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Jeff Whitten: Doing the cabbage patch
editor's notes

From the rear lines of the pandemic, continued: 

Unless you’ve lived in a great big fat bubble – or been quarantined alone in a room with no TV or internet or newspaper for the last oh-I-don’t know- how-many weeks – you already know the times are tumultuous and don’t need a short weekly news editor with bunions to weigh in on it.

Nor do I have an interest in getting into any sort of debates over what is and isn’t offensive, since I find it offensive we celebrate hot dog eating contests in a world where kids go hungry, but I don’t expect everyone else to. I do, however, have an idea regarding team mascot names, a touchy subject also making world news and taking on a renewed impetus given the times we live in.

My solution: Quit naming professional sports teams after anything or anybody – but me.

Go right ahead. I won’t be offended. You can use my first name, or my last name, or my first, middle and last name, or any combination thereof, including last name first followed by middle initial. You can use my likeness, too, and dress it up in whatever way you see fit.

Put horns on me. Draw a bad mustache and glasses and big ears and fangs, and give me 13 bellybuttons and 14 extra toes and tonsils growing out my nose. I really don’t care. Chances are, I probably won’t even notice, I’m so busy living the dream.

Note: You can also add adjectives to jazz it up a notch. Try the “Jumping Jouncing Jostling Judicious Jocular Jeffreys,” etc.

Hey, for a small fee I’ll even dress up in Jeff Whitten suits and wobble around on the sidelines a bit, rallying the crowds by doing the cabbage patch dance, since it comes pretty natural these days, but please note I have loose hips or something and tend to list to starboard.

OK, all that’s silly, I know. I’ll quit.

But still, and for now let’s limit this to the National Football League, what’s not silly about a bunch of grown men dressing up in shiny tights and shoulder pads and running around calling themselves Falcons, or Bears, or Lions, or Jaguars, or Broncos, or Giants, or Rams, or Cardinals, or Titans, or Cowboys or Vikings?

Sure, I can see 10-year-old kids running around hollering “We’re the Vikings, yes we are, we’re the Vikings, har har har.”

But 50-year-old door knob salesmen?

That’s right. You know who you are. There are millions of you grownups with jobs and driver’s licenses shelling out good money to buy jerseys to support these large men in various colored tights, some of whom are paid more per game than many of us will earn in a lifetime. And that’s chump change in the bigger picture.

The NFL all by itself brought in about $15 billion in 2019, according to a story earlier this year in the Chicago Tribune, and was aiming at raking in $25 billion by 2025. Sure, $25 billion. Scoff and say it’s not as much as Bill Gates ($90 billion) is worth. It’s still a lot of bread.

Let’s say you make $100,000 annually, and most of us in Georgia don’t make that much in two annum, but if you make $100K it’ll take you 250,000 years to make $25 billion. Yep. There goes quitting at 62 to start collecting Social Security. And forget any Trump check you thought you might have coming.

Here’s a thought, however, for those of us who don’t plan on working until we’re 250,000. At least we won’t have to shell out crazy money to go see one of today’s NFL teams, if there’s football this fall. Let’s say I want to attend the Atlanta Falcons home opener on Sept. 13.

Right now on Ticketmaster a single ticket in the nosebleed section at Mercedes- Benz stadium will cost me $80, according to the team website, and that’s the lowest priced ticket on the site. And if I’m understanding this right, there are some “resale” seats about 10 rows back down in an end zone listed $650 a pop, or six easy payments of $123.39 a month for six months, which means $90 in interest.

That’s for one seat to watch one football game the Falcons will probably lose.

That’s fun, though, right? Seeing the Falcons, oh yeah.

While I probably don’t want to finance $25 billion with such easy payments and buy the whole NFL, somebody else might, and if so he or she will be paying that 123.29 for 202,609, 612 months if my math is right and the NFL is nice enough not to charge interest. My advice is to read the fine print. They could require you to sign up for autopay or something.

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