Ted's Analysis

An important thing to remember

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.

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A case for pursuing Reggie Bush

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."

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Talkin’ noise and the NFL Draft

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.)

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You Got Served: Live third-round analysis

Ted Bartlett evaluates draft-eligible prospects in his spare time, among a number of activities he pursues, including golf, MBA classes, and dating women who are much younger than him.  When his kindergarten teacher told him that he was advanced, what she was saying was that, with minimal effort, he'd be able to do better than "really passionate" people who try their hardest.  He also focuses on the NFL's business and legal environment, offensive and defensive schemes, going off on unrelated tangents, and all 32 teams in the NFL. Follow along as he offers his instant analysis of tonight's NFL Draft.

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You Got Served: Live second-round analysis

Ted Bartlett evaluates draft-eligible prospects in his spare time, among a number of activities he pursues, including golf, MBA classes, and dating women who are much younger than him.  When his kindergarten teacher told him that he was advanced, what she was saying was that, with minimal effort, he'd be able to do better than "really passionate" people who try their hardest.  He also focuses on the NFL's business and legal environment, offensive and defensive schemes, going off on unrelated tangents, and all 32 teams in the NFL. Follow along as he offers his instant analysis of tonight's NFL Draft.

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You Got Served: Live first-round analysis

Ted Bartlett evaluates draft-eligible prospects in his spare time, among a number of activities he pursues, including golf, MBA classes, and dating women who are much younger than him.  When his kindergarten teacher told him that he was advanced, what she was saying was that, with minimal effort, he'd be able to do better than "really passionate" people who try their hardest.  He also focuses on the NFL's business and legal environment, offensive and defensive schemes, going off on unrelated tangents, and all 32 teams in the NFL. Follow along as he offers his instant analysis of tonight's NFL Draft.

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All in all, you’re just another brick in the (pay) wall

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.

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On Bubbles (and I don’t mean that dude from The Wire)

A Navy buddy of mine named Billy Gamble recently asked if I thought there would be a lockout that would affect the 2011 season.  He couched the question in terms of his own outrage with paying $8 for a beer, and I think that's a fairly common and reasonable fan reaction:

I spend a lot of money on football, so what the hell is the problem?  Why would there even be talk of a lockout?  Isn't there enough money coming in right now for everybody to get a fair piece?  I mean, come on, 8 freaking dollars for a beer?

The short answer is, no, I don't think there will be a lockout that causes any games not to be played.  It's possible-to-likely, though, that a lockout occurs which delays the start of the new NFL year, and makes things which are normally orderly, like free agency and offseason workouts, a bit chaotic.

I decided that I'd talk extensively today about NFL economics, and move from that into a discussion about the real issues in this collective bargaining negotiation.  As usual, my assumption is that my readers are smart enough to understand all of this, but I realize that there may be some detailed questions which you may have. I'll be glad to answer those in the comments.

First, let's talk about some accounting concepts, at a really basic level.  This is obviously what I do for a living, and it can get very complicated, but, for now, I'm only going to touch on stuff which frankly everybody should understand, and which a shocking number of people misunderstand.

The first key term is revenue, which is the top line of any income statement.  Revenue simply means gross income received for goods and services.  The $8 for the beer, the $200 for the ticket, and the $1 billion that DirecTV pays each year for Sunday Ticket rights all end up as revenue.  All current-term and future cash inflows related to business operations become revenue.

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What a John Fox defense looks like

I’m pretty excited about the hiring of John Fox.  He wasn’t my first choice, but when Gregg Williams declined to be interviewed, I started to warm to Fox over Perry Fewell.

I’ve said this a few times, but I’ll do it again.  While I ordinarily favor offensive coaches, this Broncos football team was screaming for a guy who leans to defense.  After all of the ridiculous turnover on that side of the ball, coupled with a non-systemic approach to player acquisition under the Shanahan regime running into a short-lived McDaniels regime, there are a lot of mismatched parts that don’t play with much cohesion.  I think that getting one system in place, and playing it for a long time, and acquiring players specifically to fit it will be hugely beneficial.

Here’s the thing, though.  John Fox isn’t a system guy, really.  He’s a football guy, who manages the whole team, and leaves the systems and the play-calling to his coordinators.  His overall framework, though, is one that emphasizes toughness, preparation, execution, and intelligence.  The Broncos got a decent start on becoming tougher and more physical under the McDaniels regime, but there’s still a ways to go, and Fox will always push for getting more physical, on both sides of the ball.

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On gunslinging and rookie quarterbacks

I’d like to tell you a story, because, let’s face it, I always set up my football articles with personal stories which may or may not be relevant to my chosen football topic.  You know what, though?  It’s my platform, and I get to say what I want.  This story takes place last Wednesday, December 29th, in lovely Cleveland, Ohio.  I like the Christmas season, without actually liking the holiday itself.  The reason I like it is that a lot of my closest friends who’ve skipped town for jobs, or spouses, or whatever, come home for the holidays.

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