Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Helpful Hints for the Poor NFL

New Orleans Saints fans are shocked (shocked!) that the National Football League is claiming ownership of words, colors, and ethnic symbols that have been around for a long time. Here's the story.

And I know it seems natural to bash the NFL, after all, it is a ginormous corporation that has an annual budget bigger than many countries around the world, it enjoys a sweetheart congressional exemption from federal antitrust laws that everyone else is subject to, and there is a legal "good old boy" collusion between the owners of the teams, er "franchises."

Which reminds me, how about a drinking game involving whenever one of the commentators uses the word "franchise" during the Super Bowl? I'll have the B&B at the ready during the game. Somebody take my keys away from me...

Anyway, I think the poor, poor, pitiful NFL deserves our sympathy. After all, they have a lot of big salaries to pay. And let's face it, those little 30-second commercials during the Super Bowl can't pay that much. And somebody has to buy those gold rings for the champions (hopefully, the Commissioner has been hoarding some Krugerrands to melt down, have you seen the price of gold lately?).

And Father H. is here to offer some kind assistance and help to the NFL in the form of additional things for them to copyright:
  • Roman numerals - The article mentions the use of Roman numerals. Obviously, Roman numerals are used to denote which Super Bowl we're watching. Claiming ownership of Roman numerals is utterly brilliant. If the NFL can secure copyrights specifically on the letters of the Roman alphabet I, V, X, L, and C, they will have a clear title to a half-millennium of Super Bowl designations, not to mention movie sequels and watch sales. But why stop there?
  • Arabic numerals - The decimal system that we use today was borrowed from Arabic, and frankly, I can't believe the legal eagles at the NFL didn't consider this: every jersey worn by every player in the NFL contains Arabic numerals. Any use of the digits 0 through 9 outside of the NFL should constitute a gross infringement on the legal rights of the NFL. Grade schools across the country should be required to prominently display the NFL logo next to any use of any numbers.
  • Colors - All NFL teams, er, "franchises" have a white jersey. Therefore, the color white is really the property of the NFL - whether used by paint companies, tacky Ku Klux Klan bumper stickers, or among the millions of people in the U.S. who have "White" as a last name. Also, given that the Cleveland Browns team (er, "franchise" - down the hatch!) logo is a plain field of orange (no, they were never the Cleveland Oranges, citrus doesn't grow in the Buckeye State, y'all), this color is clearly property of the National Football League, and any use or description of orange is prohibited. The country of Ireland should receive a "cease and desist" order for having a third of its national flag encroaching (five yard penalty) on the rights of the NFL. The Dutch should consult legal counsel before making historic references to William of Orange. Ditto for the citrus folks in Florida, California, and my own Louisiana.
  • Foot and Ball - The "F" in NFL is short for "football." Therefore, the two constituent vocables of this compound word belong to the NFL. The league should scour podiatrist offices, companies that make 12-inch rulers, and shoe stores to monitor illegal word usages "without express written consent of the National Football League." Likewise for "ball." Major League Baseball and NBA Basketball should pay the NFL for their encroachment (another five yards...) on the property of the NFL. After all, they do have salaries to pay. I mean, Art Modell's Rolls isn't going to pay for itself. Is Art Modell still alive? Goodness, I have been away from Ohio for a long time. This B&B is really tasty...
  • Mardi Gras - Here in New Orleans, we have a lot of merchandise that employ the combination of purple, green, and gold with the words "Mardi Gras." This juxtaposition of words and colors is right up the NFL's alley. No matter that the words "Mardi Gras" and the associated colors date back to Colonial (if not Medieval times), somebody's got to make the money and own the combo. It might as well be the NFL.
  • National - There are many times in which the word "national" is used without "express written consent." First National Bank. National Car Rental. National Debt. National Anthem. The list is endless. Like I said, I am glad to help the league in any way I can...
  • Saints - Many churches employ this word that is already owned by the NFL (per the article). Perhaps a royalty should be paid by Bible, hymnal, and missal publishers whenever this NFL-owned word is used. "All Saints Day" should include the NFL logo prominently displayed in the front of the church, and the hymn "For All The Saints" should really include a verse about the Pro Bowl. It's only fair.
  • Eagles - This is a job for the Obama Administration and Capitol Hill. The United States' use of the logo of the Philadelphia NFL franchise (am I still legal to drive at this point?) is unconscionable. The federal government must "cease and desist."
  • League - Just because the "L" is in third place in "NFL" is no excuse to let it slide. Bowling leagues, little leagues, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea need to make sure they stop cheating the National Football League out of its fair share.

Finally, the NFL really has to put some teeth into its disclaimer (let's say it together, children):
This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited.
Don't you love that word "descriptions"? They really need to start turning the screws here. Maybe there should be a little jar next to the water cooler at work, so when someone describes the game as "great" or describes the ghastly throwback uniforms, or when a co-worker mentions that the game went into overtime, or that the players are big, the grass is green, the football is not round, or that the referees look like zebras - they can drop a quarter into the pot.

After all, it's all about sportsmanship and following the rules. So, I'm going to be very careful here and use a legally unencumbered cheer for the New Orleans "franchise" as proposed in the article:
Who exactly is it that states they are going to defeat the football team from New Orleans?
No fleur-de-lis, no "who dat?" and no Roman numerals. I think I'm legal. But I am going to say "franchise" just one more time, because the B&B is really good tonight.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

See, the corporations are evil, so we need the government to come in and tell them what they can and can't do!

(that would be an example of swinging the pendulum to the other side in an attempt at humor)

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Eric:

It is an example of how stupidity and over-reaching leads to further stupidity to fix the problem.

For example, banks resort to all kinds of fees and near-trickery to make more money. People complain to their congressmen. Washington then enacts populist legislation that violates the Constitution - which of course, always makes things worse.

That's how it is that something as evil and destructive as Marxism becomes popular. People find out too late that it's just another example of "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" - only the new boss has firing squads and concentration camps.

Friend of the Predigtamt said...


Makes you want to go to a high school football game or an amateur football league match instead of paying the NCAA or the NFL its due.

Reminded me of a similar problem in the music industry. The Clash did propose a solution in their post punk song "Hitsville UK": making and producing music independently.

Probably it's time to consider enjoying football away from the NFL. And gleefully ignore their "Who Dat" injunction.

Pr. H. R. said...

The problem is the concept of "intellectual property" - a government created monopoly. Here's a fascinating read by a couple of economists on the topic: Against Intellectual Monopoly.


Theophilus said...

Outlook for the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico…

Hurricane Whodat is predicted to make landfall on the South Florida coast in the vicinity of Miami on 7Feb 2010 at approximately 2200Z(5:00 PM EST). This extremely powerful hurricane is expected to produce damaging Shockey waves and
Category 5 Brees. Reports from shipping indicate that this unstoppable storm has blown a huge flock of Cardinals all the way to Arizona, and that it has sunk a
replica Viking longboat, the Brettigfă╗vren. Livestock, in particular young horses, will be in severe danger of being decimated. Predictive damage estimates are unavailable at this time, but they are expected to be significant.

All interests in and near the Miami area are advised to prepare for a storm surge of catastrophic proportions as Hurricane Whodat begins to arrive in approximately 10 days.

Will God shower his blessings on his Saints?

Jay Hobson said...

Unfortunately for the NFL, the letter "C" has already been copyrighted by another company. As well, the letters "P" and "H". :)