There’s been a lot of chatter going around about the New England Patriots’ recent “Jersey Guarantee,” but the concept is nothing more than a money-grabbing publicity stunt. It also illustrates the point I was trying to make in a recent article about the misguided notion of fans remaining loyal to a single team.
Quickly, addressing the issue of wearing jerseys, if people were only allowed to wear clothes designated for their own skills in life, their wardrobes would be impressively dull and the Internet wouldn’t get creative Wal-Mart shopper memes which bring smiles to people everywhere.
Second, what essentially is the difference between wearing a jersey and a t-shirt, hat, button, car decal and getting a team tattoo? Should we also designate that you can only wear the jersey of the college you attended? Or the t-shirts of the teams that play in the state you reside? When did there become rules for fandom and expressing team support? In this case, I urge the banning of polos for anyone who doesn’t golf, running shoes for people who don’t run, swimming trunks for people who never go swimming, cowboy boots for people who don’t rodeo, band shirts unless you’re actually in the band and Batman costumes for anyone who has never played Batman! It seems such a silly, petty thing to find dispute with.
Veering back to the subject of the “jersey guarantee” which some insist should be used as a model for the entire NFL, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
First, if you purchased your jersey from somewhere other than the team website or stadium store, you’re out of luck. Also, while you get to keep the worthless jersey of a player who no longer plays for the Patriots, the discount only applies if you once again shell out money for another jersey. In essence, it’s a plan that encourages you to spend more money on jerseys that are grossly overpriced to begin with.
Is this supposed to make me believe the Patriots care or are looking out for their fans? I would argue the exact opposite. If they honestly cared, they wouldn’t be cutting players like LeGarrette Blount or Aqib Talib to begin with. Also, if they seriously cared about their fans, they never would have brought the Tim Tebow circus to town when they never had any interest in actually signing him. Instead, they used him to sell jerseys and it worked. Now, you can get a discount if you’re willing to purchase another jersey on a player who could be released in a year because the Patriots and NFL players have exactly zero loyalty to the fans. They are both loyal to the almighty dollar and essentially the “jersey guarantee” is a vast money grab under the guise of a “discount.”
The so-called “discount” applies to all three tiers of officially licensed NFL Nike jerseys: the replica, limited and elite. It should also be noted that the prices for the limited and elite jerseys have both gone up, thus nullifying the “discount” you never really received in the first place. The other issue with the “jersey guarantee” is the limited time frame you have to purchase a brand new jersey with your “discount.” You will have two months from the time of the player’s release to purchase a new jersey which encourages rash and irrational decision-making as people feel pressured to cash-in their “discount.”
The entire “jersey guarantee” is a nefarious boondoggle by a professional sports team. A true “jersey guarantee” would have given people the “discount” on the already purchased jersey with valid receipt, but that would cost the notoriously disloyal Patriots money as they continuously cut quality players in favor of cheaper, less-skilled options.
This is just another example of the Patriots abusing their fans, while somehow convincing everyone this is a genius idea. If greed and robbing your fans is the epitome of genius, then the Patriots are certainly leading the way.