Rank and file
Readers sound off on annual NFL owners rankings
Posted: Friday July 6, 2007 5:12PM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 5:12PM
The smackdown from Steeltown? That, I expected.
Huffing and puffing from roughed-up Buffalo? Yeah, that too.
After posting my second annual NFL owner rankings, I even anticipated the collective cry of "go to hell" from Jacksonville -- though the guy who said he hoped I die in a fiery car crash might have been a wee bit more over-the-top than I imagined. That missive from the mayor also threw me like a Byron Leftwich deep ball, but I suppose his honor's affront is somewhat understandable.
What I never, ever, ever saw coming was the bitter Deadhead who trashed my killer version of "Dire Wilf."
For the second consecutive year, we turn our column over to those who took umbrage with the rankings, along with the occasional reader who believed they were spot-on (and Dad, though I know you're a players guy at heart, I really do appreciate your support). Let's start with our tie-dyed-in-the-wool Vikings fan.
"First off, I want to like you. From your shameless plugs of all things hippie that just come out wrong and dorky (you trip on L, you roll on E(mail)), to your championing of misunderstood players (except the ones that are actually cool, like Moss and Ricky), you are just a big fat contradiction. Oh yeah, and your Gloria Vanderbilt collection ladies frames. Man, you are too much. The reason this is all coming to a head is your hack job on Zygi Wilf, who has been an awesome owner of a team in transition. You put Snyder up there? Are you insane? You have Wilf below Al Davis and Ms. Frontiere? My God, you are an embarrassment to all Deadheads. I wish you'd just retire and cover Cal softball or whatever ..."
Don't murder me. I beg of you, don't murder me. Please -- don't murder me.
"You might want to re-think your opinion on Wilf. He is purchasing the blocks around the Big-inflatable Toilet to build his own complex. This team is staying in MN. Red ran this like what he was, a car salesmen that stripped the car. Try again Skippy."
OK, I've rethought my opinion on Wilf: I still think he's doing a lousy job. But a lot can change in a year. And now, we bring you the city of Jacksonville, beginning with its top elected official.
"Dear Mr. Silver:
I read your list ranking NFL owners on sportsillustrated.cnn.com with amusement this morning until I reached your description of Wayne Weaver and Jacksonville. Your characterization of Mr. Weaver and our great city could not be further from accurate.
What you may not know about Mr. Weaver is his tenacity, desire to compete and generosity. Thirteen years ago, he convinced the NFL it could succeed in Jacksonville, and it has. Six years ago, Mr. Weaver won the competition for Super Bowl XXXIX and brought it to Jacksonville. Just last week, in the midst of a state-inflicted revenue crisis, Mr. Weaver and his wife personally donated $21 million to local non-profits to ensure their good works continue in Jacksonville.
And let me assure you that Jacksonville is no 'light weight town.' In fact, since our Super Bowl, more than two dozen companies have either expanded or relocated operations in Jacksonville. Per capita income is on the rise. We enjoy the nation's largest urban park system. In addition, we are opening an East-West trading lane that has the potential to make Jacksonville's port the third-largest on the East Coast in the next 15 to 20 years.
Regardless of your view on the big market v. small market debate being held among NFL owners, no one can deny that the NFL has it more right than wrong. The parity created by revenue sharing makes the games more compelling and the league far more entertaining than other leagues that routinely pit the 'haves' against the 'have-nots.'
In short, it is better for the NFL to have a strong Jacksonville Jaguars team competing with the Dallas Cowboys than to have yet another mediocre franchise that decides to fold up shop after a few years of SoCal apathy. "