Anyone who has ever ventured into Wisconsin knows that, if the Packers ever had the potential of leaving the state for a new haven in Los Angeles, taxpayers would be willing to build a $500 million elevated stadium to keep the team.
That, however, will never happen. The Packers, unlike the other 31 teams in the NFL, are a publicly-held entity. Thousands of Wisconsinites own the Packers – or at least a very minor share of them. As such, they are witness to the open books of NFL ownership. Because of that, they are subject to loss (not financial, but they might be able to argue some loss) if the current lockout of the company they combine to own a 1/32rd share of takes a dive.
While there was little in the way of questioning why former players in the league's pension plan got involved in the lawsuit brought by current players, there were some that were surprised the fans that own a significant share of the Packers organization weren't involved. Whether viewed as a frivolous lawsuit or not, they are shareholders in a company that is out to please those who own stock in their company. Dividend checks aren't issued for the average shareholder, but collectively they are a significant reason why the Packers can exist on a landscape in which they are dwarfed.
According to the last census, Green Bay ranks No. 262 in population. I have never heard of the three cities that ranked immediately behind Green Bay in terms of population – West Jordan (Utah), Richmond (Calif.) and Murrieta (Calif.). I felt obligated to list the states those cities belong to because, without the benefit of knowing the states, I would assume those cities were in the Middle East, Virginia and Georgia, respectively.
According to census data, among the U.S. cities larger than Green Bay are Billings (No. 261), Fargo (No. 254), two Rochesters (Minnesota and New York), Provo, Peoria, Surprise, Ariz. (No. 216 – a shock to me too), Topeka and Olathe, Kan., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and no less than 60 cities in the State of California alone.
If there is going to be a solution to the current impasse between the owners and players, there needs to be enough pressure exerted to get both sides off of Square One. Perhaps a class-action suit by the minority owners of the Packers (thousands of them) would give another reason for the two sides to get together and reach an agreement – if yet another lawsuit would do any good.
At a time when the federal government has reached the furthest reaches of deficit spending, the NFL was enjoying unprecedented success. The pie is big enough to please everyone. There is no great reason for the two sides to fight over one small sliver of that enormous pie. Representatives (a.k.a. high-priced lawyers) of the players have spoken. Their opposing representatives (see above) have spoken. Nobody has gone to court representing the fans. 31 teams are incapable of doing that. The Green Bay Packers are not.
Maybe it's time Packers fans/owners unite and file suit to press a settlement. While I don't share their passion for the green and gold, I'd kick in a few bucks to help defray the attorney costs. I'm not alone. Perhaps that could be the best way to get the two sides actually talking – and it appears as though the Packers are the only franchise with enough minimalist owners to get that job done.
FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHT NOTES
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.