinations wrong, but at least they try, so I remain a loyal fan. As many who have read here for years know, I became a Tampa Bay fan because Mike Brown fired Sam Wyche when he was the head coach of the Bengals back in 1992 for one bad season. I never thought it was fair and I followed Sam Wyche to Tampa and remained a fan even after all the many coaching changes there because I simply think the Glazers are good owners and I cheer for their teams because I like them as people. Good people, good product, good public. Tampa Bay is a great place to watch a game win or lose, because you always feel they are trying.

However, after the Buc, Bengal game on a very beautiful day in Cincinnati where the home team held on to win in a close game that was very exciting I was in the Club section using the restroom after and by the way the fans were talking you’d think that the Bengals had lost. The talk after the game was that it was a miracle that Marvin Lewis didn’t find a way to lose the game, not that the home town Bengals had won, and I actually felt sorry for the team. Honestly, the Bengals played a good game. The Bucs at the time were playoff contenders so there was a lot for Bengal fans to be happy about. But the reputation of the team has left a fog over the entire organization that was costing them millions and millions of dollars and it was quite embarrassing.

Like I said, I go to a few games a year. I love the Club section because it’s usually a business class of people and I like the indoor amenities. There’s room to get up and walk around that you don’t get throughout the rest of the stadium. But I noticed that during the entire game almost no seats around us filled up with people. While the season ticket holders and hard-core blue-collar fans who have invested many of thousands of personal dollars into the Bengals and are willing to overlook the Bengal faults due to their own large investments into the NFL experience, the business class people see clearly what is going on with the Bengal organization and they aren’t supporting them even when they get free tickets through business associations. They simply have better things to do with their lives than watch losers play. Because business people know that even when losers sometimes win by accident, they are still losers, and that is the state of the current Bengal ownership under Mike Brown and they reject the product wholesale. When you can’t even give away free tickets, there is a problem with the product.

In business we are all trained, especially these days to give value to the customer, the people who pay for your product. If they aren’t getting value, what incentive do they have to continue using the product. The days of old top down relationships with the customer that large companies and monopolies had could afford to ignore the customer experience somewhat. For instance, the reason GM is failing isn’t because of large tariffs, but because they have a lackluster labor force that builds bad cars people don’t want. People bought them back when only America was building cars. But when there are better options, people will go where their value is massaged. In the case of GM put a Chevy Cruz next to a Toyota Corolla and the differences are obvious. I personally still support the GM brand, my family likes the cross-overs, but for sedans, there isn’t any question as to quality between the two. It’s the same with the NFL, Mike Brown thinks that just having a professional football team is all it takes, and up until a few years ago he was partially right. People were happy to have an NFL team in their city whether they were winners or losers, just the experience was worth the cost of the product. But times have changed, where the Bengals haven’t.

With the advent of Fantasy Football and the video game culture of Madden, the new generation of football fans are less inclined to love the home town team as they are players that they can invest in. The loyalty to the team as a whole has been broken up in these days of more individualized experiences such as we see with the smart phone revolution. That means that if a football team doesn’t occasionally win a big championship fans will drift away onto other interests, and the product will be permanently impacted. It’s a simple value stream kind of thing that any business would track trying to ensure that the customer experience is something they could build a business on. The Mike Brown assumption that people will buy his product regardless of what decisions he makes is really quite an insult especially to the business class people who spend their entire work week trying to figure out how to make their customers happy only to spend their leisure time getting spit in the face by Mike Brown. The final straw for Cincinnati fans was a few years ago when the Bengals were winning a playoff game against Pittsburg and they blew the ending with stupid penalties. Marvin Lewis stuck by those players not trying to recruit better personalities in the offseason and for smart people, they saw a lazy coach who was just riding the cart Mike Brown was pushing. And that was why fans were in the bathroom on a really wonderful day with a Bengal win against a good team complaining about Marvin Lewis when they should have been celebrating.

Whether the product is government, entertainment, or general business, the first obligation is to the people who give you money for that service. A few years ago when there was only the Post Office, there wasn’t anywhere to complain about the lazy postal worker who carelessly threw mail on our front porches. But with the rise of FedEx and UPS, that changed. The same with phone companies, it used to be that if you made a call outside of your home zip code, you would be charged for long distance communication. Now there are many communication options and those costs are long gone. And when it comes to sports, there are lots and lots of options and these days it’s actually more fun to watch them on the big magnificent televisions in the comfort of our homes. I still like to hear the roar of a crowd and see things in person, but if the customer experience sucks, I’ll just stay home. And that is what is happening to the Bengals. I wish I hadn’t been right all those years ago, but as usual, unfortunately I was. The Bengals under Mike Brown ownership will never win a championship. He has disrespected the customer base to a point that it will never recover and that’s a shame. Especially when Cincinnati has given him so much by way of tax relief and other benefits. Mike Brown didn’t respect Cincinnati enough to at least try to win. He is happy with mediocrity and his insult to all of us is that he insists that we like it.

I’d love to love the Bengals and take my grandkids down to the field to get autographs by really good people and players like Carlos Dunlap. But because of Mike Brown’s terrible leadership, I just can’t.

Rich Hoffman

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The “Fitzmagic” Show in Tampa Bay: A study in leadership that everyone could learn from

I haven’t been too keen on the NFL experience over the last couple of years. My favorite team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are always fun to watch, even when they haven’t had very good seasons, but so far this year they look spectacular. And there are some things worth discussing about what makes winning teams great that gives sports a unique way to express the abstract psychology of success. Of course I didn’t start this season with very high hopes as Jameis Winston got in trouble yet again for sexually molesting a young woman, this time an Uber Driver. And I haven’t been too impressed with Dirk Koetter as a head coach. I love the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have supported their continued efforts at being a great team by making changes every year to be competitive, but the results just haven’t been there for me, so I didn’t enter this season too excited about them or the NFL. But after two games and two wins to start the season against very good teams in the Saints and Eagles, there are some things worth talking about that involve the spirit of winning and nature of teamwork.

At the heart of this sudden success is the backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who has had back to back 400-yard games. Honestly, I think the playbook in Tampa Bay is so good, and to their credit, the team went out and filled the offense with great receivers and a good line that most quarterbacks could be successful under those conditions. But it’s what Fitzpatrick does as a leader that has made that team come together in a really special way. It’s not the typical kind of thing that Xs and O analysis can quantify, but it is unmistakable when you see it. Leadership ability is probably the most valuable attribute in any business. We build our sports recreation as a society to exhibit it when we can and as fans we marvel when we see it. And for Fitzpatrick maybe it took him until age 35 to finally figure out how to put it all together. Maybe the three-game suspension to Jameis Winston was the greatest thing to ever have happened to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because it allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the season knowing he was the starting quarterback and getting reps with the first team and at this point in his career he could afford to play loose. But nobody thought this was going to happen where he has been the best player on offense in the NFL for two consecutive weeks.

You can always tell when someone who is supposed to be a leader is faking it, and that has been the case of Jameis Winston. He’s a young kid with great charisma, but he has been trying too hard to establish himself and that is why Tampa Bay hasn’t been winning the last couple of years. If you can’t get the team to buy into the team leader at the quarterback position, then its going to be a long season. But sometimes a kid like Jameis just never really gets it. The same can be said about Cam Newton. Great raw talent, very likable personality, but when he’s down, he pulls the whole team down. And when he’s up, he pulls everyone up. But when a savvy veteran like Fitzpatrick gets a shot with over 15 years of experience to show his stuff without the pressure of being a franchise quarterback, then it’s a special thing that we often don’t see.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is having fun playing the game of football and it shows, and the rest of the team has rallied behind his enthusiasm. He was given a good team by management to work with, a starting job due to the suspension and a setting sun on his own career to make a point and he is simply a smart guy utilizing all those conditions. So they are calling it Fitzmagic in Tampa Bay what has happened to the team since the old quarterback started throwing the ball all over the place and raising the level of play for the entire team with his natural leadership. That leadership has been on display before with other teams, and it was obvious last year on the HBO series Hardknocks but with Jameis as the starting quarterback, and with the very expensive price tag of the franchise player, Fitzpatrick had to be happy to be a backup and help wherever he could.

So the ticker fell his way, he gained a starting job and if the Buccaneers are smart, which I think they are, they’ll keep Fitzpatrick in that starting job. Jameis Winston has been reckless and is still learning about natural leadership, so there is no reason he should be the starting quarterback when Fitzpatrick is obviously in a special place that many teams would kill for to discover among their roster. Leadership, especially natural leadership, is the most precious commodity in any business and with Fitzpatrick Tampa Bay as a football organization has found one. He’s the right guy at the right time and he is old enough to understand this time in history. That much was clear when he did his press conference after the Eagle’s game dressed up in an outfit from DeSean Jackson. All great leaders know how to have fun under the intense pressure of expectation and in that one gesture and very mature press conference where Fitzpatrick gave credit to the entire team for the win when the entire story could have been about his second consecutive 400 yard game, he showed that he had the heart of the team and the best shot at a chance to win a Super Bowl in 2018.

I still watch sports because I’m always hoping for these types of stories in the dialogue of the action. I have been a Buccaneer fan all these years during winning times and not so winning times because I know the owners are committed to finding just such a combination every year. They are always trying to win and when they aren’t they make moves in coaching and players to position themselves. And all that work has paid off. Even when their franchise guy went down due to a suspension and the schedule for the start of their year looked ominous. The Bucs have the Pittsburg Steelers on this coming Monday Night Football on prime-time television. The organization went the extra mile to sign Fitzpatrick. I couldn’t help but notice that the yards after the carry from Jackson, Evans, and Howard had just a little more swagger to them likely because they believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick. If that team keeps playing like that, they very much likely will be a Super Bowl team. And out of all the bad stories regarding the NFL lately, especially the flag drama from spoiled brat football players, the joy of such games come from watching teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hitting everything on all cylinders. It is a thing of beauty to watch and is very rare in any sport. But at this point in time the Fitzmagic show in Tampa is the hottest ticket in town and it’s a story that the NFL badly needs, and I’m very glad to see it happening.

Rich Hoffman

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Everything We Need to Know about the NFL’s Inevitable Death: The Global Citizen movement is attacking America through entertainment unions

Many aren’t aware of it, but there is a lot more to the NFL controversy about players taking a knee during the National Anthem. Many think that Trump shouldn’t be dealing with the issue, but then again, they clearly don’t understand the strategies of the anti-American forces invading our sovereignty. For those who don’t know the story visit the website linked below to the Global Citizen movement. That is the latest Socialist International effort to spread global communism to every reach of the globe. They simply changed the name to make it more inviting and stuck it to a bunch of stupid NFL players who think they are civil rights heroes. The NFL players are just uneducated participants easily pulled into the global events of our times as unsuspecting fools selling poison to an audience the NFL has come to take for granted. Trump was right to highlight the issue as a top priority. It may very well be the biggest issue of our day, more so than war with North Korea, our $20 trillion-dollar debt, or the three major hurricanes that have destroyed American cities over the last few weeks.

After what I saw this past weekend from the NFL, with many players taking a knee during the Nation Anthem, then watching Jerry Jones cave to the player’s movement by kneeling in the center of the field of the Monday Night game in Arizona locked arm and arm—I’m done. As many know, I have been a fan of the NFL during the whole duration of this blog site—but not anymore. What I see happening is a poplar game being exploited by a greedy socialist trade union that is working in conjunction with the other entertainment unions, SAG, DGA and many others to spread this Global Citizen movement and expecting unaware NFL lovers to go along with it because they love the game so much. Well, I think the NFL assumes too much. Fans are willing to put up with players who beat their wives, do drugs, and even kill people—but they won’t stand for a lack of patriotism. The National Anthem is part of the NFL experience and it allows people to feel good about the event—and without it, the game is a weakened exchange.

My wife and I were planning a trip to Tampa Bay on the weekend of November 12th for a long weekend, as we have in the past—to visit Raymond James Stadium, enjoy the beach, and have a great time at the Buccaneers football game against the Jets. After I saw Mike Evens take a knee at the Vikings game Sunday I cancelled all our plans in that moment. That was before they lost to the Vikings by the way. I don’t care how good Mike Evens is as a football player, he’s not so good he can’t stand for the National Anthem. If he’s not going to do that, I’m not spending my money on the team he plays on, and people who read here often know how much I love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But I don’t love them that much, not enough to put up with spoiled brat kids who are more willing to be cheer leaders of the Global Citizen movement than of the country for which the game of football is a spokesman. Without that game to play people like Mike Evens wouldn’t be a multimillion-dollar player to begin with—he’d be doing some regular job like everyone else, so the kid needs to learn his place in the world, and my money won’t contribute to his ignorance.

We budgeted around $5000 dollars for our trip and that would have covered the plane tickets, the hotel—a nice hotel suite, the game tickets, food for the weekend, a little shopping at the International Mall which we like to visit when we travel to that region, and of course spending money at the stadium—around a $1000 just for that. Some people might not think that’s much money, but I think it’s a tremendous amount of money just for a weekend football game. Now I don’t think I’ll even watch the game on television. Forget about the NFL pass on cable, I’m not going to pay that either. I’m not going to spend any money on the NFL this year because of all this. Normally through the year I might spend several thousand dollars. In years like this one where we plan out of state trips to watch the Buccaneers play, it might be $7000 per year spent during the whole season—including merchandise. Not this year, and maybe never again. I love football, but I don’t love it enough to put up with this kind of crap. If I can’t feel good about the money I’m spending, I’m not going to spend it. After all, Battlefront II comes out just a few days later and I’m very excited for that new video game release. Who needs football for entertainment when you have a Playstation? One is a passive experience, the other is an active one.

This is where the NFL has sided with the wrong groups. Obviously, they are backing their players union support of this Global Citizen movement because they want to expand the NFL market. A “flag first” policy does not help the strategic objectives of their global reach, and in order to get that, the NFL needs to accept more socialism—because let’s face it, the rest of the world is a very socialist place. All this solidarity crap is socialist speak to the leftists of the world whom the NFL is trying to reach. NFL executives figured they already had saturated the American market so there isn’t much left to acquire. To keep up with escalating payrolls for which the players union demands—especially with all the concussion protocols–the NFL must seek oversea markets so that is why they are supporting this anti flag movement.

The Global Citizen movement aims to remove sovereignty from all countries, especially the United States so that their objectives of a one world government can be met. Trump knows this better than anybody right now because he gets to talk to these people every day—which is why I’m sure he unleased this debate right after his United Nations speech. Global Citizenship is a buzz word right now in all progressive communities and if the president is trying to instill an American first message, then he has to attack the global movement where they are festering utterly undetected—behind America’s game of football.

This is where the NFL is going wrong—their American base of fan support isn’t as strong as it used to be. The new generation of young people won’t spend money on the games like my generation did, or the people of the generation that came before me. They won’t buy season tickets and commit to eight games per season, and they certainly won’t waste $5000 per game like I have from time to time to have a fun weekend out of town for a favorite football team in another city’s market. I’m 50 years old and honestly, I’d rather spend my Sundays playing Battlefront II where I get to be at the center of the action instead of watching millionaire players have all the fun. People younger than I am most certainly feel that way. There are far more things to do on a Sunday than watch NFL football. You can binge watch shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime, you can lose yourself in video games playing with people all over the world which is a lot more exciting than watching a football game. What the NFL doesn’t seem to realize through arrogance entirely of their own, is that once they lose their fans—they won’t be back. Once people turn off to football, they are gone forever. My generation will care some, but they’ll find something else to do. The next generations, they’re playing video games—by the millions. They don’t need the NFL.

I almost feel sorry for the NFL players for getting themselves wrapped up in this mess. They are cutting their own throats and they don’t even know it. They are destroying the game for future generations, and utterly cutting off their own revenue stream. Their NFL owners won’t be able to pay their gigantic payrolls soon, because the money simply won’t be there. To sustain what they currently are accustom to, the beer needs to flow, and be very overpriced, people need to buy lots of jerseys, and they need to fill those stadium seats. TV ratings have to be great, not good—but GREAT! That’s the only way advertisers will pay premium to market their products. If people turn off the game and revert to Playstation—which they were already doing before this controversy—then the NFL as a business dies. It won’t take long for it to happen—just a few years from now. Even under optimal conditions the NFL was going to have to adjust, but now they may lose their game forever to a public that has their entertainment appetites stimulated by other things. Nobody wants to watch flag football—and they certainly won’t plop down 5K for it not with all the other things out there to entertain us.

The players and the media should have listened to Trump. They are the ones who politicized the game and once the president called them out on it, they dug down deeper—and damaged themselves to a far greater magnitude. I am surprised that more smart people have not yet drawn these conclusions and connected these complicated dots, but perhaps that is because there is too much emotion associated with the NFL which has been with us for a long time. But to be honest, it’s a pretty young game in the scheme of things—something that has essentially lived and died during my generation. And when its gone forever, nobody will miss it—few will ever remember that it ever was.

Rich Hoffman

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The NFL isn’t for the Players: Why Donald Trump is right–as usual

Part of making America great again is to give everyone something to be proud of.  Even in the case of the NFL the infusion of socialist thought has drowned out the respect we should all have for our flag, which is only a symbol, but largely distinguishes us as a people from the rubble of global awareness.  The forces that have wanted to destroy our sovereignty and turned us from Americans into some “global citizen” are the same that have desired to destroy the game of football which is unique to America and represents so much more to our culture than just scoring touchdowns.  Football is a game of capitalism, as I’ve said many times before in hundreds of articles.  Soccer as we think of it in America is a game that is very popular in countries corrupted with socialism—and represents that political philosophy dramatically—most obviously in the way the offside’s rule is established.  In football a player is offside’s when the defense jumps the snap count.  In soccer it happens when an offensive player gets behind the deepest player on a defense.  It’s as plain as anybody could make it, soccer favors regulatory constraints which is why the score is always so low, where football puts the burden on the defense—on regulatory resistance to stop an offense if they can.  The offense is meant to find creative ways to dominate a defense—and it is that basic essence which has made the world target American football as a game meant to be destroyed, and to have soccer replace it.

I would go so far to say that as spectators we don’t care about concussion protocols.  It’s not that we don’t care about the players lives, it’s just that we love the game of football more and we figure as fans that the trade-off to be able to shorten your life to play in the great arena of an American gladiator sport is worth it.  I can say that I have had the opportunity to deal with NFL players off the field and have liked them.  What I have personally witnessed at the Penthouse Club in Tampa Bay where players from the Seattle Seahawks and of course the hometown Buccaneers went to have a little fun after a big Sunday night game revealed why many of these young kids play such a dangerous game.  My wife and I were staying at the same hotel as the Seahawks were so we had an interesting behind the scenes look at life off the field in the NFL and I can’t think of a better time for young men to be treated like kings in the fast lane of life than what I saw happening to those NFL players.  Yes, it was a situation of depravity and all those players were living the life by choice—and they were being rewarded that night.  I had to shake my head knowing they would never live the kind of life that my wife and I did—but they didn’t care at the time.  They were millionaires in most cases and they had women climbing all over them willing to do anything just to get a little bit of it.  The Penthouse Club actually makes a pretty good steak and it was very close to our hotel so we had a front row seat to all the activity and from the vantage point of the NFL players, I could see they were having the time of their lives.  How many people would trade 30 to 40 years off their life to go through the experiences those guys was having?  Perhaps 99% of the population would if they were big enough, strong enough, and charismatic enough to have the opportunity to play in the NFL.  Knowing about all the potential for injury–they’d give up their arms and legs to have women crawl all over them like that just once in their life—not to mention for 3 to 5 years as a professional athlete—maybe longer for the lucky ones.

Payton Manning was always the good guy of the NFL, the guy who we most liked and respected.  He conducted himself as a great all American Boy Scout who was at the top of his field.  He was respected, lawful, and professional, the best that there was—which is why he became the spokesman for the NFL.  Payton was just vulnerable enough to be likeable, unlike Tom Brady who is just inconceivably clean, but professionally dominate.  But life in the NFL quickly degenerates once you get past those types of professional players.  The lifestyles they lead in the NFL are far more dangerous than ramming into other 270 pound men with their heads—from the conditioning, the diets, the stress of making the team each year for a chance to become a millionaire—they are expected to give up their health to play such a gladiator sport.  And most people if they could would trade those players in a minute for their long 70 to 80 year lives to live the NFL life for just 1 year.  To be loved and admired by a city, to have women on speed dial anywhere in the world who would do anything you wanted, and to have a press eating out of your hand everywhere you went.  To have access to the very best that life has to offer—so long as you are playing “the game.”   Most people would do it if they knew they’d die by age 30—and they’d die happy.  That is some of what we mean in America when we say live hard, die free.  It is a trait that comes from tasting freedom, and in the NFL nobody tastes it greater than those players.  In exchange we expect them to give us a good show.  We don’t expect to see a hard hit between two warriors on the field of battle only to have both put into a concussion protocol tent for examination, and a removal from the game.

It wasn’t Donald Trump who brought the politics into the game of football; it was all these progressive groups who have been year by year increasing their infection of attaching social causes to the fast life of the typical NFL player.   Now the concussion protocol standards have taken away our love of the game by softening it into nearly a game of flag football that could be played by girls, which is where all this is headed.  The critics of the NFL want to destroy the game and replace it with soccer, or to have women playing on the field with men, so they are trying to slow boil away the danger while hoping to retain the interest and it’s just not happening.  Trump was right to point it out; people want to see NFL players hitting each other.  We don’t want to see concussion protocols.  We don’t want to see players hurt necessarily, or ruined for life—but many of us understand what’s going on.  Most people would trade their boring lives in a second if they could walk into the Penthouse Club in Tampa and have some of the most attractive women in the world jump all over them such as what typical NFL players’ experience.  And for the girls, where else on earth could they make so much money but in a place like that.  Many of them come from areas around the world drowning in debt.  Beautiful girls from east European countries with exotic accents would have to sell themselves on the sex market anyway just to feed themselves due to the lack of economic activity in their home towns—due to the socialism that has destroyed their economies.  Who could blame them for coming to America to work at the Penthouse Clubs in Tampa, or New Orleans, or even in Vegas?  They have something that the millionaire NFL players want so the exchange is mutual.  It’s better for them that it’s not some middle-aged loser who is fat and disgusting buying their time than some young stud at the peak of physical condition that is willing to blow $50K per night on satisfying his fantasies.  Let’s face it, that’s what young men play the game for, and why we as parents have always signed them up for it—to live the dream even if it means a shorter life.  And we certainly don’t expect them to bitch about it.

What we are seeing is the player’s unions trying to soften up the game for reasons that are un-American, which we should expect from a socialist organization.  Football isn’t for the players—as I’ve said, they get the money and the wild life in exchange for their services.  Football is for the fans and it is the owners of these teams who are tasked with satisfying the market need.  They control the business of the NFL—not the players, not the lawyers, and certainly not the networks.  Without the owners nothing happens—and without the fans—nobody makes any money, and the girls at the Penthouse Club in Tampa have to live off tips from people who want to cheat on their wives, business people who are so stressed out and unhappy that they are miserable to spend time around, and married couples looking to spice up their lives a bit—then feeling guilty afterwards.  Nobody comes out well by softening up the NFL—except for the socialists who want to destroy it and thus to remove an American pastime from the concerns of a world that can’t compete with it.  Those people do want to destroy America—especially symbols of American capitalism such as what the NFL represents.  Believe me; they don’t care about concussion protocol either.  They aren’t doing it to save the players lives—they simply use that as the cover story to destroying the game itself and what it means to American society.  As is typically the case with Donald Trump—he is right in every point, and was correct to address the issue in a bold fashion.  Football is America’s game, and it is part of making America great again.  To do that we have to understand what it is we like about it.  And concussion protocols are not something we care about as fans-or the social causes of the players.  We just want to see them beat the hell out of each other to justify the high-priced beers and hot dogs on a wonderful October afternoon in America.

Rich Hoffman

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A Note to NFL Players: Understand your role, social causes are not one of them

Let’s get something straight, this is football.

This is not:

I thought it was rather stunning that the CBS Sports staff on the Sunday pregame show for the opening of the NFL season at noon spent at least 15 minutes talking about a player who isn’t even on an NFL team, Colin Kaepernick. It is truly an awesome display of ignorance that the studio heads of the major networks would look at the NFL ratings and not draw a parallel to the amount of players who have followed Kaepernick into kneeling during the National Anthem ceremonies before games. People who pay over $200 per seat by the time you total up the whole NFL experience don’t want to have some 20 something kid lecture them about social injustice. They want a break from the world which is why they show up to spend so much money on a simple game. But for people connected to the NFL media to openly endorse anti-American behavior is a reckless enterprise that shows they have no idea who their audience is, or how much that audience will put up with to spend money on their game.

I look forward to the NFL season each year—I enjoy the game as a capitalist enterprise that makes a lot of people happy. The NFL experience is a good one, especially on an October Sunday where the air is cool, the humidity is down and all of downtown is thriving at 10 AM in the morning with festivities awaiting the big game at 1 PM. I’ve been to several NFL games around the country and have more than once spent large amounts of money on experiences in the club section and I always enjoy it—more on a macro level as opposed to the intimacy of a local team. I think football is good for America and is an appropriate metaphor for the capitalist system of economics that makes our country the most successful on planet earth. Its good in that regard to indulge in the spectacle of football.

But then you have a player’s union rooted in Marxism that seeks to work against capitalism by its very nature—you have a lot of kids who grew up in impoverished socialist cities who only found in football a way out of their self-imposed misery—who really don’t understand the greater world outside of the rules of the game who are thrust onto the front pages of magazines and television cameras for a short five or six years of their young lives. Then when the game is done with them they are thrown back into society to do something—usually to fail. You have the various progressive groups who want to rename teams into things less “offensive” or to make the game “safer” by making movies attacking the concussion protocol, and other issues. Like CNN did with Sea World, many in the entertainment business see the NFL as a capitalist icon that should be brought down and they use social welfare causes to attack the institution of football, which is having an effect. Then you have some kid like Kaepernick who takes all the fun out of the game by not honoring the National Anthem and forcing people to deal with a social cause everyone wants to forget about for the three-hour span of a game. Most people watching football want to drink and knock the edge off the stresses in their life, and they want to watch violence as their team marches toward a meaningless victory that will be forgotten 24 hours later in the middle of a Monday. When Kaepernick started these protests during the 2016 season and other players followed him, the NFL ratings plummeted. And that is carrying over into the 2017 season which should concern everyone involved. But mysteriously, people close to the game, like television game hosts are sticking with the protest narrative as if Kaepernick has some kind of right to be anti-American while the team he is on is supposed to honor the American system for which football is a game of proper metaphors.

It really shouldn’t even be a debate. The NFL owners understand what the intention is—it’s to make money. Without money the players don’t get paid, their cities don’t get the needed revenue they need to support stadiums in their downtowns, and many of the bars and restaurants that are satellite businesses to the NFL lose huge portions of their revenue. I hate to say it but if you are an NFL player, you are an employee of something much larger—and you need to shut your mouth and play your role in the entertainment for which you have been commissioned. You are not some God on the field of dreams, you are an instrument to be played to the liking of the mob—and you better get used to it. You sacrifice your personal sovereignty the way a soldier does for the US military—you are to follow orders and do what they tell you to—and to like it. When you are done playing the game, you get your life back—and that’s what players sign up for in exchange for the massive paychecks. They are to sacrifice their bodies and their lives while they are playing to the needs of football.

When I was younger every coach wanted me to play on their team, but I never did because I knew as a younger person that football was a means to losing my individual sovereignty and I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t willing to give that up for the fame, the girls, the power of local celebrity—but some people were. They had pretty positive experiences until they were injured or found they could no longer play the game. I think it’s a reasonable trade-off, and for those who choose to play, they need to understand the rules. They don’t get to change them the way that Kaepernick has tried to do—by assuming that football is so big, and that he was so good that his social messages would have to be listened to by a public half drunk and miserable in their daily lives. He obviously was wrong.

It was really amazing how many social causes attach themselves to the game of football these days, from cancer treatments to hurricane relief—football—especially in the NFL has become more about social causes than about smashing the other guy into oblivion and winning a game for the pride of your local city. But on a Sunday where two hurricanes had just hit the US mainland and one of those hurricanes shut down the opening of two NFL teams in Florida there were a lot more important stories pertinent to the game of NFL football than Colin Kaepernick who is without a team because he’s so toxic and whether or not he should be playing due to his social justice crusade. People don’t care, nor do they want to be reminded of such a thing when they are spending over $1000 on beer, nachos, and hot dogs hoping their team will give them in return a victory they can enjoy for the afternoon and forget all the troubles on their plate at that moment.

Rich Hoffman

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The Guilt of Sean Payton: Murder, bounties, and the NFL hiding behind gun control

I don’t like Sean Payton, the head coach of the New Orleans Saints football team, mostly because I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan. I think he runs a dirty organization as was the evidence of his one year suspension a few seasons ago, and I think he leads a team of thugs.  That could be said of many NFL teams, but when a coach like Payton exploits that thug culture to squeeze out a few more wins for his own personal advancement I think he opens himself up to an extra level of scrutiny when something goes wrong.  And when an ex-star player of his, Will Smith was gunned down in the street on April 9th 2016 Payton didn’t blame the football players involved for their very bad behavior leading up to the tragedy—he blamed guns and took a progressive position socially to camouflage the failure of a culture which he has helped create—and that makes him a scum bag.

Former Saints DE Will Smith and his wife were out for a night dining with friends.  One of those friends just happened to be a cop who was involved in a shooting of the father of Smith’s future murderer—later that evening—ironically.    Smith had friends in law enforcement and he was a star football player and Super Bowl champion—so he had a sense of entitlement based on his behavior.  He was doing good things with his life and looked to be a good family man.  He had celebrity friends and was the star of whatever event he attended.  All was well until he started driving home and accidentally bumped into the very expensive Hummer driven by Cardell Hayes.

After Cardell Hayes lost his father to a police shooting the city of New Orleans paid the minor league football player a hefty sum of money for which he purchased a bright red Hummer.  It didn’t sit well with the football player to be rear ended on a late night Saturday while stopped in the road.  Hayes moved toward the sidewalk to get out of the way of traffic and settle the matter with the driver who hit him.  But instead of pulling up behind to exchange insurance information, like what was supposed to happen by law, and call the police to file a report, the car driven by Smith ran off invoking a hit and run incident.  Well, being a young football player who has had to scrap for everything on every play to get what he needs in life, watching that car run from the scene of the accident was apparently too much for Hayes who gunned off in pursuit of the fleeing vehicle.  It was unlikely known at the time that it was the famous Will Smith who had hit him and whom Hayes was chasing.  All Hayes knew was that someone had committed a crime against him and he was going to get the guy.  What Hayes should have done was write down the license plate number.  He would have had his justice and everyone would still be alive.  But instead Hayes torpedoed his car into Smith at a traffic light several blocks up the road and the two drivers met on the street for an angry brawl. One thing led to another and before anybody realized how serious the situation was, Hayes shot Smith in the chest six times killing the New Orleans football star.

Hayes stayed on the scene and admitted what he had done to police and everything was cleaned up and looked to be a pretty straight forward case of road rage. But it was in the aftermath that Sean Payton obviously missing his friend and speaking with a heart rooted in tragedy said that he hated guns, and that New Orleans was like the wild, wild, west.  Payton used the death of his friend to advance a progressive anti-gun stance without addressing the behavior that actually caused the violence in the first place, and that was disgraceful.  It made Payton an even worse person than I already thought he was and he appeared to think as Smith did that his level of celebrity could free him of the burden of judgment.  For instance, if Smith was as smart as news reports obviously wanted to portray him in this tragedy, why did he participate in a hit and run?  Was he counting on making a call to his friends on the police force to resolve the issue and to ensure that he was above justice because of his celebrity?  It certainly looked that way.  Payton seems to think that he can make reckless progressive statements because the people of Louisiana want another Super Bowl win so he calculated that they would just put up with his banter without question.

Most of the people I know in my neighborhood have guns and they often carry them.  Yet we never shoot each other—even when we get into traffic accidents.  It was only a few months ago that a lady hit me on my motorcycle nearly injuring me badly.  I was literally a half-inch away from losing my right leg.  We were both armed with guys, yet even in such a crises it never occurred to either one of us to shoot each other.  I simply yelled at her, and then once I saw how sorry she was, we quickly went to the business of settling the accident.  It was a very civil way to settle a tragedy.  It certainly didn’t devolve into the kind of violence that killed Will Smith.  That is because the problem isn’t guns, its behavioral science.  The football culture that Will Smith and Cardell Hayes lived within is built on primal valor and coaches like Sean Payton exploit that pent-up energy to win football games. For young people like Smith and Hayes—who often grow up fatherless, but find social redemption in popular gladiator sports the ethics on a football field often depend on an eye for an eye mentality.  There is a lot that goes on during a football game psychologically that never shows up on a television screen for which Smith and Hayes have made their livings and it’s not easy to turn all that off for civilian life.  Many football players have a hard time with that adjustment.  Will Smith was apparently attempting to do that and he was mostly successful.  But when you play a game where the alpha male rules the field and that an entire team depends on your ability to assert that dominance over other alpha males—the nature of the game doesn’t just leave the mind on the football field.  It sometimes carries over into the streets of whatever communities they live in.

Will Smith abused his rights as a private citizen when he attempted to roll away from the accident.  When he was challenged by another alpha male for attempting to flee likely they said things to each other that required in their minds an ultimate statement on who was the alpha male.  Hayes not having any other intellectual resources to guide his actions went for his gun and the rest his history.  But it wasn’t the gun that was the problem or that people carry them.  It is that we have a society that doesn’t understand how important alpha males are and how hungry young people are to either become them, or yield to them.  And for coaches like Payton who build alpha males for the benefit of football victories so that the people of New Orleans can feel good about themselves on a Sunday afternoon—he should have known better than to say the stupid things he did about guns.  In a lot of ways Payton was just as guilty of what happened in that murder as the gun was.  He breed and exploited the circumstances for which the violence was provoked in a road rage incident and like a coward—he deflected the blame to an inanimate object—instead of the behavior of the participants.  For a coach that paid players on his defensive teams, which Smith was a part from 2009 to 2011—to physically harm other players to take them out of a game, the morality of gun violence doesn’t hold much water when Payton helped create a culture that inspired violence against others.   

How guilty was Payton, well, for the NFL they came down on him hard—a $500,000 fine and a year suspension.  Considering the problems the NFL has had and how much they’ve let go over the years—Payton must have been pretty guilty.  If Payton had been a better coach and mentor, it is highly unlikely that Will Smith would have run away from a hit and run accident, or ran his mouth when cornered down the road by the victim.  We are all products of our environment and in the world of professional football; the head coach is the judge, jury and executioner of environmental influence.  Will Smith was a product of Sean Payton’s professional football teams and that product showed itself most when he crashed into Cardell Hayes then left the accident scene expecting to be relieved of the guilt.  Why shouldn’t Smith have expected to not be punished when he watched so many of his friends and fans forgive his head coach and push behind justice just so they could witness one more win in New Orleans on any given Sunday? The answer is, Smith didn’t know better and that was the fault of a culture who made him that way—and the guilt for most of what shaped that culture for Will Smith led right into the office of Sean Payton.

Rich Hoffman


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The Bengals Did Well: Carlos Dunlap saves Cincinnati

As a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan I don’t put much investment emotionally into my hometown team of the Cincinnati Bengals. I’m not a fan of Mike Brown and think the stadium deal he made with the city was a bad one compounded by a mediocre product he has put on the field over the last several decades. Even though lately his teams have been in the playoffs year after year, they always end up a disappointment. But the Bucs haven’t been very good this year, as they weren’t last year. They seem to have fixed many of their offensive problems, but the defense just isn’t working—and for me and Tampa Bay, I get excited about defense. So it’s been a pretty mundane year so far. Because of all those elements, I don’t get to the local Bengal games very often. I have always loved the NFL experience, but don’t often get down to a game. However, it was a good week for me last week and I had a packed weekend full of activities and an opportunity to go to the Bengal game against the Seahawks presented itself so I went with my family.

image imageThe game itself was fabulous, an overtime thriller that nobody will forget anytime soon. It was a magnificent October afternoon and we spent some extra time before and after the game enjoying the new Banks developments and all the tailgating activities. It was sunny, warm—the leaves were changing color—it was a wonderful day for football and two very good teams were playing in the usual ramped up rock n roll environment typical of professional football. The Ohio State marching band was at the game performing—which was impressive—the game itself and all the festivities around it were just perfect including the overtime win that rocked the stadium with much deserved enthusiasm. I was very glad I went to that particular game at that particular time.

But those kinds of things to me are never just about the game—I enjoy the larger picture. I like Paul Brown Stadium because it’s the hometown arena even though I think it’s not nearly as spectacular as Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The Club area at PBS is everything you’d want it to be—luxurious, well-managed, and optimistic. It was quite enjoyable to watch all the NFL games occurring from the lounge within the high intensity environment of the Bengal game. The Bengals have done a much better job of capitalizing off their mascot theme of a Bengal tiger the last several years. The video promotions shown around the stadium were much better than they have been in the past even though the stupid song they play with each touchdown sounds like a broken 45 vinyl record from a crusty old man’s treasure chest. It sounds outdated and lost—but the whole experience was otherwise very exciting and stimulating. The people were from all walks of life and in many cases had spent thousands of dollars to be there which put my nose on the economics of what was happening.

I love the NFL experience for the things connected to the events. The economic stimulus connected to the National Football League is staggering—everywhere there are advertisements for various products, promotion work for various cancer fighting awareness, and lots and lots of beer being sold. People generally stayed relaxed and enjoyed themselves for a much-needed four hours of bliss on a Sunday in October. The rock music, the video images, the connectivity to the entire stadium network around the country simultaneously is quite something to behold.

There are several interesting things going on at football games. Fans are quick to assimilate to the phrase “we” when talking about their favorite team. It’s a form of collectivism that is dangerous to our society as perfect strangers were brought together by rooting for their favorite team to score points. When the Bengals went to overtime with a last-minute field goal the stadium was nearly in an orgy of enthusiasm for each other. There were hugs and high-fives everywhere as people who normally wouldn’t speak to each other held one another in warm embrace. That was very interesting.   Clearly politicians utilize the same type of unifying force to solidify support for their various impositions. Yet in spite of that alarming trend the essence of capitalism was unmistakable. There was no way that the collective unification of the masses would adhere to any kind of communist banter if it meant robbing them of their Sunday afternoon football.

I enjoyed immensely the pre-game ceremonies of tail gating, the obvious recklessness of the activity being conducted on a mass scale. It wasn’t my first time of course, but with a football team that had a chance to be 5-0 after coming off a playoff year previously, there was a lot of hope in the air. Because the weather was warm there were the typical fair weather types mixed with the hard-core maniacs who come all dressed up to the stadium for war. Some people had fixed up school buses dedicated to the Bengals they tail gated out of, some had million dollar RVs all decorated up in the team colors. There was an obvious sizable investment that people had dedicated themselves to for the exclusive enjoyment of those three hours of battle. So it was even more intense that all the pent-up emotion before the game was released after the game with an overtime win against a good team. The economic engine driving the experience mandated a bold support of capitalism to generate that type of energy. There was no danger of Bolsheviks generating a communist revolution among NFL tailgaters. There was a lot of conflicting human behaviors on full display, but generally it was all very optimistic and healthy—and uniquely American.

If I had to pick a hero of that particular game it wasn’t the enthusiastic crowd, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green or the coaching staff—it was Carlos Dunlap. I watched him carefully between downs even when the fourth quarter started; the Seahawks had the ball and were up 17 points surely headed to a victory. Dunlap, number 96, was in position dancing around as enthusiastic as if the game were just starting. I put the victory on his shoulders because it was obvious that the Bengals as a team fed off his energy. His body language carried the crowd and the team in a time when it would have been acceptable to start looking toward the next game regarding the present one as hopeless. I thought he was the unsung hero of the day. It’s that kind of football that makes a distinct difference between the one that is played around the rest of the world with soccer and rugby. In American football, sure it’s a team sport, but the individual often has a more important role than the collective efforts of the team. Not everyone understands that, but it’s obvious if you know what you are looking for. Carlos Dunlap had it. It didn’t show up on the games I’ve watched on television, but it was sure present in the stadium while the TV audience was in commercial breaks. Dunlap was all energy all the time and that had to be the momentum killer for Seattle. I know the story of the game was that Dalton went after Sherman and all that—but it was Dunlap who led the way for the Bengals to win that game. In the fourth quarter that defense turned down the screws and that is what put the offense back on the field three times in the fourth to secure a tie, then an eventual win. That was the key to the game led by Carlos Dunlap.

Overall, the Bengals did a good job as an entire organization. I have been critical of them, but I admired the effort from the people behind the scenes who made all the graphics on the score board, to the sound guys, to the people who scheduled all the special guests—to the employees in the Club section who were professional and enthusiastic about providing a great experience for the people in those areas. Even the police outside trying to manage the traffic were in on the fun. It was a wonderful experience for me. I liked it so much that I almost bought a Carlos Dunlap jersey—almost. If there had been one in the pro shop outside my seat entry at the Club section, I would have bought it. The product of the Bengals had improved enough for me to consider it.

I waited for the crowd to clear after the game and sat in the lounge watching recaps of the other NFL games. My Tampa Bay Bucs had won 38 to 31 but that didn’t impress me because they gave up way too many points for my liking. Still, it was a pretty good day to cap off a nice week. The NFL offers a great product that is important to American philosophy—a mixture of not such good things with a whole lot of things that are. But one thing that it isn’t is calm, passive, or in any form conciliatory against fever pitched competition. And that’s what I loved most; the intensity, the furious melodrama of strategic objectives set against a ticking clock, and the high-pitched temperament of a packed crowd excited about a 5-0 start to the season after an overtime win on a beautiful afternoon. It was something I will always treasure as a sports fan.

Rich Hoffman


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Up for Whatever Happens: Tampa Bay Beats the Steelers in an improbable win

There hasn’t been much to cheer about the last couple of years, and first part of this new season as I’m a diehard fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team.  It has been a transition period for them as they have sought after their correct player/coach combinations.  With the addition of Lovie Smith as the new head coach, I have been optimistic until the thrashing that took place in Atlanta.  I am also a fan of the Bud Light commercials, “Up for Whatever Happens” which I featured during the last Super Bowl.  So even after a terrible start to the new season, it was wonderful to see Warren Sapp grant a Tampa Bay resident with a dream “happening” by converting his living room into a pirate themed amusement park at the beginning of the game against the Pittsburg Steelers.  This is usually how it looks at my house on each Sunday that the Bucs play.

Football is a celebration of capitalism and the type of people who have assembled on the outskirts of society to attack the NFL are the same idiots who believe in global warming, the income disparity between men and women, and that it is better to have a president in the White House because of skin color rather than content of character.  These intrusive big-government, anti-capitalists want to step into the private affairs of Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson along with coming after the Washington Redskin franchise name—as they do every “citizen” of the world for reasons that have nothing to do with justice.    These characters are not so interested in protecting women from domestic violence or children from abusive punishment—or honoring the name of a conquered people—but rather in moving the progressive bar further to the political left by attacking a mainstay of American capitalism—the NFL.  So I tend to support American football as a leisure activity in spite of their altruistic obsession of appeasing those same radicals with the pink ribbon campaigns and 60 minutes of exercise per day for children.  I believe that the Madden Football on Xbox and Playstation does more for children than an entire year of public school as far as teaching them how to think—so I love and support the NFL.

I also love Lovie Smith who has always been and continues to be a stand up guy who coaches in a unique way as a mentor first, and a leader desiring to win second.  This could be said of the Glazer ownership as well which I have spoken about in great detail over the years.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneer organization from the top to the bottom is a class act and a great enhancement to the Tampa Bay region.  Lovie Smith is the perfect kind of fit for the type of coach the Glazers had been looking for.  But after a terrible, embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Falcons—a division rival, I had no hope that the Bucs could bounce back and beat the Steelers playing in Pittsburg—where the home team almost never loses.  The mountain of improbability was just too high.  I didn’t even put my flags out for the first time in about 8 years.  I watched the game out of loyalty but I didn’t want to put too much emotional investment into a team that was obviously struggling with Lovie’s team philosophy. I didn’t even get excited much when the Bucs came out and sacked Big Ben in the opening moments jumping up to a 10-0 first quarter score.  The Steelers made some adjustments and came back to get the lead and held it until the closing moments of the game—but with 7 seconds left on the clock, the Bucs mounted a valiant comeback—held their poise and won the game.  It was very impressive, and if I had my cannons out, I would have shot them as seen in that Bud Light commercial.

I don’t care if the Bucs win another game this season—that win was one that I’ll never forget.  Hopefully the organization will build on that victory and step will into the future.  For all the talk about the recent Hall-of-Fame inclusions of Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and soon John Lynch, Ronde Barber, and probably Mike Alstott, Tony Dungy, along with many others—the Bucs have been living in the past—happy to have their one Super Bowl win in 2002.  The ownership has tried to recapture that magic, but the results have been average.  There have been some great wins, and some fun Sundays, but the Bucs have not been able to rekindle the magic of their Hall-of-Fame players.  The Steelers on the other hand have a whole hallway of Super Bowl wins and a legacy of success that is unmatched.  Their current head coach is a former Buccaneer coach and has had great accomplishments in Pittsburg.  The reason it is so hard to win in Pittsburg is because the fans expect success from their team—and nothing less.  That is obvious when Pittsburg comes to Cincinnati to play which is four hours away to the south—there are nearly as many Steeler fans in the stands of a home game with the Bengals who follow the team to away games with great enthusiasm.  They do the same in Cleveland, and Baltimore creating a very intimidating fan base that rattles visiting teams during every Steeler home game.

It would have been very hard for Lovie Smith to prepare his team after such a daunting loss to get back on the horse and prepare for the Steelers—where the odds were against them in every category.  The NFL world was shocked to see the Bucs steal a win against the valiant Steelers—yet it happened in a convincing way.  Even when I thought the game was over with only a minute left—Pittsburg had the ball forcing Tampa to use all their timeouts—the defense put the screws to a very good Steeler offense.  The big difference in the game was that Gerald McCoy was back in the middle forcing the Steelers to attempt to run the ball to the outside where speedy linebackers were there to pick up the attempt.  The defense held, and the Bucs got the ball back with 30 seconds left to march down the field and score a touchdown.  Mike Glennon—the back-up quarterback throwing to a guy who was signed only the week before—who was cut after the pre-season, caught the ball on a slot reception and nearly made it into the in-zone.  Two plays later Vincent Jackson caught a touchdown stunning the football world.

After the game the Bud Light commercial featuring Warren Sapp and the Buccaneer themed living room came on again and it was just more revered the second time—because of the win.  There are a lot of metaphors in football that can be applied to life and it is games like the one between the Bucs and Steelers that serve as testimony to all of them.  Even when the odds are terribly stacked against you and you appear to be out-classed in every category—if you believe you can win, it’s the first step in marching down the field to get a victory—against all odds.  And in such times it takes a coach who is willing to spit in the wind of convention and not surrender to the temptation to lose his cool that can convince his team of young saplings that they can achieve the most audacious feat only a week after receiving the most embarrassing loss of their lives.  Lovie Smith is a great coach if for no other reason than the way he handled himself before and after the Pittsburg Steelers game of 2014.  It was a game that belonged featured in the Bud Light commercial “Up for Whatever Happens” because in the closing seconds on a brilliant autumn afternoon in the Midwest—it did.

Rich Hoffman