Aside from the change to its modern name in 1922, the biggest change in the NFL's history to this point in our story was created out of a foundering attempt to buy a baseball or a football franchise. A quiet, genteel progeny of a Texas-sized family fortune listened to a man named Branch Rickey - the same Branch Rickey who invented baseball’s farm system, became president of and managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, and who would in 1967 be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rickey was trying to put together a third baseball associations to compete with the National and American Leagues, and his concept was the Continental Baseball League. He wanted backers, men who could buy franchises but who had been shut out of the first two leagues.
Wow, does Pat Bowlen look frail and out of it. His right-hand man just had to show him how to get in a car. Sad.
As Florio reminds us, there has been a good deal of hushed speculation surrounding Bowlen's health in recent years while Joe Ellis has emerged from the shadows to execute the bulk of the Broncos' major decisions. I'm not about to play the guessing game regarding Bowlen's health, but there has certainly been some erratic behavior recently out of Dove Valley - none more so than Bowlen's public assertion that Josh McDaniels would be back as the Broncos' coach in 2011, followed only days later by the young coach's ouster. And, we may never know if Jay Cutler and Mr. B ever spoke on the phone when the QB was on his way out of town. Aside from wishing that Bowlen can somehow recover from whatever is ailing him, we can only hope that John Elway knows what he's gotten himself into, not to mention what he's doing...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei focuses in on the Patriots' brilliant yearly stockpiling of draft picks. This year, New England has two picks in each of the first three rounds, giving them the flexibility to do basically anything they want, moving up to nab an elite talent inclusive. But before you start wishing the Broncos would do the same thing, know that they have already done so in recent seasons; the trades of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall (and their brilliant maneuvering down and up the board in 2010) have enabled Denver to select four first-rounders and four second-rounders over the past two years, with two second-rounders in hand for the 2011 Draft. Of course, the jury is still out on how well they actually fared in utilizing those choices.
And while Brain Xanders has attempted to disavow himself of every move made during Josh McDaniels' time in Denver, we can only hope that he was the integral part of these draft-related deals that we assume he was, and that at least this facet of the so-called Patriot Way has stuck with him. For as important as the upcoming draft is for the Broncos' future, the 2012 one will be no less crucial - whether it's via more trades downward in April or a potential deal of Kyle Orton for a future pick, one of the best things Xanders can do for Denver and his own legacy is to keep extending Denver's draft flexibility. Hopefully he's already been working the phones in pursuit of such a stratagem...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'd like offer some more details on the NY Times' decision to move behind a pay wall as relates to the Lard: While clicking through to the NYT from the links I provide will count toward your own monthly 20-article limit, once you hit that limit you'll still be able to read articles via links from referring sites like ours and via social media. In other words, hitting the limit will only prevent you from heading directly to the NYT website and accessing articles - reading articles that I link should not be affected.
I still haven’t gotten to the Hack 30 enough to publish anything on it today, and I kind of got distracted yesterday by an interesting media story. In case you missed it, the New York Times intends to put up a pay wall on their website, which will affect anybody who wants to read more than 20 articles per month. They seem to be making a bet that one of two things will happen. The first is that their readers won’t be able to live without their content, and they’ll pay. This assumes that their content really is better than what consumers can get elsewhere, and maybe it is in some cases.
The other possible outcome is that other newspapers will follow their lead and institute pay walls of their own, thus creating a new equilibrium where people pay for internet content and the Times still rules the roost based upon their prestige and presumable content advantage.
The way that content gets to people is something I’m interested in and want to start a discussion about today. Here at IAOFM, we haven’t even chosen to deploy any advertising at this point; but obviously, most websites are making their revenue on either a per-impression (meaning pageview), or per-engagement (meaning the clicking of a link) basis. Pretty much anybody can put up a website, enable Google AdSense and make a few bucks with it. By “a few”, I literally mean a few, unless you’re getting a lot of pageviews. My total AdSense payout for four months' worth of SmarterFans.com was about $41, which didn’t even cover my hosting fees.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Roger Goodell has crafted another letter; this time it went to the players individually. It lays out the offer the owners presented last Friday; naturally, it's just another PR move to rile up the fans. In response, Seahawks lineman Chester Pitts is apparently reporting the commish to his email provider for spam. Whatever. It's March, we're six months away from the start of the season, and there's great hoops on all day. Enjoy!
America is the land of opportunity.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the NFL. After all, this is a place where Roger Goodell (the son of a US Senator), Joe Ellis (the nephew and cousin of US Presidents), and Jets owner Woody Johnson (the grandson of the founder of Johnson & Johnson) can rise up from humble beginnings and make their way in the world today with everything they've got.
$9 billion later, these self-made men (and others just like them all across the league) are doing their absolute best to share the milk and honey with the National Football League Player's Association (NFLPA).
If only the nefarious NFLPA would let them.
Goodell, our tired and exhausted hero, has bravely reduced his salary to $1. He's also told fans that the NFL's owners offered several concessions to the players, including five years of "profitability data." In addition, Joe Ellis (Pat Bowlen's trusty sidekick) has been hitting the PR circuit so that Broncos fans everywhere know, without a doubt, the organization's willingness to open its books. Unfortunately, the players listened to an insidious investment bank, which advised the NFLPA that that so-called profitability data neither illuminates true cash flows nor provides insight into wasteful spending.
The demonic forces within the NFLPA listened. Bring in the lawyers.
Happy Tourney Day and St. Patrick's Day, Broncos fans! Enjoy your green beers, and may the sun shine on your brackets! I realize I'm a lot late in doing this, but I just created a bracket group on ESPN called IAOFM, if you're interested. Of course, we only have until 12:15pm ET to fill it out. Best of luck!
I'm experimenting with a new section today called Scrapple (I know, running out of gluttony-related terms) which will go outside the football realm. Some of it will be reads I find interesting, and others will just be for a good laugh (don't worry - no politics). Hopefully you'll like it; if not and it's a waste of your time and mine, please let me know!
Happy Wednesday, friends, and welcome to You Got Served. I finally have a running home computer, $500 and three weeks later, so I’m aiming to give you a good one here, to the extent that the current news environment allows. Armed with Raekwon’s excellent new album Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang, excitement that the local Cleveland weather is breaking, and tentative plans to take Thursday off to play outdoor golf, I’m all set to get this thing started. Ready… BEGIN!!!
1. I haven’t written since my brief decertification reaction piece last Friday night, and a lot has happened since then - that is, if you’re measuring in public posturing by representatives of both sides and horribly ill-informed commentary by most football media types. Good heavens! Has it gotten too personal to reach an agreement? Get used to this answer. No. It’s just business.
In terms of progress, all that’s happened is that the hearing to rule on the players’ injunction against the lockout was scheduled for April 6th. My expectation continues to be that the injunction will be granted, and this will have been the most meaningless lockout ever. I don’t consider it a foregone conclusion that 2010 rules will be adopted, as the ones from 2009 were much more in line with the concepts outlined in the 1993 settlement that became the last CBA. A case could be made for either model, and I suspect that the outcome will be the result of a loose negotiation between the judge (presumably David Doty), and lawyers from the two sides.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Jason La Canfora, the Broncos are one of several teams expected to hold a private workout with Huskies QB Jake Locker. This one is a head-scratcher; if it's just a smokescreen to confuse other teams with regard to Denver's draft strategy, isn't it a bit of a waste of time? If there's genuine interest, then I can only ask why? Locker only complete 53.9 percent of his passes in college, with an unimpressive 4.6% TD rate, 6.2 adjusted yards per attempt and a 119 QB rating (an otherwordly number in NFL terms but not that special relative to college play). By comparison, Tim Tebow had a 66.4% completion rate at Florida to go along with a TD rate of 8.8%, 10.4 adjusted yards per attempt and a 170.8 QB rating. Of course, stats don't tell the whole story about a QB, especially a college one - scheme, competition level, surrounding talent and that pesky intangibles thing all factor in; but all great NFL QBs completed passes more frequently and for more yardage in college than did Jake Locker...