Amazing commercial for the NFL Play 60 program.
The Minnesota Vikings just revealed the drawings for their $925 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The stadium is set to open in 2016, built on the ruins of the Metrodome. Barring any unforeseen holdups, this will be the Vikings’ last season in the Metrodome—they’ll play two years at UM’s TCF Bank Stadium during construction. Expect a Super Bowl to be coming to Minnesota in the near future.
The public in Minnesota is responsible for $500 million of the cost. You read that right, they taxpayers are shelling out a half-billion dollars so a billionaire can charge them a massive sum to go into a stadium and watch the game.
The worst part of it is that in 30 years, the then owners of the Minnesota Vikings will be back looking for another new stadium. Then what? A billion or two dollars from the public purse.
I am big NFL fan but this is crazy. The NFL is the most profitable enterprise in North America. Each franchise is worth around a $1 billion but the public keeps buying them stadiums that charge ticket prices that they can’t afford. When does it stop?
That and I think I have seen this stadium design before.
Oh right, here it is.
So the question becomes whether Smith understands his own emotions. Sure, he’s just a young man dealing with a bad moment, but the life of a quarterback is filled with plenty of bad as you try to get to the good.
“That’s the NFL and that’s the position of quarterback … I’ve played this position all my life, and I understand that it comes with the territory, and I’m prepared for it,” Smith said.
Fact is, Thursday was still a special day. It was his mother’s birthday, but the event was tinged with frustration as Smith went all night without his name being called.
Whether Smith uses that as motivation remains to be seen. Whether he can handle the inevitable criticism that goes with playing in New York is an even bigger issue.
The bigger issue for me is that New York doesn’t have much for receivers, running backs, or an offensive line.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: Santonio Holmes was out for almost the entire season and Dustin Keller was in and out of the lineup with injuries all year, leaving Sanchez and McElroy to throw to a motley crew of receivers. Jeremy Kerley is a useful slot piece and the Jets hope Stephen Hill will blossom, but Keller’s gone and Holmes’ status will be uncertain until he proves he can get back to previous levels. Tight end is barren, but the Jets need to find guys who can make plays at both spots and they probably can’t stop at one.
Offensive line: It’s hard to ground and pound when your offensive line doesn’t do much pounding. The Jets have lost both of their starting guards and Austin Howard wasn’t up to the task at right tackle, leaving the Jets with plenty of room to improve. Willie Colon will fill one of those spots, but the Jets still need to add younger players and increase the overall talent level of a group that fell off in 2012.
Oh yeah, the head coach is a lame duck and the defence has fallen off. At the least the word on the street is Mark Sanchez is going to be cut. What a brutal situation but let’s be honest, it is always that way for the Jets.
For all the drama that went with Mathieu crying on television after being selected and then giving an emotional interview to ESPN afterward, execs weren’t buying it.
To most, the question came down to this: Why does he keep drawing so much attention to himself? Why was he on television at all? Why was he tipping off the network to the possibility that San Francisco might take him with the No. 31 overall pick? Why was he on the cover of ESPN the Magazine? Why was he lending his name to some party promoters, even if it was some misunderstanding?
“Every time you turn around, it’s something else,” another NFC exec said. “There’s a certain point where you just tune it all out.”
Before the draft it was reported that Mathieu was a no-show for visits to Houston and Seattle for interviews. He unnerved other teams by talking about how he is still chewing tobacco to “take the edge off.” While he has left behind some of the bad influences in his life, he still is hanging out with something of an entourage of people from a troubled past that includes him getting kicked off of LSU’s football team last year.
Sure, Mathieu has been seeking guidance from a pastor in Baton Rouge and from his high school coach. Sure, he’s not a malevolent kid. He’s just smoking marijuana, not assaulting people. But he’s also the kid who worked out, admitted he had a problem and seemed to think everything was fixed. It’s as if Mathieu put a Band-Aid on an open gash and thought, “All better.”
It’s almost as if getting kicked off the team wasn’t quite enough for Mathieu to get the concept of rejection. Hard lessons fade like a bad dye job when you have people like ESPN’s Jon Gruden calling you the best cornerback in the draft (even though Arizona and most teams saw him as a safety if he’s going to start) and when you’re fully armed with the notion that rules don’t apply (Mathieu admitted to failing at least 10 drug tests at LSU).
You have a kid that doesn’t listen to anyone, has a drug addiction, surrounded by bad influences and is now being paid about a million dollars a year. He’ll be cut by this time next year, signed by the Raiders or Bengals, cut, and in the CFL by 2014 where he will play about 6 games.
Jeffrey Loria continues to solidify his position as the worst owner in professional sports. As Jeff Passan writes
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria personally mandated the lineup card change that flip-flopped starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco in a doubleheader Tuesday and left Marlins players furious with his continued meddling, three sources with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo! Sports.
Loria insisted Fernandez, the team’s prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez’s first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco’s start (42 degrees).
Rookie manager Mike Redmond delivered the news to Nolasco about 2½ hours before the first game against the Minnesota Twins, and it did not go over well with him or his teammates. Standard protocol for doubleheaders is that veterans choose which game they want to pitch. Not only did Loria ignore that and further alienate Nolasco, the Marlins’ highest-paid player who has previously requested a trade, he sabotaged Redmond less than 20 games into his managerial career.
By overstepping boundaries no other owner in baseball would dare, Loria presented Redmond with a Catch-22: listen to the man who signs his paycheck and risk drawing the players’ ire, or refuse to kowtow to Loria’s requests and find himself at the mercy of the owner’s short fuse.
So there was no short term payoff and a long term cost but Loria did it anyway.
Following an offseason in which they shed more than $100 million in payroll during an epic fire sale, the Marlins are 5-17, the worst record in baseball. Their beautiful new stadium sits practically empty on a nightly basis, even as the team gives away tickets. Neither free seats nor a public-relations barrage meant to spin Loria and Marlins president David Samson in a positive light seems to be working.
The arrival of Fernandez tried to maximize goodwill. For a low-revenue team such as the Marlins, prioritizing service-time consideration instead is of the utmost importance. Loria ignored that, preferring the splash the young Fernandez could make upon a sterling debut.
And indeed he has started well – too well, arguably, to send him to the minor leagues, which means Fernandez will be a free agent after six seasons. Had the Marlins stashed him in the minor leagues for the season’s first 11 days – a time during which Fernandez made only one start – he would not have been eligible for free agency until 2019.
No players enjoy hitting the open market more than the Marlins’, some of whom refer to free agency as parole. The only true way to build a winner, absent another misguided spending spree, is by changing that perception – by making Miami the sort of franchise for which players want to play.
The latest incident from Loria is simply another reminder: That will never happen as long as he runs the team. After more than a decade as an owner, Loria remains naïve to the real goings-on of a clubhouse – of how an incident such as this doesn’t just affect Nolasco but filters down to his teammates and even the purported beneficiary, Fernandez.
If Saskatoon ever gets a CFL team (and sells our financial future in the process), I hope it looks like this (with grass instead of sand). You would have cattle grazing on the roof which would work well until they got spooked and came down over the roof during the middle of a key third down conversion. Then again, it could liven things up a bit.
Is this Dr. Evil’s newest secret lair? Actually, the “Rock Stadium” is a real concept for a sporting venue at Jebel Hafeet, a prominent crag located about 14 miles south of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi city of Al Ain. It’s not as ridiculous an idea as it initially may seem. Jebel Hafeet is not a barren, menacing peak like K2, but a popular tourist spot with a luxury hotel and pools fed by a natural hot spring. A stadium might fit right in geographically and socially: After all, the Emirati people love soccer (fine, football) just as much as anyone, welcoming the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009 and 2010 and the organization’s under-17 players this fall.
The stadium was designed by MZ Architects, a Middle Eastern firm with offices in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Lebanon and elsewhere. The architects started out wanting to build a stadium in the Al Ain desert, but once they visited the area they were struck by the imposing and regal form of the mountain, which reminded them of a Greek amphitheatre. So they decided the best plan would be to hollow out the stone, using natural hills for seating and a grand entrance that sinks into the ground like one of the mountain’s many caves.
I know all of us are thinking of other things today but myself hitting refresh doesn’t help anything and depresses me. In case you are the same way, here are the details of the $500 million Wrigley Field renovation plan.
The Chicago Cubs and the city have agreed on details of a $500 million facelift for Wrigley Field, including an electronic video screen that is nearly three times as large as the one currently atop the centerfield bleachers of the 99-year-old ballpark.
Under terms of the agreement, the Cubs would also be able to increase the number of night games at Wrigley Field from 30 to 40 – or nearly half the games played there each season. They would give Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts the ability to renovate the second-oldest park in the major leagues, boost business and perhaps make baseball’s most infamous losers competitive again.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed what the two sides called a ”framework” agreement in a joint statement issued Sunday night, noting that it includes no taxpayer funding. That had been one of the original requests of the Ricketts family in a long-running renovation dispute that at times involved everything from cranky ballpark neighbors to ward politics and even the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.
”This framework allows the Cubs to restore the Friendly Confines (of Wrigley) and pursue their economic goals, while respecting the rights and quality of life of its neighbors,” Emanuel said.
Still uncertain was how the agreement will sit with owners of nearby buildings who provide rooftop views of the ball games under an agreement with the Cubs that goes back years. They have threatened to sue if the renovations obstruct their view, which they claim would drive them out of business.
On Monday, a spokesman for the rooftop owners said the group would have a statement later, but in the meantime referred the AP to the group’s statement released earlier this month that says: ”Any construction that interrupts the rooftop views will effectually drive them out of business and be challenged in a court of law.”
The Cubs said the video screen they are proposing to build is 6,000 square feet, and would be built with ”minimal impact on rooftops with whom (the) Cubs have an agreement.” The current centerfield scoreboard is slightly more than 2,000 square feet; the Cubs also have plans to add a left-field sign of 1,000 square feet.
The Ricketts family, plans to spend $300 million in the stadium and another $200 million developing a hotel and office building on adjacent property. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a news release Sunday, hailed that the Cubs will restore Wrigley without taxpayer dollars.
The city will vacate sidewalk and one street lane on Waveland Avenue and sidewalk on Sheffield Avenue, which according to the Ricketts’ proposal would be at no cost to the Cubs. The Cubs sought to expand the footprint of Wrigley as much as 10 feet outward to mitigate the effect of a giant video scoreboard in left field and see-through-sign in right on rooftop clubs overlooking the stadium.
The team also plans to construct a pedestrian bridge over Clark Street without having to purchase air rights from the city. The bridge would have a “Welcome to Wrigleyville” sign.
The city also agreed to support the Cubs’ application to change its property tax status to reflect the private funding of the restoration of a designated landmark.
In return, the team is offering to make investments in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Among them, it plans to:
– Contribute $3.75 million between 2014 and 2023 to Wrigleyville infrastructure projects and investments.
– Contribute $1 million to build a play lot on School Street.
– Pay for 10 of the 30 additional public safety personnel that will be stationed outside Wrigley after games.
The Cubs released additional details about signage in their proposal to the city:
– It plans an LED “ribbon board” along the upper deck grandstand, a new fan deck in left field and a new signs on the wall in right field and behind home plate.
– Also planned are signs on the new two-story Captain Morgan Club on Addison Street
– And 35,000 square feet of advertising outside the ballpark between the hotel, outdoor plaza and Captain Morgan Club.
Of course at the end of the day and after everything has been built, Chicago baseball fans will have a great stadium that is still home to a cursed baseball team, the Cubs.
It was a product of dramatic, side-by-side racing with the new Gen-6 car that Bowyer credits with creating “more of what we love about NASCAR.”
And if tempers flare sometimes, so be it. Bowyer doesn’t think it’s gotten to the point where change is needed.
“We haven’t reached that,” he said during a trip promoting next month’s Talladega race weekend. “Obviously Denny got hurt, but that wasn’t an intentional crash. We’ve all seen intentional crashes. Jeff Gordon was an intentional crash. Now, if I would have crawled out of that thing or got helicoptered out of that situation, it would have been a game-changer, because that was an intentional crash and if it would have hurt me the repercussions would have been bad.
“What I saw was good racing in California, and that’s healthy. It’s side-by-side racing and oh by the way they were going for the win. You can’t ask for a better situation on a two-mile race track than to be coming off of four with three cars going for the win. And if they can have that on a two-mile race track, what’s Martinsville going to be like this weekend? Look out.”
Bowyer jokes about last year’s incident, which he calls “just one of those deals.”
“We’re not the smartest people in the world,” he said. “We go down the straightaway and turn left. That’s literally what we do.”
Great piece by Eric Francis. If Edwards’ statements are accurate (rather than just marketing talking) then it is going to be a bad stretch ahead to be a Calgary Flames fan.
Just when it appeared the Flames were finally ready to move wholeheartedly in the right direction, Edwards issued the type of directive that got this franchise into this mess in the first place.
Instead of building slowly towards something the city can eventually be proud of again, comments like that suggest the organization is destined to, once again, ignore the virtues of patience and better judgment by aiming for something that is not only completely unattainable but counterproductive.
Not so, argued president Ken King, who heard the rapid backlash.
“Trying to win and rebuilding are not mutually exclusive,” insisted King.
“We are not straddling the line of trying to balance — we are completely committed to the rebuilding process and should be judged on our recent and future moves.”
To think a team can jettison Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and likely lose Miikka Kiprusoff to retirement and somehow snap a four-year playoff drought despite receiving no NHLers in return is beyond nonsensical.
So, why even float the idea out there?
While it’s important players continue to strive for wins throughout the process, standings should be irrelevant the next year or two. Improving with a re-stocked lineup should be the goal, however long it takes.
Feaster admitted Monday he hadn’t been as intellectually honest as he could have been the last two seasons by mortgaging the future to help a bad team. Edwards’ stated goal promotes more of the same.
The stage finally appeared to be set the last week for a prolonged rebuild fans have been screaming for. Calgarians are willing to sit through the growing pains absolutely necessary for every organization in pro sport to endure before going from the basement to Cup challengers.
The Flames’ age-old mandate calling for a team to challenge for the Cup every year isn’t realistic. Every franchise in every sport has to eventually take a step or two back to take one step forward.
By trying to emulate the Harlem Globetrotters, the Flames have looked more like the Washington Generals by advancing past the first round of the playoffs once in the last 24 years.
It is a very impressive piece of work. “Most teams are using spreadsheets or just using our reports,” says Brian Kopp, executive vice-president at STATS. “The Raptors go a step beyond that, which only a few teams are doing, and their visualizations are the best I’ve seen.”6
That does not mean it has been an easy sell to the team’s coaching staff, though Sterner and Nori are enthusiastic about analytics and have helped craft the ghost defense. Everyone likes the ghost system, but some of the larger analytics-related issues have caused friction between the front office and some of the coaches — even if everyone involved is mostly polite about it. “It’s always going to be a challenge,” says Ed Stefanski, Toronto’s executive vice-president of basketball operations. “A lot of high-level coaches have come out against analytics, but it’s the wave of the future, and you’ve got to jump on.”
Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors’ GM, had already set Toronto on the SportVU path before hiring Stefanski in the fall of 2011, and Stefanski credited Colangelo with pushing the Raptors in the right direction.
The coaches, even the most receptive ones, seem to view analytics and SportVU mostly as a tool to confirm what they already think and know. Some samples:
Dwane Casey, Toronto’s head coach: “It’s a good backup for what your eyes see.” Casey added, “It may also shed light on something else,” a sentiment both Nori and Sterner echoed at points. “But you can’t make all your decisions based on it, and it can’t measure heart, and chemistry, and personality.”
Sterner: “It helps reinforce your gut. Most of the time, your gut is pretty much right.”
Nori: “More than anything, it’s a tool to help confirm what your eyes see.”
The analytics team agrees that most of the new knowledge will be along the margins — that coaches leaguewide get most of the big, systematic things right — but that the analytics will nonetheless offer more in the way of new discoveries that might contradict what we think we know. “A lot of coaches will say how great it is that analytics confirm what they already see,” Boyarsky says. “The fact of the matter is, that’s not really true.”
An example: The analytics team is unanimous, and rather emphatic, that every team should shoot more 3s — including the Raptors and even the Rockets, who are on pace to break the NBA record for most 3-point attempts in a season.
So basically the Toronto Raptor’s computers are analyzing and second guessing the play and coaching of the Raptors. Amazing the amount of variables they are dealing with.
I know how it works because I did it. I lived it, although only for a season. I am a former Football Operations Coordinator for an NFL team. I began as an intern for one team and then was an intern for the team that eventually hired me. My job was to manage the day-to-day operations of the team. Essentially, my job was to take all of the non-football related duties and handle them so the coaches and personnel department could focus on the football related duties. It’s a lot of work. I was removed with the football staff when our team had a poor season. It’s simply part of the business.
Here is comments on “balance in football”
The cause is running the football. The effect is winning football games. This logically leads us to the conclusion that maintaining balance and keeping with a solid run game will lead to more wins. This is why you hear analysts and talking heads discuss it all week long leading up to games — “Team A must stick with the run game. They have to stay balanced to win this game.” The stats support the theory — “They’re 3-0 when running the ball 20 times and 1-4 when they run it less than 20. So they need to keep pounding the rock.” If there’s logic involved and the stats support the statement, then it has to be true, right?
Nope. It’s all a lie. Balance is the biggest fallacy in football. It’s an illusion that people logically arrive at because we’re confusing the cause for the effect. Putting the carriage before the horse, if you will. Or more aptly, putting your ass in front of your face.
The cause is winning. The effect is running the football.
Put another way: Winning (or being ahead) is what causes teams to run the football more.
This is why balance is an illusion. Go look at the box scores at the end of games and you’ll typically see that the team who won probably had more “balance” to their playcalling. That’s because when they were leading in the 4th quarter they were trying to drain the clock and ran it 2 out of every 3 downs. After a couple first downs on a couple different series in the 4th quarter, the team that is leading has padded its rushing numbers by somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15 rushes to 3-5 passes. Before those 2 series, that team could have had twice as many passes as it had runs, but now because of trying to melt the clock, they’re “balanced.”
So what is balance in the football?
To really determine a team’s balance I look at first half rushing and passing attempts. That tells me what a team wanted to try to do. I can take into account the number of called runs and passes along with the effectiveness of each playcall and discern what their intent was for the gameplan. A team who isn’t having a lot of success in yards per carry but is still calling an even amount of runs and passes is a team that is making a concerted effort to stay balanced. If they’re gashing our defense for 6 yards per carry, well then we can just attribute that to their playcaller following the production.
The other team could disregard balance entirely by throwing it 20 times and rushing it 10 in the first half. Coaches try to avoid this because a gap in balance like that allows the other team to adjust their personnel and packages accordingly. Under pass heavy circumstances, a defense can almost assume a pass out of one-back sets. They can switch to nickel, play more coverage, and focus more on pass rush. All of this is why I favor the idea that teams should stick with what is productive until the other team proves is can stop it. Once the opposing team adjusts to a personnel package filled with DBs to stop the pass, then start handing the ball off and gashing them for runs.
Makes sense to me, even if it confuses Phil Simms.
Vladimir Putin has reached back to Joseph Stalin’s era for a plan to improve Russians’ physical fitness, appearing with the film actor Steven Seagal at an event aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among young people.
In a meeting at a martial arts school on Moscow’s outskirts, Putin called for physical education rooted in a Soviet-era system.
“I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defence, was in use in our country,” he said. The GTO mass physical training programme was introduced in the 1930s under Stalin.
“The revival of this system – in a new, modern format – could bring major benefits,” Putin told government officials, schoolteachers and coaches.