Monday, May 31, 2004 

A Day to Remember

On this Memorial Day, all of us should take a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. It is easy sometimes to forget our history, and to think of "duty, honor, country" as just a slogan. We owe our way of life to those who fought for our way of life.

Saturday, May 15, 2004 

Slow week

Not much happening on the NFL front now that the draft is over. Everyone is waiting for June 1 to see who gets released.

I did hear the guys on the Big Show on WEEI talking about Michael Felger's book on New England Patriots history, which is due out in September. Sounds like the book will be worth it.

Sunday, May 09, 2004 

I'd like to be in pictures

The recent "Spider Man 2" ad controversy in MLB makes me wonder about the future of sports advertising. First of all, Sony Pictures got tons of FREE publicity because MLB decided NOT to put the Spider Man 2 logo on the bases. I doubt anyone would have cared if the ad campaign was kept quiet, since how often does TV show the "top" of the bases? (Which suggests that someone at Sony leaked it...) A far better bang for the buck would be to pay the Red Sox to put a picture of Spider Man climbing the Green Monster, maybe with him shooting some webbing towards the seats on top of the wall. Then do a few other unique things at other parks (have him sit in the glove at the ballpark formerly known as Pac Bell in San Francisco?). That would get far more ad time on TV than adorning the bases.

Personally, I'd rather see less commercial interruptions in NFL games (and TV in general) by having advertisers buy time during the game and place ads around the corners and edges of the screen like they do during World Cup Soccer games - or electronically place logos right on the field like they do for NASCAR. The TV networks already advertise their own shows that way, but they're probably scared about diluting the 30-second commercial market (even though TiVo and similar services are already weakening it). The commercial breaks in NFL games are getting ridiculous, and make the prime time games unbearably long for those of us on the east coast. Maybe the NFL Network will try it if they take over some of the games after the current TV contract runs out...

Saturday, May 01, 2004 

School's Out

In the wake of the NFL Draft, it's interesting to contemplate the impact of the Maurice Clarett court decisions. Gene Upshaw's remark about 18-year-olds being able to do a lot of things but "they're not getting hit by Ray Lewis" is the heart of the NFL's case, and so far it appears the courts approve the notion that the NFL, as a private entity, can choose to bar certain individuals from their draft.

In contrast, look at the NBA. The recent flood of High School players and early draftees has led to several young superstars (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, LeBron James) but has arguably weakened the quality of the league by devaluing the benefits of playing 4 years in college. As one example, look at Ryan Gomes from Providence College. He's a junior who's testing the NBA draft waters. He's also a first team All-American, so you would think he would be easily selected in the first round, right? No way. Because of the High School players, freshman and sophmore college players, and an influx of international players who have signed up for the draft, Gomes may end up pulling his name out of the draft rather than risk being selected at the bottom of the first round - if not in the second round, with no 3 year guaranteed contract.

The NFL draft is the most anticipated sports draft in this country because most of the players are recognizable and the feeling among fans that the draft means something. The players selected in the first few rounds are expected in step in and play, not sit on the bench and wait for the NFL Europe season. In contrast, the NBA draft is drifting towards the MLB and NHL drafts that are all about drafting teenagers with "upside" instead of young men ready to contribute on the field.

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