Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

January 19th, 2012

Memo to Ed Reed: The Radio Microphone is Not Your Friend

Over at the Daily Caller, I take a closer look at Ed Reed’s ill-considered radio interview.

 
January 13th, 2012

My Take on “Tebow-Mania”

Has any NFL quarterback had a better week off the field than Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos? I do a review at The Daily Caller:

 
September 9th, 2011

The TV News: ESPN Renews Deal With NFL to Carry Monday Night Football

After an absence of a couple of weeks, I’m back on The TV News covering sports television. In this week’s installment, we take a closer look at ESPN‘s massive renewal of its deal with the NFL to carry Monday Night Football.

 
September 9th, 2011

My New Column in the Daily Caller

After a couple of fits and starts, I’ve officially gotten back into the sportswriting game. Starting today, my columns will be appearing in The Daily Caller three times per week. In my debut, I write about the nonsensical suspensions that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leveled on Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel. Click here to read it right now.

Thanks to everyone at The Daily Caller, especially Executive Editor David Martosko, for helping make this happen. Please be sure to check back in on Monday for my next installment.

 
May 12th, 2010

Yes Tracee, It Really Is All About The Money …

If anyone ever asks me why I became a sports blogger, I’ll be sure to point to a column in today’s Washington Post by Tracee Hamilton. "Big Ten expansion: Big Dollars, little sense," may not be the most ridiculous column that’s ever appeared in the WaPo’s Sports section, but there’s more than a few spots that make you just shake your head in disbelief.

Apparently, Hamilton is a fan of the Big 8 Conference, and she can’t help but wax nostalgic for the good old days of college football where regional rivals where within a long night’s drive of one another. As a casual college football fan who remembers what New Year’s Day used to mean to the sport, I can sympathize, but those days are dead and buried when it comes to the new realities of college football, where your program is expected to not only pay its own bills, but line the pockets of plenty of other folks who never get onto the football field.

Let’s get started, shall we?

[T]he babe the Big 10-Eleven really wants to take to prom is Notre Dame. Not for the talent or the tradition or even the geography — the heart of Big 10-Eleven country. No, the Big 10-Eleven wants Notre Dame’s television market. (Apparently, having your own profitable TV network isn’t enough.) The Irish appeal is not local or regional; it’s national, and it’s loyal, no matter how badly the team stinks. The Big 10-Eleven’s message seems to be: Join us or perish. Cheery.

This is what college football has become: mergers and acquisitions. Just like Wall Street. And we know how that worked out.

Say what you want about Notre Dame, (I’m sure their financial people are crunching the numbers right now, and if it makes sense they’re in) what I can’t quite believe are the last two lines of that passage. The crazy thing is, Hamilton doesn’t need to use a metaphor to tell us how the mergers and acquisitions in college football have worked out. After all, the formula we’ve seen from coast to coast goes something like this:

Expand. Split conference into two divisions. Add championship game to conference schedule and use its existence to jack up television rights fee.

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time finding fault with this formula. It’s worked for the ACC, the SEC and Big 12 among the giant conferences. And who can fault the Big 10 for wanting in too?

So while Hamilton might not like the idea of expansion and may be turned off by the pursuit of money, comparing it to the current ruin of our financial system doesn’t make much sense.

Rutgers is the biggest puzzle among the quartet, but Delany apparently believes it would give him the New York television market. Which seems absurd.

Does it? Not to me it doesn’t. If anything, it seems to me like an incredible deal for Rutgers, a school that should be rushing to the Big 10′s altar in order to get there before Notre Dame. Think of it from the point of view of the Scarlet Knights. If you leave the Big East for the Big 10, every other year you’ll get a home game with Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa or Wisconsin. And when those teams come calling, you can bet your bottom dollar that Rutgers won’t be playing those home games at 52,000 seat Rutgers Stadium, but will more than likely be moving those games to the 82,500 seat New Meadowlands.  And they will all sell out in minutes and become huge events in New York, our largest media market, and one that doesn’t have a logical affiliation with a major college football program.

Ca-ching!

On the basketball side, Rutgers serves as a less competitive version of Seton Hall in the Big East, playing a schedule that’s not all that different. But plop them in the Big 10, and all of a sudden their schedule gets a whole lot more attractive to the locals, and those games against conference opponents like Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State will get moved to the 18,500 seat Prudential Center in Newark instead of the 8,000 seat Louis Brown Athletic Center.

Ca-ching!

With just one move, Rutgers will become the most important college basketball program in metropolitan New York, leaving St. John’s in the dust.  Can you imagine just what sort of recruiting advantage Rutgers will have over schools in the area if it can let local recruits play more or less at home against the best teams in the Big 10 instead of the Big East?

Altogether, will this help the Big 10 crack the NYC television market? You bet it will, and anyone who thinks otherwise just isn’t thinking straight.

If old rivalries are no longer important, if regional play is no longer important, if the only thing that matters is television revenue, then let’s just admit that and move on.

The best old rivalries are the ones that draw the biggest crowds, and hence come with the highest price tags, so there’s no danger they’ll be snuffed out. As for coming to terms with the relative importance of television revenue, I’m afraid Hamilton is the only one who hasn’t moved on yet.  Feel free to join the rest of us anytime you like.

 
March 13th, 2010

Thumbs Up or Down: The Week in Sports Television

I’m a little late with this, but here’s the unedited version of my appearance yesterday on The TV News. Apparently, I was a little long-winded, so some of my comments wound up on the cutting room floor in the original version. In any case, here’s the original edit, restored in its full glory thanks to my benevolent director, Jeff Grimshaw.

And here are my show notes:

 
March 11th, 2010

Tomorrow on The TV News

I’ll be back on The TV News tomorrow to talk sports television, and here’s what I’ll be looking at:

Come back tomorrow afternoon for the video.

 
October 29th, 2009

More on the Caps, Redskins and How to Handle the Media

Over at D.C. Sports Bog yesterday, Dan Steinberg picked up on the same vibe I did earlier this week when I read some common sense advice Ted Leonsis dispensed on dealing with the media.  Give it a read.  Primary assist to J.P.

 
October 27th, 2009

Are They Listening at Redskins Park?

From Monday morning’s Washington Post piece on the popularity — or lack thereof currently — of the Washington Redskins among the locals:

David Donovan, the Redskins’ chief operating officer, disputed Powell’s analysis, saying that team records show a 12 percent dip in merchandise sales, which he said was understandable in a down economy.

Donovan also said that the team hasn’t detected a significant decline in fan loyalty and that the team’s attendance figures are accurately gathered by bar-code scanners at the turnstiles.

"I think the relentless negative coverage in The Washington Post is a real difference from previous years," Donovan said. "But in terms of the way our actual fans are behaving, we don’t see any difference."

Just a few hours later, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis dispatched the following advice to the Obama Administration concerning their dispute with Fox News.  But as I read it, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Redskins weren’t the actual target of his advice:

Can you ever take on the media and blame them for your troubles?

I don’t think so.

Just look. Fox News ratings are way up. The President’s approval ratings are way down. Is it any wonder then that Fox News is hyping their disagreements with the White House? ”Oh woe is me. Watch what we do that has the White House so afraid of us.”

By talking about the media or a specific outlet, it only increases their value. And it diminishes you.

Sports teams that blame the media for their troubles are no different.

So what’s the ultimate solution? According to Leonsis, "[J]ust win. The rest will take care of itself."

 
September 14th, 2009

Some Quick Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens

I was in my usual seats yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Baltimore Ravens beat the Kansas City Chiefs 38-24.  The game was a heck of a lot closer than the score indicated with the game tied at 24 with a little more than two minutes to go.  

Here’s what I was thinking about as I was driving home:

  • Joe Flacco started hot in the first half and then cooled considerably for a time in the second, overthrowing a number of his receivers, most notably on screens to his running backs.  Note to Flacco: Ray Rice is not 6’8".  While he rallied at the end, having his best day as a pro, it was the ineffectiveness of the offense in the second and into the third quarter that helped keep KC in the game.
  • Flacco’s only interception of the day, coming in the third quarter, was costly, as Derrick Johnson returned the ball 70 yards to the Baltimore six-yard line.  Three plays later, Kansas City was in the end zone. 
  • Superior special teams play has always been a hallmark of Ravens football, but it cost them yesterday.  Steve Hauschka missed a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter (I’m guessing head coach John Harbaugh thought about calling Matt Stover at half time); Kansas City scored a touchdown off of a blocked punt; and the kick return team was stymied all day long.
  • The offensive line consistently gave Flacco the time he needed to throw the ball downfield. And when they didn’t, Flacco proved to be elusive, as KC only sacked him once.  The run blocking was solid too, as Baltimore’s three-headed monster of Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain helped the team to 197 yards rushing.  Overall, Baltimore dominated time of posession by a ratio of nearly 2-1.
     
  • While the pass rush was great and the run defense was stellar, the defensive secondary looked awfully vulnerable to the deep ball at times.  Still, yielding 24 points when the opposition gets six off of a blocked punt and six more off of an interception has to be considered a success.

Later, as I watched SportsCenter to see the game highlights, I was surprised Baltimore wasn’t getting more dap from the on-air guys.  It was almost as if everyone had forgotten that this was a team that got all the way to the AFC championship last season.

 
September 11th, 2009

America’s Game Needs a Slight Tweak

Ever since it debuted in November 2006, I’ve been a confirmed fan of America’s Game, the series chronicling the seasons of every team that’s ever won the Super Bowl.  I like it so much, I programmed my DVR to automatically record every episode I hadn’t already seen, and last night I got my first look at the installment about the latest Super Bowl champ, the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was a quality production, but as has been the case whenever the series has looked at a more recent Super Bowl winner, I came away feeling a little bit cheated.  Why was that?  Simply put, as time has gone on, and the gap between a team winning a Super Bowl and being profiled by NFL Films has shrunk, these films aren’t anywhere near as illuminating as they could be.

Don’t get me wrong, these documentaries are first class, and the effort put in by the people at NFL Films is more than evident in the finished product.  But I can’t help but feel that these documentaries would be better if we waited a few more years after a team won a Super Bowl before putting the interview subjects in front of the cameras.

Here’s one example of how that’s already worked.  While everyone knows that Joe Namath led the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III, there were a boatload of other talented players on that team, including Gerry Philbin, a defensive end who recorded 14.5 sacks for the Jets in 1968.  And when NFL Films decided who to interview about that magical season, Namath, Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Maynard and Philbin made the cut.

And thank God for that, because it was Philbin, a no-nonsense Buffalo native who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, who made the show.

Instead of engaging in the usual Namath hero worship, Philbin unloaded on his former teammate, criticizing his work ethic. But that wasn’t all.  Philbin also went to great pains to mention that Namath’s teammates had conspired to elect the quarterback as team captain not in recognition of his leadership abilities, but rather  in order to inspire him to start taking more responsibility in the way he conducted himself on and off the field.

Now, if the Philbin interview had taken place in the Spring of 1969, only a few months after Super Bowl III, would he have been as willing to take a shot at his star quarterback as he was almost 40 years after the fact?  Given Philbin’s demeanor, I’d have to say he very well might, but we shouldn’t doubt that distance from an event can often provide additional insight and perspective that simply isn’t possible in the immediate aftermath.

So what’s my suggestion?  Instead of pumping these documentaries out every year, why not wait 5 years after a Super Bowl win to produce them?  Who knows what sorts of stories might ripen with the passage of time?

 
September 9th, 2009

Jermaine Gresham and Looking Out for #1

The next time you hear someone running down a college athlete for leaving school early in order to go pro, be sure to mention the case of Oklahoma University Tight End Jermaine Gresham.  Projected to go as the top tight end in the 2009 NFL Draft, Gresham instead opted to return to Norman for his senior year. 

Had he decided to turn pro, Gresham was a sure first round pick, and probably would have gone at least as high as the top tight end in the 2009 draft, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew. He signed a 5-year, $14.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions, $9.4 million which is guaranteed.  If you’re smart, that’s the kind of money that sets you up for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, nothing in this world is really guaranteed, which Gresham found out the hard way last week when he injured his right knee in practice, a mishap which has knocked him out for the rest of the season.  He’s now looking at five full months of rehabilitation.

While a report from the Tulsa World says his NFL future is intact, I have to wonder out loud whether or not Gresham is having second thoughts about his decision right now.  In essence, he left one full season of NFL wages on the table in exchange for one more kick at the can at Oklahoma, money that’s gone forever.

Sure, he’ll go back into the hopper for the 2010 NFL Draft, but a lot can happen between September 2009 and April 2010.  Other players can have breakout seasons, maybe an injury doesn’t heal the way it should or even becomes a chronic situation that plagues a player for the rest of his career.

So the next time a player turns pro early, don’t call him greedy. and immature  Instead, maybe they’re demonstrating more maturity and understanding about how life can go wrong than most of us ever will.

 
September 3rd, 2009

Michael Vick Gets Auto-Tuned

I’ve been watching the YouTube antics of the folks who produce the Auto-Tune the News Web videos for a couple of months now, but this is the first time I’ve seen them deal with anything from the world of sports. In this latest installment, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and born-again dog lover Michael Vick and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt get victimized. And don’t miss the very special guest appearance by T-Pain:

The world of sports would seem to be a juicy target for the Auto-Tune crew. Here’s hoping they spend an episode or two exclusively skewering television sports.

 
September 1st, 2009

Could Steelers and Penguins Coverage End Up Behind a Pay Wall?

PPG masthead

That’s not an idle question. With newspapers all over the country scrambling for ways to generate new sources of revenue in an ad market that seems to be crashing, I guess it isn’t a surprise that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is thinking about experimenting with a pay wall:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said "PG+" would be a "members-only website with interactive features and exclusive content" available to subscribers for 36 dollars a year or for 3.99 dollars a month.

It said "PG+" would not replace Post-Gazette.com, the newspaper’s current website, but would feature "a new stream of exclusive blogs, videos, live chats and behind-the-scenes insights into the news of the day."

If there’s any newspaper in the U.S. that could get away with this, it would have to be the Gazette. Think about it for a moment: thanks to several waves of migration of natives who are incredibly loyal to the city of their birth, the Post-Gazette probably draws a massive amount of traffic from outside its circulation area — with much of those eyeballs desperate for news about the Steelers and the Penguins.

With that in mind, I could easily see the Post-Gazette keeping their basic game night coverage on the free side, while moving supplementary coverage behind a pay wall.  If you want an example of how it could work without much disruption, just take a look at ESPN.com, where the WWL provides a ton of free content with a significant portion of content inside a pay wall for their subscribers.

I wonder if we’re going to have to pay to read Seth Rorabaugh?

 
November 24th, 2008

“This is Not Hockey”

When Miami’s Channing Crowder and New England’s Matt Light got into a fight in the middle of the Patriots-Dolphins game Sunday everyone knew that they were going to be ejected. As Dan Dierdorf put it, “When punches get traded in the National Football League somebody is leaving…this is not tolerated, this is not hockey.”

You have to love how every time there’s a fight in a sporting event the reference goes right to hockey. Although in hockey that would have been considered a beatdown by Light. And using Crowder’s dreadlocks to pull his head into the punches? Quality.

 
November 5th, 2008

Ryan Clark Fined for Taylor Tribute; NFL a Joke

Chris Johnson playing the bongos after a touchdown: wrong.

Falcons players wearing “Free Mike Vick” undershirts: wrong.

Brian Urlacher wearing unapproved sponsor hat at Super Bowl media day: wrong.

Ryan Clark wearing #21 in his eye black in honor of Sean Taylor: wrong.

I’m sure many of you who read that short list did a double-take at the last item, wondering what is going on. Well the NFL would like you all to know that honoring a fallen friend is just plain wrong. How wrong? Five thousand dollars worth of wrong.

Over the years the NFL offices have been working to crack down on excessive and often choreographed endzone celebrations. Use a prop, get a fine. Dance with teammates, get a fine. Make a political statement, you’re fined. I don’t have a problem with fining excessive celebration. I mean we don’t want things to end up like this:

But to fine a guy for wearing a number in his eye black is ridiculous. Shutdown Corner’s Matthew J. Darnell took the NFL to task, saying “Hopefully, that will teach Clark, and all of us, a valuable lesson about paying tribute to our murdered friends.” Pat at FanIQ agrees that the NFL is just making itself look bad.

Clark was penalized for “radically modifying his uniform” in his tribute to his former Redskins teammate. What was his “radical modification”? He put the number 21 on his eye black patches.

Clark wears #21 in practices as a tribute to his late friend, and has already petitioned the league to change his number for games as well, which was denied.

This is a classy, tasteful and pretty subtle tribute to a former NFL Pro Bowler by someone who was a friend and teammate, and it seems like the NFL is doing everything they can to stop him. There is nothing right about that at all.

Because when I think radical I think tampering with eye-black messages. To be honest putting #21 in your eye-black is about as subtle a modification as you can get, except for maybe writing the number on your cleats with a sharpie, which would probably draw a fine as well. It’s not a fashion statement, a shameless brand plug, or a look-at-me motive. It’s simply a small tribute to a close friend. Ryan Wilson at AOL’s Fanhouse sees the bigger picture here.

I understand that uniforms must conform to certain league guidelines, but at what point does somebody in the NFL Gestapo offices stop and think that fining a player for wearing two-inch-high numbers on his face to honor a fallen teammate could be a public relations disaster.

Yeah, we get it: the NFL will cease to exist as we know it if rules aren’t followed TO THE LETTER. Repercussions and consequences and whatnot. The thing is, Commissar Goodell and his minions are already over-legislating, and when it takes Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (who I just figured was a mute because he never seems to talk) to point out that tackle football has become a “pansy game,” well, it might be time to re-evaluate things.

Sure it makes the league look stupid. The problem is, this won’t hurt the NFL one bit. Yeah it’s bad PR, but is it going to drive anyone away from the game? Not anyone the league can’t live without already. Games will still sell out, merchandise will still be bought, and millions of people will still watch every Sunday on tv.

Twisting the rules to judge that a “radical modification” is a classless and stupid move by the NFL. He’s not making a bold statement. Clark is simply honoring a friend. I happen to have a small sticker on my hockey helmet with a nickname and number on it of a friend who passed away. It’s simply there to remind me that you can’t take the sport you love, or anything else in life for that matter, for granted. So give everything you got all the time, and not only are you playing for yourself, but for those that can’t play anymore. These subtle reminders aren’t offensive, they don’t draw attention to the person wearing them, and they certainly don’t cut into any league merchandising or rule enforcement policies.

How long until Roger Goodell and his underlings figure that out?

 
September 25th, 2008

Patriots Great Troy Brown Calls It a Career

After 15 seasons Patriots receiver Troy Brown is retiring.

Brown was always a fan favorite in New England, and embodied the team-first attitude of the Patriots organization. He started his career as a punt and kick return specialist before being given a shot at receiver, where he thrived for several seasons. He even played cornerback for a season when the Patriots suffered several injuries at the position.

Brown was an unrestricted free agent 3 times in his career, resigning each time with New England. He was a small guy, not the flashiest, but got the job done. He was a three-time Super Bowl champ and made the Pro Bowl in 2001.

Troy Brown has spent this season so far on the physically unable to perform list, and played only one game last season. Said Brown, “It

 
September 23rd, 2008

Catholic University to Lend Football Field to Other Cardinals

The Catholic University Cardinals. The Arizona Cardinals. One is a D3 collegiate team boasting a 3-0 record that hails from Washington, DC. One is an NFL team from Phoenix that sits tied atop the NFC West with a record of 2-1. Besides the name and the sport, these two teams don’t share much else in common.

But notch another tally for things in common, as this week both teams will be sharing a practice field.

With Arizona playing the Redskins and the Jets on consecutive weekends, they decided to hang around the East Coast instead of returning to Phoenix and then coming back.

According to Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune;

They

 
September 3rd, 2008

Redskins Have Trouble at Draft

Found this over at Shutdown Corner. I’d wish my ‘Skins knew a little bit more about fantasy football, but I guess as long as they know what to do on the field it doesn’t make a difference if they win or lose online.

Although I’d expect more out of Colt Brennan. Fresh out of four years at college I’d expect him to know a little bit about fantasy sports. It would be a fun league to be in though. At least I’d be able to beat a pro athlete at something.

 
July 7th, 2008

In Television Sports, Less Can Be More

Props to Big Daddy Drew for noting that NBC’s Football Night in America would be just fine with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann handling the duties sans Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis and Peter King. Just how in the world are Olbermann and Patrick supposed to recapture any of their previous magic while sharing limited airtime with five other voices?

The short answer is that they won’t. Not that NBC probably cares a whit, as all they really want is to draw fans in with the mere promise of reuniting Patrick and Olbermann without actually having to make it happen. I’m glad Patrick gets to pick up another paycheck, but I can already forsee the moment when Costas, fearing that the old buddies might upstage him, dives into an exchange where he has no business being.

BTW — when is the rest of the world going to come to the conclusion that you can reclaim significant portions of your free time by skipping the pre-game and the halftime show? It’s been years since I watched anything other than an actual game, and I can’t say I miss much of any of it.

 
February 3rd, 2008

18-1

Ha ha.

UPDATE: So much for these plans

boston-globe.jpg

HT: Instapundit.

 
January 27th, 2008

Bill Simmons And Football Amnesia

Bill Simmons from last week:

What about Eli Manning winning three playoff games on the road, prevailing in minus-4 degree weather in Green Bay and leading the underdog Giants to the Super Bowl? My God, look at the previous sentence again! Just look at it! I can’t get over it. Has there ever been a more improbable Super Bowl QB?

Let’s see now. How about Jeff Hostetler, David Woodley, Mark Rypien, Vince Ferragamo or Stan Humphries? And that was just off the top of my head.

 
January 22nd, 2008

Don’t Tell The Fuhrer The Cowboys Lost

Possibly the greatest video mashup in the history of YouTube:

Oscar, Oscar!

 
January 8th, 2008

BCS: Bowl Catatonia Syndrome

I’m sure a couple of million people were up late last night watching the BCS Title Game. All I know is that I wasn’t one of them, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep enjoying the extra shuteye until college football gets its act together and starts holding a genuine Division I playoff.

As a hockey fan, perhaps I should be more grateful that the powers that be in college football have so carelessly fumbled away their legacy of New Year’s Day football in exchange for an endless parade of meaningless exhibitions that seems to stretch into infinity and beyond. After all, without this madness, there would have been no NHL Winter Classic.

UPDATE: Thankfully, somebody has got their head on straight.

 
December 30th, 2007

‘Skins Headed to Postseason

With the Redskins needing a win or a Vikings loss to make the playoffs, they took matters into their own hands and took care of Dallas 27-6. It can be said that the Cowboys had a few key guys, including Terrell Owens, out, making it easier for the ‘Skins. Tony Romo also exited early, and it was clear Dallas wasn’t playing for the win.

The Redskins, however, played an excellent game no matter who was on the other side of the ball. Todd Collins made some spectacular passes, slipping passes into holes that didn’t seem to exist. One commentator even noted that it seemed like every pass Collins threw had to be reviewed, because they were so close and spectacular. Reche Caldwell made some nice sliding catches, and Clinton Portis was a terror out of the backfield.

I’ll admit I only became a ‘Skins fan this season. After watching the first few games of the season with some friends, I drafted Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis onto my fantasy football team. By then I was watching every week. The ‘Skins have had a rollercoaster season, and I’m excited to see how they do next week in Seattle.

 
December 27th, 2007

Patriots-Giants Goes Big-Time

On Wednesday the NFL announced that the game between the Patriots and Giants will not only be broadcast by NFL network and local Boston and New York stations, but by CBS and NBC as well.

The NFL originally scheduled the game on the NFL Network, meaning for most of the country only subscribers to that channel could watch the game – local stations from the two cities are able to broadcast the game under NFL policy.

This was clearly a good move by the NFL, albeit a forced one. A few senators threatened to “reconsider the league’s antitrust exemption.” This occurred earlier in the year, when millions of fans were blocked out of the Dallas-Green Bay game, when both teams came in with 1 loss, and were both considered the top teams in the NFC. But because it was on the NFL Network, not many people saw it.

It would have happened again if not for New England’s chance at a perfect regular season. Even with one loss, the historic impact wouldn’t be there, and there wouldn’t be as many upset fans, allowing the game to be left to the NFL Network and the NFL to slink into the playoffs with its tail between its legs.

The NFL Network channel seems like a decent idea, one that allows hardcore football fans to get all the NFL football they want, all the time. But the normal fan just wants to watch football games. He wants to be able to turn on his tv on Sunday and see some football. He doesn’t want to get updates online – if he even goes online – because the networks aren’t being allowed to carry it. And that’s where the NFL Network alienates those same fans it wants to bring in.

And where have their broadcast tactics gotten them? Nowhere. Not only will the game between the Patriots and Giants be televised, it will be simulcast on NBC and CBS. So in addition to local channels, it will be available on up to 4 channels, including the NFL Network. And while everyone is proclaiming the fans’ victory over the league, you can’t help but wonder, aren’t they supposed to be on the same side?

 
November 10th, 2007

Arkansas Bends Under Pressure Of Photo Policy

Drop by OffWing Photo to get the latest news on Arkansas Activities Association’s (AAA) rule that they own the copyright to all media (photo, video, audio) taken at state championships and to charge fees ranging from $35-$50 for press credentials to events. This policy as written would also apply to parents and fans taking pictures in the stands.The AAA is the sponsoring organization of championship games for public and private schools in Arkansas.

Check out the latest photos from OffWing photographers by visiting our Photoshelter gallery.

Also stop by our new sister website OffWing Photo where we focus on photography, especially sports photography.

 
November 9th, 2007

Briefly, On Jason Whitlock

In my mind, no sports columnist in America is more original and unpredictable — his latest column on Andy Reid being just the latest example.

Why he doesn’t have a bigger platform in sports media, I just can’t say. But he sure deserves it.

 
November 8th, 2007

When Is Your Picture Not Yours

Well, if you live in Arkansas and take a picture of your son in this weekend’s state championship game, then none of your pictures will be yours by Monday. For that matter none of the video or audio you took will be yours either.

That is what the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) is claiming. The AAA is the sponsoring organization of championship games for public and private schools in the state of Arkansas. This isn’t just happening in Arkansas, similar organizations are making the same claim in Illinois.

For more info check out OffWing Photo where we started tracking this issue several days ago. This issue affects traditional press, online press, spectators, friends, and the families of the participants in state championships…..oh BTW it might be unconstitutional.

Check out the latest photos from OffWing photographers by visiting our Photoshelter gallery.

Also stop by our new sister website OffWing Photo where we focus on photography, especially sports photography.

 
October 25th, 2007

In Michigan, No Compromise

Over at FanHouse, I try my hand at some college football.