Football Means Business, Men!

I've noticed over the past few weeks of watching NFL Gameday Morning on NFL Network as the show comes in and out of commercials they occasionally cut to various players showing up to stadiums. It's kinda cool. It's a few hours before kickoff. They are setting a feel for the games later on. We're all getting ready, checking our fantasy teams for surprise injuries or whatever. Anyway, they usually show players exiting their cars and walking across a parking lot and talking on cell phones. Most of the time they are wearing a suit or dress pants and a jacket--I just don't get the athletes wearing business clothes thing.

I remember my freshman basketball coach telling our team that we had to wear a shirt and tie to school on game days. Looking back, it kinda made sense. 15 year olds mess around instead of focusing by default. The coaches sold to us that we needed to focus the day of a game. Be Gallant, not Goofus. The coaches weren't putting us on team bus to horse around and then get pummeled because we weren't taking it seriously. I remember feeling very serious while tying my tie before school and getting on the bus. Football was different, though. I don't think we wore ties on game day, but we did wear our jerseys. With pride, as I recall. On one occasion we traveled to Jefferson City, MO on a chartered a bus, and I'm pretty sure we had to dress nicely for our journey. Jeff City High blasted us off their awesome field in front of their enthusiastic, Friday night in Texas-like crowd. A lot of good that tie did us.

"We're going on a business trip, men! We're taking care of business! Focus! Yeah!"

Business guys don't act like this at all. I see those fellas traveling on Southwest Airlines, playing Sudoku, snoozing, or fooling around with a movie and headphones on their laptop. Sure, they aren't dressed like slobs. But they aren't in a 3-piece, either. Anyway, the only reason business travelers aren't dressed in their jam jams and flip flops on the planes is because they are wearing clothes suitable for a meeting later after the flight, or they just finished a meeting. The rest of the goofballs on the plane in jeans and polos are the business travelers who aren't doing business that day.

So if NFL coaches want to adhere to the business logic of dress while traveling, they certainly wouldn't have their players waste time putting on a $10,000 suit for a plane flight, only to change clothes at their place of business and get into their actual work clothes.

Come to think of it, the NFL, NBA, etc. must be the only profession that forces their employees to dress as though they were in a completely different profession--while traveling. It's so weird when you think about it. What if your boss told you tomorrow that when heading to the meeting across town, you must dress like a hotel bellhop? When you ask why, your boss tells you that the act of wearing this other profession's attire will help keep you focused while traveling to the meeting. When you ask if you are to wear the bellhop attire at the meeting, your boss then says to change back into your regular clothes in the bathroom. It's not happening, you see.

Maybe coaches think this way: Picture Tom Brady traveling with the team on a jet to a game. He's wearing a nice shirt and nerd sweater like he does for the press after a game. His eyes are closed, but he's not resting. Fingers interlaced across his chest, he feels the rich, supple wool of his $565 nerd sweater. It reminds him that he's loaded, that football made him loaded, and he's about to go to work on the San Diego Chargers again, and then he thinks about each offensive play to Moss and Welker, etc.. What if he were wearing his coach's 3/4 sleeveless hoodie? Fingers interlaced across his chest, he feels the ok-quality cotton of the NFL Store. This reminds him of all the nobodies that watch him and think about him and write about him and wish they were him, and that thought makes him smile and feel satisfied, and then he feels good about ordering another Reuben sandwich, and then sleeps the rest of the flight. Is that the Tom Brady Patriots fans want? They want his nerd sweater.

Heck, I want his nerd sweater. And I want for one Sunday to turn on NFL Gameday Morning and see all the fellas getting out of their rigs and walking across the parking lot in game pants, jerseys and cleats. Now that would make some sense.



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