The first wave of rookie mini camps has concluded. Let’s talk about the cities that these shiny new millionaires are moving to.
It’s the greatest day of your young football-related life. You’re a 22-year-old pro football prospect and you have worked your ass off your entire life for this moment. The NFL Draft is here, and you are about to be rewarded with a large enough signing bonus to buy your hometown and a symbol of status that will last a lifetime.
And then the phone call comes. “Hey, it’s Chan Gailey. How do you feel about being a Buffalo Bill?”
Buffalo. Buffalo. Freaking Buffalo.
It is then that you realize just how many cities in the illustrious NFL absolutely suck. The following is my completely biased evaluation of every NFL city. Keep in mind that this is coming from the perspective of a Florida kid who has never been to the vast majority of the cities listed and gets cold when the temperature drops below 75 degrees. Basically this is just me throwing around shallow judgments. Enjoy!
The thoughts and opinions below do not represent those of Robbie Hilson. Sometimes I stretch the wildly entertaining, mildly offensive thing a bit far. Let’s do this.
Buffalo: Maybe one of the best examples of an “Uhh, why did they put them there?” team in the NFL. As Willis McGahee once said, Buffalo has nothing but an Applebee’s, a Dave & Busters and ugly women. Well, maybe it makes up for these deficiencies with the charm and security of a small town, right? Wrong. According to city reports, Buffalo has a high crime rate, an aging population and noticeable poverty issues. And yeah, it’s really damn cold. Sorry, C.J. Spiller. Look on the bright side, maybe they’ll move the team to…nevermind.
Miami: Don’t worry, Robbie, I come in peace on this one. Miami is one of the few cities that will get a completely positive review in this post. Yes, there is the minor drawback of Rosetta Stone fees, but those are easily overcome by a tropical environment full of versatile options. If you’re into the downtown nightlife, go after a swanky waterfront abode and prepare to frequent Ocean Drive. If you’re more laid back, try one of the surrounding communities and spend your non-football days aimlessly wandering the picturesque waters of South Florida on your brand new Hatteras.
New England: We’ll credit the Patriots to Boston. Boston is a cold and unfriendly place where Frank Costello is likely plotting to have you killed at all times. If your name has an “R” in it, you will never hear it pronounced correctly for the entirety of your stay there. Step out of line, and your failures will be stenciled into the mind of the public with weekly hate columns from Bill Simmons. Also, no matter how much the city pretends to like you, there will always be a free drink at the bar reserved for a short, balding Dustin Pedroia and not you. A bitter reminder of who the real stars of Boston are.
New York (Jets and Giants): Many will probably split away from me here. New York City, the place of glitz, glamor, fame. Not for me. Sorry, but I’m no fan of the land of concrete and claustrophobia. Yes, New York is a town where an athlete can virtually take over the city with America’s largest spotlight. But when was the last time a football player actually did this? Yankees do it all the time. Mets did it in 1986. New Yorkers are still convinced that King James will do it eventually. You’re not Joe Namath.
Baltimore: By all accounts except for one, Baltimore seems like a nice place to live. That one account is former Oriole Aubrey Huff who referred to Baltimore as a “horses**t town” in November 2007. He also trashed the city’s nightlife although many say that he was targeting Baltimore strip clubs, and not the nightlife in general. He did formerly live in Tampa, the mecca of $30 lap dances. Regardless, Baltimore seems like a nice place and it is good enough to catch my seal of approval.
Cincinatti: This will surely piss off loyal Casualtist Brad Crone, but posts like this are bound to have that affect on people. Cincinatti is cold. Really cold. Bengals? No thanks.
Cleveland: See above.
Pittsburgh: I’ve been to Pennsylvania once, and I was too young to remember being there. However, my mom occasionally describes the trip and does so with a scrunched up “wow, that was awful” look on her face. My mom refers to things as being “gross” pretty regularly, but seldom with the tenacity that she fires off when Pittsburgh or the Steelers are mentioned. Not to mention the painted dirt playing surface that will greet you as you take the field at a stadium named after “fancy ketchup.”
Houston: Houston is a decent southern sports town that occasionally surprises visitors with its giant size. Texas is a great state to play football in, but there is no secret that this is the inferior of the two Texas options available. The bright side of this is Galveston. The downside is larger.
Indianapolis: When one pictures Indiana, they typically envision a curly headed white dude banging a basketball off of a makeshift backboard that has been nailed to the side of a barn. Does this sound like the glamorous NFL locale that you have dreamed of your entire life? No. Even your football stadium now looks like an old school basketball field house. Why? Because they wish the Colts were another basketball team. In fact, Indianapolis may be one Peyton Manning retirement away from making the Colts an Arena Ball team, and formally initiating the switch between Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.
Jacksonville: Ah, a nice warm Florida town conveniently located on the banks of the St. John’s River. I’m going to love this place, right? Eh, maybe. While Jacksonville does have numerous qualities that match my criteria (weather, nice suburbs, water), it also has other conflicting reports. Like the commonly filed complaint that the town smells like R. Kelly’s teen room (read: piss), and the well-known fact that you probably played in front of more fans during a regular season high school game. Oh well, Jacksonville gets a pass, but it is an uncertain one.
Nashville: Allow me to express my previously mentioned bias when I say HELL YES. The Titans would be an amazing team to play for. Great city/area that incorporates the entire country music industry and an extremely unique and expansive nightlife. Ever heard of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift or Julianne Hough? Well they’re great looking country music singers who will probably be attracted to you and your football playing ways. Or stay more low key and go after a girl from Vanderbilt University who will show you more family money than any general manager can dream of. Dammit, I should have been born more athletic.
Denver: I’m sure Denver is a lovely place for the few months out of the year when it is not a complete skyscraper of an icebox. The problem is that more than half of the football season takes place once the city is beginning to freeze over. There are some of the country’s most famous ski resort towns nearby, but you’re a professional football player and the last place you belong is on a pair of skis. Especially since you’re probably from either Florida, Texas or Southern California. There is also an overwhelming chance that you will be the punchline of many episiodes of “South Park.”
Kansas City: A city that just kind of shoots off an indifferent kind of feeling. No, Kansas City doesn’t hit the depths of a Buffalo, Oakland or Detroit, but it isn’t an ideal place to live either. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most hideous pieces of stadium architecture ever invented and the occasional 4 P.M. Chiefs game on CBS has about the same effect as Ambien.
Oakland: Where do I begin? If San Francisco is the Hollywood of California’s Bay Area, Oakland is definitely its San Fernando Valley. Except instead of porn, Oakland specializes in crime and being a generally terrible place to live. You’ll have to deal with Al Davis and play in front of fans who would pass for serial killers if they wern’t sitting inside one of the NFL’s most awful stadiums. Oakland is the birthplace of Rocky Road ice cream which gives it minor cool points, but there is an overwhelming chance that you will get shot or be an earthquake victim before you try any of it.
San Diego: Ah, what a difference 492.12 miles can make. San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in America and an overall fantastic place to live. It is a city that is perfectly spread out, is famous for its amazing weather and has a surplus of attractive blondes running around. It could honestly be difficult to find a better city to be a professional athlete in without passing on to the afterlife. If it’s good enough for Ron Burgundy, it’s good enough for me.
Dallas: Scratch that last thought. There is a better city in which to be a professional football player and that city is Dallas. Dallas is not the civic masterpiece that San Diego represents, but you are a Cowboy and that is all that matters. I don’t believe that there is a better sports franchise in America to be a member of. It doesn’t matter if you are a third-string quarterback, you have a star on your helmet and therefore you are iconic.
Philadelphia: A city that takes pride in its toughness. This is really a synonym for admitting that it is an awful place to reside. It’s probably not good that the city molds itself after Rocky Balboa, the fictional prize fighter who ends up broke. One mistake and the fans will likely chase you out of town as if you wanted to be there in the first place. To be fair, Philadelphia does have much brighter things to offer though like cheesesteaks and…uhh…cheeseteaks.
Washington, D.C.: A visit to D.C. is enjoyable for roughly 30 minutes. Living there seems like an unbearable task. Also, Redskins fans far too often get a mysterious pass, but they are some of the worst fans in football. Non-existent when things are bad, in your face and obnoxious when things are decent. Add weather and embarrassing ownership into the recipe, and you have one dreadful destination.
Chicago: My dad says that Chicago is a giant city without any of the flare or intrigue that a giant city typically includes. My dad has been to Chicago, I haven’t. I do know that Chicago is one of the most politically corrupt cities in a country full off politically corrupt cities. I also know that I once wrote a 10-page research paper on modern street gangs in America and spent hours reading about the Gangster Disciples in Chicago. This will sour your taste for a place quickly.
Detroit: Picking on Detroit right now is kind of like stealing crutches from an injured old man and then repeatedly beating him over the head with them. Once a thriving factory town, Detroit no longer looks like something that belongs in America. I’ve heard before that Tiger Stadium is symbolic of Detroit’s path as a city. Tiger Stadium was demolished in September 2009.
Green Bay: You lost me at “frozen tundra.” Green Bay seems to have the small town charm that is lost in almost every other NFL city. It is home to Lambeau Field, one of the last pieces of old NFL memories still being used today. It has fans that are beyond loyal and being a Packer in Green Bay is likely one of the biggest status claims in the NFL. But Green Bay is cold, very cold, and I simply cannot support that. Sorry, I’m sure it’s a nice place in July.
Minneapolis: See above. Seems like a nice enough place. Spectacular lakes, friendly people. The cold is a deal breaker.
Atlanta: A moderate choice for decent locale. Atlanta has some nice suburbs that could make the hustle of the city more bearable. It’s tough to give this city my approval because I’m so accustomed to dreading the drive through it on my way to somewhere else.
Charlotte: Another moderate pass. Charlotte seems like a nice enough town from what I’ve seen of it (read: their airport). North Carolina does get cold though, so that could be a bit of a detractor.
New Orleans: A fun place to visit and not remember visiting. Not a home. Sorry, Drew Brees, I know you’re playing up the New Orleans savior deal right now, but you really need to stop pretending that you wouldn’t rather be in San Diego.
Tampa: I told you this would be biased, and now we come to Tampa, my hometown. There’s a reason why the vast majority of athletes who spend any time with a Tampa team end up moving here permanently. That reason is that Tampa is freaking awesome. Tony Kornheiser and Tim Brown hate Tampa. Kornheiser is a curmudgeon and Brown was always overrated. Tampa is a delightful port town with plenty of things to do and a low cost of living. That means that as an athlete, your millions will go further here than almost anywhere else. Think a bayfront house with an endless supply of sunshine, fine cigars and a luxury boat docked nearby.
Glendale: A community of golf resorts and solid nightlife of course gets the nod from me. There’s not much to dislike about this area. Tempe is nearby, meaning that you are close to the home of Arizona State University, one of the country’s most notorious schools for parties and gorgeous coeds. Stick around for the spring and take in the Cactus League.
St. Louis: A great city to play baseball, not so much football. St. Louis kind of falls in the “ehh” category in which Kansas City resides. Plus side: You live in the home of Budweiser. Down side: You live in St. Louis.
San Francisco: By all accounts, San Francisco is a picturesque city to visit and a decent place to live. But you are an NFL player, and studies have shown that you are more likely to be both socially and fiscally conservative. Being a conservative in San Francisco is kind of like being a liberal in rural Alabama. As Leo DiCaprio would say, “You don’t need me to tell you you’re f****d.”
Seattle: It rains a lot in Seattle and not in a good “yay, this afternoon thunderstorm is so refreshing” kind of way, but rather in a “wow, this is depressing, I’m either going to kill myself or write mumbling grunge rock songs all day” kind of way. It is a shame because this would probably be a nice town if it wasn’t for its Londonesque ways. It is also home to great fans and beautiful scenery. But sunshine is a necessity, and so Seattle is a no go.