This and That…

Last week, the NFL announced that it was investigating the NY Jets and specifically their former coach, Eric Mangini, related to the issue that the Jets did not report Brett Favre’s “arm/shoulder problems” at any time last year. At the end of the week, the NFL announced that they had fined the Jets as a team $75K (no big deal at all) and that they had fined former Jets coach, Mangini $25K and GM, Mike Tannenbaum, another $25K. For Mangini and Tannenbaum, these fines might mean something; the $75K fine for the Jets as a team is laughable if anyone thinks that this fine might deter less than honest behaviors within the league.

Prior to the league ruling, that there were indeed violations of league rules/policies, Mangini denied there were any violations and said that he abided by the rules at all times:

“That was true there (in New York). It’s true here (in Cleveland). It’ll be true every week of the season and that’s how we approach it.”

That sounds to me as if the NFL needs to keep a close eye on the Browns’ injury reports this season because Mangini just said that things were going to carry on in Cleveland just as they did with the Jets.

The Detroit Lions have been a horrid football team for about all of this decade with a record of 31-98 since 2001 and culminating in their 0-16 record last year. Looking over a longer perspective, the Lions last NFL Championship was all the way back in 1957. Coupled with the economic woes that have befallen the city of Detroit, the Lions’ ineptitude led them to play to the lowest percentage of filled seats of any NFL team last season. According to Sports Business Daily, the Lions played to less than 85% of capacity in 2008; that is the lowest in the league – – not considering all those seats covered with tarps in Jacksonville. Creating fan interest that manifests itself in “sold tickets” has not been easy for the Lions going into this year. Here are some of the team efforts:

    They lowered the prices on about 5,000 seats at Ford Field and froze prices on all of the other seats.

    They created “All You Can Eat” seats where fans can come to the game and eat an unlimited amount of food and soft drinks. Prices here start at $57 per game.

    They have a new promo ad running on TV in Detroit showing assembly line workers and construction sites with a voiceover that says the Lions will work as hard as you do just as the scene shifts to Lions’ linemen hitting the blocking sled.

For Sunday’s game against the Vikings, the Lions had to get an extension from the league to avoid a blackout of the game in the Detroit area. The Ford family owns the Lions, so there really isn’t a serious danger that the team will drag down the family fortunes to the point where everyone will need to drive Ford Fiestas instead of Lincolns, but the economics of the Lions are not good.

Delonte West – Cleveland Cavs’ guard – was arrested last week. He was riding a motorcycle on the Beltway in the DC area and was pulled over by an officer for speeding. West did not offer any resistance or anything like that nor was he intoxicated or carrying drugs. The reason he was arrested – as opposed to getting a speeding ticket and going on his merry way – was that the officer found a loaded handgun in his pocket and another loaded handgun in his pants leg and a shotgun (did not see any report on whether or not it was loaded or empty) in a guitar case strapped to West’s back on the motorcycle. Before anyone goes all “Second Amendment” here, it is illegal in the State of Maryland to carry concealed weapons and it is illegal to transport loaded guns. West was released on his own recognizance.

A few weeks ago, some folks opined that the plea bargain that Plaxico Burress had to strike that will keep him out of the NFL for another two seasons might alert other athletes to the fact that laws apply to them too and that they jeopardize their careers with careless carriage of guns. Sounds good in theory, but it would surely seem as if Delonte West never got the memo…

We have come to realize that the ESPN motto really is this:

    Nothing exceeds like excess.

Now, to demonstrate that they take their motto seriously, ESPN has announced the way it will welcome the upcoming college basketball season. ESPN will telecast 12 games in a 24-hour period on 17 November. Monmouth and St. Peter’s will be on at 5:00 AM; that is not a typo. Seemingly with pride, ESPN announced that they had never done a basketball game in that time slot leaving the impression that they had broken new ground here for the greater benefit of humankind. I don’t think so…

I’m half expecting ESPN to do a promotional tie-in with Kellogg’s for these early morning games. Perhaps something along the line of:

    “College hoops and Fruit Loops. Start your day a whole new way…”

USC’s loss to Washington on Saturday keeps a streak of sorts alive. I think this is the fourth year in a row that USC has gone on the road to play an unranked and lightly regarded PAC-10 opponent and lost the game outright. Last year it was Oregon State; the year before that it was Stanford and the year before that it was either Oregon or Oregon State (I am too lazy to go and look it up.). Somehow, I don’t think this is a streak that the USC alums find appealing.

Finally, here is some analysis from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Olympic champion Michael Phelps has cultivated a mustache. Facial hair isn’t very aerodynamic. Analysts says that’s why a member of ZZ Top has never won a swimming gold.”

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

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  • Ed  On September 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    That NFL injury rule is a little silly. Supposedly you have to report every injury, even if they guy does not miss a practice or a game, as Favre did. Seems to me by week 2, 3 the lastest, every guy on every team could be on that list – Smith – bruised leg, probable. Jones, boo boo, probable…

    That said, Mangini did violate the rule the way it is reported in the NY papers, so he better watch out.

    The NFL has to protect its bettors, uh, fans…

  • Tony  On September 22, 2009 at 6:59 am

    It occurs to me that most teams in the other major sports would be absolutely giddy with the ~85% average capacity crowd that the Lions had last season. I guess it shows you how dominant the NFL is in the sporting landscape when such an attendance figure is considered terrible.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On September 23, 2009 at 8:25 pm


    You hit the nail on the head; this rule is in place because the NFL does not want “wise guys” to have inside info on injuries because of the wagering on games. At the same time, the NFL is foursquare against any kind of gambling on their games. Right…!


    Lots of NBA and NHL team owners would sell their souls to the Devil for an 85% capacity seating at their games for a season. Ditto for at least 20 MLB teams – – and probably closer to 25 of them. MLS team owners would be orgasmically happy with such a situation.

    But in the NFL …

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