Recapping Yesterday’s NFL Headlines:
The much troubled corner back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones is back on the football field, though it will be a little different than the ones he’s used too. Yesterday Jones signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The idea is that Pacman can rebuild his reputation, while still showing his tremendous football skills. The Blue Bombers are making the move not only to get a better product on the field, but to also get more negative interesting press coverage. Winnipeg should be prepared not only to hear their team name on ESPN, but on the RCMP crime blotter as well. While I’m not completely shocked that Jones got another opportunity to play football, it makes me wonder just how many 2nd chances can you get? I think its time that professional sports leagues wash their hands of Jones and let him live his life without a major bank account backing him up.
Bengals rookie offensive tackle Andre Smith, who just signed his contract over the weekend ending his month long holdout, broke his foot in Tuesday’s practice. This is a major blow to both him and the Bengals as the season is set to begin in 11 days. The extent of the injury isn’t fully known, but Smith will at least miss the season opener. The good news is he doesn’t need surgery, which would keep him out for the year. The bad news is that between the holdout and injury it will be quite sometime before their first round pick can become a starter. Now Smith could have still been injured, even if he hadn’t held out, but he has set his development time back. Had Smith not held out when he returned from the injury he could have been immediately inserted into the starting line-up. Now when he does get back on the field it will take a while to get into game shape. Hopefully, Michael Crabtree is out there watching and getting his pen ready to sign on the dotted line. Smith should be seen as a cautionary tale for any rookie who thinks an extended holdout is a good thing (as if the Jamarcus Russell and Andre Wadsworth sagas in the past weren’t enough of a reason).
Commissioner Roger Goodell reminded us that the NFL isn’t recession proof when he talked about blackouts for the coming season as well as the potential lockout in 2011. The blackouts look like a real possibility in a number of cities including Jacksonville, San Diego, Cleveland, Detroit and others. San Diego is the most surprising of the group, they were a playoff team last season with a number of marquee players. Also, San Diego hasn’t been hit as hard as some other cities with the down-turned economy. However, it looks like a very real possibility that one or two of their games will be blacked-out locally. What could this mean? Well since season ticket sales are down, we might see teams taking pages out of other sports marketing plans. We could see half season and partial season ticket plans, or package deals where the parking pass or food are discounted. One way or another these tickets need to be sold, prolonged blackouts in multiple cities could be disastrous for the NFL. It will alienate the fan base, hurt local economies, and most importantly piss-off the TV networks that pay a premium to broadcast every game.
As for the talk about lockouts, I think it’s a bit premature to think that the owners and players won’t be able to come to an agreement. Lockouts or strikes aren’t optimal for either side during this economic climate. Either way you hurt yourselves with the fans, marketing dollars, and the networks. While I don’t think the major networks will drop the NFL like they dropped the NHL after their lockout, it’s not going to help the NFL at the negotiating table. Which in turn effects the players because the TV dollars are what really pay their salaries. I just think both sides have too much to lose here to risk a costly lockout. At least for now I’m going to characterize any lockout talk as a pure negotiation tactic.