Of all the entitled billionaire owners in the NFL, you’d be hard pressed to find one more stupid and undeserving than San Francisco’s Jed York. He got where he is today just by plopping out of the right vagina onto this planet. When asked what his toughest decision in life has been he replied, “whether to go to grad school or assume the Presidency of the 49ers.” The Niners have been league doormats ever since.
That is with the exception of the Harbaugh years, 2011-2014. During that era they staged a miraculous turn-around going to three consecutive NFL title games and one Super Bowl. In 2014 Little Jed incongruously started dismantling the winning program, fired Harbaugh, reduced payroll expenses significantly and once again wore the mud from the league’s cleats.
In June 2010, after decades of futility trying to build a new San Francisco stadium, Santa Clara voted to authorize use of their land to construct one. The quest to pull together private construction money wasn’t easy because it was right after the Bush Crash of aught eight. Finally, coinciding with the groundswell of enthusiasm for Harbaugh’s successful first year, funds were secured in December 2011.
There was still wide-scale fan resentment for moving the team 50 miles away. But the euphoria of title games and a Super Bowl helped gloss over the transition. When Levi Stadium opened in 2014, the 49ers went 8-8 and began the rapid decline back to Little Jed’s natural habitat, loserville.
Would the NFL really go to that much trouble to fix things just to build a stadium and maintain a fan base? They would if it’s one of the nation’s most affluent regions and the 6th largest TV market in the country (back then, it’s now 8th).
Which brings us to the second largest TV market, Los Angeles. After two decades with no team but plenty of Southern California apathy, the Rams returned for the 2016 season. The fans’ response was lukewarm. Concerns rose when there was a precipitous decline in attendance in 2017. Then a sudden, unexplained upswing in regular season fortunes, a blown last minute call that gets them into the Super Bowl, and it’s now hoped Ram Fever will once again sweep the Southland.
This view is usually dismissed as that of a paranoid conspiracy nut. One who probably also believes the mega-bucks owners at the behest of a wealth-preservationist President would collude to keep a star quarterback out of work. Just because he won’t tow the MAGA line.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for MAGA. As long as it means Make the AFC Great Again so we can go back to two competitive conferences.
Of the top 17 media markets in the country, the AFC has numbers 7, 10, 16, and 17. All the rest are NFC. (They share number 1, New York). It explains why the National Conference sends a variety of teams to the Super Bowl each year and the American Conference seems to be stuck on the number 10 market, Boston. (Throw in the “New England” moniker and you get the 37 (CT) and 52 (RI) markets as well.)
With ratings the name of the game, we’ll probably never see the dream matchup of New Orleans (51) versus Buffalo (53) in a Roman Numeral showdown.
Multi-billion dollar businesses rarely just leave things to chance.