Roger “Palpatine” Goodell and The Empire Plunder Hoosier Hospitality
Do not misunderstand me.
I don’t blog for Occupy Wall Street. I despise those goons.
I support conservatives and The Republic. I laugh out loud at liberal blue state coasters who scream in horror whenever Toby Keith belts out Made in America.
I also cheered the Indianapolis Colts during those years in the wilderness before the Arrival of Peyton.
So you can check the boxes next to Follower of Ronald Reagan, Defender of Free Enterprise, and Fan of ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown.
Paid my dues, have I.
However, I don’t believe when Peggy Noonan penned the words “Thousand Points of Light” — for President George H.W. Bush’s Inaugural Address — that she had in mind volunteers serving the whims of National Football League owners.
Noonan’s phrase of “duty, sacrifice, commitment” describes working with the Red Cross after a tornado ravages a small forgotten town. Organizing a church Food & Clothing drive. Feeding the homeless at a soup kitchen on Christmas morning before you unwrap your gifts. Teaching someone to read and write.
Thousand Points of Light does not describe the choreography of flashing stage lights at Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime song and dance performance.
Invoking Hoosier Hospitality, the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee recruited 8,000
clones volunteers to coddle the wealthy, celebrities, and corporate executives along with providing an opportunity for Indianapolis Star sports writer Bob Kravitz to relive his Indiana University party days joyriding on the Zip Line.
Volunteers also direct the Great Unwashed, waddling along with Bud Light in hand, to designated paths on Georgia Street and the intersection of Bread & Circuses far away from the parties featuring Jimmy Fallon and A-list celebrities.
For starters these “Super Volunteers” receive an official General Volunteer Handbook with the usual do’s and dont’s.
They are greeted by a condescending cover letter from Frank Supovitz, an NFL Senior Vice President, who writes from the NFL’s Park Avenue headquarters in New York City:
The NFL is deeply appreciative of your time and efforts and we look forward to working together to build lifetime memories for everyone visiting or living in Indianapolis during Super Bowl Week– including you! Welcome to the Super Bowl XLVI Team!
Translation: “Thanks chumps.”
Volunteers are treated to a winter jacket, a shirt, stocking cap, and a Super Scarf (knitted by even more volunteers). Shoes and pants not included. They are required to buy a pair of khaki pants.
There is a catch. As part of the NFL’s dedication to go Green (the environment, not profits, yeah right), the Empire is nudging volunteers “to donate gently used clothing in ‘exchange’ for their Super Bowl uniform.”
Speaking of no free lunch, the handbook mentions that volunteers who work outdoors, will receive “warm drinks,” but the NFL and the Host Committee will not provide snacks or meals for the workers.
“No soup for you!”
But hey, free parking for all.
Volunteers must swear an oath of fealty to the Super Service Pledge, which requires them to end conversations with guests by saying, “Have a Super Day!” Of course for many of these guests who commute to Super Indy on their Cessnas everyday is super. Ho-hum.
Sadisticians have estimated that volunteers will spend 150,000 hours building lifetime memories by the time Peyton’s little brother or Gisele Bundchen’s husband hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air, turns to the camera, and says, “I’m going to Disney World!”
When I multiply these total hours by the minimum wage ($7.25), the calculator displays $1,087,500.
Whoa! That’s real savings for a “nonprofit” association. Many volunteer organizations like the Salvation Army have to watch its nickels and dimes too!
Oh, but hark and open your hearts to this bit of news from Forbes magazine:
The average National Football League team is now worth $1.04 billion, 1.4% more than last year. During the 2010 season average revenues for the league’s 32 teams rose 4% compared with the previous season, to $261 million. Although operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell 8.1%, to an average of $30.6 million per team due to higher costs for stadium operations, training facilities and marketing, the new collective bargaining agreement will give owners a bigger slice of overall revenue.
. . .
The current deals with CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC expire after the 2013 season and owners are expecting increases up to 60% on the current $3.1 billion average annual value of those deals (DirecTV brings in additional $1 billion each year). Given the league’s high television ratings and the lust males between the age of 18 and 45 have for watching football, such a boost is not inconceivable.
If only the Salvation Army had 8,000 more volunteers with Red Kettles and skyrocketing television ratings!
Now I have all the respect in the world for these Super Volunteers, some of whom I know. I am unfit to tie their shoelaces. But I wonder if they feel used. Thanks to these good-hearted souls, the Host Committee paid staff will move on to better jobs after the Big Game.
The City’s Capital Improvement Board had to agree to terms of unconditional surrender at the hands of the Empire. Booty highlights include (bold emphasis mine):
The NFL has been given exclusive control over Lucas Oil Stadium, its parking lots and the Indiana Convention Center for weeks at a time and the right to capture all revenues spent there.
(Well that solves the free parking perk for volunteers)
. . .
Likewise, the CIB will not collect the $250,000 game day lease payment that the Indianapolis Colts pay every time they take the field.
All souvenir sales and revenues will stay with the NFL. Food and beverage sales, too.
. . .
The NFL, as a not-for-profit association, will also enjoy tax free status on its sales and purchasing while in Indianapolis.
. . .
the CIB expects to lose $810,000 for its promotion of the game, including an estimated $4 million for police and public safety reimbursement to the city. Those losses will be offset by some payments received from the NFL directly to the CIB.
Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay live under easier rules. Taxpayers will receive “some” payments? Perhaps a Ford pickup packed with $40 Super Bowl baseball hats. Take that crony capitalists! You may get your due. But we’re getting our some.
Even though the NFL has enough money to bailout the debt-ridden government of California, why would the NFL pay temp employees when they can convince generous people to volunteer? The Empire moved at glacial speed to help old time NFL players with pensions and disability payments and the NFL deep-sixed stories on concussions for decades.
Volunteers are road kill for NFL owners.
The citizens of Indianapolis should protect the “Hoosier Hospitality” brand from morphing into a tool to provide free labor and excessive tax dollars to billion dollar organizations. Even Yoda says, “Those are Hoosier Values not.”
“Have a Super Day!”