Originally Posted by DrFate
This has been addressed. NFL players come and go. The Broncos have been through a half-dozen QBs since #7 retired and they still sell tickets. The franchises are 'the product'. Take the names off the jerseys and the majority of the folks in the stands can't tell the difference.
This is only true to an extent. The fans will tolerate top players coming and going, sure. But there is an inherent expectation among fans of all 32 franchises that their ownership will attempt to assemble a quality product on the field. "Quality" of course means winning. If Tom Brady retires, I am sure most Pats fans will stick around under the good faith assumption that the front office will attempt to replace him with the best player they can possibly find.
But let's suppose Pat Bowlen suddenly decided that he was going to order massive roster cuts and target UFL and Canadian league players to cut costs under the assumption that the fans will continue to show up to games because of the "franchise" concept. How many of you would buy a ticket to see that garbage? The answer is nobody would. The "franchise" concept works only insofar as the franchise is at least attempting to produce a competitve product. You do that with top of the line players.