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Tribune's Lead Sports Columnist Says We Should Be Grateful To Shut Down Congress For The NFL And Deliver Blue M&Ms To Roger Goodell

"Chicago cannot embrace being called a football city and bristle at meeting the conditions to stage the 2015 NFL draft," Tribune sports columnist David Haugh writes in response to his paper's revelation of said conditions.

To which I say: Why not?

Are no conditions too demanding, too absurd, too expensive to bristle at and embrace being called a football city at the same time?

Does embracing being called a football city require prostrating ourselves to perhaps the richest and most amoral enterprise in sports history?

Have we not given enough already?

Oh, and why is it important to "embrace" being a "football city" anyway? What does that even mean? Is there some sort of daily ritual I'm not aware of? Is that even something grown men and women do? Am I supposed to sleep with a football or hug a cardboard cutout of Jay Cutler every morning?

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"The most popular sports league in America views moving the event out of New York as a goodwill tour that fans should feel fortunate to see, a long-term community impact worth any short-term inconvenience. And it's hard to argue."

Oh, we should feel fortunate that the NFL is bringing its draft here! Let me adjust my emotions.

Of course, 99.9% of fans here - at least those obsessed enough to do so - will still only be watching the event on TV. And a long-term community impact? ROTFLMAO.

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"Even if many Chicagoans still might think the NFL combine is a type of tractor, the draft can do more for our city than our city can do for the draft."

Ha, ha, ha, ha! A type of tractor! Get it?

Even funnier? The idea that the draft can do anything for our city. As reported endlessly here and elsewhere, the economic development promises of such events rarely if ever - well, let's just say never - come to fruition. That holds for taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, mega-events like the Olympics, and everything in between. Oh sure, they're a grand old time for civic elites who get inside access to a huge party - with the little people footing the bill - but other than that, the only ones who benefit are, wait for it, the sportswriters all agog at their good fortune. Will everybody please stop ruining their good time?

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"We should consider hosting the draft more boon than burden, an opportunity more than albatross, and worth paying attention to every detail. If the NFL were a diva, it would be Mariah Carey, but if Commissioner Roger Goodell insists on having blue M&Ms in the green room, so be it. It will be worth the effort."

I'm not sure I've ever seen a columnist from a metropolitan newspaper suck dick harder than this.

Plus, Roger Goodell?

This Roger Goodell?

Yes, by all means, let us all - as a city - hand-deliver blue M&Ms to the worst commissioner of a professional sports league ever.

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"A fascinating Tribune report Friday unearthed evidence of NFL heavy-handedness in a five-page list of requests the league wants honored, but no smoking gun. The documents revealed the NFL seeks - gasp - to close a busy stretch of Congress Parkway between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue for nearly three weeks. Better start rationing food now, commuters."

The only thing that would count as a smoking gun to Haugh is an actual smoking gun. And maybe not even then if the video was never retrieved from the hotel elevator in which it was found. Close Congress between Michigan and Wabash for nearly three weeks? Are you nuts? Three days, maybe. Tops. But why at all?

Start rationing food, indeed. It may be hard for Haugh to understand this, but a vast amount of Chicagoans, football city or not, do not give a flying fuck about the NFL draft. They have their own lives to live.

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"Not surprisingly, the NFL also wants commitments from 13 hotels and free use of the Auditorium Theatre from April 19 to May 6, including free Wi-Fi - oh, the nerve. Other stated desires include free police escorts for prospective draft picks, free parking for NFL dignitaries and enough outdoor space to hold youth clinics and parties as part of the festival that gave Chicago the edge over Los Angeles during the bidding process."

Oh, the nerve. Guess what? Free Wi-Fi isn't free. Somebody has to pay for it. The NFL can't afford to pony up? Free police escorts? Not free. Somebody has to pay for it. Free parking? Not free. Somebody . . .

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The draft was never going to LA. They don't even have a football team there. They don't embrace being a football city, like we do.

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"Unless the league stipulates noted ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. needs a personal hair stylist or potential No. 1 pick Jameis Winston wants catered crab legs, nothing on the NFL's wish list sounds excessive or surprising."

Huh. Those things wouldn't bother me.

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"Not to diminish the scope of the NFL's requirements, but there were no dealbreakers. You can't get in bed with the NFL and then object if the league tries stealing the covers."

First, I'd like to know just what would have been a dealbreaker to Haugh. Maybe not issuing him a credential?

Second, you can't get in bed with the NFL and expect a little fair play and reciprocity? Geez, I'd hate to get in bed with Haugh.

It's not just giving the NFL special dispensation to steal the covers, either. It's paying the NFL for the privilege of having the covers stolen from us.

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"The biggest imposition will be if the NFL bans advertising of any product in the vicinity that competes directly with sponsors Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch, as it did in Phoenix at Super Bowl XLIX . . .

"At Mother Bunch Brewery, a 10-minute walk from the Super Bowl Experience, manager Julie Meeker reluctantly altered her outdoor signs to advertise Bud Light instead of the restaurant's craft beer.

"Nobody asked local businesses either, they just told us,'' Meeker told the Tribune. "We saw a little more business, but overall I don't think any of us downtown felt we had the economic impact that everybody promised us.''

"Perhaps not, but restaurateurs and small-business owners expressed similar concerns after the Phoenix area hosted the Super Bowl seven years ago. Yet city officials still bid for the big game again. Why? They concluded the benefits outweighed the costs and inconvenience. Such is the NFL's allure."

Who are you going to believe, city officials or your lying eyes?

The naivete is astonishing. City officials love having the Super Bowl! It's awesome for them. That's who gets the benefits. Everyone else gets the costs.

"[I]t wasn't long before optimistic staff projections of increased sales tax receipts and new economic development proved to be wrong," a former Glendale city council member writes for Time.

"Then came the national recession, just as we hosted our first Super Bowl in 2008. The big game, was supposed to draw new development to the city, but didn't. Instead, it left the city with bills. The city spent $3.4 million on the event and recouped a little over $1.2 million in sales tax and fees."

See also:
- Super Bowl's Arizona Host May Be On The Hook For Millions.

- Super Bowl Host City Still Reeling Over Sports Deals.

Do your homework, Haugh.

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"The only similarity between hosting the Super Bowl and the draft will be how the league flexes its $9 billion muscles. But, in Chicago's case, the appeal comes more in exposure than economic impact that could be in the tens of millions, according to one sports economist."

Just one? And they were too embarrassed to be named?

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"Holding the draft in Chicago represents a nationally televised 72-hour commercial, whether it's recurring shots of the skyline or cutaways to Grant Park and the lakefront that leave an impression on potential vacationers and conventioneers in the audience."

Please. Football fans have never seen those shots of Chicago before? Convention managers are unaware of what our lakefront looks like?

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"Mayor Rahm Emanuel maintains hosting the NFL's marquee offseason attraction for the first time since Dec. 2, 1963, will cost taxpayers nothing."

Well, if the mayor says so.

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"A spokeswoman said the NFL and Choose Chicago, the nonprofit agency organizing the event, will cover costs associated with city services. Choose Chicago also plans to pay $125,000 for technology upgrades to the intimate 3,900-seat Auditorium."

Choose Chicago is the name of the city's tourism bureau. Just how does Haugh think that bureau is funded?

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"Practically the only thing the city hasn't guaranteed is the Bears drafting the best available player when the team makes the seventh overall selection."

Stop, you're killing me.

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I was inspired to write this after reading the following e-mail exchange between Haugh and our very own Tom Chambers.

On Feb 7, 2015, at 5:41 PM, Thomas Chambers wrote:

You've been reasonably harmless lately.

Every point of your argument is factually wrong.

The NFL is NOT taking this draft on the road "as a goodwill tour." They can't use Radio City Music Hall because that theater has a commitment to some other show. Your condescending premise is wrong at the start.

When are you highly paid hacks going to understand that any events like these, from the Olympics to the Super Bowl to this draft have absolutely no positive economic impact on the communities in which they are held?

The city of Glendale, Arizona spent up to $2 million dollars they didn't have to host the Super Bowl. It went all in on the stadium and the arena for the Coyotes and nearly had to declare bankruptcy. Super Bowl attendees, participating in an obscene event if ever there was one, stayed in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe or elsewhere. Glendale did not realize any positive dollars on that event.

Close down Congress from Wabash to Michigan for THREE weeks? Do you understand how vital a route that is? Do you not understand the gall of even asking for such a thing? No, because you don't get south of Madison Street.

Do you usually lie down and take it? The arrogance of the NFL has reached new levels! They currently have no credibility. They have a wide receiver who "shits" the ball out of his ass after a touchdown.

I believe you are a fairly intelligent person. So why on earth do you become a pawn to this shit? Fuck the NFL draft. In the grand scheme of life, is the NFL so important, and so right, that you contradict your own gut intelligence to defend these people? The NFL deserves nothing, as it has demonstrated in the last two years. Is Chicago that desperate?

Are you just a spokesman for the two-horse parochialism this town is so known for?

The NFL draft is a television show. Nothing more. You will not get a true reading of life in Chicago, or a real slice of us by watching the NFL draft. Why not have it in Oprah's old studios?

The NFL does not deserve our respect. And the more it doesn't deserve it, the more the NFL screams it demands. Do you get it? I don't need the NFL draft in Chicago to make me feel better. Maybe you do.

I don't believe you yourself are so desperate for the self-esteem, but to condescendingly pander in your column to what you perceive as some sort of populism is cheap and cynical. Enough so that you don't deserve the column.

Are you so blind that you don't see?

No, you DON'T want to get in bed with the NFL. You'll end up under the bloody sheets.

I don't need the NFL draft in Chicago to make me feel better. Maybe you do.

And don't you DARE talk down to me or any other reader.

Tom Chambers
Chicago

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On Feb 7, 2015, at 5:46 PM, Haugh, David A. wrote:

Yeah, pretty much ignore any rebuttals in which writer is at such a loss for words that he feels compelled to use profanity. Weak.

Thanks for reading.

DH

David Haugh
Chicago Tribune
Sports Columnist
@DavidHaugh

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From: Thomas Chambers
Date: February 7, 2015 5:56:24 PM CST
To: "Haugh, David A."
Subject: Re:

I KNEW you were going to say that. Predictable. But your currency is supposed to be facts, and you didn't get these straight. Slapdash is not good.

Challenge me on the facts. I can take it.

Pompous, condescending and consistent. I know what I'm dealing with and credibility is not part of it.

Don't look now, but you're IN the industry you purport to "cover."

Sleep well.

Tom Chambers
Chicago

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On the most recent edition of The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour, our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman also objected to Haugh's column (at 1:01:24). It's the trifecta!

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See also: Exclusive! Inside Chicago's NFL Draft Bid.

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Comments welcome.

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