Road to the Super Bowl
It’s been an interesting season in the NFL so far. As usual there are a bunch of surprises, and of course some of the teams that got off to a hot start have started to come back down to Earth. Yet with all the surprises, the teams with the best shot at the Super Bowl still consist of the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
One of the more common bar stool debates this year involves Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers. We’re seeing two great quarterbacks putting on a clinic week in and week out. This shouldn’t be a surprise as the NFL has altered the rules and become a pass-happy league. I heard Ron Jaworski this weekend and he said that he’s never seen a quarterback play the position as well as Aaron Rodgers. It’s a pretty stupid statement, and Jaworski us usually one of the best commentators out there. But he’s being a prisoner of the moment, which is a common mistake for lesser commentators, but he’s also putting aside the reality that quarterbacks today don’t get hit like they did 20 or even 10 years ago.
But putting that aside, we’re seeing two teams who are emblematic of the modern NFL – explosive offense but with a suspect defense. But there are few great defenses out there right now, and frankly few teams can stop Brady or Rodgers. If they meet in the Super Bowl we might have one of the best matchups ever with two of the best quarterbacks of this era. The ratings will be through the roof and every hard-core better in Vegas and every casual fan will be all over the Super Bowl odds.
Green Bay seems to have the easier road to the Super Bowl, while New England’s path got a little easier as the Texans lost another quarterback.
Top 10 active NFL passer rating leaders
The NFL draft is over and free agency is kind of in a lull. Mini-camps and stories about letting Pacman back into the league, JaMarcus Russell being released, or what counseling Big Ben is attending just don’t help the football jones we all have. So that’s why we’re back with a few Top 10 lists to ponder. This one for the active NFL passer ratings is good because it’s a solid indicator of who you might think about drafting for your fantasy team come August or September. And hey, we’re just a few months away!
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (97.2)—Rodgers really emerged last season with 103.2 rating, especially once his line decided to keep him upright. He and the two guys immediately below him should win at least one ring in their careers solely because of their own talent.
2. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (95.8)—Rivers has topped 104 in QB rating the last two seasons. If you told me I could have one quarterback to win one game, I’m not sure this isn’t the guy I’d take. In fact, he IS the guy I’d take.
3. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (95.6)—Romo cut down his interceptions drastically in 2009, but the pundits and fans in Dallas still couldn’t lay off the guy. I’m telling you, they don’t know how good they have it with Romo at QB. As a Giants fan, this is one guy I cringe when facing.
4. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (95.2)—Always solid, but Manning needed a freakish 121.1 rating in 2004 and two more seasons after that over 100 to make up for some really bad years early in his career. Still, he’s Peyton Freaking Manning.
5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (93.3)—Speaking of freakish, Brady’s 117.2 in 2007 kicked him up a few spots here. You know, maybe this is the guy I want in a must-win game, but then again, he’s shown to be slightly damaged goods since the 2008 opener.
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (91.9)—Brees finally won that elusive ring in 2009, and he also led the NFL with a 109.6 QB rating as well as a ridiculous 70.6 completion percentage. Yeah, I’d say he earned that ring.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (91.7)—A great quarterback that sadly has so much baggage, he has the Steelers and their fans wondering if he’s worth it. The two Super Bowl wins surely don’t hurt, but has Ben peaked?
8. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (91.3)—Finally healthy a full season, this guy was fantasy gold in 2009. Look for his QB rating number to continue climbing—well, assuming he still has Andre Johnson to throw to.
9. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins (90.1)—He hasn’t quite matched his 104.2 mark in 2002, but Pennington was always an underrated QB. And kind of still is. I mean, this guy is still a backup? I can think of at least three teams he’d be starting for.
10. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals (87.9)—He hasn’t reached 90 in QB rating since 2006, but it’s not often you hear anyone say a bad thing about Mr. Palmer.
Notable omissions: Not on this list are Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Matt Hasselbeck. Okay, really, just the first two are surprising, but then again, maybe not so surprising.
Source: Pro Football Reference
Posted in: NFL
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson, Ben Roethlisberger, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Chad Pennington, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Donovan McNabb, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Giants, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Schaub, Miami Dolphins, National Football League, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Pacman Jones, passer rating leaders, Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Tony Romo
Putting the NFL’s potential lockout in dummy terms
If you, like me, live in fear of the fall of 2011 having no NFL football, but don’t understand all of the legal mumbo-jumbo associated with the labor dispute, I’m hear to put things in terms we all can understand.
First things first, and that is that the owners unanimously opted out of the current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) in 2008, one that they had signed off on in 2006. Since I’m making this as easy as possible to understand, let me tell you that a CBA is the agreement two sides, usually labor and management, come to on various topics, most of which include how money will be divided. And in this case, the owners realized that player salaries were escalating out of control and that their profits were being squeezed more each year. Yes, part of the problem is they are agreeing to these salaries, and player agents are a huge part of that. In the bigger picture, the real problem is revenue sharing, a.k.a. how to split the financial pie. And while the NFL is bringing in a ridiculous amount of money ($7.6 billion in 2008), about 62% of that goes to player salaries, a number that keeps climbing due to increases in the overall salary cap. To make matters worse, there is also revenue sharing among teams, meaning the big market teams have to help the small market teams to help them compete with each other on the field.
So the owners want something like 18% of the pie back, in the form of salary cuts to the players. Naturally, the players do not want to give them this money back, and that is why head of the players’ union DeMaurice Smith announced during the Super Bowl’s hype week that the chance of a lockout were a 14 on a scale of 1 to 10. For his part, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denounced that, saying he hoped it wouldn’t come to a work stoppage, but he also knows that it’s a very real possibility. The players aren’t necessarily saying they won’t give part of the pie back, either. Smith wants the owners to show the players that they are struggling to run their businesses, meaning he wants them to open up their books. And the owners won’t do it. So are the numbers being reported not what they say? It’s hard to say the owners aren’t lying about these numbers, when they keep agreeing to player contracts and they keep building huge state-of-the-art stadiums, but they also have the right to not open their books if they don’t want to. And the bottom line is that the owners are not happy about doling out more and more of their profits.
Then, of course, there is the issue of an uncapped 2010 season. The current structure calls for a salary cap through the 2009 season, with 2010 being an uncapped year if the owners opt out of the CBA, which they did. Last time this happened, in 1993, player salaries rose to 69% of NFL revenue, and that is expected to happen again. But of course, nothing is guaranteed in 2011, so the players have to be careful of what they wish for.
If organized sports have taught us anything, it’s that the possibility of no games being played can and will happen. You might remember the NFL had a similar situation in 1987, and the owners used replacement players for a few games before the dispute was resolved and the regular players went back to work. MLB cancelled the last two months of the 1994 season as well as the playoffs and World Series, a black mark they have not recovered from. The NBA had a similar situation in 1998-99, with almost half a season being wiped out. And of course, the freshest in our memories is the NHL’s 2004-05 season that was not played due to a labor dispute.
So as fans, we have to hope a few things happen between now and the summer of 2011, which is spewing a black cloud that keeps getting darker and more imposing by the day. We have to hope the owners agree to open up their books, and we have to hope the players agree to give back part of the pie for the health and financial well being of the NFL. Sure, we want the players we love to watch get the money they deserve, but within reason. Certainly it’s not worth much to anyone to have no NFL games being played, but it may very well come to that.
Of course, the NFL is not the only business that would be affected by a lockout. Besides the local businesses near stadiums that thrive during the season, fantasy football and all of the money (reported as upwards of $3 billion in 2007) associated with that is threatened here. Think about that for a second. The folks that make their livelihood in that world will be flattened financially. Well, maybe that’s going to be the subject of my next piece on this, but for the moment I wanted to do my part to help everyone understand the dispute between owners and players, and what it all really means.
Many think that a lockout won’t really happen, and I’m optimistic myself that it won’t. But history surely does make us all nervous, doesn’t it?
Posted in: NFL
Tags: 2011, CBA, collective bargaining agreement, DeMaurice Smith, Fantasy Football, football, free agency, labor dispute, Lockout, MLB, National Football League, NBA, NFL, NFL free agency, NFL labor dispute, NFL owners, NHL, Roger Goodell, Salary Cap, Super Bowl, uncapped season, work stoppage
2010 Super Bowl surpasses finale of “M*A*S*H”
Super Bowl XLIV between the Saints and Colts was watched by more than 106 million people, which surpassed the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H” to become the most-watched program in U.S. television history.
Nielsen estimated Monday that 106.5 million people watched Sunday’s Super Bowl. The “M*A*S*H” record was 105.97 million.
The “M*A*S*H” record has proven as durable and meaningful in television as Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs was in baseball until topped by Hank Aaron. Ultimately, it may be hard to tell which program was really watched by more people. There’s a margin for error in such numbers, and Nielsen’s Monday estimate was preliminary, and could change with a more thorough look at data due Tuesday.
“It’s significant for all of the members of the broadcasting community,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. CEO. “For anyone who wants to write that broadcasting is dead, 106 million people watched this program. You can’t find that anywhere else.”
And people wonder why companies spend so much on one 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl. It’s incredibly hard to get that many people to tune into your product or brand at one given time, so companies have no problem shelling out millions for ads on Super Bowl Sunday.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Posted in: NFL, Super Bowl, Television
Tags: 2010 Super Bowl, 2010 Super Bowl TV rating, Colts vs. Saints, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Saints beat Colts in Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl MASH, Super Bowl passes MASH, Super Bowl television rating, Super Bowl XLIV, Super Bowl XLIV most watched television program
Here is some Super Bowl commercial hype
We all know that aside from the big game, the hype that surrounds the Super Bowl every year includes the TV commercials, on which millions of dollars are spent each year as companies try to one-up each other.
Comedy.com put together a countdown of the 50 funniest Super Bowl commercials, and it’s well worth a few minutes (or, errrrrr, an hour) of your work day to look through them and laugh in your cubicle.
And for the record, I completely agree about those E-Trade spots being #1. Those talking babies never get old, especially when the one on the right starts singing that Mister Mister song. Awesome. Anyway, here is a link. Enjoy, and of course, enjoy the game….