Thursday, June 30, 2005 

Mr. Kraft goes to Russia

Nice cover story about New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft "giving" his Super Bowl ring to Russian president Vladimir Putin. I wish he'd come over my house so I could get "emotional" about the ring and get one for myself.

(Note: I think I've got the template issues worked out, though I'm not 100% satisfied yet.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 

Template Still Broken

Still not sure what happened, but something in how Blogger is displaying my new posts broke the links section. For now I'll try moving them.

Sunday, June 26, 2005 

Thanks Blogger

... for breaking my blog. The text is no longer wrapping correctly around the links section. I'll try to figure this out (like I had anything better to do with my time :-()


On The Prowl

The NFL and the Cincinnati Bengals are facing an antitrust suit brought by Hamilton County, Ohio.

The county alleges that the Bengals repeatedly misled taxpayers, claiming the team needed a new stadium to be profitable and to remain in the city. Taxpayers approved a one-half cent surtax to finance the $450 million Paul Brown Stadium, where the Bengals have played the past five seasons.

Current county commissioners contend the Bengals are not entitled to the advantageous lease they negotiated with the previous board.

The latest news was that the court has required that the NFL turn over financial statements and documents for the past 15 years from every team. That certainly doesn't sound like something the NFL would want to do given that their collective bargaining agreement with the players is about to expire. But there's a chance that the case, scheduled for trial in September, will be delayed or not held at all:

The Bengals have asked U.S. District Court Judge S. Arthur Spiegel to throw out the county's lawsuit, saying it was not filed within the four-year statute of limitations from the time the lease agreement was signed in 1997.

The NFL has a bad track record when these cases reach court, so they'll be pushing hard to get this one thrown out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 

Labor Peace or Else

Yesterday's agreement between the NBA and the player's union, described by Comissioner David Stern as a "50-50 deal", may foreshadow the next NFL labor deal. For the NBA, avoiding a lockout was critical, for several reasons:
1. The last lockout was very costly to the NBA.
2. Like the NHL, the NBA has to be concerned about the number of fans who already dislike the game. A lockout would just rub salt in the wound.
3. With the NHL most likely coming back next season, an NBA lockout would have handed the NHL a golden opportunity to restore, and maybe even expand, their fan base. I'm sure the NBA benefited from the absence of hockey this past season.

For the NFL, there's great reluctance to change what isn't broken from the owner's point of view. In fact, the salary cap has enhanced parity and the league has never been more popular. An uncapped year would lead to chaos. But the costs of a lockout in the NFL, even a short one, could also be staggering. Each team only plays 8 regular season games at home, so even a brief two-week stoppage would represent a significant revenue hit.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 


This week marks the first official week of summer, which means that NFL training camps will be opening soon. There's been little news lately, unless you want to count Kansas City signing Freddie Mitchell (yawn).

The most reported item in the past week was NBC's signing of John Madden for their Sunday night package in 2006. While I was intrigued by Dick Ebersol's hinting that he'll be talking to Al Michaels about jumping ship at the same time, I don't think Michaels and Bob Costas can co-exist at the same network. Too bad NBC didn't have the guts to develop their own team.


Happy Father's Day

Spend some time with your Father today. It's a fair bet that he's done more for you than you realize.

Too bad there's no football games on TV...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 

If at first you don't succeed...

Now I've heard everything. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is so desperate to host the Olympics in 2012 that he now wants to back a new Stadium for the Mets.

The Mets would pay the cost of the stadium, which would open in 2009 and be built adjacent to the existing Shea Stadium in Queens. It would be converted for use for the Olympics if the city is chosen as the host for the Games.

The city and state would contribute $180 million for improvements to the infrastructure around the stadium and would pay an additional $100 million to convert the stadium to Olympic use.

The Mets' principal owner, Fred Wilpon, said he would not know the cost of the stadium until a design was selected, but he estimated that it would be $600 million.

It doesn't sound like the folks in Queens share Bloomberg's vision:

When New York wanted a World's Fair, the city spent 50 years, from 1889 to 1939, holding out for a location in Manhattan, without success. Finally, the city settled on Flushing Meadows and won the fair, which returned in 1964.

And so yesterday, a day after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that Queens would be the fallback site for the city's Olympics bid - his Manhattan dream having crashed and burned - few people in the Borough of Fallbacks were shocked. Once again, New York's utility borough would pick up after Manhattan, repairing what needed to be fixed, bearing the burden of the city's, and the nation's, Olympic hopes for 2012.

What a joke. If this deal ever happens, the city and the state is going to be on the hook for a lot more than $280 million since that "conversion" figure doesn't seem to include converting it back into a baseball-only stadium. Plus, how would you like to be the Mets in 2012; can you say "road trip"? They'd have to clear out of the new Shea for several weeks just to accomodate the Games, plus deal with the conversion construction. Of course, Wilpon just sees the dollar signs for the infrastructure and is willing to make any deal. But why can't Bloomberg let the Olympics go?

Sunday, June 12, 2005 

Seeing less of Seymour

New England Pro Bowl DL Richard Seymour made news this week by refusing to attend a mandatory minicamp. Seymour had attended all of the voluntary sessions, so his absence was somewhat surprising, even though the 5-year veteran has reportedly been unhappy with his contract situation. With two years remaining on his original rookie contract, Seymour is averaging $3.3 million a year, while the average for the top five DL contracts in the league is $6.6 million.

The problem for Seymour is that he is going to have to leave New England to become the highest-paid lineman. Since Belichick and the brain trust didn't make Tom Brady the highest-paid QB, it would shock me if they come close to that with Seymour. He's a great player, but he's also inconsistent - though I always wonder if the Patriots various schemes utilize Seymour in different ways so he appears to be less consistent. The other problem for Seymour is that the Patriots have several younger defensive linemen (Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Jarvis Green, etc), so unless one of them stumble this year, it's unlikely they'll overpay at a position where they have some quality depth.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005 

Fool's Gold

It's been a tough few days for folks looking to build new football stadiums. Pasadena has dropped out of the bidding to host an NFL team in the Los Angeles area, and Carson dropped out last month. That leaves a site in Anaheim next to the Angels stadium and the LA coliseum as the two remaining bids. Pasadena had some very logical reasons:

The city was believed to be asking at least $1 million in annual rent from the NFL. The Star-News reported, however, that the NFL had offered less than $325,000 in annual rent and that the difference in figures had created some doubts for council members who initially supported the plan.

Opponents argued that the NFL would bring too much traffic, displace park users from the Arroyo Seco and threaten the Rose Bowl's historic status.

Meanwhile, it looks like the plan for a new stadium in New York City are dead.

A state panel [the Public Authorities Control Board] denied an essential chunk of funding [$300 million] for a proposed $2 billion stadium on Manhattan's West Side -- the centerpiece of the city's bid to host the Olympics. Rules dictate the city cannot change its proposal, which the International Olympic Committee is considering along with bids from Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow. The IOC will choose a host city on July 6 [for the 2012 games].

"We have let America down," Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a stadium proponent, said Tuesday. "The (U.S. Olympic Committee) selected us, New York, to represent the country. Other American cities wanted to have the privilege of competing at the world level."

Is he serious? Talk about over the top. While I would like to see the Olympics hosted by the United States again, the logistics in Manhattan are a nightmare - and the federal government (that's you and me and every other American taxpaper) would be forced to pay the lion's share of the security costs. Plus, I doubt that many New Yorkers would appreciate the two additional weeks of gridlock. The U.S. Olympic Committee should try to think more realistically.

In general, I dislike government subsidies for professional sports stadiums. But if they want to do it, at least group a few facilities together on a single site (provided there is enough space, like in Anaheim) so they can share the same public transportation infrastructure and save the taxpayers some money.

Sunday, June 05, 2005 

Follow the Money

I guess NFL teams have figured out the salary cap. June 1 has come and gone with relatively few big names being released (unless you count Koren Robinson, Johnnie Morton, or Chad Morton as a "big name"). In past years, you might have seen the Bills release someone like Drew Bledsoe around this time, but they made that move months ago.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 

One Step Closer

Today, a judge dismissed Cablevision's lawsuit against the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, ending this attempt by Charles Dolan to stop the building of the proposed new Jets stadium. There are other lawsuits pending, but this is a step in the right direction for the folks trying to bring the Jets and the Olympics to Manhattan.

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