The NFL Off-Season Has Begun…

Evidently, all the precincts have reported in and we now know how much money FOX pulled in regarding advertising on Super Bowl Sunday.  Let us agree that it was more than a tidy sum as we look at some of the numbers:

  • For the entire day – pre-game, in-game and post-game – FOX revenue exceeded $435M.
  • There were 62 different sponsors and 89 different ads aired.
  • The overtime in the game allowed 4 additional ad slots to happen and that goosed the revenue total a bit.
  • Revenue from the in-game ads was $350M; revenue from the pre-game was $73M and revenue from the post-game was $14.6M.
  • The sponsor spending the most money during the game was T-Mobile at $30M with Alfa-Romeo spending the next most money at $20M.
  • For the pre-game, the biggest spenders were sponsors more traditionally associated with football telecasts.  Ford, Coca Cola, Lifelock, AFLAC and McDonalds were the big spenders there.

I mentioned in my commentary about the Super Bowl game that I thought the Falcons’ play calling in the second half – – and particularly in the final 5 minutes of the game – was tactically flawed.  That position has been taken by many others and there has been some direct criticism of Kyle Shanahan as he moves to take over the head coaching duties in SF.  Some have suggested that his poor tactical decision making against the Pats should be worrisome for Niners’ fans and the Niners’ brass.  I disagree for one fundamental reason:

  • For at least the next year – and probably for the next 3 years – Kyle Shanahan is not going to be faced with the challenge of holding onto a 25-point lead over a highly competent opponent.  By the time he has to deal with such an issue, he should have learned a lot about game management and play calling.  Niners’ fans and the Niners’ brass have far more imminent and for more important issues to worry about.

The NFL is now officially into its off-season but it will stay in the sports news spotlight with things like the Combine and the Draft and a bunch of concocted storylines related to player moves.  Here are two storylines that are sure to be overdone:

  1. Whither Tony Romo?  I suspect this storyline will be bludgeoned to death over the next couple of months.
  2. What price will the Pats demand for Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade?  This story has already started to be bludgeoned to death and I think the narrative developed to date misses the critical element of the story.  I think the critical element here is Bill Belichick’s level of comfort with Jacoby Brissett as Tom Brady’s backup QB next year and as Tom Brady’s heir-apparent in the long term.  If Belichick is not convinced that Brissett is suitable, then Garoppolo may not be going anywhere for any price.  If my hypothesis here is correct, then the answer to the question requires delving into the mind of Coach Belichick and I must say that I will be VERY skeptical of anyone who asserts that they have the ability to do that.

There are three storylines for this NFL offseason that I will be interested in following because I think there are multiple end-states that are possible and/or because they have not yet received a surfeit of attention:

  1. Whither the Oakland Raiders?  The reason this is interesting is because there are so many moving parts to the puzzle.  I think that those who have declared the “Las Vegas option” dead in the aftermath of Sheldon Adelson’s withdrawal and Goldman Sachs withdrawal have missed one important point.  The State of Nevada has put $750M of taxpayer money on the table to build a football stadium for an NFL team.  It is not like the NFL to abandon that sort of largesse.  I get a hint that there is another dimension here that has not yet gotten a lot of attention.  I get the idea that there are more than a couple of owners who would like to see the Raiders in the hands of “someone not named Davis”.  I wonder if there will be decisions made here with the intent of “putting the squeeze” on Mark Davis.
  2. Whither Adrian Peterson?  If he stays with the Vikes, his contract says they owe him $18M to play next year.  Over the last 3 seasons, Peterson has missed 28 of the 48 scheduled games; he will be a 32-year old RB at the start of next season who has carried the ball 2418 times in his career.  That is not exactly the sort of thing a team would want to see associated with an $18M annual salary.  Will there be a renegotiation of the contract in Minnesota or will he be released?
  3. Whither Jay Cutler?  It surely seems as if his time in Chicago is over – but what if the Bears cannot land themselves a real NFL QB?  In addition to Cutler, the Bears have 4 QBs on the roster – Matt Barkley, David Fales, Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw.  Is there a “real NFL QB” on that list?  We shall see …

Finally, here is an observation from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“A Buffalo Bills linebacker reportedly had his paychecks garnished because he owed $4,045 to The Fish Guy for moving his aquarium. Well, those courses teaching pro athletes how to manage their money are certainly paying off.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………



11 thoughts on “The NFL Off-Season Has Begun…”

  1. While the NV legislature may have ponied up to 750 million, that still leaves large gap even before the political fallout occurs. The SJMN yesterday said the stadium cost is now 1.9 billion, so the Raiders are still over a billion short.

    1. rugger9:

      To be sure, there is a funding shortfall. However, I have difficulty believing that $1.9B is the lowest acceptable price for a stadium in Las Vegas. Right now, there are no other government entities offering up $750M to the NFL so there is a temptation for them to “see what they can work out there”.

  2. On the movements, I’m curious whether Brady will come back. He’s 40 and can leave on top as Peyton did last year (even better when one considers his performance vs. Manning’s). That outcome is not guaranteed next year, and I do not see the Evil Elf being unprepared for Brady hanging them up. If he does come back, Brady doesn’t have more than two years (he’s not George Blanda, who also kicked) and I saw him taking some serious pounding in SB LI. Bottom line, I do not see Garappolo going anywhere until the Brady question is answered.

    Romo on the other hand is more about pride as opposed to opportunity. It does not help his case that he has spent significant time on the DL over the years (IIRC Romo’s guts were questioned at some point for slow returns from trips to the DL, but I could be wrong here). If I were Romo, I’d be fine as a highly paid backup (Jerry can afford it) knowing that Prescott is one sack away from giving Romo the chance to return.

    The NFL tenure for a RB is notoriously short due to the pounding they get. His price will go down, and will be released if he does not renegotiate.

    I agree Cutler is gone from Chicago. Fales is someone who can do the job, he has the arm and accuracy based on what I saw in person. I don’t know how reliable the OL is for the Bears, so until that element is fixed no QB will succeed.

    1. rugger9:

      1. The Evil Elf? Puhleeez!

      2. Agree the Pats will have a Plan B for when/if Brady hangs it up or cannot get it done anymore. I think he will be back next year meaning that the Pats have to do some projecting into the future here.

      3. The Cowboys’ question involves Romo’s willingness to be a back-up. If he is cool with that, the Cowboys can afford to keep him; if he is not cool with that, the Cowboys really should not want him around.

      4. Any team that pays Adrian Peterson $18M next year is nuts.

      5. The Bears have not been good for the last several years; John Fox and his staff have been there for 2 years and things are not on some violent upswing. I wonder if he and the GM really want to cast their lot with any of the “other QBs” on the roster there because one more year at 4-12 and that whole staff will be sent packing.

  3. If Peterson is released, he can sign with any team. But, does the new team have to accept the final year in his existing contract?

    1. Tenacious P:

      According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the Spratly Islands have no inhabitants but the Oakland Raiders have a roster. So, I suspect that the Raiders have a brighter future. However, the question is where the Oakland Raiders will reside in the long term. For the Spratly Islands, that is not a real question since they will continue to be in the South China Sea. There is no viable plan to move them anywhere else.

  4. Give the Devil his due, Belicheck knows what he is doing. I think he hangs onto Garoppolo. I am not so sure Brady is limited to 2 years, but he’s getting old… maybe if he matches Elway and goes out on 2? Oh, Belicheck does miss some – he advised the Falcons a few years ago NOT to trade up to draft Julio Jones…

    Speaking of Elway, he has a history of trading for over-the-hill QBs to put his team over the hump… Romo? I dunno how the cap fits, but….

    1. Ed:

      If Romo is released and teams can deal with him to get him for something less than $20-25M for next year, the Broncos should be high on Romo’s list of teams to consider. If they traded for him and absorbed his cap number for next year, that would be a tough one to swallow for the team.

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