Happy Tuesday, friends. I have fairly limited writing time today, so I am going to write something that is the length of a standard blog post. There has been some hand-wringing the last couple days about the CBA negotiations, despite the fact that nothing seems to be likely to hold up progress on a deal.
Doug shared a link in today’s Lard indicating that teams are already advising players to show up on Friday and Saturday, which is the surest sign yet that a deal is inevitable, and will happen very soon. Yet, for some reason, on Sirius XM NFL Radio, the topic of the last couple days has relentlessly been something like What If Vincent Jackson/Logan Mankins/Osi Umenyiora blow(s) up the deal for reasons of personal gain?
It’s making some people nervous, along with reports that the players are still trying to get more money from the owners, to wit, the $320 million of foregone benefits from 2010. Given that there are still so many owner fanboys (that article endlessly cracks me up, so I keep linking it) out there, many of whom have a skewed perception of how negotiations work, with the problem being exacerbated by NFL reporters who really are missing and misunderstanding a lot, I decided that I’d address this with a few thoughts.
Happy Tuesday, friends. I’m encouraged by the latest progress that’s been reported on the NFL’s labor negotiations, and I decided that I would re-engage on the topic today, for the first time in awhile. A particular reported topic in the impending deal has actually inspired me to break my recent silence.
It’s been reported in a lot of places that a salary cap will likely return, and also that the distance between the salary floor (which has always existed since 1993), and the salary cap will diminish. That’s interesting, and it’s a victory for the players, by virtue of guaranteeing that more money will be injected into the overall operating environment. In 2009, the salary cap was $128 million, and the floor was 87.6% of that number, or $112.1 million. If the 2011 cap number is about the same, which is likely, but the floor is 93%, that’s theoretically an extra $224 million that has to be spent league-wide on player salaries. (I say theoretically, because the reality is that many teams are way over the floor annually, and the increase doesn’t affect their spending.)
Even if that $224 million is more like $75 million, which is likely, we’re actually dealing with something there called a cap number. Many of you know what that means, but for those who don’t, a cap number is an artificial measure of salary expense within a given period, which is generally comprised of a base salary, a prorated portion of a signing bonus, and incentive payments which are earned, or deemed likely to be earned. That sounded complicated to read, I know, so an illustration is in order.
I have absolutely no sympathy for Ralph Wilson or Mike Brown as the rumors fly that they don’t appreciate the direction that the Brady vs. NFL settlement talks have been taking in putting together a new CBA. Neither man is a quality NFL owner or shows the slightest desire or ability to make his team a consistent winner.
Wilson, who is 92 years old, seems to be playing out the string of his life. He pays lip service to wanting to keep the Bills in Buffalo, but he clearly recognizes that the viability of western New York as an NFL home continues to diminish as its historically blue collar labor environment is marginalized, and the population resultingly diminishes. Buffalo is the worst market in the NFL, and when the team is sold upon Wilson’s death, I’m pretty sure the new owner will be looking to Toronto or Los Angeles.
As for Brown, he’s the son of Paul Brown, who founded the Bengals back when you didn’t have to really be all that wealthy to start an NFL team. Paul was a successful coach of the Browns for many years, and it sure helped to have Hall of Famers like Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Lou Groza, and Jim Brown. Upon founding the Bengals, the Brown magic never returned. Mike Brown is not the football man his father was, and he's also the cheapest owner in the NFL. He hires the assistant coaches - with the Head Coach having little to no say in the matter - and pays them the lowest salaries in the NFL for their peer groups. He also has always maintained the smallest scouting staff in the NFL, and the senior front office people are a bunch of Browns and Blackburns. They’re the only mom and pop team in the NFL, and that’s the biggest reason that they can never establish a consistent winning program.
Happy Friday, friends. My Tuesday article seemed to spur a lot of comments calling for Kyle Orton to remain (or re-emerge as, depending on how you look at it) the starting Quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2011. That wasn’t really what I was driving at, and I find it interesting that the discussion took that turn.
The fact is, I am convinced that Tim Tebow should be the starting QB for the Broncos in 2011. I don’t even think it’s a difficult decision, actually, and Tebow gives Denver the best chance to win in both the near- and long-term.
I’m a Florida Gators fan, owing mostly to my six years spent in Jacksonville, when I kind of fully caught college football fever. I’ve seen a lot of Gators football over the last decade, so I know these guys very well. That said, I’m never a homer just to be a homer, in terms of evaluating the pro potential of Florida players. For example, I never would have told you that Chris Leak, a good college QB who started for four years and won a national championship, had the size or arm to be an NFL QB. He didn’t, and as such, he’s not in the NFL.
I mention this because I’ve been publicly saying for years that Tim Tebow would be a championship QB in the NFL, and I’ve basically staked my reputation on it, to the extent that an analyst can ever be fairly judged holistically on one evaluation. I’m that certain that I’m right, and what Tebow showed on the field over the last three games of 2010 made me that much more sure.
I was recently asked by a couple of readers to discuss what went wrong with the offense of the 2010 Broncos. It's too long of a story to be adequately told in a reply comment, so I decided to make a full post out of it.
If you asked Captain Obvious this question, he'd give you a really surface-level description, and end it with some nonsense about what most in the NFL think, with it probably revolving around deficiencies he sees in Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno, since everything revolves around the QB and the RB. The real story is way over Jeff's head, of course, but here at IAOFM, we're dedicated to providing the best analysis you can find anywhere, even if that's not that hard to do.
Let's start with some offensive theory. Is it better to run or to pass? A lot of research indicates that passing is a more productive activity than running, and all of us at this website tend to believe in that research.
That doesn't mean that running the ball is a waste of time, not in the least. It may be second priority, but it's still a priority. Running the ball effectively makes it easier to throw the ball effectively, after all. It also makes it easier for an offense to stay on schedule.
Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s another nice day in Cleveland, and I hope that’s the case wherever you live too. I have to quickly address something, dating back to my last piece, and some of the nonsense that ensued in the comments section. I’ve said now for years that I’m in the saying what I think business, and not the arguing business. I let myself get dragged into some silly arguing on Monday, and I’ve reminded myself that that’s not what I want to be doing. There’s no value in it for me, or for anybody else. If you want to troll it up in my comments, you will not be engaged by me.
And now, back to regular football programming. It’s interesting to me how much Brandon Lloyd has been in the news lately, because I’ve been planning to write a piece about him for the better part of the week.
I don’t really get into the human side of players that much, as we have the outstanding Doc Bear keeping that covered as well as anybody on the internet, but with Lloyd, you almost have to consider his personality to get at how his career has gone, and why.
Happy Sunday, friends. Y'all remember White Boy Day, right? Of course you do; I think some of you are still mad at me about it. I have found it interesting how a middle-of-the-pack NFL RB - who tailed off late in the 2010 season due to overuse and led the league in fumbles while playing for a losing team - was voted the Madden coverboy. I have posited several times over the last few years that Hillis's wide popularity is largely due to the fact that he's very rare as a caucasian tailback. People get pissed at me for saying so, but I think all this stuff about "grit" and "blue collar" is code for "he looks like us, and we can relate to him."
I think that's fine, and that it doesn't in and of itself make anybody a racist. People of all ethnic groups tend to naturally identify with their own, and it's an instinct-driven defense mechanism. It's good that the world is consciously moving toward widespread racial tolerance, but it's a societal choice that we're making, and not something that happened naturally, in the sense of evolutionary biology.
So, I continue to believe that Hillis is massively popular because he's caucasian, and the majority of NFL fans are caucasian. I have tended to think that that popularity drove the voting victory for Hillis in appearing on the cover of Madden. It turns out that his race had little to do with his victory, at least in the final round of voting. I know some of you are thrilled, and feel vindicated by me telling you this. Last night, I learned how and why Hillis actually won, and I feel like I should share that information with you all, so that we all have the record straight.
Happy Memorial Day, friends. My craziness around moving and traveling is mostly over, but I still have to spend a good part of today cleaning my old place, which is just the worst part of moving. I've been too busy to write anything in awhile, though, and I wanted to take a few minutes to get something out today.
Unfortunately, we remain in a world where the NFL is locked out despite the fact that the NFLPA decertified as a union and disavowed any interest in collective bargaining on behalf of NFL players. In the wake of the decertification, several class action antitrust lawsuits have ensued, and the merits are clearly with the players, even if time isn't on their side. The Eighth Circuit ruled for a stay of Judge Susan Nelson's injunction against the lockout, by basically surmising that the Norris-LaGuardia Act doesn't allow federal judges to enjoin labor actions.
Interestingly, that law was passed in 1932 to prevent judges from trying to force unions back to work. Now, it's being used as a technicality to temporarily extend an illegal lockout of a non-organized workforce. I've been repeatedly seeing idiotic commentary lately, that opines that "the players" should come back to the bargaining table. "The players" want to litigate, rather than negotiate. The owners made the last offer, so "the players" should make one now.
Happy Friday, friends. I’ve been moving over the last three days and have had really minimal time to write lately. So you don’t forget about me, I decided to balance my ongoing time constraints with writing briefly today about something that I’ve been thinking about. I think that when free agency starts, the Broncos should consider proactively trying to sign Reggie Bush. He’s technically still under contract with the Saints, but it’s pretty clear that New Orleans isn’t going to pay $11.8 million for a part-time player, so everybody expects Bush will be free before long.
I know Reggie isn’t everybody’s glass of vodka, and I think there are some things about him that are troubling. His stupid tweet last week about how great the lockout is showed an obliviousness to his world and how he fits in it, and the whole dating-a-Kardashian business is a red flag. I’d hate to see the guy as a regular on a stupid reality show like Lamar Odom. He also pretty clearly took some improper benefits in college, and embarrassingly had to vacate the 2005 Heisman Trophy.
Then there will be the stat people, who’ll say, well, Reggie’s career high in rushing yards is 581 in his second season, and he hasn’t even been over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in any season except for his rookie one. These are good points. That 2006 rookie season was also the only one where Bush ever played in all 16 games. It’s reasonable at this point to question the guy’s durability. I’m almost starting to talk myself out of this before I even make the case, because of all these “red flags."
Reality television (and to a lesser extent, Web 2.0) have had some interesting sociological effects. For one thing, I believe that they’ve fundamentally changed the way people communicate and tell stories. I don’t mean the medium as much as the delivery style. How many times in the last 10 years has somebody been telling you a story, and it sounds like they’re telling a camera guy on The Amazing Race? It’s the soundbite era, because people see edited-down soundbites on TV and internalize a thought that that is how people effectively communicate. It’s actually the way that people can pass vapid thought fragments back and forth on the way to Idiocracy coming true.
Another effect has been to wrongly convince everybody that their opinion is valid, and that it matters. We’ve moved well past Curtis Jackson of Action News Live at Five asking some dude named Cletus what the tornado sounded like. I was flipping through Facebook a couple days ago, in the wake of President Obama’s statement about the demise of Osama Bin Laden. Everybody is now a Middle East expert, including many who likely couldn’t find it on a map, or name four countries there off the top of their heads.
Trivia Question: What continent would you say the Middle East is on? (I’ll share my thoughts later on.) You have people who are vastly unqualified to comment saying that it doesn’t matter that Bin Laden is dead, because he had time to train others. That may be true, but I doubt it; it sounded like he’s been holed up in a compound in Abbottabad for six years or so. You have others spreading a fake Martin Luther King, Jr. peacenik quote, and still others stuck on the Obama-is-a-Muslim nonsense, and expressing surprise that he’d kill “one of his own.” Democrats wanted to credit Obama, and Republicans were struggling to find a tone that celebrated the success while de-emphasizing the President’s creditability. (They largely have failed, because it’s just silly; sometimes, politicians in the party you don’t like do good, and this is one of those times if you’re a Republican.)