As you know, I refuse to refer to NFL games in August as “Pre-Season Games” because I prefer to call them what they are. They are Exhibition Games – or Faux Football if you prefer. The fact that NFL teams would require me to buy two exhibition game tix as part of a season ticket package would demand that I find some other way to spend my entertainment dollars. In this week’s Football Morning in America column at NBCSports.com, Peter King had this to say:
“How can people pay real money to see these games? I have covered this game for 34 years and said it 34 times. This game took 3 hours, 37 minutes to play, had 32 called penalties (26 accepted, for 265 yards), saw five turnovers, saw one pass from the two starting quarterbacks (Sam Bradford one, Philip Rivers zero), and showed a savior quarterback in Josh Rosen who’s got a lot of work to do. It generally bored us to tears.”
I am more than happy to associate myself with Peter King’s commentary here…
President Trump continues to weigh in on the NFL’s “Anthem Situation”. Obviously, he can say whatever he believes about the situation, but I have to say that I wish his commentaries were more helpful than they have been. So far, they have exacerbated the situation rather than moved it toward a resolution. And don’t get me started on the list of things that the President ought to be focused on before worrying about if people stand or sit or kneel during the National Anthem. Having said that, I must correct the President on one point:
- At one point, President Trump said that the players make most of the money brought in by the NFL.
- According to the extant CBA, the players get 48.5% of the national football revenue while the owners get 51%. [I think I have read the CBA correctly on this issue but if I am off, it is not by more than one percent.]
- There is no mathematical construct using real numbers whereby 48.5% of the national revenue amounts to “most of the money brought in”. Player salaries are a large expense item for the teams but even in aggregate, those salaries do not amount to half – let alone most – of the money that rolls in.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton is considering an alteration of its rules for eligibility. In addition to the current hurdles a player must cross to be elected and inducted, the HoF is not considering having the potential inductees sign a letter of intent to attend the induction ceremonies. In the pantheon of bad ideas, they should put this one in the “Petty & Feckless Wing”.
Quite obviously, this potential new hurdle to getting into the HoF is a reaction to Terrell Owens’ boycott of this year’s ceremony. I hope no one associated with the HoF or any of its voting members tries to pretend that there is any other reason for this idea to see the light of day. And it is a bad idea on a minimum of 2 levels:
- It will forever be known as the “T.O. Rule”. And because it will have that name, it will focus attention in the future on the fact the T.O. stiffed the HoF and skipped the induction ceremony. Is that what the folks who run the Hall of Fame really want to do? Look, T.O. is an attention-slut. The last thing any person or entity wants to do is to make T.O. the center of attention on a recurring basis. It is like feeding donuts to Sally Struthers…
- Potentially worse is what will the HoF do if a player signs the Letter of Intent and shows up for all the ceremonial stuff for a couple of days before the big event and then he and his presenter decide to walk out just as it is their turn to fill the air with verbiage. Since T.O. has claimed the “no-show” version of showing up the HoF, the next unclaimed symbolic insult would be the “walk-out”. Does the HoF want to encourage that?
Here is what I would do regarding T.O. after his “counter-ceremony” in Chattanooga.
- I would take the pedestal in the Hall on which his bust would sit and the plaque that would cite his accomplishments that got him elected to the Hall of Fame and leave them empty. A small handwritten note might be taped to the vacancies saying that the player elected to be here in the Hall of Fame decided that he would prefer not to be part of the Hall of Fame.
- Then I would melt down the bust and the plaque and move on …
Let me focus your attention on some MLB attendance issues. As of today, the Miami Marlins have the worst average attendance in MLB at 9,677 fans per game. Frankly, I am not all that surprised here; the Marlins traded away just about every good player they had (except for JT Realmuto) and they could find a way to lose 100 games this year. Add to that toxic mix the straight-up fact that Miami is not a great sports town unless one of its teams is in championship winning mode.
Second worst attendance in MLB is Tampa Bay. The Rays have annual problems drawing fans for a variety of reasons and this year is no exception. The Rays average 14,683 fans per game. Once again, there is no shock at seeing the Rays at or near the bottom of the attendance standings.
Here is the surprise. The team third from the bottom in average attendance (18,409 per game) is the Oakland A’s. The A’s have been very low on this kind of list for the last decade or so, but this year the A’s are contending for the division title and for a wild-card slot in the playoffs. And they still only draw flies. What makes this even worse is that the A’s are drawing almost 1000 fewer fans per game this year than they did last year.
Finally, Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had this to say about the Oakland Coliseum – – and it might explain in part the A’s attendance woes:
“There was a fire at the Coliseum, but a convenient sewage overflow put it out. “
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………