What if Rush Limbaugh Purchased the Minnesota Vikings?

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This post isn’t intended to spark a political debate, but Rush Limbaugh’s recent non-denial of his interest in purchasing the Minnesota Vikings got me thinking about political views and the NFL. Specifically, why would a conservative like Limbaugh want to buy into an entity like the NFL, which is kinda sorta organized like a mini socialist country?

Limbaugh spends hours on the radio every day imploring Americans to embrace capitalism, free enterprise and limited government. Every man should be free to make as much money as he wants without having a chunk of it taken by the government and redistributed to others. One of Limbaugh’s favorite themes is socialism fails every time.

But if Limbaugh purchases an NFL team, he would become part of an entity that:

  • Uses revenue sharing. Limbaugh’s head might explode the first time he has to cut a check to support the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills.
  • Enforces a salary cap. Americans should be free to earn as much as they want. Imagine if the radio industry instituted a salary cap and put a limit on how much Limbaugh could make!
  • Finances its facilities and operations with taxpayer dollars. Limbaugh thinks tax dollars should be used to defend our country, and very little else. Seeing him operate his business in a publicly financed facility would be…ironic, I guess.
  • Is overseen by a dictator. Roger Goodell can fine and punish players and change the rules during the season almost at will. Sounds very similar to the overreaching and intrusive style of government that Limbaugh deplores.
  • Uses a draft. In a capitalist society, shouldn’t we all be free to choose where we work? The NFL makes rookies go to the team that happens to draft them.

I’m being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but a strong case can be made that the NFL is so successful because it’s kinda sorta organized like a mini socialist country.

How would the league look without a salary cap? What would happen if rookies just went to the highest bidder? What if revenue sharing disappeared? Getting rid of all of these things would make the NFL fit better within conservative ideology, but it would probably damage the league.

How would Limbaugh respond if a reporter asked him the following question: “Are you in favor of eliminating revenue sharing, the salary cap, the draft, public financing for stadiums and the power of the commissioner in order to bring the NFL more in line with capitalist and conservative ideals?”

He would probably say that the NFL is its own private business and is free to make and enforce rules as it pleases. And he’s probably right, I don’t know. Besides, even a hardcore ideologue like Limbaugh would have little problem compromising his standards if there is money to be made.

Actually, it makes total sense for Limbaugh to buy the Vikings. Minnesota hasn’t voted for a republican in a presidential election since 1976 and has only voted Republican three times since 1932.

It’s fitting that Limbaugh would purchase the state’s football team…then move it to Los Angeles as punishment.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


35 thoughts on “What if Rush Limbaugh Purchased the Minnesota Vikings?

  1. I don’t think they are. But Limbaugh’s non-denial yesterday got a few people talking. Thank the lockout for that.

  2. PoFlaWa in 3…2…1…

    (BTW, this is a non-story IMHO. Limbaugh put the gov. in a bad spot, and he made a joke, which was really about Limbaugh being vetoed of buying the Rams, which he promptly diverged the subject. IMHO it’s not a “non-denial”).

  3. I understand this post is a little tongue and cheek but it is sort of silly to look for hypocrisy when comparing his views on the proper role and size of govt to his views on the rules involved in a professional sports league in which those rules are agreed to by all involved and which in large part make them all very rich. You have about 2,000 people splitting $9 billion in revenue each year…I think that is capitalism enough for Limbaugh. If not, I better not play monopoly anymore with my son given my views on anti-trust laws!!

    1. Agreed. But if you’re a true conservative, shouldn’t you argue that the NFL could be MORE successful if it embraced capitalism?

      1. No, I don’t agree with that notion “true conservatives” think that a salary cap, revenue sharing, or a draft are counter-productive to profits. I think that a “true conservative” would look at how the NFL owners have provided a better product then their competitors via a salary cap, revenue sharing, etc… i.e. – a group of owners and players getting together and figuring out not how to just equally distribute slices of the pie but also how to grow the pie into biggest damn pie in the professional sports world. Capitalism at it’s finest.

        1. “Capitalism at it’s finest.”

          Capitalism — with an anti-trust exemption — at its finest 😉

          1. A professional sports league cannot exist without a anti-trust exemption. No draft, no spending limits, no roster limits, no NFL wide TV contracts, etc, etc, etc…

  4. Adam, please don’t be obtuse.

    As a business venture it is true that a free market would increase revenue but for maybe 3 or 4 teams. There would be about 12-14 teams that would fail. I think a free market is best for business in most cases, but we are talking an entertainment business like a movie theatre. You are only as successful as people desiring to come in, watch, and be entertained. This requires a different business model.

    In the case of the GAME of football I think the idea that it is set up so that slightly over half the money goes to the employees is a nice one.

    I also think that the idea that the rules for the teams and game are structured to try and make every one 8-8 so everyone is in the hunt is good.

    It is a positive that most teams every year have a chance to win and to get to the playoffs and Super Bowl. The revenue is shared, the schedule adjusted, the draft is structured so the worst team gets a chance at the best player. All this means the smallest market and the largest have a fair shot on the field of play.

    That does not work in other businesses as it is collusion. But it works great in a GAME….

    1. BTW it is a game that your business is using to entice audiences to fill your “movie theatre” your stadium. Competitive games sell seats, Jerseys, fantasy football drives viewer ship and tv packages, fills bars on a monday night, etc, etc

      1. I wasn’t advocating that the model should be changed. I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a hardcore conservative ideologue (or at least someone who pretends to be) buying into an entity that shares revenue and uses public funds to build facilities and cash flow operations.

        The situation would be somewhat humorous to me.

  5. Ummmm. Socialism is about government controlling the means of production, not private entities voluntarily setting rules within their organization and following them. NFL has nothing to do with socialism whether the teams practice revenue sharing or not any more than a successful Sears branch in Minneapolis supports a less successful branch in Madison or visi versa.

    1. “NFL has nothing to do with socialism.”

      Do your tax dollars pay for the construction and operation of new Sears stores?

      1. Granted. Usually when someone is going on about the socialism of the NFL they’re only talking about the revenue sharing and salary caps and such.

        No tax dollars should go to build stadiums or office buildings or shopping malls or Sears stores.

    2. No, socialism isn’t that either. Socialism is worker control of the means of production. The NFL isn’t that. It’s got a cooperation agreement amongst a bunch of capitalists. The NFL is not even remotely socialist.

  6. Gotta be honest, there’s a few comments on this article that sound like the posters are fairly conservative republicans who are trying very hard to deny the obvious parallels to some tenants of socialism found in the NFL’s structure.

    As Rick stated:

    “…I think the idea that it is set up so that slightly over half the money goes to the employees is a nice one.

    I also think that the idea that the rules for the teams and game are structured to try and make every one 8-8 so everyone is in the hunt is good.

    It is a positive that most teams every year have a chance to win and to get to the playoffs and Super Bowl.”

    This isn’t a direct comparison, but how can you not see how this correlates to some socialist concepts? Revenue Sharing = Redistribution of wealth from the extreme minority to the greater breadth of the populace is good for the whole (the whole is the Country instead of the league). You then even go on to talk about how manipulating the league to try to get all teams on an even playing field is a good thing for everyone..

    How are you not seeing the connection?

    1. Cause it is a GAME. A GAME that has to be competitive in order to SELL it to make the BUSINESS PROFITABLE and grow. The GAME is not the business. The BUSINESS is SELLING the game to the masses.

      1. And that doesn’t change whether you are Liberal or Conservative. A business is an entity to make money, to make a profit. Otherwise why do it.

        To the players….your old CBA was too good for you from the owner standpoint. Your CBA before that was nice for the owners but not quite as good for you. Go in between and get the deal done. Even if the lockout is ended by the courts it is only going to be a half @$$ed setup until the CBA is agreed to.

  7. Do you mean does my tax dollar pay for unemployement benefits when the union labour that built the store abuses their winter “layoffs”? Or do you mean that I pay for the tax exemptions given a large store to be an anchor in a mall complex? Or do you mean for the tax exemption for building a Sears in a business corridor? Or the tax dollars spent to woo large business into establishing themselves in my state? Or how about large corporate tax exemptions that allow Sears to avoid millions in taxes? The budget still has to be made up by…..you guessed it, my tax dollar.

  8. I think this whole discussion is silly. Is there a non-destructive way to test the theory that the NFL operated as a venture, modeled on the tenets of pure capitalism, would provide an equal or better product than the model that was being used until very recently? Don’t toy with it, lest it be destroyed in the process, I say.

  9. Yet another example of the NFL’s socialism: by giving the team with the worst record the best pick in the draft and the Super Bowl winner the worst pick, it punishes success and rewards mediocrity….the Green Bay Packers should have had the right to AJ Green or Patrick Peterson this year!!!

    Actually I think the current system is pretty fair and just (rather Rawlsian if I let my philosophy background creep in…)

    1. Interesting view on it Jay. I think Rawlsian Liberalism would be more the owners choosing which team each player goes by by directly placing not taking turns in a draft. That said man that is one of the best descriptions of the NFL model I have ever heard.

  10. Socialism has gotten a bad rap. We’re socialists when it serves us, even republicans: police, military, public schools, medicare, etc. The socialist presidential candidate when asked by Glenn Beck during the 2008 elections who the biggest socialist was from the list of Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin said, “Palin”. She had taxed oil companies at a higher rate than previous governors then gave each Alaskan $3,000.
    Pure socialism!!!

    On another note: Just to keep the mess known as the ViQueens alive and well, it would only be fitting that the ViQueens acquire Donavan McNabb before Limbaugh buys them.

    1. “it would only be fitting that the ViQueens acquire Donavan McNabb before Limbaugh buys them.”


  11. Every season is the perfect microcosm of capitalism in its purest form. Every season starts with all teams starting equal, and then with skill, planning, reactions to adverse situations, resolve, perserverance and luck (see Bears) one team wins it all. I can see that appealing to someone like Limbaugh.

  12. I find it hard to believe that a person can amass
    that amount of money to buy a NFL franchise. When
    his only talent is having diarhea of the mouth.

  13. To Jay above, the worst picking first, that’s one
    of the things that makes the NFL popular. That’s
    where the balance comes from. Look at the Lions
    going towards the top. Just think how good they
    would be now if they had a good GM instead of
    Matt M all those years of high draft picks.

    1. Binkee, that’s precisely my point. To my knowledge, every sports league does some variation on the worst picking first, and it clearly does NOT discourage success nor reward failure, even though a simplistic analysis might make it seem so. No team begins the season wanting to trash it so they get the first pick.

  14. Ideally a socialistic economy or business pays everyone the same regardless of the job because no one should be worth more than another. In the NFL we have a few socialistic policies because otherwise the whole thing would fall apart. When the Colts and the Pats play the ratings are huge, what about when Jacksonville and Buffalo play? If the NFL can not produce competative games, ratings, interest and therefore revenue would decrease. What fun would the league be if you had the same six teams that are always dominate and the rest always bad.

    1. Isn’t it communism rather than socialism that breaks down the relationship between position and pay because all vocations are equally important to the society as a whole thriving>

      1. Communism is state control of economy and and society. Pay is according to grade but not production and state controls what society thinks and feels. (The Old USSR)

        Socialism is an economic model only where everyone is made equal and is dependent on the what they are given in their lot in life by their economic grade.( France )

        So short is both breakdown according to job type or grade and the best and worst performers get the same compensation.

        1. Socialism is an economic model only where everyone is made equal and is dependent on the what they are given in their lot in life by their economic grade.( France )
          You don’t know what you’re talking about.France is a capitalistic country with (very) strong government regulation.People aren’t given an “economic grade”,in fact the french social legislation doesn’t organize wages(like in scandinavia).The point is the state taxes hard and then spends in services to help the poorer,for instance tax money will help fund a youth sport club.

        2. You’re absolutely right about France, but your definition of socialism would apply equally to capitalism. In contrast to capitalism where capitalists run the show, socialism is worker control.

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