The 2017 World Series is over and it turned out to be a great one, going the full seven games. Actually, when you think of it, it was great for only one team: the Houston Astros. It seemed like all the great moments broke in their favour when it really counted, during those close game two and game five late-inning situations. As for the LA Dodgers, they suffered too many pitching meltdowns at the worst times, with Yu Darvish wilting under the seventh game pressure to give up five runs in the first two innings. I had just come out from a reporting assignment when I turned on the car radio and learned the Astros were already up 5-0. The game was pretty much over right away.
So, a team that was this decade’s version of the ‘62 Mets only a few short years ago has made it all the way to the top, and they truly did build it from the ground up. (Toronto Blue Jays, let this be a lesson to you.) This Sports Illustrated cover from 2014 called it, with George Springer ending up as series MVP with all his home runs.
Anyway, the major league baseball season is over, and as far as I am concerned it should be over, because in my part of the world this whole place is cold and covered in snow! When that is the weather outdoors, you know it is time to move on to the winter sports.
This World Series ended up getting big ratings across the board, with TV ratings in both LA and Houston through the roof. This follows the epic 2016 World Series won by the Chicago Cubs, which also went seven full games and dominated the ratings.
Moreover, that crazy Sunday night 13-12 game on FOX that went 5.5 hours clobbered Sunday Night Football on NBC. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that it was the NFL beating Major League Baseball in the TV ratings, and everyone was writing the stories about baseball’s lack of popularity and so on. Needless to say, these good World Series TV ratings are great news for baseball. As one commentator on the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) had said, you don’t want to see baseball go the way of boxing or horse racing.
And it’s more bad news for the NFL, which continues to suffer from lousy ratings and empty seats all over America, in particular in baseball-mad Los Angeles. But it is also going on in places where the NFL is supposedly popular.
All this kneeling-during-the-anthem political protest nonsense continues to plague the reputation of the league with sports fans. Now I notice even advertiser Papa John’s is complaining about it and claiming their pizza sales are down because of this controversy! That prompted their arch-rivals Pizza Hut to counter, saying the controversy hasn’t impacted them. So take that, Papa John’s. (Actually, I think maybe they wanted to stir up some free publicity for themselves by saying this.)
But there is no doubt the ratings are down, and there are now stories that networks like ESPN might pull out of their expensive NFL contracts. There are stories circulating about how Thursday Night Football is diluting the overall ratings. And the rumors are on that the owners, led by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, might dump Roger Goodell as commissioner.
To which my response is: good! Let’s see what a new commissioner is capable of, because there has been a litany of problems under Goodell’s watch: concussions and franchise free agency among them. Anthem protests are the least of the issues.
Sorry for the lack of posts here about Harvey Weinstein’s implosion, or about Pres. Donald Trump and the Iran nuclear deal. I’ve been too busy the last several days on assignment. Now that my stories are filed I am watching sports on TV, including NASCAR from Talladega, as well as the NFL. The big story today is from the Green Bay-Minnesota game where the news is that quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and is gone for the entire season. Yikes. Ouch.
Also, I’m trying not to care about the whole NFL national anthem controversy that has Americans so riled up. More later.
This time, however, the happenings on the sidelines were upstaged by Vice-President Mike Pence. He was in the audience in Indianapolis where the Colts were planning a salute to their retired legend Peyton Manning.
But then came the anthem, and a bunch of San Francisco 49ers knelt during the anthem, and Pence took the opportunity to get up, and leave.
The left-leaning political people promptly lost their minds on Twitter and called this move a deliberate political act by the Vice-President. Well, of course it is, but let’s face facts: Pence is simply keeping up with the players on the sidelines.
The Veep has free speech rights, too, you know — although I guess he was also following orders.
Aren’t you fed up yet with all this “politics” nonsense? As for me, I didn’t tune in; I tuned in NASCAR instead. Good choice.
Well, here we go again, another weekend of national anthem protests around the National Football League. I understand before their game in London, the Saints opted to take a knee and then all stand up, in an attempt to appease everyone. What a joke.
Meanwhile, conservatives and most football fans remain outraged, and the reason is simple: people are fed up with politics invading the National Football League. It’s no longer even about the message these bend-on-a-knee people are trying to send, because no one cares anymore. Fans have simply had enough, period!
Sports are supposed to be something you turn to in order to escape from all the rest of the BS that is your miserable life. It is especially supposed to be an escape from politics! But now, as is the case in the entertainment world for years, there is no escape.
People have had enough of politics invading the NFL, and invading ESPN, and invading every portion of their lives in America. And Pres. Donald Trump has clearly touched a nerve with all his Tweeting on the issue. He knows this is a winner for him, and a good distraction from all the rest of the problems and ongoing fights engulfing his administration (the latest one being Puerto Rico).
I notice big NFL fan Rush Limbaugh is so turned off that he’s going out and playing golf now on Sundays. To which I say: good for him, he’ll get some good exercise.
So, anyway, I guess the latest controversy today in the Upset States of America is that President Donald Trump is going after NFL players who don’t stand for the national anthem, calling for them to be fired, and that he also disinvited the Golden State Warriors from coming to the White House the day after Steph Curry said in the press he’d vote against attending the White House.
So now every single one of these NBA and NFL athletes are at war with President Trump. Moreover, Trump’s “base” of supporters, who are already mad at these players for being so disrespectful during the anthems, are now threatening boycotts of both these leagues.
My suggestion to Trump supporters: follow NASCAR instead, because you know for darned sure those folks will stand up for the anthem! Honestly, folks: what a country. There is no escape from politics down there.
Update (Sunday): here is the latest reaction on Twitter as of Sunday morning.
And the view from up here in Canada:
Another update (Monday): Oh, great. Trump is now dragging NASCAR into this whole political fracus:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s response:
The final act of this ridiculous NFL franchise musical-chairs of the past couple of years is happening. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has formally applied to move the Raiders to Las Vegas.
This will make it three NFL franchises moving in the span of one year (see above graphic). But this instability really does make you wonder, though, which team is next to move? Jacksonville?
I don’t detect the same kind of shock and outrage that accompanied news that the Chargers were leaving San Diego, or last year’s announcement of the Rams leaving St. Louis, with both teams moving to LA. In part, it is because this Raiders move has been an open secret for several weeks, and people in Oakland seem resigned to their fate. Also, while the application has been made, this isn’t official yet. The Raiders still need 24 out of 32 votes from NFL owners to approve this.
But don’t worry, it will happen. This isn’t the NFL of the Rooneys or the Maras anymore. This league now belongs to guys like Jerry Jones, and Stan Kroenke, and these other big rollers. These new-generation owners live in the modern world and are A-OK with gambling, it seems. Moreover, the city of Las Vegas is waving a lot of money at the Raiders with their new $1.7 billion-dollar stadium proposal, and that surely impresses the league. It’s all about money, and it definitely is not about fans anymore, in today’s NFL.
Unless, of course, you are an NFL fan in Las Vegas. In which case, it looks like you finally have a home team.
The sports books took a bath when New England and Atlanta covered their spreads, and then took a further drubbing the next day due to heavy action on underdog Green Bay, who went into Dallas and upset the Cowboys 34-31 on a miracle completion from Aaron Rodgers that set up the winning Mason Crosby field goal. A miserable weekend was then capped when a late penalty to Kansas City wiped out a game-tying two-point conversion, and they lost to Pittsburgh. Word is William Hill lost a million dollars in one day, alone.
Not only was it a bad weekend for Vegas sports books, but ticket resale prices for the upcoming Super Bowl LI in Houston took a 25 percent dive once America’s Team, the Cowboys, were eliminated. It’s pretty obvious the Cowboys, and to a lesser extent, the Texans, were driving interest in Super Bowl tickets this year, because now that they are gone the prices have hit the skids, big time. Instead of an average ticket costing $6,100 as of last Friday, average ticket prices for the big game are now selling for a dirt-cheap, bargain-basement $4,600!
Good grief, man, who has the money to spend on Super Bowl tickets?!
Maybe the folks who won big in Vegas betting on football can afford to pay these ridiculous ticket prices, because the rest of the population sure can’t.
I’ve been tuning in the feed from The Mighty 1090 today listening to San Diego football fans venting about the news this morning that the San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles. They are the Los Angeles Chargers now, effective immediately.
The team will play in Carson for two years at the LA Galaxy’s stadium and then join the Rams at the new stadium in Inglewood.
This means San Diego has lost yet another major-league team to LA — the NBA Clippers also moved out of there years earlier.
There is nothing worse in sports than losing your favourite team to another city. And, yeah, the Padres are still there, but that’s not the NFL. That’s baseball, that’s totally different.
Among other things, they don’t play baseball in November and December and (occasionally) January. It’s worth supporting, probably more so now than the NFL anyway, but it’s not football.
I guess this gives Meryl Streep a football team to root for in LA, then, eh? Actually, this is no laughing matter in San Diego, even though this soap-opera surrounding the future of their football team has been going on full-blast for at least two years. The Chargers lost the vote on the new stadium proposal in November, so everyone probably should have seen this day coming. But people had still held out hope right to the end.
If you’re a diehard fan of any football team, listening to San Diego talk radio right now will make your heart break for these Chargers fans. Needless to say, the fans there are shocked, are crying, are tossing all their Chargers gear in the trash, and venting anger at owner Dean Spanos and commissioner Roger Goodell, and everyone else in the NFL.
The biggest shock to the system for the fans was surely when they went on Twitter and found out that the Chargers had changed their Twitter handle! Also, they changed their logo to this ugly-looking piece of junk above which sort of looks like a ripoff of the Dodgers’ logo.
Anyway, I feel for San Diego. This is more NFL greed at work! That is all.
As you may detect, I am personally getting more and more annoyed with the National Football League.
This league is clearly less and less interested in the grassroots football fans, and more and more interested in empire-building and making gobs of money for its owners.
Take this London series of games, for instance. They played a game today at Twickenham Stadium which is the top rugby venue in England, between the NY Giants and the LA Rams. The Giants won, 17-10.
This is one of three games they are playing there this season. Every time they play a game there, it simply leads to more expectation that the NFL is interested in putting a team into London permanently, whether it is through expansion or relocation.
This talk drives me crazy, and the reason it drives me crazy is because the NFL has no business putting a team into London, England. The people of England don’t care whether the NFL puts a team there or not. They are a soccer, rugby, cricket and F1 nation… not to mention tennis and golf. All these sports are ahead of the NFL in interest there. Maybe even darts, too.
I’m convinced the NFL games there are a novelty act — like whenever Manchester United or Liverpool or whomever play these summer soccer games in the States. It’s the exact same thing.
Meanwhile, you have Canada, a country where football is practically the second-most popular sport behind the NHL — at least, in years when the Blue Jays aren’t winning in baseball — and where the Super Bowl is easily the top-rated TV broadcast of the year, regularly. And yet commissioner Roger Goodell and crew are thinking they’d rather set up in London, where there is much less of a history for the sport? It is mind-boggling.
Of course, there are multitudes of CFL fans who are saying “good! Stay out of Canada!” The NFL is already killing the CFL in the TV ratings every week, and the fear is that if the NFL puts a team in, say, Toronto, that would kill the Toronto Argonauts and drive the entire CFL out of existence. Never mind that there are eight other cities in the CFL, most of which are nowhere near Toronto. Putting an NFL team into Toronto does nothing for most of them. Yet the fear is all the national sponsors would flee the CFL for the NFL, and that would be enough to put the CFL out of business across Canada.
It shows you just how dominant the NFL is in this country, Canada, even without a team located within its borders.
In fact, places like Mexico or even Japan (!) would be better bets for the NFL than England, because there is plenty of interest in football there. They show NFL games on TV in Mexico, regularly, for example, and the league gets plenty of coverage. In England, the league’s coverage has been getting better, but the NFL will always be second-fiddle to whatever games the Barclays Premier League serves up the same day. (In fact, there were two of them today.)
I don’t know what the NFL is trying to prove by holding games in England. In fact, the games are money-losers there. But I guess I should be happy because if I ever move to London with my UK citizenship rights, I could go and watch NFL games there live!
Right. How much are tickets there, over a hundred bucks?!
Now, if you will excuse me, I am all pumped up to watch the big Formula 1 race later today — from the United States!!!
You know, the National Football League is having its problems lately. Its TV ratings are still taking a dive and people are still blaming it on all kinds of things: backlash from the anthem protests, competition from the presidential debates, you name it.
But there is at least one place which still holds the NFL in high esteem. Nevada.
Today, its State Senate voted 16-5 in favor of a deal for a new Las Vegas domed stadium to try and lure the Oakland Raiders. It needed two-thirds support to pass, and made it. I guess what put it over the top was intense lobbying by the trade unions to put all these unemployed construction workers in Las Vegas back to work.
This deal includes a hike to the room taxes in all the hotels. Apparently, though, the room tax would go up by just under a percent. I don’t exactly know what this means in plain English, but if it’s going to be only a slight increase I could probably live with it as a tourist. I’ll simply stay one less night in Vegas, then, on my trips there (hee hee).
(Or perhaps I’ll do what Paulina Gretzky does and go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico instead on vacation. Think about that, Vegas.)
Still, this is not a done deal yet, this goes to the Assembly on Thursday where this could still run into problems.
Keep in mind there is a lot of public money going into this proposal — $750 million — and the whole stadium project is estimated at $1.9 billion!! That, folks, is absolutely ridiculous. Here in Saskatchewan, they just finished building a new pro football stadium for the Roughriders with public funding, and people here already think it is an absolute palace compared to the old place, and it only cost $278 million! And yet there are people here who think that is a lot of money!
Anyway, it just shows you what lengths leaders in Las Vegas and in Nevada will go to, just to bring an NFL team there. Personally, I think the overall price tag is a waste of money and that Las Vegas is already doing well with what they have there now (NASCAR, new NHL team, the fights, etc.), but I guess they really, really want the NFL. I guess I can’t blame them; if I were living there I’d probably want the NFL, too.
$1.9 billion dollars for a new stadium for the Raiders; that is insane.
I’ve been reading these reports about how the TV ratings for NFL games have been slipping for the early season games. It’s prompting the usual freak-out from people about how the NFL is losing popularity and so on.
First of all, this is nonsense. The NFL is the No.1 sport by such a wide margin that it’s not a contest. Still, I know something about sports history and the popularity of various sports ebbs and flows. There used to be a time when baseball was the number one sport in the USA, but then it lost its popularity due to a lot of things — free agency, franchise moves, player strikes, steroids, etc. etc.
As I see it, the NFL threatens to go down the same path of decline if it doesn’t watch what it is doing. As for the current ratings decline, a lot of people are pointing to all those various protests (started by 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick) by players during the national anthems, with guys taking a knee and so on. A lot of fans are turned right off by this and think this is showing disrespect for the flag and for the country, and for all the armed forces personnel who put their lives on the line in combat. And then you have the people who are simply pro-police and don’t like it for that reason.
I’m seeing a lot of online comments from the right-wing people claiming they are boycotting the NFL until this ends. I think these folks are really more interested in being right-wing than in being NFL fans to begin with. But it’s true, people are fed up.
It’s not just that. It’s all these stories about criminality by NFL players, and stories about domestic violence, that are turning fans off. What ordinary fan is going to want to cheer on a bunch of criminals? Then there are the horror stories out there about the health toll on players in general from these concussions. All this is prompting more fan boycotts and people swearing off of the sport.
In general, the blame for allowing all these problems to get so out of hand is directed at league office and commissioner Roger Goodell. People are simply sick and tired of all this and want action but they see the league office as too lax and uncaring, and more interested in its business.
That, at the end of the day, is probably the biggest thing turning off fans right now: the perception that the NFL only cares about making money for itself. It never used to be this way, it used to be about the action on the field. But now it’s about which owner has the fanciest, most expensive stadium.
Look at the stadiums all over the league these days. These are billion-dollar palaces the NFL keeps on building, and then they stick the fans with the bill with increased ticket prices and seat licenses. The cost of attending a Super Bowl is absolutely insane, with tickets costing a thousand dollars or more. Seriously, what average fan can support that? The Joe Average fan can’t support going to actual games anymore, let alone the Super Bowl, because of all this greed at the top.
But the thing that really drives me nuts is that the greed has extended to franchise free agency, with teams holding cities hostage by moving around or threatening to move. Of course, last week we had the first home regular-season game for the relocated Los Angeles Rams, who are currently at the Coliseum but are going to be building a huge billion-dollar stadium in Inglewood.
Fans in St. Louis got the shaft in this move, and yet their domed NFL stadium isn’t even that old! In fact, the stadium the Rams play in now is a dump and fan-unfriendly, but it is all about this new stadium they are building. The NFL left St. Louis because of greed, pure and simple.
Meanwhile, the rumors continue about the future of the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. The Chargers have been threatening to join the Rams in their new stadium in LA for some time. But they decided to stay in San Diego for one more season, while they tried to pass a ballot initiative for a new stadium downtown.
But that plan has run into opposition, including from fans and organizers of Comic-Con who are concerned that the new stadium will drive that iconic event out of San Diego, because of the impact on the convention center. Why San Diego can’t keep both the Chargers and Comic-Con boggles my mind, they’re both important to the city.
In any event, it increasingly looks like the ballot initiative, “Measure C”, is going to fail, and it sure looks like this is the final season for the Chargers in San Diego. All in all, if I were a Chargers fan right now I would not be happy with civic officials, or with anyone, really. They must all be angry at the league. The NFL is threatening to toss away an entire loyal fan base, one that kept the league relevant in Southern California for all the years that they had no team in LA.
A new Chargers facility should have been built long before this point because Qualcomm Stadium is old as the hills. But they waited too long, and now it’s all coming down to this last-minute decision at the ballot box, with the fate of the Chargers in the hands of non-football fans who want to save their money. But who can blame the taxpayers, really, if they don’t want to be hosed by pro sports.
Meanwhile, the rumors go on about the Oakland Raiders looking to move to Las Vegas. Casino owner Sheldon Adelson is the one backing the bid to build this huge billion-dollar stadium for the Raiders, with a heavy dose of public financing. Obviously, this is a big stumbling block because people in Vegas, and the rest of Nevada for that matter, don’t want to be hosed to pay for the NFL.
The big proposal floating around there is to finance the new stadium by putting in a new hotel tax to be financed by all the tourists who stay in hotels in Las Vegas. So every visitor to Las Vegas will see their costs of going to Vegas go up, all to support this stadium project that none of the tourists cares about.
Hey, Sheldon, I may be a big NFL fan, but there’s no way I’m supporting your hotel tax to pay for the Raiders! The main reason I go to Las Vegas so often is because it’s cheap to go there. But if I have to pay through the nose for hotel rooms, what’s the point? The tourists have alternatives, folks. Instead of Vegas, I could easily go to Phoenix, Arizona on direct flights, or to Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta or Cancun, Mexico, or Varadero, Cuba! Besides, the weather in all those places is warmer in January anyway. If their deals are better, I’m going there.
Las Vegas ought to put their foot down and tell the NFL to go to hell with their hose-the-taxpayer demands for money. Besides, it’s not like Las Vegas needs an NFL team. They’ve got the NHL now, and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg of taxpayers’ money to acquire that.
It’s questionable the NFL is even coming to Vegas, it sounds like a lot of owners would rather keep the Raiders in the Bay Area. But if I were a Las Vegas resident, I’d simply enjoy the new NHL team, plus NASCAR, NCAA, Sevens rugby and all the fights, and say to hell with the NFL. It’s a waste of everyone’s money.
Bottom line is: it is franchise free agency, and this treatment of fans as if they are a bottomless pit of money, that is turning people off of the NFL. And that is why the ratings are going down. The customers have had enough.
That’s my rant! Now, excuse me while I tune in NASCAR today — in protest.
The fallout just keeps on falling from the recent NFL-to-LA meetings. The Rams are, of course, gone to LA, infuriating everyone in St. Louis and swearing those folks off of the NFL for all time. Meanwhile, the franchises that were the two “losers” in the decision-making have been forced to make decisions of their own and come up with some alternative plan to what they originally proposed (which was sharing a stadium in Carson). So there has been news this week.
- First is the San Diego Chargers announced they are staying put, at least for 2016. They are going to try one more time to get a deal done with San Diego, and if it doesn’t work this time, they get to blame the idiots at City Hall for forcing them to move to LA.
This kind of reminds me of how the city of Winnipeg managed to get an extra season out of the NHL Jets in 1995-96 when it looked like they were definitely gone the year before. Anyway, we shall see what happens.
- As well, the Oakland Raiders continue to get nowhere in attempts to stay in Oakland, so they have been looking around. The big rumor this week was that owner Mark Davis was talking to Sheldon Adelson about moving into that domed stadium project being built for UNLV.
The Las Vegas Raiders. It sounds good to a lot of people.
EXCEPT the NFL has absolutely hated Las Vegas and all of its gambling and sports betting. Expecting them to turn around and suddenly like Vegas now is a real stretch. How the heck Davis will get his fellow owners to agree to this is a good question. If he really wants to move to Vegas, he may have to take his fellow owners to court. (Gee, I don’t think that has ever happened before with the Raiders.)
I don’t question Las Vegas would support the Raiders if they came, it would be fantastic for the city. I simply think hell will freeze over before the NFL will let it happen. I still think Las Vegas is a far better bet for an NHL expansion team. For one thing, the NHL owners simply don’t care about the gambling in Las Vegas, and furthermore the gamblers absolutely don’t care about the NHL (ha ha ha).
Speaking of which, this has got to be among the deadest weekends for sports for all time, with the NFL taking the weekend off (the Pro Bowl doesn’t count) and with the farce that is NHL All-Star Weekend upon us, attempting to fill this black hole of a sports void. And NASCAR has yet to start. Thank goodness for the Rolex 24, though, otherwise there will be nothing for sports fans to watch!
So it is officially announced by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Rams are leaving St. Louis for Inglewood. The San Diego Chargers have the first option to join them. If not them, the Raiders get the option. So there is still two teams in limbo, but at least for LA their wait is over. Los Angeles is a Rams town again.
And yet again, it sucks to be an NFL football fan in St. Louis.
It sounded like the relocation committee recommended the proposal for the joint Chargers-Raiders Carson stadium, but when it came to a vote it sounds like there was more support for the Rams going to Inglewood.
Now it looks like a decision is pending. If I were a football fan in St. Louis right now I would be really worried. More soon.
As I said, a lot is happening this day. Coming up later tonight, Ricky Gervais is back to skewer Hollywood again as host of the Golden Globe Awards. The red carpet is on right now and the live streaming is on over at the E! site. As an aside, this is actually one year when I am actually able to tune in to some of the Golden Globes at home, because usually in recent years I’ve been on a plane to Las Vegas while the Globes have been on.
It was an unusual Black Monday in the NFL on Monday. Usually it is dominated by news of teams firing their coaches after the season ended, but on this occasion it was dominated by news of teams looking to jettison their cities.
San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams all applied on Monday to move to metro Los Angeles. The Chargers and Raiders are looking at sharing a new stadium in Carson, the Rams are looking at a new stadium in Inglewood. All three franchises have previous ties to LA, and while in the Chargers’ case it was only for one year (1960), they are now the current incumbent franchise in Southern California after the Rams and Raiders left some 20 years ago.
All in all, it must have been agonizing news for football fans in these three cities. And the agony will not end for several days. The NFL meets on Jan. 12-13 in Houston to consider the proposals and no one has any idea what they will do. The consensus seems to be that the league will only allow a maximum of two teams in LA. They might only approve one, or maybe even punt the decision to a future meeting. Or they could approve some sort of franchise swap. Who knows what will transpire.
Personally, I am on record saying this whole situation is a disgrace and that these loyal NFL fans in these cities are being hosed. But then again, LA fans also got the shaft years ago and have had no team in the NFL to cheer for in 20 years, either.
Here is the question I have. Why is there so much interest by so many NFL teams in relocating to LA? It wasn’t like that place was such a great NFL market before when it had the chance, yet everyone suddenly sees it as the place to put multiple teams. Maybe these owners sense an opportunity now that the NBA’s Lakers, who have dominated LA sports forever, are so absolutely terrible.
Much as I love my beloved NFL, this league isn’t perfect. Far from it.
It’s got serious issues, all right — concussions being a big one. But another problem has been “franchise free agency” that has been going on for years, leading to such disgraces as the Colts leaving Baltimore for Indianapolis, and the Browns leaving Cleveland for Baltimore a decade later, and the Houston Oilers leaving for Tennessee, and the Cardinals leaving St. Louis for metro Phoenix — the latter move setting up the NFL abandonment of Los Angeles in the mid-Nineties when both the Rams and Raiders left the Southland.
Now, after 20 years, it looks as if the NFL is going to finally rectify that latter disgrace and return to LA, but it looks as if it will again come at the expense of football fans in other cities again, with the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers all on the brink of pulling up stakes. All three franchises have previous ties to LA, having been there for various periods of time.
All three of them have been threatening to move to LA for at least the last couple of years, It looks as if only two of the three teams will move, though. The owner clearly wants out of St. Louis, but officials are making a massive effort to try and save the Rams there.
So I don’t think Thursday night’s Rams game will be the last one for the NFL in St. Louis. I think something will get worked out.
But it’s a different story for Oakland and San Diego. Not much seems to be happening in those municipalities, with a lot of different proposals being floated around and getting nowhere, and rumors have been swirling that both teams might be sharing a new stadium in Los Angeles before long.
But it’s a fluid situation. Lately, there is also talk the Raiders might also stay put.
Which leaves the San Diego Chargers — who seem certain to join the Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers and St. Louis Football Cardinals in the dustbin of NFL history.
Today, the Chargers host the Miami Dolphins in their final home game of the season at Qualcomm Stadium. If I were a sports fan in San Diego I would be gutted. They are being ignored and abandoned by their municipal leaders, by their owner, and by the entire NFL in this episode.
This potential move has nothing to do with the fans, who keep on showing up. The issue there is the stadium, which they claim is past its prime. From my vantage point, the stadium looks fine to me. It looks a heck of a lot better than the one in Regina which is as old as the hills. But I guess the NFL expects all their stadiums to be these big palaces. Anyway, for the fans there it stinks. And franchise moves, in general, stink. The NFL and everyone else really ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The Chargers-Dolphins game may look like a nothing game in the standings, but it won’t be a nothing game from a historical perspective. I hope there is TV coverage of it, somewhere on the channels here, just to see the fan reaction.
This has been a work weekend so I have been out covering the local events for the past couple of days and filing pictures and stories. My work is pretty much done for the weekend, so that means I am now tuning in the NFL as well as the NASCAR “Chase” which is now on. It’s a pretty brazen move by NASCAR to put their product up against the mighty National Football League, but they manage.
While watching that, I have been looking for audio streams for these NFL teams and had been listening online to the Buccaneers and Dolphins radio networks. The thing I like about football from Florida is that folks there are totally into football and the NFL. Reminds me of the passion fans have here on the prairie for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Despite all the teams’ troubles, the fans still show up. Wish it were that way all over Canada, but it isn’t.
As an aside — I am done, absolutely done, with the Riders this season.
Last night the Riders managed to call a timeout that they didn’t actually want to call to begin with, allowing quarterback Henry Burris time to lead his team down the field to get the winning field goal in a 30-27 Ottawa win.
This was in spite of a decent enough start by quarterback Kevin Glenn. So now the Riders are 1-11 with six games to go in the season, and with Zach Collaros out injured in Hamilton all the talk now is about how the Riders might officially throw in the towel and trade Glenn over there.
The way things are going, this is shaping up as possibly the worst season in franchise history. This has certainly been the worst I’ve ever seen in my lifetime and I’ve endured no shortage of terrible Roughrider teams.
While the team is not yet officially eliminated the next six games are shaping up as meaningless contests for the Riders, for the most part. Makes me nostalgic about the old days when Roughriders teams routinely played nothing games late in the season every year.
Let me tell you, the Riders are really making it easy for me to concentrate on all the other sports going on right now.
As for me, I didn’t even tune in most of this CFL game on Saturday night. Instead of tuning in the Riders, I mainly followed the SJHL Battlefords North Stars game versus the Kindersley Klippers. This was job-related, as I was writing up the story on the weekend series between the two teams during this opening weekend of the SJHL hockey season.
In fact, it’s just two games into their regular season and the North Stars have more wins than the Riders have all year.
Can I add a comment on the weather? It has been beautiful this weekend, and while it is expected to cool down, this overall El Niño weather pattern looks like it will benefit this area for several weeks. Yet the local football fans aren’t getting a chance to enjoy it. This is September, supposedly the heart of football season, yet these loyal Saskatchewan fans who have shelled out their hard-earned money for Riders football are being reduced to watching a bunch of absolute nothing games coming up. Rider Nation deserves better.
Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady! It is all about the Patriots QB on all the all-sports radio stations, all-sports TV stations, and sports websites today as his Deflategate four-game suspension was lifted by a judge. Well, I’m sure Gisele is happy.
Given that our cable TV feeds come from Boston stations, we are surely never going to hear the end of this story today. It is sure to be all Brady all the time. And that is all for now, as I now tune in to the final night of the NFL preseason!
Yes, indeed, the day football fans have long anticipated is finally here. Hopefully this game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will be a good one, because this is the last football we fans are getting for a while.
If it is a blowout, I am sure it will be the icing on the cake of what people are calling the NFL’s worst season.
Domestic violence. Concussions. Deflated footballs. Now people are worried that the measles in Arizona will spread to folks attending the big game.
I will say this — these scandals and problems have truly brought the pro football haters out of the woodwork. You would never have guessed there are so many Americans out there who hate football, but there are, and the NFL has done nothing to shut them up, all season long.
One wonders if this will also be a bad year of Super Bowl commercials.
Usually these are the best part of the Super Bowl viewing experience, with ad agencies knocking themselves out with their creativity, but the quality of these increasingly stupid ads has really declined in recent years — making me feel less bad about not being allowed to see these commercials on TV due to living in frozen Canada. (Although I understand this will be changing soon.)
In other news, I plan to do up a post soon on Mitt Romney and his decision not to run for President again, and what that means for that whole race, but not today. I consider Super Bowl Sunday as my day off, and besides, I need a vacation from the vacation.
Deflategate. Ballghazi. Ballscam. Whatever you call this business of the New England Patriots allegedly deflating the footballs in their AFC Championship win over the Colts, it has added a jolt of interest to what is otherwise a sleepy week in the world of sports. This controversy will keep all the sports pundits ranting and raving through what will surely be a boring weekend for NFL fans waiting for the Super Bowl.
Yesterday, we had that big Bill Belichick press conference, and that big Tom Brady press conference, and it was all deny, deny, deny. Meanwhile, the sports radio hosts have been just losing it completely, just going nutty. This is what happens when a bunch of guys on the radio have nothing better to do with their lives.
Geez, what is there this weekend for sports fans? The NHL All-Star Game, which not even the hockey fans care about, and the NFL Pro Bowl, which also nobody cares about. There is soccer in Europe, and tennis in Australia, which is no good for Americans because it’s not happening in America. I suppose the good news for auto racing fans is the Rolex 24 is on this weekend at Daytona, and it’s about time, too, because I was missing auto racing.
Anyway, this latest NFL scandal is welcome news, we needed to liven things up.
It is a sad day for losing coaches in the NFL as it is yet another Black Monday for the non-playoff teams. The Chicago Bears fired Marc Trestman as well as the GM Phil Emery. The Jets have canned Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik. Atlanta coach Mike Smith was fired one day after the Falcons were crushed by Carolina in a game for the NFC South division title.
And Jim Harbaugh and San Francisco have mutually parted ways, with Harbaugh poised to become head coach at Michigan. Full firing day reaction is live here.
Word just came down that this weekend’s scheduled game at Ralph Wilson Stadium is moving to Monday night at Ford Field in Detroit. The field in Buffalo is completely buried in snow. Story here.
Hope the folks in Detroit have fun watching the Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets in a “home” game. They’re definitely going to have more fun than the snowed-under people in Buffalo, who are going to be spending probably the entire winter just digging their way out.
But I’m wondering — why is the game there, and not in Toronto? It’s not like there’s any football going on in the Rogers Centre right now.
Also, I notice tonight’s NFL game is the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Raiders. Yes, indeed, this was supposed to be the game many Saskatchewan Roughriders fans had circled on their calendar. It was supposed to be Weston Dressler versus Kory Sheets — so fans thought.
Well, it sure didn’t work out that way. Dressler and Sheets didn’t catch on. Now, this is just another game on the schedule. Such is life.
As I said before, it probably wouldn’t hurt for us NFL fans to band together one weekend and launch a Day of Protest or something like that. Something where we all boycott watching the NFL on Sunday for a week, just to send the powers that be a message that the criminality and other nonsense cannot go on anymore.
In any event, I’ll be tuning in the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL game this Sunday anyway, along with everyone else in Saskatchewan. In my opinion, any Sunday in which the Roughriders are playing is a good day for an NFL Day of Protest in my opinion.
All this off-the-field violence is ruining the sport. Now, I got out of the hero-worship business a long time ago — the folks in major league baseball disabused me of that. But just like the overpaid bums on steroids in that sport, the thugs in the NFL are giving their entire league a bad name, too.
It’s people like Baltimore’s Ray Rice with his violent wife-beating, caught on video. Truly, a disgrace to mankind. He should be kicked right out of the NFL. It’s people like the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and the child abuse allegations. Again, he is a disgrace to mankind. Why the Vikings allowed him back, I don’t know. Lawyers probably have something to do with it.
And keep in mind, this is on top of other jokers such as Aaron Fernandez charged with murder, and Michael Vick abusing dogs with his dog-fighting ring. And we need not discuss the long rap sheet of a Mr. O.J. Simpson.
The problem isn’t merely with the fact there are bad guys in the NFL. You will have bad apples anywhere. The real issue is that nothing is being done about it, and the penalties meted out have been way too light.
Everyone is calling for commissioner Roger Goodell’s head and for good reason: he’s done basically nothing. Worse than that, he’s done nothing to address the whole name controversy in Washington which is embarrassing the league, the concussions issue has not gone away, and Goodell has openly touted bad ideas such as lengthening the season to 18 games and expanding the playoffs — ideas that will just water down the competition in the league and make the product worse. In the case of lengthening the season, that bright idea is sure to lead to more injuries, which does nothing to help the concussion situation!
A lot of people are going around saying this is the beginning of the end of the NFL, that people are turned off and will watch something else. I don’t know about that, this league is too popular to just go away. But history does show that sports that make enough of a hash of it can lose popularity in the USA, and go into a deep decline.
The reason boxing declined in prominence down there was because of the criminal element in charge, the multiple champions from a multiple number of sanctioning organizations, the obvious brain damage done to fighters (ie. Muhammad Ali) as well as the thugs in the sport who liked to bite opponents’ ears off (Mike Tyson). Baseball’s decline was helped along by countless player’s strikes, the steroid scandal, and some other controversies like players betting on baseball etcetera (Pete Rose).
As for the NFL, people are simply revolted by these individuals Peterson and Rice, and enough is enough. People have had enough of supporting thugs. Scandals like these recent ones are enough to turn the paying public and advertisers off and send the NFL into a spiral, just like what happened to these other sports.
The good news is all the NFL need to do is bring in someone at the top who will put a stop to this nonsense, and all the problems will be halted.
Someone needs to come in and right the NFL ship, now. A few people are suggesting it ought to be die-hard football fan and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It doesn’t matter to me who gets in. All I want is someone who will take a tough stand in dealing with the league’s problems and with these problem players, while at the same time not creating any new problems. Is that too much to ask? I hope not.
By the way, there are options out there for fans fed up with the current state of the NFL, and who want to send Goodell and these owners a message that NFL fans cannot be taken for granted.
It’s this: simply watch other sports on Sunday. It doesn’t even need to be every week — just spend one week watching something else, just to send them a message.
If you really are desperate for football, there’s the CFL. There’s soccer matches around the globe. You can watch major league baseball for at least the next few weekends, and there is my preferred alternative: NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Chase for ten full weeks.
Most of those God-fearing good-ol’-boys (and girls) in that sport wouldn’t dare be up to the kind of no good nonsense these NFL bad boys have been up to.
(Although, now that you think of it, NASCAR has its own big problems to deal with.)
I was planning a long extensive post on all the breaking international news but I realize I am too preoccupied with the NFL to want to post much today.
On top of that it is the Roughriders versus Bombers in the Banjo Bowl so I really do plan a long day plunked in front of a TV set.
So world events can wait. See you later.
Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Kory Sheets goes in with the Oakland Raiders to Green Bay in pre-season action Friday and has this happen. Achilles injury, gone for the season.
So he’s not playing anywhere this year — not for the Raiders, the Saskatchewan Roughriders or any other team this season, in any league.
The sad thing about it was that Sheets was actually a factor on the field in these Raiders games, he wasn’t sitting on the bench. The worst thing of all is this is probably the end of his NFL hopes for good. Depressing.
With Sheets now done for the season, my interest in NFL pre-season is also pretty much done since the Kansas City Chiefs games have been a waste of everyone’s time to watch.
I am now reduced to hoping that Weston Dressler simply makes it to Cut Day in one piece in Kansas City without anything terrible happening to him, so that the Riders can pick him up.
As an aside — Saskatchewan fans thinking of attending one of those Chiefs-Raiders games this NFL season may be in a mood to change some plans.
Last night’s Kansas City Chiefs-Carolina Panthers game proved to be a farce for fans of Weston Dressler — most of them from Saskatchewan.
But there was nothing for the Dressler fans to see. We all sat in front of the TV waiting, and waiting, and waiting. What a waste of an evening.
Apparently coach Andy Reid put Dressler in for one play late in the fourth quarter — but you had me fooled because I didn’t see Dressler’s number 13 at all. And in the end he didn’t touch the football at all. One play; big freaking deal!
It’s so obvious now the Chiefs have no further plans for Dressler. In fact this is getting to be insulting. It reminds me of my brief soccer career as a kid. At one match, the coach had me sit on the bench all game in the pouring rain. I might as well have stayed home! It would have saved me getting soaking wet outside.
After that I said that’s it, and I “retired” from soccer. I don’t think Dressler wants to retire from the National Football League, but I think he will have to, soon.
Dressler should take heart from this experience of being on the bench, and know he’s not alone. I’ve been there.
Hopefully, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will get Dressler back, soon — but even that isn’t a lock because I read a rumor that apparently Ottawa’s also interested.
Anyway, there will be riots in the streets if Dressler doesn’t come back and sign here. If Dressler goes anywhere else in the CFL, our miserable fans will be screaming for GM Brendan Taman’s head — even though he built the team that won the Grey Cup last year. It never fails around here.
One of them, receiver Weston Dressler, should be in the lineup tonight as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Carolina Panthers on FOX. So hopefully Dressler gets into the game so that the FOX announcers can mention Saskatchewan on TV.
So far it has not been an impactful pre-season for Dressler in the NFL, which is too bad. Last week against Cincinnati, Dressler returned one punt return for 19 yards. That was it, unfortunately — no touchdowns, nothing. He was basically a non-factor, and to make matters worse, the rest of the Chiefs offence lit up the scoreboard for 41 points, and they won the game.
You ain’t gonna impress the leadership with numbers like that. I’m hoping for a better showing by Dressler tonight. Actually, I’m only hoping he gets through the game uninjured, so that he can come back to the Riders in one piece. Based on last night’s CFL game with the Als, the Riders sure could use some receiving help.
As for Kory Sheets, reigning Grey Cup MVP, he’s looked a little better with the Oakland Raiders – five carries for 27 yards, averaging 5.4 yards a carry in that game against Detroit. Nothing spectacular, but at least he seemed to be part of the game. At this point, I’d say Sheets has a better shot of making the Raiders than Dressler does of making the Chiefs — but I sure wouldn’t mind if he returns to the Riders, too. We could use all the help we can get right now.
All in all, this has been the most interesting NFL pre-season in years, not only because of the ‘Riders players trying out for the NFL, but also because of the quarterbacking situation in Cleveland with Johnny Manziel battling there. He is just a one-man media circus and the most entertaining thing about that is seeing how he and the rest of the Browns are able to fend off the media hordes who have been following Manziel’s every move and ranting and raving about his strengths and weaknesses. He really is under the microscope, in the fishbowl, whatever you want to call it.
Anyway, that’s enough ranting from me for now, there is a football game to watch.
Who would have thunk it? A whole off-season has gone by and we are at the NFL pre-season AGAIN.
Tonight is the Hall of Fame Game in Canton between the New York “Football” Giants and the Toronto, I mean Buffalo Bills.
As you can tell, I have been reading a few articles on the Forbes website today and one of them is on the sale of the Buffalo Bills. It truly is getting to be a soap opera, there is no other way to describe it.
There were stories about how Tom Golisano was going to bid, and that didn’t happen. Then there was that story about how Donald Trump was going to make a bid, but he was not going to go crazy and make a crazy offer for the team.
But I don’t know why the NFL would want Trump in the league anyway. Don’t all the owners hate him after he was involved in the USFL?
And of course, everyone in Buffalo is paranoid to the hilt about Bon Jovi and his group landing the Bills and then moving them to Toronto. I tuned in to the Buffalo TV stations online, and the sports anchors were all freaking about the prospect of this group getting the team.
Which leaves the Terry Pegula bid (Sabres owner), which seems like the front-runner at the moment, but who knows. The Forbes article wasn’t too confident about that. Now, though, we hear another report that maybe Golisano’s bid is back on.
All in all, it is long-suffering Buffalo fans who are being put through the ringer. Let me go on the record and say the Bills ought to stay in Buffalo, they have passionate fans there and those fans all deserve better than what they are getting. As for Toronto, fans there don’t seem interested in supporting any football team whatsoever, including the Bills, so I have no idea why these folks are wasting their time trying.
If this Bon Jovi group does not get the Bills in the end, Toronto could still try and steal the Oakland Raiders, although it looks like San Antonio is more interested.
Yes, the NFL off-season has started and the losing teams have been tossing their head coaches: Mike Shanahan in Washington, Jim Schwartz in Detroit, Leslie Frazier in Minnesota, Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay, and Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland.
In fact, the Browns didn’t even wait until Black Monday to punt Chudzinski, booting him out on Sunday night. And quite frankly, Shanahan has looked like a guy who’s known for the last three or four weeks that he was definitely going to be fired. The question there has to be why the Redskins didn’t get on with firing Shanahan sooner.
This gives me an idea for what TSN ought to do when their NHL contract ends. Of course, they plan to keep on doing their usual Trade Deadline coverage and Free Agent Frenzy coverage, but here’s one more idea: coach firing coverage for what passes as the NHL version of Black Monday. Hey, why not — that league is notoriously trigger-happy. Have all these NHL “insiders” like Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger et al. on their cell phones on TV, calling up their sources and finding out who’s getting fired. They’d probably have plenty more news doing that than what they would usually get on trade deadline day.
Heck, just look at all of what happened today, and look at all the speculation that was out there about what might happen to all these NFL coaches. There was all this talk about Rex Ryan’s future with the Jets — it turns out that he’s staying put. There was also all this talk about Jason Garrett’s future after the debacle in Dallas last night, with that team eliminated by the Eagles, but apparently he’s staying put too.
Anyway, the bottom line is it’s fun to win in the NFL, but losing is no fun at all. They don’t call it the No Fun League for nothing.
When news broke that TSN lost national rights to NHL hockey for 12 years, my first suggestion was they become big football fans over there. Turns out TSN is following all my advice, even before I provide it.
It turns out right after Rogers took the NHL rights, Bell swiped away the Rogers late-Sunday-afternoon NFL package that Rogers has held for the longest time — going back to the old CFMT-TV days in Toronto. Bell also swiped away the entire NFL digital rights as well.
This is big news — it basically means the NFL belongs to CTV and TSN all day on Sundays, right from the early-afternoon package through the late afternoons, to the NBC Sunday night game, and into the Monday night game. On top of that, CTV has the entire NFL playoffs. Rogers is reduced to the Thursday night NFL Network package. I suppose having a Thursday game is better than nothing, but Rogers sure doesn’t look like the place for pro football at any point in the near future.
Combined with the CFL package on TSN, Bell basically owns football in Canada. In November from now on, they’ll be able to show an NFL doubleheader on CTV, another NFL doubleheader on one of the TSNs, and a CFL playoff game doubleheader on the other TSN during the afternoon hours.
That creates some excellent possibilities for programming over there if TSN decides to give football the kind of saturation coverage they currently devote to hockey, They could put on all kinds of football pre-game and highlight shows with the staff they have now, and basically give it the kind of coverage that we usually see from the Americans. Personally, I think it’s about time the sport got that sort of treatment in Canada, because many football fans in Canada are sick and tired of seeing that sport treated as second-class in this country by the nation’s media.
I don’t know what all the football coverage will mean, though, for TSN’s coverage of auto racing on Sundays. It shouldn’t impact Formula 1 since those races usually air in the mornings, but it could impact the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Coverage of the NFL and CFL on TSN could crowd NASCAR right out in November, during the “Chase.” Maybe Bell puts NASCAR on CTV2 or something like that. Then again, the package could end up moving to Sportsnet now that they have time to fill on Sundays. The bottom line is I have no idea what is going to happen. We’ll see, but in any event more football is a good thing for TSN.
The second big thing TSN has done is they have moved swiftly to re-sign a lot of their best talent, including James Duthie, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and just recently Gord Miller. I get the feeling TSN is going to ramp up their coverage of the World Juniors as well as general news coverage about hockey, so you’ll keep on seeing their Trade Deadline shows and Free Agency coverage with the group they have now.
What they really need to do, though, is steal away the regional NHL packages that Sportsnet currently has now — for the Oilers, Flames, Canucks, Senators — and put the regional games on TSN. That would solve all their hockey coverage problems, but that’s easier said than done.
The most recent news from the other day is that TSN has extended their deal for programming with ESPN, prompting a lot of dismissive talk from people about how TSN is turning into the ESPN of the north. Well, it always has been the ESPN of the north, there is nothing new about that. At least this will mean programming like more college football, more college basketball and the NBA. I think that’s good, because if there is one thing I am really ticked off about, it is a lack of college football, college hoops and NBA coverage on Canadian television. Instead, we usually get stuck with the usual over-saturation of hockey coverage instead.
I’m sure soccer fans out there have similar gripes, too. Anyway, it looks like TSN will keep up with coverage of that sport — they already share half the Barclays Premier League with Sportsnet, and just recently came word TSN has grabbed the entire rights to the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS.
This is exactly what TSN needs to do. Soccer is on the rise as a TV property not just on Canadian TV but American TV as well. A big reason why is because these games simply look great on HDTV. But it’s also because fans in North America are slowly but surely realizing soccer is about as big-time as it gets in sports in the world. Billions of people in the rest of the world cannot be wrong.
Anyway, that is my extensive screed about TSN and what they ought to be doing. Basically, they don’t even need my advice because they are doing all the things I think they should be doing anyway, given the utter disaster that has befallen them. Seriously, losing the NHL national package really is a disaster, given the outrageous number of Canadians who are hooked on hockey, but as I point out, it isn’t the end of the world.
I find it totally amusing that these beauty pageants always end up counter-programmed on TV against sporting events like the NFL. That tells you a heck of a lot about what kind of audience the network executives expect will tune in. Tonight, it is happening again.
Instead, they’ll be watching the 49ers and Seahawks give each other concussions in the NFL game on NBC — a game touted as being the “game of the week”.
You know, for all the accusations about how “sexist” Miss America and these other beauty pageants are, it’s remarkable how little interest there actually is from guys in these events. Most guys probably couldn’t tell you which state the reigning Miss America is from, but they sure as heck know who the Super Bowl champion is (the Ravens)! When it comes to what guys are really interested in, the NFL trumps girls pretty much all the time. I fully expect the TV ratings to prove my theory right.
Guys just aren’t interested in watching women walk around in swimwear in Atlantic City when there’s an NFL game on the other channel. I know this makes no sense, but it is the truth.