Is the NFL communist?

Communist symbol
Communist symbol

With the current state of the NFL and agreement between players, owners, teams, and the league, the National Football League shows a glaring resemblance to institutionalized communism in the United States. With the salary caps, drafts, scheduling formulas, and equal revenue shares, many would believe that Karl Marx was the commissioner of the NFL before Roger Goodell. Although known as America’s “new” pastime, the NFL has been built on the model of a communistic and socialistic philosophy. Even though many right-wing conservatives and extremists would believe that equality and equal ownership is the best option for the league, they would revolt in fear if the same courses of action were established in society.

The 2010 NFL Draft
The 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall

The NFL’s current draft system is something Marxists dream for. A system designed to improve the luck, fortunes, and and prosperities of the weak and powerless at the expense of the fortunate and rich. As the NFL’s worst Houston Texans get the first pick of the 2014 draft, and the super-bowl champion Seattle Seahawks get the last pick of the first round, the NFL’s imbalance soon reaches neutrality. With this equality for teams, fans have hope and know that a few poor seasons can all be washed away with a great draft pick and selection. How else can the 2-14 2011 Indianapolis Colts turn into the 11-5 2012 Indianapolis Colts? All in the name of equality (or Andrew Luck) can the NFL and its teams continue to thrive.

The NY Giants winning Super Bowl XLII over the previously undefeated NE Patriots
The NY Giants winning Super Bowl XLII over the previously undefeated NE Patriots

The NFL’s scheduling format and formula is weighted towards giving the previous season’s losers and weak a smoother less difficult path towards the playoffs and to the Lombardi Trophy, while the winners and powerful are given a tougher path towards the same goal. This equal chance for success has shown for a +50% postseason turnover for the NFL. In addition, the league embodied a playoff system Karl Marx definitely prefers. Having a clean-slate after a 16-game brutal season with no real advantage for seeding first or last, all 8 of the playoff teams can win the Super Bowl even you were obviously not the best team. Just ask the New York Giants in 2007 beating the undefeated 18-0 New England Patriots.

Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL
Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL

Institutionalizing a salary cap on teams, the NFL not only limits each team’s spending, but also implements a revenue-sharing system which transfers money and revenue from high-earning franchises to the small market, less popular teams. Mandating minimum and maximum spending figure for players, Roger Goodell ensures that more than 50 percent of total revenues do not go to the players (even though they might be the reason for nearly 100% of the total revenues). Limiting free agency movement and implementing a rookie wage system, the NFL’s “parity” would make Marx proud.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Overall with equal distribution of a large portion of NFL’s revenues to the 32 franchises/teams, there is a glaring similarity between the league and the USSR. In Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’s publication The Communist Manifesto, it states that class struggles and capitalism will continue to cause disturbance in society (and only with communism can a society truly have class equality). Just like the NFL’s “communistic-type” policies, the teams all have equality and all share the fortunes of people equally and respectively. Without a capitalistic belief system, the National Football League truly embodies some of Marx’s greatest ideologies and beliefs. In all, communism and socialism are apparent in the United States. The National Football League with its billions of dollars prove that.

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2 thoughts on “Is the NFL communist?

  1. I found this blog post to be very interesting and extremely thought-provoking. As a die-hard NFL fan, I see exactly what you’re saying in the sense the NFL embodies communist beliefs. There are no unfair advantages for big-market teams like there is in baseball. The NFL does not allow teams like the Yankees to spend billions on a payroll while small-market teams like the Milwaukee Brewers only spend tens of millions. However, I do believe that the communist ideas that the NFL imposes make the game much more fair as teams who do poorly are given higher draft picks and easier schedules as you previously mentioned. I find it ironic that the NFL is a better game because of communistic beliefs but we believe society is better off being capitalistic. Overall I really enjoyed this post and the ideas behind it.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this post as it has made me look at the NFL in a different light. I never really thought of the NFL as being a communistic league simply because I always associated the NFL’s high revenue earnings with a more capitalistic point of view. I think you make a very good case for why the NFL is actually more of a communist league. Although, now that I think about it, this should not be very surprising due to the fact that in-order to create a fair league the NFL must be this way. It would not be interesting if the NFL was dominated by only a couple franchises year after year, so in order to make things interesting the NFL allows teams to rebuild rather quickly and become contenders with a more communist like approach. Even though the communist approach is evident I would say the NFL does have some capitalistic qualities. For example, location of franchises, coaching talent, and free agency don’t always allow for a level playing field.

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