Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Al Golden continues to weave his magic by adding Tate Forcier to the fold. Amazing to see what a great salesmen like Golden has already done to revitalize the U. Only imagine what next year's recruiting class will look like after Al gets a year under his belt. I just hope Al doesn't have too much success too soon or he might be headed to the NFL. Did I just write that? I think Golden is headed for Jimmy Johnson like success. Mark my words.
Monday, February 7, 2011
While for most fans the Super Bowl represents the last big hurrah for the football season, for me the fun is just starting. As those of you who have read my past articles know, I am very dissatisfied with the current state of the NFL and am looking for some serious changes-the kind that can only come from renegotiation of the collective bargaining agreement. Let’s target a few key points to consider:
Salary Cap System. The current salary cap system was designed to do two things – 1.) Make sure the star player salaries increased every year, and 2.) Guarantee the owners a profit. This match made in hell satisfied both sides in that the NFLPA leadership could point to the new contract of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and show the rank and file player how the system “worked”, and at the same time the average owner could guarantee himself a profit as long he managed expenses properly, since salary expenses were not going to exceed a preset limit(xx% of gross revenues as stated in the current CBA). It also guaranteed that the owners would not bankrupt themselves in a bidding war for top talent.
The dirty little secret with this system is that it “hollowed out” the league. Each team now has 10-15 star players, with the rest being “fill-ins”- the best players that the team can afford with the limited funds available after paying the stars. Why do you think you hear about so many “undrafted free agent” success stories now? These guys would have never made the team before! The repercussions of this system are the primary drivers of what is wrong with the NFL. Let’s look at just a few examples:
The Wimpy Rules – its one thing to say you can’t roll through the QB’s legs-obviously he has to stand tall to throw the ball effectively. By you can’t hit him or the receivers in the helmet? That’s just not football. How many times has this been screwed up just in the playoffs? (The Julius Peppers hit on Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game comes to mind). These rules increasingly let the turning points of games be determined by the refs. What is this, basketball? But it doesn’t stop there. What about the leg-whip rules for offensive linemen or the “defenseless position” rules for receivers. All these were conceived for one purpose – to protect the star players from injury. No one wants to see Peyton Manning go down and have Joe Podunk from Chadron State come in to play. Actually Manning’s backup is Curtis Painter – yeah, you don’t know him either.
Death of the Rivalry – There are no real rivalries among NFL teams and players anymore, except on the television networks hyping it up for the pre game shows. The hop scotch of star players from one team to another has killed this for the past ten years. How can there be any rivalries left? Jason Taylor was a Dolphin for 10 years and hated the Jets, now he’s a Jet and hates the Dolphins – please! Chad Pennington was a Jet for 10 years and hated the Dolphins, now he’s a Dolphin and hates the Jets (at least for the 2 plays he was on the field). The only way rivalries make sense if when the marquee players stay on the same teams. Can you imagine Dan Marino playing for the Bills or Terry Bradshaw playing for the Cowboys?
End the Groveling. Ever since the television revenues have soared, the NFL has groveled to the fans, changing rules to satisfy the latest focus group or be politically correct. “The games are not as exciting” was the cry at one time, so the pass interference rules were changed to encourage more scoring. “The fans don’t like certain kinds of celebration” – so no more knife-like motions across the throat or spiking the football in the opposing player’s direction (you can’t hurt his feelings, right?). Where does it end? What about the excessive celebration call in the Super Bowl? If you score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, you should be able to celebrate just about any way you want. You should be excited! Football was meant to be a tough game played by tough men. If you don’t like either of those facts, I hear tryouts for the North American Tiddly Winks League are coming up soon.
Now I am not one to just complain and walk away. I wrote this article to show you a simple way to solve this problem. The first step would be to go from a salary cap system to a maximum salary system. It’s very simple – the maximum salary is $10 million or $15 million – whatever number the two sides can agree to. The NFLPA and owners can then argue about what will cause the number to go up or down so they can get their face time on television, but the major problems will be solved.
First of all, there will be less and less chance of players jumping ship if the money cannot be any better from another team. If the Colts offer Peyton Manning the max salary, why would he go play for the Jets or Jaguars unless he disliked the coaching staff/ownership/ etc? In addition, without the salary cap, you can actually afford to hire a backup with some experience so that if Manning goes down the season is not shot. Now you don’t have to have all the Sissy Rules since you will have 53 real players on the team. You might even get the rivalries to return as an owner willing to spend the money can assemble a group of star talent and keep them together if he chooses. Pete Rozelle must be rolling over in his grave as his thinks of what this would do to his “League Parity” Theory.
Unfortunately this solution will most likely never be considered because it does not account for one main tenet of all CBA negotiations – owner greed. The objectives for the NFL owners in any negotiation are 1.) To make money no matter what and 2.) To make you (the fans) think that they care about the product that’s put on the field. End of Story. The maximum salary system will not fly because it does not save the owners from themselves. It allows a bidding war, even if only up to the maximum salary. There is a chance that a poorly run team might lose money and that cannot be tolerated.
By the way, while we are solving the NFL’s problems, here’s a thought from one engineer who happened to play in the NFL for 10 years. If you want to limit trauma to players, particularly head trauma, put some padding on the outside of the helmet. It will then protect the “striker” as well as the “strikee” much better. The one caveat here is that the material will have to have very low friction upon impact(think Teflon), otherwise it could increase certain types of neck injuries. Again, I’m not sure this one will be heeded either, as the players on the NFL fields might take on the appearance of the little league football players who look like they’re wearing a giant bubble on their heads. It might be tough for the focus groups to keep from laughing at them. Of course they could all still just laugh at Al Davis. I’m looking forward to a thrilling collective bargaining season - how about you?
Tim Ruddy attended The University of Notre Dame from 1990–1993. He was a four year letterman and two year starter. Ruddy posted a perfect 4.0 GPA his junior and senior years at Notre Dame and then was selected in second-round draft choice (65th overall) of Miami in 1994. Ruddy started 140 games of his 156 games played in which 16 of those non starts were his rookie year but he saw time in all of them. Read more about Tim here and he can be contacted by email.
Mark this down, Mike Munchak gets promoted to Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans, as a win for the good guys but you have to hope that he is given real control to pick a staff and fill a roster of hard working guys like himself. If I were a betting man you can expect to see Munchak fill out his coaching staff with a lot of guys like himself, you know the guys that are blue collar hard workers who rather let the results speak for themselves. With several spots open on his coaching staff if I were Coach Munchak I'd be giving some old PSU friends like Gary Brown, John McNulty, Darren Perry and current PSU coaches like Larry Johnson and Tom Bradley. I'd also start looking for a new home elsewhere as Randy Moss is certainly not a Mike Munchak type of guy.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Great game tonight. Karma is an amazing thing. Looks like Ben was outplayed by Aaron Rodgers and deserves the accolades headed his way. Let's just hope this isn't the last NFL game we see for awhile although a discussion for another day today is their day but tomorrow should start work on the CBA. Congrats Green Bay you deserve it!!!
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Good to see this story Draft Dish: Damien Berry excites scouts at Texas vs. Nation showing - NFL - Sporting News but like anything too much stock probably will be placed on everything these kids do in an all star game. Remember it's the body of work that gives you the best idea of a player.
Glad to see Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe headline 2011 Hall of Fame class - ESPN but still shocked with no Chris Carter, no Andre Reed, no Cliff Branch, no Tim Brown. They have to let one of the wide receivers in so the other can follow as it appears right now they are all canceling each other out. If Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame then Carter, Reed, Branch, and Brown are no brainers.
Was anyone surprised to hear that CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms threatens to hit ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard | National Football Post ? I was at first but I guess he can only dish out criticism on players, coaches and owners but if someone dare speak the truth about his son then he turns into a Little League Dad and is ready to throw down. Really Phil grow up!!
I'm pulling for the Packers tomorrow not because I really care for one team or another but after hearing Simms get interviewed this week about the game and so obviously being the good company man and talk up the Steelers (CBS) and knock the Packers (FOX) it will be nice for him to be wrong again.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Really? Why did it take 10 days to come out...Jay Cutler received painkiller shot at halftime of NFC title game - Inside the Bears . Whether it is true or not but shouldn't this story have dropped by now or the Bears have come out with this right after the game. Regardless let it drop and we'll see what happens if there is a 2011 season.
I have to say when I saw the news of the new Eagles defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, I thought what a mistake and this is going to cost Andy Reid is job eventually and that Gruden is probably home shopping in Philadelphia. Then I read Jack Bechta's piece on Juan and thought just maybe Reid made a good hire. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I have to say seeing this Dom Capers is high on Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas made me smile as it made me believe even more we've hired our next great coach. Glad to know that someone as respected as Capers thinks so highly of our coach.