NEW YORK – With 13.9 million Americans unemployed, the U.S. Congress stepped up closed-door negotiations Tuesday with the National Football League to expand the number of professional teams and fill them with unemployed Americans. The current version of the plan would expand the number of NFL teams from 32 to 173.
Rep. Tanya Collins (R-Wy) said, “Getting people out of depressing unemployment lines and into huddles is just the first step. Turning ordinary Americans into professional football players will draw millions of new spectators to the sport, certainly at least worried family and friends will be forced to finally care about football.”
The proposed plan would expand team roster limits from the current 53 to 106. The 141 new teams would immediately employ 15,000 new players, removing that number from unemployment rolls. The plan forbids hiring high school and college players. Instead, it requires first hires to be drafted from those longest unemployed. Draftees will be designated to teams closest to their home region, though some new players will have to commute out of state for practices. Drafted players may not decline a team assignment, even if it is to a team they have long loathed.
The plan relies heavily on the strength of “glory-days” memories of thousands of middle-aged unemployed. Those in high school who merely played chess or only took part in school plays will be sent to special full-immersion training camps in Alabama.
“People scoff but fantasy football has greatly increased average American know-how and confidence in the game,” said Rep. Trent Giffords (D-AR). “We are challenging flabby football junkies to stop yelling at their monitors and get their rear-ends involved in rescuing America from financial calamity.”
Congressional sources indicate that beyond players, the 141 new teams would employ about 4 million direct employees, with another ten million in indirect, supporting jobs in uniform and memorabilia sales, beer distribution, pharmaceutical imports, and health care and prostitution services.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Thursday memo to staff, “This agreement will help mitigate the impending player strike by appealing to the players’ natural desire to silence badgering fans in face-to-face encounters on the field.”
The players’ union, the National Football League Players Association, initially opposed the plans on the grounds that 141 new teams would greatly reduce the quality of athleticism and competition. Upon viewing the projected revenues, the NFLPA agreed to enter the negotiations. The NFL and Congress conceded the union’s demand for a one-year limit.
Union director, DeMaurice Smith, explained the union’s guarded support. “We’re thinking long-term now. If we involve fans in actual games and life-threatening injuries, they’ll learn to respect the game more. By the end of the one-year contact experiment, fans will be far more willing to sit safely behind their consoles and toss handfuls of money at the real players. It’s a win-win.”
NFLPA President Kevin Mawae said, “This is for unemployed America, and our hearts go out to all Americans not pulling down six-figure incomes. How do people live like that? It’s sad to think about. Our players are willing to do their patriotic duty. At least for a year.”
Congressional sources explain that since the last manufacturing jobs were exported from the U.S. in November 2009, Congress has had to turn to popular service industries to reduce unemployment. In earlier preparation for the end of U.S. manufacturing, several previous presidential administrations extended several plans to reduce unemployment by increasing the national prison population. By 2008, these programs reached their goals with U.S. prisons holding 2.3 million inmates, the highest of any country in the world. “This has wonderfully kept our unemployment numbers down for several decades,” said Rep. Cliff Kingston (R-Fl). “Around 1999, we realized that instead of prisons, we’d need to expand the use of the military to employ more people. We’re now in our third war in Libya and starting a fourth in Yemen. Both of those will get hundreds of thousand Americans busy.” The NFL agreement should surpass both prior programs.
When asked to explain why the new plan allows unemployed women into the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell explained, “We’re hoping to pick up on some of the draw of NASCAR, where basically people pay attention to endless, soul-killing laps merely in the hope of witnessing a terrible accident. Putting middle-aged women up against Demarcus Ware and Patrick Willis will guarantee people pay attention.”