Crazy-Ass Numbers Games: Your Guide to Ignoring the NFL Playoffs Today

Illustration for article titled Crazy-Ass Numbers Games: Your Guide to Ignoring the NFL Playoffs Today

Get a load of this shit, from the Carolina Panthers' own goddamn website, about Bank of America Stadium, where the Panthers will today host a sham of a playoff game they have absolutely no business participating in:

Opened in the summer of 1996, Bank of America Stadium is located in uptown Charlotte and was specifically designed for football. The 73,778-seat, privately-financed, open-air, natural grass stadium is designed as a self-contained headquarters for the Carolina Panthers and includes training facilities, practice fields and administrative offices.


Man, that is some cynical-ass shit right there. According to Forbes, $122 million of the $187 million cost of building the stadium came from the sale of Personal Seat Licenses. It takes some busted, bullshit math to call that kind of financing "private."

Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs) are a wholly exploitative device for wringing cash out of desperate, idiotic sports fans. Where there used to be a seat, and a ticket for the seat, and a person handing over some money for the ticket so they could sit in the seat, PSLs give us a seat, and a ticket for the seat, and an expensive transaction whereby the right to purchase a ticket is bought, followed by that same licensee then finally paying even more money for the ticket to sit in the seat. What the hell kind of crazy-ass numbers game is that? It's absurd and insulting that a stadium largely financed by fans forking over cash for some extorted and imaginary right to buy tickets can be considered privately financed.

And, of course, the horseshit doesn't stop there. The Panthers came back and hit up Charlotte tax-payers for $87.5 million in public financing for stadium upgrades, with another $50 million in public funds secured for additional renovations if the organization extends their lease. By the time those funds are spent, the "privately financed" Bank of America stadium will have cost more than $259 million in subsidies and public loot against $65 million in "private" funds.

But the worst part of this, the most baldly disingenuous, is the trumpeting of private financing in the first place. NFL owners use lies and threats to demand public subsidies, and here Jerry Richardson turns around and drops "private financing" into the lead paragraph promoting his stadium, a tacit admission of the obvious fiscal and damn-well moral uprightness of franchise ownership paying for their own damn venue. Instead of "beautiful" and "state of the art" and "newly renovated" the organization made sure to throw "privately financed" in there, because it's the very best and only genuinely good thing that can ever be said about an NFL stadium. And in the case of Bank of America Stadium, where today the Panthers will host the Cardinals, it's just a total fucking outright lie.

Other Sports

3:30 p.m. — ESPN2 — Men's College Basketball: Illinois @ Ohio State (20)

It's a good day for college basketball. Illinois is hunting a signature win, and a road contest against a ranked conference foe would just about do it.


4 p.m. — CBS Sports Network — Men's College Basketball: Butler @ St. John's (15)

Both teams lost their conference openers, but Butler's road loss to undefeated Villanova looks a little bit better than St. John's loss to Seton Hall in a game that wasn't especially close. This could be a fun match-up.


4 p.m. — ESPNU — Men's College Basketball: Baylor (22) @ Oklahoma (18)

Hey, ranked opponents! Exciting.

4 p.m. — CBS — Women's College Basketball: Maryland (14) @ Nebraska (12)

Also ranked opponents. Not quite as exciting.

4 p.m. — beIN Sports — La Liga Soccer: Deportivo de La Coruña vs. Athletic Bilbao


Yeah, it's crappy, mostly-meaningless soccer, today. This is all there is.

4:30 p.m. — FOX Sports 1 — Creighton @ Georgetown (25)

Creighton's been up-and-down so far, but you just never know with Georgetown. John Thompson III is the man, but his team is certain to blow a healthy number of winnable games.


5:30 p.m. — ESPN2 — Men's College Basketball: Virginia (3) @ Miami

The Hurricanes have lost 3 of 5, including an uninspiring home loss to the Horizon League's Green Bay and a home thrashing at the hands of Eastern Kentucky. They're hosting the undefeated Cavaliers, and will likely have their asses handed to them.


8 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Heat @ Rockets

The Heat, losers of 7 of 10, are in rough shape these days. And, for that matter, so are the Rockets, having lost a worse-than-it-looked home game to the Wizards and a laugher to the Pelicans in the last week. Daryl Morey was probably right to swoop in and nab a player as talented as Josh Smith, especially when it cost nothing more than money, but the early returns are not hot, and the Rockets are sliding down the West's brutal playoff pack while they work out the kinks.


8:30 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Wizards @ Spurs

The Wizards rebounded from a wildly discouraging loss in Dallas to battle the Thunder for every minute of a fun-as-hell thriller last night, ultimately losing on another awesome hero-ball display from better-than-ever Kevin Durant. The Spurs are hurt and stuck in third gear, doing just enough to stay clear of the bottom of the West's playoff pack, and will probably be without both Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard today.


10 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Hawks @ Trail Blazers

If you're not watching the Hawks because their roster doesn't make your heart beat you're really missing out on excellent basketball. Mike Budenholzer has built a seriously fun team capable of 48 minutes of two-way dominance, and you should be watching them. And, of course, the Trail Blazers are just incredibly good to watch. This one should be an absolute blast in front of Portland's terrific home crowd.


TV Reruns

4 p.m. — ion Television — Law & Order: Criminal Intent

This day-long marathon is your chance to watch Vincent D'Onofrio overact his way through one miserable slog of an episode after another.


4 p.m — We TV — Law & Order

Rescue us, Sam Waterston, you silver fox. Hours and hours of the original today.


4 p.m. — LOGO TV — The Golden Girls

Speaking of silver foxes, The Golden Girls is on all damn night.


2 p.m. — VH-1 — Pulp Fiction

Wasn't this on last weekend? Shouldn't it be on every weekend? The answer is yes.


4 p.m. — FX — Zombieland

Admit it: without the Bill Murray sequence, this would be a completely forgettable movie.


4 p.m. — CMT — The Fugitive

Was this the movie that finally convinced Harrison Ford to stop being even a little bit charismatic on screen? The Fugitive is a great movie, but it's like he never stopped playing Dr. Richard Kimble.


4:30 p.m. — Syfy — The Fifth Element

Here's a conversation I had while re-watching The Guardians of the Galaxy: is that movie better than The Fifth Element? I genuinely think it's a pretty close call, either way.


5:30 p.m. — VH-1 — Goodfellas

Not gonna lie, Goodfellas does suffer quite a bit on basic cable. Most of the best lines of dialogue in the movie feature expletives. Ah well.


6:10 p.m. — SPIKE — 300

If you turn your brain all the way off – really, all the way off, just leave your brainstem active enough that most of your senses function at a basic level – this is a cool looking action movie. Any more intellectual engagement than that and it becomes a brutally uncomfortable thing to watch.


7:30 p.m. — Comedy Central — Superbad

Funny enough. People like it.

9 p.m. — Sundance — Outbreak

Good performances from Dustin Hoffman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rene Russo, and Kevin Spacey come nowhere near salvaging this preposterously brain-dead movie. You have to be willing to enjoy how incredibly stupid many of the plot pieces are, and then you've got an occasionally-frightening and generally watchable epidemic story pitched at the level of curious 11-year-olds.


Stay warm out there in the world, friends.