Category Archives: Sports

Federal Bailout of the NFL

Over the last few months, as our country navigates through turbulent waters of this Recession, the Federal Government has conducted some unprecedented moves – increased deficits spending, bailouts, and increased unconstitutional powers to the Department of Treasury.

On the heels of the forced retirement of CEO Rick Wagoner of GM, Secretary Timothy Geithner has acknowledged recently on “Face the Nation” on CBS that the Federal Government should have the option to purge any directors or senior management of financial institutions that received aid from the Federal Government – “Where that requires a change in management and the board, then we will do that” states Geithner.NFL

Wow!  Now that is power.  Maybe Geitner and the Federal Government need to take this power to the next step by beyond struggling financial firms and auto companies, but to all areas of the economy.  My first suggestion would be for them to start with the National Football League.

You heard me correctly…the multi-billion dollar a year industry that is call the NFL which is sorely in need of Federal help.  If anywhere there was an example of poor leadership and grossly abuse of bonus money, the NFL is defiantly the poster boy in these areas. 

Where else can besides Fannie Mac and Fannie Mae can an individual receive millions of dollars of bonus money for failure and performing below expectations.  Take for example DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redskins.  He received a six-year deal worth $55 million, $23 million of which is guaranteed this year.   To give you an idea of the season that Hall had in 2008 here are his stats:

  • 73 Tackles, 63 Solo Tackles, .5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, and 21 Pass Deflections in 15 games

Not too bad, I guess…However, this is the same guy who got beat out of starting position in Oakland and dumped mid way through 2008{is this the right year} by Al Davis due to poor performance.  Oh yeah, he just signed a $70 million free agent contract months beforehand with the Raiders.  To break it down, he was paid $8 million for eight games, while receiving a $7 million signing bonus for that bit of work.  To make matters worse, he struggled in the man-to-man defense scheme that Oakland runs and was rottenly beaten for big plays which lead to numerous Raider losses. 

Where is the outcry about Hall’s over bloated salary and bonus that were paid out for his poor play and performance?  I don’t see Congress freezing his pay or the pay of his ex-teammate Javon Walker who received an $11 million signing bonus for the 15 catches in 10 games he played in.  $733,333.333 per catch!!!  OMG!  Hall and Walker are just a few examples of bonuses being paid for underperforming employees without any Congressional outcry…where are you Nancy Pelosi??!!

Now let’s talk about management.  No one can argue that Geitner needs to fire everyone involved from the owner down to the towel boy in the Detroit Lions organization after their historical 0-16 season.  Mr. Obama himself could run a better organization that the Fords can.

You shouldn’t discount doing the same type of dismal strategy to the organization that seems to draft more felons than the Dallas Cowboys and that would be the Cincinnati Bengals (4-12 in 2009 and 110-193 since 1990).  Tell me one reason why Mike Brown and William Clay Ford should still be in position to run these teams in communities that deserve better?  Mr. Geitner, time to make your move and hand out some pink slips, the fans are waiting!

If you are not convinced yet that NFL needs government oversight and help, then I offer one last example.  The bloated rookie signing bonus that draftees receive year in and year out for services yet performed on the expectation that they will “rock stars” and be worth every penny they were given.  However that seems not to be the case for most first round draft picks. 

Take for example Jake Long on the Miami Dolphins.  He signed last year for a $57.5 million contract which included a guaranteed the $30 million signing bonus he received in 2008 as the #1 draft pick.  The $30 million guarantee bonus was given out for services that yet to rendered and Congress is ruffled by the AIG bonuses.  What a hypocritical world we live in!!!  I guess the severance package that Wagoner received for 30 years of service at GM of $20 million is not looking too bad after all.

Hopefully I have created a good case for Federal intervention into the NFL so our national pastime can be saved.  So, I deeply implore everyone to write and call their Congressional representative requesting Government assistance before it becomes too late… Do for the children!

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Where are the displaced NFL Fans?

I stumbled across a rather interesting article on the New York Times website – Survey of Fan Loyalties: Are you a Displaced Fan.  Direct TV recently performed a survey of its Sunday Ticket subscribers in affiliation with an “ultimate displaced fan” contest to examined loyalties to determine where the fan loyalties are concentrated in the various television markets.  The survey provided several interesting surprises.

These results are Designated Market Areas that feature the largest out of market fan base for each NFL team.  For example, the Washington DC market is Redskin territory.  Therefore, the survey helps identifies the largest non-Redskin fans in that market based on the subscribers to the NFL Sunday Ticket package offered by Direct TV.  Without further ado, here are the results.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – St. Louis, Mo
  2. Atlanta Falcons – Greenville-Spartanburg, SC / Asheville, NC
  3. Baltimore Ravens – Harrisburg-Lancaster, PA
  4. Buffalo Bills – Orlando-Daytona, FL
  5. Carolina Panthers – Norfolk, VA
  6. Chicago Bears – Las Vegans, NV
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – Charleston-Huntington, WV
  8. Cleveland Browns – Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Washington, DC
  10. Denver Broncos – Las Vegas, NV
  11. Detroit Lions – Orlando-Daytona, FL
  12. Green Bay Packers – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  13. Houston Texans – Fresno-Visalia, CA
  14. Indianapolis Colts – Knoxville, TN
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars – Norfolk, VA
  16. Kansas City Chiefs – Des Moines, IA
  17. Miami Dolphins – Atlanta, GA
  18. Minnesota Vikings – Des Moines-Ames, IA
  19. New England Patriots – Orlando-Daytona, FL
  20. New Orleans Saints – Jackson, MS
  21. New York Giants – West Palm Beach, FL
  22. New York Jets – West Palm Beach, FL
  23. Oakland Raiders – Las Vegas, NV
  24. Philadelphia Eagles – Baltimore, MD
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cleveland, OH
  26. Sand Diego Chargers – Las Vegas, NV
  27. San Francisco 49ers – Portland, Or
  28. Seattle Seahawks – Portland, OR
  29. St. Louis Rams – Fresno-Visalia, CA
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Greenville-Spartanburg, SC / Asheville, NC
  31. Tennessee Titans – San Antonio, TX
  32. Washington Redskins – Raleigh-Durham, NC

Some the things that stood out to me that Florida are truly the winter playground for New York and New England residents.  The Cardinals are still loved in St. Louis.  Who would have thought so many fans of the Panthers were in Norfolk.  Being a fan of the Panthers, maybe I should leave Richmond for Norfolk?!!  Last but not least, isn’t it ironic there is a huge contingent of Cowboy fans in metro area of Washington DC…Redskin country!

The Braves leave Richmond!

Tell me it ain’t so!  The Richmond Braves are moving to Georgia!  Forty plus years of baseball in the capital city is coming to end.  What went wrong?  Why is the team leaving?  What about the Diamond?  All good questions that Richmond fans are asking on this Black Tuesday.  If I had to point a finger at the sole cause of the team’s exodus I would point to Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder. Since Mayor Wilder came to power several years ago to “save” Richmond from bureaucratic anarchy, all his administration has done is find ways to create controversy rather than opportunities.  The list of controversies is endless from the School Board relocation, to lawsuits against the City Council, the Broad Street Cultural Arts Center, and, of course, the new Brave’s stadium.The Ricmond Braves

Since 2003, the Braves have been requesting either a new venue or improvement to their home due to the deteriorating conditions of the Diamond – rats in the visitor’s dug out, poor drainage on the field, and concrete falling into the seats to name a few examples.  Things looked bright in 2003/4 as a new stadium project was conceived for a spot in Shockoe Bottom.  Then the freight train called Doug Wilder came into the office and the bottom feel out of the plan. 

Since then Wilder has provided several suggestions for a new stadium – rebuild the Diamond at the same location, build across the street, refurbish the Diamond, build on Mayo Island, build near the old gas works on the James River, etc., but when you look closely at these proposals, none of them were ever feasible solutions to the issue.  With the clock running (4 years and counting), the Wilder administration has failed to find an ample home for the Brave and to see the urgency to get a deal done. 

Many would say they should let the baseball team go since Richmond has so many other pressing issues like the school system, crime, and taxes.  However, remember baseball is a business. 

Baseball employees personnel, pays for services (lights, food, water), provides tax revenue, and provides entertainment.  If baseball left, what will fill the void?  How much revenue will the restaurants on the Boulevard lose?  Will the Holiday Inn survive without all the visiting teams staying there?  How about the rent money the RMA receives? With the lost in rent, will the tolls on the Powhite increase again?  Don’t forget the charities that work the concession stands.  Their work helps provide money for their various charitable programs that help the needy and poor.  Where will those funds come from now?  All these items need to be considered before we allow the Braves to leave town. 

So, where is Wilder when we need him?  Where is the executive leadership that he developed as Governor of Virginia? — That is a good question and a question most of the Richmond Metro area is asking today.  What can I say, Wilder is the Marion Berry (former mayor of Washington D.C.) of Richmond, minus the drugs and hookers.  His only goal is to increase his stature at the expense of the community.  God help us!

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings

Boy, what a start to the 2007/08 NFL season!!!  There were hard fought victories, agonizing defeats, controversy and tragedy all first week of play; if I didn’t know better I would think this sounded like a Shakespearian play.   Then again, it just football…the new American pastime. NFL Logo

Each week the major sports outlets – ESPN, CNNSI, Sporting News, and CBS Sportsline publish a power ranking of the NFL teams.  These rankings not mean diddly in the grand scheme of things in the NFL, but does help the fan gauge how good your team in the eyes of the so called “experts.”  These rankings are also make conversation among your buddies at your local sports bar while waiting for next beer to be poured during half-time.

So, for fun of it, I thought I would take a stab at creating my own rankings based on my extensive years of “armchair quarterbacking and coaching” of NFL teams.  If you have a different order or feel that I am off my rocker, please let me know. 

Now someone get me a beer, football is about to start!

NFL Power Rankings – Week 1

  • 1. New England Patriots – Will video-gate user in the down fall of this “great” dynasty?
  • 2. Indianapolis Colts – Reload on offense, but can the defense hold up?
  • 3. San Diego Chargers – what can say, the best complete team in the NFL.
  • 4. Chicago Bears – If they can find an offense, the NFL better watch out!
  • 5. Carolina Panthers – are they one game wonder or are the Cats back?!?
  • 6. Cincinnati Beangals – The Carson Palmer show.
  • 7. Seattle Seahawks – Healthy and ready to strike in a much improved NFC West.
  • 8. Pittsburgh Steelers – Can Big Ben bounce back?
  • 9. New Orleans Saints – Can Bush carry the dreams of a city?
  • 10. Dallas Cowboys – How bout those Cowboys?!?
  • 11. San Francisco 49ers – Can the ghost of Walsh lead this young team to glory?
  • 12. Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis…that is all I can say.
  • 13. Green Bay Packers – Is this the last shoot out for Farve and company?
  • 14. Detroit Lions – 1 down and 9 more to go.
  • 15. Denver Broncos – Tight win last week.
  • 16. Philadelphia Eagles – A little rust on McNabb, not to worry.
  • 17. Tennessee Titians – How does Fisher do it?
  • 18. St Louis Rams – Wow, can they bounce back?
  • 19. Houston Texans – Mario Williams has more touchdowns than Reggie Bush this season.
  • 20. Washington Redskins – Can the Skins improve with Snyder running the team?
  • 21. Arizona Cardinals – The rise of the Phoenix.
  • 22. Jacksonville Jaguars – Is Jack on the hot seat in Jax?
  • 23. New York Jets – Is this the end of the Chad era in New York?
  • 24. Buffalo Bills – Time to circle the wagons.
  • 25. Minnesota Vikings
  • 26. Miami Dolphins – Is KC or Miami the worst team in the NFL?
  • 27. New York Giants – Injuries, injuries, injuries…
  • 28. Oakland Raiders – About time Russell signs. Where has the “Commitment to Excellence” gone?
  • 29. Atlanta Falcons – Vick is the least of their worries.
  • 30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Is Gruden gone after this year?
  • 31. Cleveland Browns – The Brady Quinn watch.
  • 32. Kansas City Chiefs – What a mighty fall from grace!

Another Dead Wrestler

In the wake of Chris Benoit, another Pro Wrester has died – Brian “Crush” Adams.  He was 44.  The authorities are reporting that are no visible signs of injury or foul play neither occurred nor suspected.  Hopefully the autopsy will shed some light in his death.

When will the Federal Government look into this industry where death is now becoming as norm as the chiseled bodies these wrestlers posses?  Will more wasted lives need to be lost before not only the government, public, and main stream media realize there is problem with this “entertainment” industry.  Enough is enough!

End of a Dynasty

Today will mark the end of one of the greatest dynasties in the history of sports.  No, I am not talking about the Yankees being sold or Cowboys closing up shop . . . but I am referring to the disbandment of one the most successful Pro-Cycling teams in history – U.S. Postal/Discovery Channel team

Okay, you are wondering who are these guys and what am I talking about.  Let me see if I can help jog your memory.  You know that guy who urges everyone to wear those yellow bracelets in support of the fight against cancer – Lance Armstrong.  Well he is the seven-time Tour de France winner who rode for U.S. Postal/Discovery Channel team and is now part owner.Tour de France 2007

This team also just won the most recent Tour de France in both the team and individual categories while also placing team members in 3rd place and 10th place.  Not too shabby.  This team has won more Tour de France titles than any other team in history.  Along with these accomplishments, they are also one, if not the only one, in last few years to be the only U.S.-sponsored team to compete in the grand tours (Tour de France, Giro — Tour of Italy, Vuelta — Tour of Spain).

Not only has the team brought cycling to the fore front in main stream America with the help of Armstrong’s accomplishments, but it helped make all of us who wear the yellow bracelets soldiers in war against cancer.  The U.S. Postal/Discovery Channel team was more than just an origination in a fringe sport, but a vehicle that people in our country could rally around when competing against they world during trying times.  The riders on this team were our ambassadors on two wheels.   

Unfortunately, in a time when doping scandals plague the sport, cycling suffers from negative publicity, and corporations are downsizing, the only U.S. cycling team in the Tour de France has lost its main sponsor this year — Discovery Channel who opted not to renew their sponsorship.  For most of the year Lance Armstrong and Team Director Johan Bruyneel have been searching globally for another sponsor for the team to supplement the annual 14 million dollar budget, without any luck. 

Since no one is willing to sign on, the team has no choice but to disband after the 2007 cycling season, bring to an end to one of the most successful runs in sports. 

“Don’t cry Argentina,” this news is not the end of U.S. cycling, but another chapter in the story that started in 1981 with the creation of the 7-eleven team that brought us Bob Roll.  Another US sponsor cycling team – Team Slipstream — is building a team to compete in the grand tours and propel U.S. Cycling to the next level in its dominance of the Tour de France.

Wrestling Deaths

 If you have not heard in the news this week, another Pro Wrestling death occurred.  During the weekend of June 23, 2007, Chris Benoit, 40, committed suicide but also took the lives of his wife and 7-year-old son.  As horrible as the details are of this murder/suicide, the other issue that many people are missing is the amount of deaths that have occurred in the Goldberg - WWEwrestling industry. 

This year alone, eight former or active WWE superstars have passed away.  And since 1985, 96 wrestlers have died before the age of 65.  Yeah 96!  What a staggering number.  No other entertainment or sport industry can boast the morality rate that pro wresting has. 

So what is the cause behind all these deaths?  Eric Cohen at About.com brings up several factors that contribute to this high mortality rate – recreational drug use, steroids, overdoses of pain killers, large bodies (extra weight that causes cardiovascular issues) accidents and old age.

Should there be the creation of an oversight board that regulates the industry or some sort of government intervention from either the state or federal level that helps prevent any more deaths?  Maybe pro wrestling needs to apply for a license to operate in each state they perform in like boxing.  This directive would be one good way to regulate or police an industry that fails to police itself.

What should be done?  I would like to hear you opinions on this. 

Famous Wrestlers that have died since 1985 before the age of 65

  1. Chris Von Erich – 21
  2. Mike Von Erich – 21
  3. Louie Spiccoli – 27
  4. Art Barr – 28
  5. Gino Hernandez – 29
  6. Jay Youngblood – 30
  7. Rick McGraw – 30
  8. Joey Marella – 30
  9. Ed Gatner – 31
  10. Buzz Sawyer – 32
  11. Crash Holly – 32
  12. Kerry Von Erich – 33
  13. D.J. Peterson – 33
  14. Eddie Gilbert – 33
  15. The Renegade – 33
  16. Owen Hart – 33
  17. Chris Candido – 33
  18. Adrian Adonis – 34
  19. Gary Albright – 34
  20. Bobby Duncum Jr. – 34
  21. Yokozuma – 34
  22. Big Dick Dudley – 34
  23. Brian Pillman – 35
  24. Marianna Komlos – 35
  25. Pitbull #2 – 36
  26. The Wall/Malice – 36
  27. Leroy Brown – 38
  28. Mark Curtis – 38
  29. Eddie Guerrero – 38
  30. Davey Boy Smith – 39
  31. Johnny Grunge – 39
  32.   Vivian Vachon – 40
  33. Jeep Swenson – 40
  34. Brady Boone – 40
  35. Terry Gordy – 40
  36. Bertha Faye – 40
  37. Billy Joe Travis – 40
  38. Chris Benoit – 40
  39. Larry Cameron – 41
  40. Rick Rude – 41
  41. Randy Anderson – 41
  42. Bruiser Brody – 42
  43. Miss Elizabeth – 42
  44. Big Boss Man – 42
  45. Earthquake – 42
  46. Mike Awesome – 42
  47. Ray Candy – 43
  48. Nancy Benoit (Woman) – 43
  49. Brian “Crush” Williams – 44
  50. Dino Bravo – 44
  51. Curt Hennig – 44
  52. Bam Bam Bigelow -40
  53. Jerry Blackwell – 45
  54. Junkyard Dog – 45
  55. Hercules – 45
  56. Andre the Giant – 46
  57. Big John Studd – 46
  58. Chris Adams – 46
  59. Mike Davis – 46
  60. Hawk – 46
  61. Dick Murdoch -49
  62. Jumbo Tsuruta – 49
  63. Rocco Rock – 49
  64. Sherri Martel – 49
  65. Moondog Spot – 51
  66. Ken Timbs – 53
  67. Uncle Elmer – 54
  68. Pez Whatley – 54
  69. Eddie Graham – 55
  70. Tarzan Tyler – 55
  71. Haystacks Calhoun – 55
  72. Giant Haystacks – 55
  73. The Spoiler – 56
  74. Kurt Von Hess – 56
  75. Moondog King – 56
  76. Gene Anderson – 58
  77. Dr. Jerry Graham – 58
  78. Bulldog Brown – 58
  79. Tony Parisi – 58
  80. Rufus R Jones – 60
  81. Ray Stevens – 60
  82. Stan Stasiak – 60
  83. Terry Garvin – 60
  84. Boris Malenko – 61
  85. Little Beaver – 61
  86. Sapphire – 61
  87. Shohei Baba – 61
  88. Dick the Bruiser – 62
  89. Wilbur Snyder – 62
  90. George Cannon – 62
  91. Karl Krupp – 62
  92. Dale Lewis – 62
  93. Gorilla Monsoon – 62
  94. Hiro Matsuda – 62
  95. Bad News Brown – 63
  96. Bulldog Brower – 63
  97. Wahoo McDaniel – 63