Let's all give state Sen. Mike Fasano the benefit of the doubt that he is acting with the best of intentions in introducing a bill that would impose a fine on all of Florida's National Football League teams that black out games on television in the absence of a sell-out.
That's very nice of you. But how to put this without seeming ungrateful? If it's all the same to you senator, uh, no thanks.
After all, who really wants to watch the Tampa Bay Clucks on television, since they (and this is a highly technical football term) stink? Geez, the Milquetoasts of Dale Mabry would have a hard time taking on the Academy of the Holy Names.
The New Port Richey Republican's bill would impose a $125,000 fine on teams for each game that is blacked out locally. That could really add up for the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Yucks, who all rank nearly at the bottom in NFL attendance, which may have something to do with the fact they are a trio of haplessness rivaling the Libyan Air Force.
To be sure, the good senator's reasoning is hard to fault. Since these teams each receive $166,000 a month as part of a 30-year, $60 million tax credit merely for respirating in the state, as well as using taxpayer funded facilities, Fasano argued they should make the games available to the very public who paid for their stadiums.
And it is more than certainly true that since the body politic footed the bill for Helloooooo Sucker! Stadium, the home of the Fighting Daisies of Dale Mabry, thus making bazillionaires out of team owner Malcolm Glazer and his bouncing bundles of joy, Heads I Win and Tails I Still Win, it does seem only fair if the viewing public wants to watch the team engage in some of the finest interceptions, missed tackles and flagrant personal foul penalties anywhere in the sporting world.
If signed into law, the $125,000 fine would be used to buy tickets for military personnel and their dependents, as well as foster children, non-profit groups and others unable to afford the price of attending a game so that everyone can enjoy the misery together out at Tea Pot Dome Field.
We could probably include Guantanamo detainees on the guest list too, since forcing these folks to sit through football's answer to waterboarding would probably lead to all manner of confessions.
Still, if Fasano were truly interested in performing a genuine constituent service, he would introduce a bill requiring even Tampa Bay Mukluks road games to be blacked, too.
What the likable senator perhaps didn't take into consideration when he filed his bill is that there is a simple reason
why so many Jaguars, Dolphins and Tampa Bay Blah games are blacked out in the first place.
It's just a guess, but perhaps so many people stay away because they don't want to sit through football's version of being subjected to a stultifying production of Cats.
You know there's just a pinch of a problem out at One Bucs Bunker, when Head Resident Philosopher Raheem Morris observed the other day: "You've got to score touchdowns when you play the Saints."
There's a Vince Lombardi moment for you. Who knew?
Eureka! Morris, who has spent his entire life in football and who earns a reported $2 million a year, finally figured out when you play the New Orleans Saints — or perhaps some other team, too — it is a really good idea to score more points than the other guy if you expect to win.
The man obviously has a keen understanding of the subtle nuances of the game.
Perhaps that explains why the Manatees of Dale Mabry's games would probably be better off on Comedy Central.