NFL Franchises, particularly their front offices, are often in the spotlight, be it for good or bad reasons. As we progress through the 20th century, more and more franchises are listening to what their fans want as the world becomes more connected through technology and social media.
However, there have been plenty of examples in both the previous and current eras where franchises have shown no regard for their fans in the decisions they make. Here are five of them.
Five times NFL franchises showed no regard for their fans
#1 - Cardinals refuse to re-sign Anquan Boldin
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was a fan favorite with the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted by the team in 2003. He made three Pro Bowl appearances in Arizona and had five 1,000+ yard seasons with the Cardinals. However, he had injury issues and even had a metal plate inserted into his face after refusing surgery, returning to the team four weeks later.
What did the Cardinals do to reward his leadership and bravery? They refused to re-sign him to an extension after the 2009 season as he walked and became a Baltimore Raven.
#2 - Baltimore Colts' relocation to Indianapolis
A relocation will never please everyone, but the Colts’ relocation from Baltimore to Indianapolis left a sour taste in many mouths.
Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay initially denied the move, saying:
“I have not any intentions of moving the goddamn team. If I did, I will tell you about it, but I'm staying here.”
However, just months later, in the middle of the night, Irsay organized 15 trucks to effectively move the team to Indianapolis while the city of Baltimore slept. Maryland Governor Harry Hughes had signed a bill allowing the city of Baltimore to seize the Colts by eminent domain, but Irsay moved quickly enough to relocate the team, and the signing of the bill proved irrelevant.
Millions of Baltimore natives woke up to the heartbreaking news that their 30-year-old franchise had been wiped out overnight.
5 times NFL franchises showed no regard for their fans
#3 - Chargers move from San Diego to Los Angeles
Similar heartache was felt when the San Diego Chargers decided to up sticks and move to Los Angeles after the 2016 season, as the team had been based in San Diego since 1961. Immediately after announcing the move, fans egged the team's headquarters in Mission Valley, while others burned Chargers jerseys and memorabilia.
Team owner Dean Spanos took the majority of the hate, with one fan saying on a Chargers Facebook fan page:
“Spanos is delusional if he thinks anyone will care about them in L.A. San Diego is the only home for the Chargers.”
The move was all the more confusing since the Los Angeles Rams had only relocated from St. Louis the year before as many fans argued why does the city of L.A. need two NFL franchises?
#4 - New York Jets pass on Warren Sapp
"We want Sapp!" echoed around the draft room during the 1995 NFL Draft with the New York Jets on the clock and stud defensive tackle Warren Sapp still on the board. The Jets, however, ignored all the fan chants and went with Kyle Brady, a tight end out of Penn State. The fans should have been listened to.
Brady only had 949 receiving yards during his four seasons in New York, whereas Sapp fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was an All-Pro six times, made seven Pro Bowls, and was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999. Sapp also won a Super Bowl and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. You should have listened to your fans, Jets front office!
#5 - Dan Snyder sues fan
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has a reputation across the NFL world as one of the worst owners across the league, and this was evident in 2009 when he sued one of his own team's fans. The 72-year-old woman, an estate agent, was unable to afford her season tickets after the housing market crash, requesting the team to waive her season ticket.
Instead of doing the honorable thing and honoring her request, Snyder sued the woman for backing out of her agreement, winning a default judgment as she couldn't afford a lawyer. He won about $66,000 from the case, a lot of money to the elderly woman but pennies to a man worth $2.6 billion.