Originally Posted by BroncoInferno
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.
There are a couple problems with this argument. First, there are a number of franchises who haven't won in recent memory. Are those franchises still profitable? Look at the Denver Broncos, for example. They were 4-12 last year, and yet people still filled the stands. If the 53 Broncos were sent to Mars and the rest of the NFL stayed the same - yes, Denver looks really inferior. But if you replaced the players in the league wholesale - it's all relative.
Secondly - the whole 'top line players' argument really holds little water. People pay good money to see minor league ball, college ball, even high school sports. People root for their favorite TEAM. Griese, Plummer, Cutler, Orton, Tebow... And people keep buying tickets..