Dear NFL begging for tax dollars to fund stadiums: Gong!
The Raiders in Las Vegas is a natural fit. Sorry, Oakland residents, but the ghost of Al Davis is going to get his wish.
Davis, who was envisioning such a move decades ago, died in 2011. Five years later his Raiders-in-Vegas scenario is all but guaranteed.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Raiders owner Mark Davis put on a show Monday, posing with construction workers and alleged Raiders fans at the University of Las Vegas to sign off on a bill that gives the green light on a 65,000-seat domed stadium. It was all the pomp and circumstance a fan of the move could handle – cheerleaders and marching band included.
The bill, which was narrowly approved by Nevada lawmakers during special session on Oct. 14, will increase hotel taxes in the Las Vegas area to raise $750 million for the stadium and roughly $400 million for expansion and upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
It is the largest public contribution toward building an NFL stadium in the 96-year history of the professional sports league.
The city of Las Vegas has been forced to dip into reserve funds and make cuts across the board to avoid a projected budget shortfall of $3.1 million in fiscal year 2017. Perhaps the increase in hotel taxes would be better served to keep that budget in order rather than helping a multi-billion dollar conglomerate – known as the NFL – erect another cash cow that the average fan is eventually priced out of.
Thanks for your tax dollars folks, now continue to enjoy the game from your living room or local watering hole. You’re money just ain’t good enough for us to let you in the gate. Build that gate? Sure, but to pass through you need to cough up a little more moolah.
To the NFL and it’s billionaire owners crying poverty while proposing a new stadium on the back of taxpayers – GONG!
To any owner of a professional sports franchise leveraging one city council or state legislature against another to gain financial support for a facility your company can already afford – GONG!
Oh man, just this one issue is wearing down the mallet head as I aggressively slam the upright cymbal repeatedly.
It’s not going to stop me from moving on to a few individuals.
Let’s start at Gillette Stadium, where Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was up to his old bag of tricks. It’s certainly not a treat to see such physical talent wasted because the 10-cent head gets in the way on every snap. First he went low on Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, who wasn’t even in the play, with 11:22 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 35-17 win. Burfict lost his cool again, stomping on the leg of Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount after a late touchdown. Perhaps his three-game suspension, costing $502,941 in base salary, to start this season just wasn’t enough. GONG!
While we’re discussing athletes with physical talent but a mental blockage, how high was the Playoff Price that Red Sox fans were so happy to pay?
In 15 postseason outings, Price has a 2-8 record and 5.54 ERA over 66 2/3 innings of work, including no wins and eight losses in nine playoff starts. That’s one season down on the seven-year, $217 million contract for what was essentially Boston’s No. 2 pitcher and at times No. 3 behind Rick Porcello and knuckleballer Steven Wright. Money well spent, huh? GONG!
By the way, the Red Sox refusing to keep a proven ace. A stopper. A playoff beast. Also known as Jon Lester is worthy of another swing. GONG!
Forcing Terry Francona and Theo Epstein to look elsewhere for jobs – another swing. GONG!
Oh, their two teams, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs are on a World Series collision course. Nice job, Sox management. GONG!
OK, enough looking back, let’s move forward.
Maybe the Red Sox can actually procure an ace this offseason. Perhaps they could solidify the bullpen. Yeah, right. The latter really isn’t anything Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has ever succeeded in accomplishing – GONG!
At least Brady is back and the Patriots’ engine is firing on all cylinders. The Bruins, despite their defensive woes, look sharp through three games. The Celtics, who added a true center in 6-foot-10, 245-pound Al Horford, open their season Oct. 26 at home versus the Brooklyn Nets. I’m lloking forward to watching the small defensive-minded unit – Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder – work around Horford creating fits for the opposition and big runs for themselves.
See, I can end things on a positive note.
George Scione can be reached at 594-6520, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_BigG.