Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Only days after pushing late kickoffs back 10 minutes, the NFL will reportedly make more important changes to improve the gameday experience for both ticketholders and home viewers:
- Teams will have the flexibility to set blackout thresholds as low as 85%, allowing teams to both add seating and avoid blackouts
- During replay reviews, fans in attendance will be able to see the same footage as officials
- Fans will no longer be on their own when it comes to creating noise before key downs; of course, this will be key with the wine and cheese crowd at SAF@MH
- Some or all stadiums will finally have free WiFi
- Smartphone apps will allow fans to listen to mic'd up players
All of these changes are welcome and long overdue, especially those first three items. Along with the later kickoffs and the coming availability of All-22 film, the league has taken several fan-friendly steps of late. It's not often we say this, but well done, NFL.
Legendary agent mouthpiece Len Pasquarelli says the eye-popping contract extension Connor Barth signed with the Bucs last month has set the kicker market higher than teams are willing to pay their franchised FG men. According to Pasquarelli, the agents for Matt Prater and others are stressing that their players add extra value by handling kickoffs for their teams, unlike Barth. Again, I was all for locking up Prater on a long-term deal, but the figures Barth got are too rich for my liking. Unfortunately, Steven Hauschka re-signed with the Seahawks for one year at a bargain pricetag of $1.26M, leaving just Ryan Longwell as a viable veteran free-agent option.
In his Sunday column, Ian Rapoport gives us another reason to like the engaging RGIII - he grew up a Broncos fan:
“People would think I rooted for the Cowboys, but I was actually a Broncos fan growing up,” RGIII told me. “Yeah, John Elway, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, Ed McCaffrey – those guys were the reason I played football in the first place. They kinda motivated me to do that. It’s just ironic that Coach (Mike) Shanahan was their coach.” Griffin said he’ll pick Shanahan’s brain down the road about those old teams. This camp, though, Sharpe and Rod Smith came in and talked to the Redskins “about what it takes to win championships,” Griffin said.
Mike Florio interpretats Roger Goodell's memo about a team potentially relocating to Los Angeles next season to indicate the Chargers are the likeliest team to make such a move.
As expected, Saints LB Jonathan Vilma is suing the NFL in federal court, contending the Ginger Hammer has issued the bounty suspensions vased upon flawed and unsubstantiated evidence, and demanding a timely ruling on Vilma's suspension appeal.
Niners LB Aldon Smith, who was runnerup to Von Miller for DROY last year, suffered minor stab wounds while reportedly trying to break up a fight at a party in San Jose.
Sam Monson examines three years of RB elusiveness data, finding no Broncos among the top and bottom; Nathan Jahnke looks at QB performance under pressure, with Peyton Manning inviting the least pressure, but also taking the fewest sacks when he is under pressure. Surprisingly, Peyton is among those QBs throwing the most picks under a rush, but of course he's one of the most accurate passers under duress.
KC fans are just finding out that Peyton Hillis works out by pulling trucks; not sure how that helps out with fumbleitis.
Tim Tebow is among the players Ryan Wilson most expects to have a smaller impact in 2012 as compared to last season.
Likely only a PSU fan would be surprised by this, but some 2001 emails between Penn State administrators suggest quite strongly that Joe Paterno had influence in the decision not to report Jerry Sandusky to the authorities. What's undeniable is that former AD Tim Curley and university president Graham Spanier are despicable human beings who placed their own careers ahead of the wellbeing of helpless children.