Professional and college sports teams face tough times ahead.

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Welcome to the first season of the Los Angeles Jaguars. What about Jacksonville? The city and state cried poverty and neither government would pony up any money for a new facility or even a decent makeover. The people of the city also didn’t come to the games so the Jags left.

Thank heavens that has not happened yet but it could happen soon.

Teams in every professional sport are struggling financially. Part of that is their own fault. They spent too much on players when things were good. Now that the economy has turned down, they are still spending more than they can afford.

They are also notoriously bad marketers. Some teams got a bump in attendance by building a new facility with state and or city help. Those that did got only a temporary bump no matter how nice the new digs were. Within a year or 2 they were back to seeing a lot of empty seats at every game. But in addition to the same old attendance they had a boat load of debt. With the government borrowing so much money, eventually interest rates will have to go up. The debt load teams are carrying will sink them and for the first time even the NFL could find no takers with enough cash to bail out the teams that will go belly up.

The Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL are a perfect example. They signed a contract when they were created to play in a privately owned arena because public money couldn’t be approved by either the city or state. Now they are facing empty seats and financial hardship because they say their rent is too high. The problem was while the CBJ was building its arena down town, the Ohio State University was also building a new multi-purpose arena on campus just a few miles away. The old OSU arena is also still in use but is empty most of time. The CBJ is asking the government to take over the building so that they can stay in Columbus and get a lower lease. Both the city and state are in much worse financial shape then they were when the building was proposed and are in no position to buy anything more costly than a box of paper clips. The owners of the building are not going to be able to sell the structure because no one is going to buy an arena where the only lessee is threatening to leave.

If things weren’t bad enough both the NFL and NBA face possible strikes/lockouts soon. The NFL will likely survive but the NBA could be devastated by a lockout. The NBA is riding a down wave of popularity and could suffer like the NHL did with a significant lockout. The NHL lost its major TV deals and is now stuck with games on the Verses Network.

Both leagues are trying to reduce the percentage of revenue dedicated to the players. The NBA is also struggling with guaranteed contracts. The NFL is trying to avoid the mistakes of the other leagues like guaranteed deals. The US financial situation is so bad that the NFLPA has come out in favor of a salary cap which just over a year ago they said they would never allow to be part of any new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They don’t like the idea of capping the amount a team can spend but desperately want to establish a minimum that a team must spend on players.

College teams are struggling as well. At Ohio State the basketball team was in a position to insure a share of the Big 10 title. And yet there were more than 1,500 empty seats hours before the tip off. Schools that have had no problem increasing the tuition 5 times the rate of inflation will drop any sports program that is not self supporting like it was a stolen knockoff Prada purse.

So what will happen?

Professional teams will go out of business. Players on those rosters will be distributed to the teams that survive. Several NBA teams will wither on the vine if they lose the key player upon which the attendance is based. The Cavs for example will be in serious trouble financially should LeBron James leave.

Even the NFL has teams that are in serious danger of disappearing. Teams like the Bills, Jaguars, Panthers, and Rams regularly fail to fill their stadiums. When the TV money goes down, as it will have to if the US economy continues to struggle, those teams will find it hard to make payroll.

There is also a down side for any business that depends on attendance at games for revenue. They will be hurt in cities that keep their teams. Where teams are gone the businesses that depend on them will be gone as well.

So what can fans do? Perhaps a better question is what should fans do? There is not much fans can do. However, I have some suggestions.

For Pro or college teams that are doing their best to compete:

If you can afford to go to games and your team is providing quality entertainment, do it. That is great. Even if you can’t afford the tickets you can call their radio and TV sponsors to thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their support of your team. Let them know that you will use their products or services because they support your team. Then call the team and the radio and TV stations that carry their games. Let them know that you called the sponsors to thank them. Thank the team for doing the right thing and the station for carrying the games. Call your sports call in programs and suggest the other fans do the same thing. It will help insure that the stations will continue to carry the games and the stations and team will continue to enjoy success.

For Pro teams that are just going through the motions or are incapable of competing due to bad management or ownership:

If you find that the team is not showing any interest in becoming competitive, call the team and let them know why you aren’t buying their tickets. Call the stations that broadcast the games and let them know that the community needs the station to put pressure on the team to get it’s act together. Call the key sponsors to ask them to ask the stations to put pressure on the team to do better. Tell sports radio call in programs what you are doing and ask the other fans to do the same.

For college teams that are not trying to compete:

Colleges react to just one thing–money. Again the stations carrying the games are a pressure point just as the pro teams above. But there is one other thing that can have an effect–Donors. Call your sports radio programs and suggest that donors contact the presidents of the college to tell them to give their sports more emphasis. That will not work often but when a donor calls a president, he or she gets attention. A few big dollar donors calling will change the attitudes of the coaching staff and the culture of the team.

Those fans that become proactive will find that things in sports can change based on public opinion. Too bad things don’t seem to work the same way in Washington D.C.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,nhl,mlb,nba,money in sports,Cavilers,LeBron James,DeMaurice Smith,nflpa,CBA,Collective Barganing Agreement,Spors talk radio,College football,Ohio State,Colubmus Blue Jackets

Unexpected consequences of the uncapped 2010.

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There are many things that will happen in the 2009-2010 off season that are directly resulting from the inability of the NFL owners and NFLPA to come to a Collective Bargaining Agreement before Mr. 5.

Without a cap, poor teams will dump high cost players.

Teams that are in financial trouble will be able to dump high cost players and replace they with minimum salary guys. Teams like Buffalo and Jacksonville have been losing with their current players so there is no reason to keep them. The end of the cap means there is no longer a minimum amount that teams must spend. Look for a number of bottom end teams to dump expensive players.

High price players in the last few years of their contract can be dropped without penalty.

Even middle of the road teams and upper level teams will drop some high priced players that they do not intend to resign when their contracts expire. Rumors have the Panthers cutting DE Peppers; the Cards cutting S Rolle; the Packers cutting OL Colledge; the Jets cutting OG Faneca and OB Gholston; the Raiders finally cutting QB Russell. Those are just a few of the name players that will be cut due to the end of the cap.

The rich (in both money and talent) will get richer.

According to the latest news about the CBA last year rules, the teams that were not in the final 8 in the playoffs can sign as many high priced FA as they want. Teams in the final 8 can sign players as long as they lose or cut an equal number of starter salary level players as well. The league has long prospered based on a competitive balance between the top of the league and the bottom. This season there were the haves and have nots but very few teams in the middle.

The non-TV revenue sharing that was part of the CBA is gone.

The NFL already announced that it will cut 100 million from the revenue sharing program. There will be more cuts leaving the bottom feeders like Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville with even less of a chance to survive.

Restricted Free Agents will not get contracts approaching Unrestricted FA.

The best group of players that would have been free agents is the 4 years of service class. There are 212 players that under the CBA would have been unrestricted FAs that in the final year will be only Restricted Free Agents. Under the RFA status, the current team has the first right of refusal to match any certified offer the player gets from another team. These guys are irate and understandably so. They will have very little leverage to get a UFA type contract from their current teams. They will also not get the kind of poison pill contract offers from other teams. A poison pill is a very expensive bonus or other payment that the current team is unlikely to match to keep the player. With quality players being cut, there will be a few buyers for a large supply of players. The players in that environment will get lower contract offers.

The UFL will pick up some of the RFA players.

The UFL started with a hope that 1) the NFL would go on strike in 2011 and 2) that they could get some name players from the NFL that were cut or unwilling to accept the money offered by the NFL. Given the group of RFA players that have been denied UFA status by the opt out of the CBA. The combination of their frustration with the NFL for being RFAs and the near certainty of no play in 2011, some of these players will jump to the UFL.

For those of you that are old like me and remember the USFL, it will be interesting to see if the UFL makes the same mistake. The USFL folded in part because they tried to outbid the NFL for key players like Hershal Walker. The UFL won’t have to get into a bidding war. The players will want to play and the UFL probably will not have any competition in 2011.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,Collective Barganing Agreement,NFLPA,Free Agents,free agency,Restricted Free Agent,UFL,nfl draft,2010 NFL DRAFT,2010 season,2011 season

What did we learn from week 14 in the NFL?

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The Steelers are really bad.

Losing to the injury depleted Browns was the last straw for the Steelers’ attempt to defend their Super Bowl title. The team started off 6-2 but after 5 straight losses are now 6-7 and done. The O line has totally failed to protect QB Roethlisberger who has suffered from concussions. On Thursday it allowed 8 sacks to a Browns’ D that couldn’t find one at a Kroger grocery store. The line is also struggling to open holes for the running game. The most surprising thing was a duct-taped D was more physical than the Steelers on O. The O line has deteriorated badly and has been neglected in the draft. There will be major changes on the line next season.

The Pit D hasn’t stepped up either. They are soft against the run and are not able to cause turnovers the way they did last year. No matter how the last 3 games turn out, there will be major changes on the D as well.

Things are getting so bad that there are rumblings that Coach Tomlin may be part of the problem. Can it be that he has already lost the support of the team in just his 3rd year? That is possible so you can add his name to the slightly warm seat list.

Did the win against the Steelers save Mangini’s job?

After the big win in Cleveland, there has been some talk around town that the win might save Magenous’ job. The issue is still open depending on what happens in the next 3 games. We have seen a national game win before. Last year a 1-3 Browns team beat the undefeated Giants. That Browns team went on to win 2 more games the rest of the way. To see my entire article on this check out NflDraftDog.com.

The Colts and the Saints stay perfect.

The Saints game wasn’t pretty but they came back and won. The Colts looked good wiping out the Broncos. Both face interesting games this week. The Saints host the Pats and the Colts go to Jacksonville that is still in a position to get to the playoffs.

The Broncos are falling and they won’t get up.

Denver lost last week and they will not make the playoffs. After a 6-0 start they have gone 2-5 and are now 2+ games behind the hot Chargers. Their only 2 wins were against the lousy Chiefs and the broken Giants. They are still 1 game up on the rest of the Wild card group but have a tough schedule down the stretch. So much for the Coach of the Year award for McDaniels.

The Bengals are who we thought they were.

The team is a lot better but has not yet gotten to the point where they can win a big game. They may be better prepared by playoff time but I don’t expect them to go too deep this year. But watch out next season because this team could be really good next year.

The Cardinals need to improve their O line before they get Warner hurt more.

We have seen what happens to the team when Warner is out and it isn’t pretty. The O line is terrible. It made no difference if the 49ers blitzed or not because they got to Warner either way.

The Dolphins took a big step toward a wild card or more.

The win over the Jags was big because it knocked Jacksonville out of the playoff spot as of now and put them in the 6th spot. Now they are looking at the Division lead currently held by the Pats. The Pats would have been in a tough spot had they lost to the Panthers but pulled out the win. The Fish have both Pit and the Titans left which is a tougher run than the Pats with the Jags and Bills left. Both teams will play the Texans. If the Fish make the post season they will have earned it.

Look for the Eagles to win the NFC Least.

The Cowboys took a major hit with their loss to the Chargers. With the wins over the Giants the Birds took control of their division. The Giants chances are on life support. The Boys have a heartbeat but need a pacemaker badly to keep going. The Eagles can end the Boy’s chances and Phillips coaching career by beating them in week 17.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,playoffs,Steelers,Browns,Colts,Saints,Chargers,Chiefs,Broncos,Bengals,Vikings,Cardinals,Dolphins,Warner,Magnini,Ealgles,Cowboys,Giants,Phillips

What to look for in College football (a day late)

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Some people live in the sticks. I live in the leaf stems. One of the disadvantages of living next to a lake is that you always seem to need work around the house. Three days ago while workers were doing something for us, they cut the phone line. Thanks to a great job by my favorite workers ATT I got back my Internet but was out of town all day yesterday.

Note I will put up Niblets for October next week.

The Big East needs to be suspended from BcS games for 5 years for fraud.

The BE should be stripped of any chance to get a team in the top 100. Two years ago West Virginia was in a position to play for a national championship with a win over a badly injured Pitt team. The officials were clearly doing everything they could to make that happen. The calls were horrendous and every bad call went against Pitt and for WV. But the game Pitt team won despite the help from blind deaf and dumb officials. The calls were so bad that the BE should have been laughed out of the BcS.

Last night we saw another ranked WV team on the road get every break the zebras could give them to win. Again it didn’t help and Southern Florida without their star QB Grothe beat WV 30-19.

Cincinnati is currently ranked highly in the BcS and we will be watching to see how much help they get. The key reason that a conference wants their teams to be in the big games is MONEY. I will be keeping an eye on the Cincy games to see if the officials cheat their opponents again. THIS HAS TO STOP or the BE will be seen as a total joke.

Georgia v 1 Florida at Jacksonville

The last 3 years Georgia was highly over rated with Stafford at QB. He is gone and so is the belief in the Dogs as a top power. This season Georgia is 4-3 coming off a bad loss 45-19 to Tennessee. After 3 disappointing seasons, there are rumblings of discontent in Athens.

Not everything is roses and sunshine in Floridaville either. The team has been inconsistent and all everything Tebow has been hurt but is now back. He has not had the kind of success that enjoyed last year. The team just got by Arkansas 23-20 then looked lethargic last week against Miss St. in a 29-19 win. Florida will get back on track and win easily.

3 Texas @ 14 Oklahoma St.

This is the game of the day. The Horns have just 2 tough road games between them and a Big12 Championship game. This is the first of those. Texas is coming off a very impressive win over Missouri. The Horn O is vulnerable to really good Ds and OK St. has a good one.

This is the first game that Texas will face really wide open O because Oklahoma did not have their QB for most of that contest. OkS will take some chances because they want to knock off #3 but it won’t work. I think Texas has a handle on the spread and will win easily.

Indiana @ 4 Iowa

Iowa has a huge game on tap in 2 weeks at Ohio State. They will not look past Indiana and will win but look for them to pull the starters before they build up a big win.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NCAA Football,NFL Draft,Big East,West Virginia,BcS,BCS Rankings,Florida,Georgia,Texas,Oklahoma State,Indiana,Iowa,Ohio State,Big 12

Tuesday Morning QB for 10/06/09

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TN @ JK The Titans are in serious trouble. Just like the rest of those that watch and are fool enough to try to prognosticate NFL games, I thought the Titans would come around. They have had a ton of injuries on D and on the O line but that is no excuse. They are bad and there are no answers on the bench (see my column on Will Vince Young ever become an NFL QB?). The Titans are out of the playoffs for the first time in a while.

Jacksonville had their game blacked out. They are really struggling to get their attendance up. The only hope to keep the team in place beside a winning streak which won’t happen is to play some games in Orlando. They won’t do that and will end up moving. The 7 of you that have the NFL Network can see Jacksonville games after midnight on that channel.

BA @ NE The Pats took the one path to beat the Ravens that I have seen—Jump ahead and make them a pass first team. The 14 point 2nd quarter by the Pats put the Ravens behind and they gave up on the run. That was not wise because Rice averaged 9.4 yards per attempt but got only 11 carries. The loss pulled the Ravs even with the Bengals who they play next week. The Pats were able to pull even with the Jets in the loss column with their fall to the Saints. I still believe that the Pats are the class of the AFC East.

NJ @ NO The Saints untold story is their D. They stopped the Jet O cold and held them to 10 points. The O has carried the Saints for years but now under former HC Williams they are playing very well on D. Look for them to make the NFC South their personal playground. The Jets will be fine and should make the playoffs as a wild card behind the Pats. They are a good team but Sanchez has to have some time to become a NFL QB.

DA @ DV The luck continued but so did an above average effort by the D. The Bronco D has played above their heads and has contributed the most to their 4-0 start. Dallas is in trouble. Romo has yet to prove he can make it happen in tough spots. The playoffs are going to be tough for the Boys that are now in effect 2.5 games behind the Giants because they are 2 games back in the loss column and lose the tiebreaker. The running game is struggling because the passing game is not as effective as it should be. The O line is a problem but so are the backs. Neither Barber nor Choice got 4 yards a carry. That is the standard for an average running game.

SD @ PT The Steelers got another win by showing their grit. They held off the Chargers on a 2nd half rally that netted 28 points. The Steelers scored 10 in the 4th to win the game. Mendenhall got out of the dog house just in time to run for 165 yards and 2 TDs. He was the difference between this win and last weeks lost to the Bengals. The Steelers are now 2-2 but 1.5 games behind the Bengals. They should still get to the playoffs but will it be as the Division champ or a wild card. The wild card route is a tough road to get to the Super Bowl.

GB @ MN The Pack was able to keep Peterson under control and allowed him only 2.2 ypa. But by focusing on the running game, Favre went to work. He threw for 3 TDs and 271 yards. The Pack gave up on the running game too soon. Grant was averaging 4.6 per carry but got only 11 attempts. The Vikes are on their way to the 1st seed in the playoffs and that should carry them to the NFC Championship game.

TB @ WA The Redskins saved Coach Zorn from getting fired or worse. They stumbled to a 16-13 win over the totally inept Bucs. This was the stinker game of the week and lived up to that title. Between Johnson (TB) and Campbell (WA) there was only 276 yards of passing! If you were thinking that the Ds played really well, you would be wrong. Neither guy could hit the water from a sinking boat in the middle of the Atlantic.

CN @ CL Check out my full report on NFLDraftDog.com tomorrow.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL FOOTBALL,Jaguars,Titans,Ravens,Patroits,Jets,Saints,Bengals,Cowboys,Broncos,Chargers,Steelers,Packers,Vikings,Buccaneers,Redskins,Browns,NFL Draft
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on QB Ryan has the Falcons' Offense flying high but the D keeps the team grounded.

QB Ryan has the Falcons' Offense flying high but the D keeps the team grounded.

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Rookie QB Matt Ryan had a storybook season last year. He stepped into a team that desperately needed leadership and provided it. He seems to have all the physical and mental traits that a team needs to be more than effective offensively. The one area of development is the ability to know what the D is doing and anticipate it. That will come with experience. But right now he is good enough to win the NFC South again this year. He had better stay healthy because there is nothing of NFL quality behind him.  He is a fantasy star.

RB Michael Turner has become a force in the running game. He answered any questions about his ability to start last season gaining over 1,700 yards. He has power and speed which is a combination in short supply around the league. Jerious Norwood is a solid starting quality back and young Thomas Brown is green and needs snaps to develop. FB Ovie Mughelli is a force and is not too far from pro bowl performance.

WR Roddy White and Michael Jenkins looked a great deal better with Ryan at QB. Funny how that works. White is already at all pro level and Jenkins is getting there. Brian Finneran is the only vet talent on the bench after the season ending injury to Harry Douglas. Because both Turner and Norwood are adequate receivers out of the backfield, that should be enough given their new TE. The future Hall of Fame Tony Gonzalez will become Ryan’s new safety valve. Gonzalez isn’t as fast as he was once but he is still among the most reliable TEs in the league. The team will use 2 TEs at times and Ben Hartsock is the blocking half of the duo.

The O line is mostly non-brand name guys but are adequate and got some additional depth in 09. The line is transitioning from lighter quicker linemen to big run blocking guys that move the pile. LT Sam Baker, LG Justin Blalock, C Todd McClure, RG Harvey Dahl, RT Tyson Clabo figure to be the starters with Brett Romberg, Jeremy Newberry and Will Svitek providing starting experience in the past. The young but injury prone C/G Ben Wilkerson has talent but has not been able to stay healthy enough to win a starting job.

The D line is a weak point of the team. RDE John Abraham is the leader and provides the most pass rush but has had injury problems over the last few years. The other 3 starting spots are question marks. Pressure is on both rookie DT Peria Jerry and 07 first round pick E Jamaal Anderson. They must be effective if the team is to get very far in the playoffs. Up to now Anderson has been a disappointment. T Jonathan Babineaux shows flashes of being a quality starter but is inconsistent. There is not much quality depth behind them.

The linebacker group has been totally reworked. MB Curtis Lofton is the only holdover. WB Michael Peterson was signed from Jacksonville and should be an improvement. SB Stephen Nicholas has the inside track to the starting spot. Coy Wire provides about the only experience on the bench.

FS Erik Coleman is the only sure thing in the D backfield. He is solid but not special. S Thomas DeCoud and one of my sleeper picks rookie William Moore from Missouri will battle for the SS spot. Brent Grimes and Chris Owens will battle for the CB spot opposite Chris Houston. Houston improved last year but needs to keep developing.

OVERALL: The team will need to play keep away by continuing to run the ball to win. The D as a whole is the weaker side of the team. The Falcons will have to fend off the Saints to win the division but will not advance in the playoffs unless the D comes around. The D won’t and the Falcons will be one and done again.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Falcons,Jaguars,Fantasy Football,Ryan,Turner,Norwood,White House,Jenkins,Blalock,Clabo,Newberry,Abraham,Anderson,Jerry,Lofton,Coleman,Houston

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