So, I'm not the quality writer that our editors are, and I don't have the time to write out a well thought out piece about my topic. But I had to put something down, so here it goes.
When I found out that Curtis Lofton signed with the Saints, I felt sick. Personally, I've always been a big fan of Lofton. He's a solid player, and he is the kind of high-character person that I love to cheer for. I never heard any of the complaints about Lofton until it became clear that we might lose him. I digress.
Clearly, my appreciation and support of Lofton was linked to his status as an Atlanta Falcon. He would have always been a good guy, no matter where he had been drafted. But he was drafted in ATL, and I became his fan. For four years I have cheered for him and felt an emotional connection with him (let's be mature here in interpreting this). Now, he has taken his talents to our most bitter rival. What am I supposed to do with this?
More ramblings after the jump.
For the record, this would be infinitely more easy to let go had he landed pretty much anywhere else besides the Saints.
So, the common explanation for this sort of thing is: the NFL is a business. And, to be clear, I don't hold Lofton's decision against him. If I had the chance to further secure my family's future by making an extra wad of cash, I would probably do the same. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of those closest to you, in a sense, at least.
The problem is, fans don't see the NFL as a business. They see the teams as an extension of themselves - their moods and emotions are affected by their teams performance. We grow attached to our teams and the players on our teams. If we don't connect with the players and they don't connect with us, they usually move on, and we don't mind. But those who do connect, and leave, like Lofton, leave us heartbroken and feeling betrayed. It hurts.
It makes sense to me that the NFL is a business on some level. But, it's becoming more and more clear to me how ridiculous it is to cheer for a business and its employees who could leave at any moment.
A few more points. I love to see my team win. The dream of every fan is to see their team hold the Super Bowl trophy every year. But in the meantime, I want to like my team. I want to connect with the players, and I want them to feel appreciated by the fans. Is this possible in the modern era of the NFL, with the routine divorce of players and teams? I fear I'm becoming disillusioned.
Should I just be a fan of individual players? Can't see that happening.
The bottom line is this: I am a Falcons fan. I can't imagine not being a Falcons fan. But I can't help feeling a little ridiculous cheering for a corporation (or franchise, more accurately) that's only in it to make money while playing with my emotions.
Hope I don't strike the wrong chord with anyone. I hope nobody feels the need to blast me, but I put it out there, so I guess that makes me a fair target.
That is all.
Oh, by the way, I'm sure this sinking feeling will blow over by the start of the season, if not by the end of the draft.