Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mid-Preseason Thoughts

Seeing as we are halfway through the glorious NFL preseason and hours away from Maddenoliday, I thought it was perfect time for some random thoughts...
  • The Seattle Seahawks looked very good against the Indianapolis Colts. Matt Hasselbeck was very sharp despite a wealth of pressure. The shaky offensive line worries me, but not as much as the already banged up defense which let Tony Romo (who?) lead the Dallas Cowboys up and down the field in the first preseason game.
  • NBC's Sunday Night Football is looking really good. Bob Costas is brilliant as usual while Jerome Bettis is a bringing a lot more insight than we usually hear. Then of course, Michaels and Madden are second to none.
  • The only gripe I have about the new featured Sunday Night game is the loss of ESPN's NFL Primetime. My Sundays were never complete until hearing Chris Berman call all the highlights.
  • There is already a lot of hype surrounding the Manning Bowl, which is Kickoff Weekend's Sunday Night game. Both Eli and Peyton have said they just want to get it over with already. This will be a fun shootout.
  • I happened to be sitting in a Las Vegas sportsbook when Reggie Bush busted his big cutback run. It got so loud, you would have thought everyone in the room was a Saints fan. Well, except for that one fellow wearing a Houston Texan jersey...
  • Speaking of my observations sitting in the Vegas sportsbooks: I am declaring it fact that football has long surpassed baseball as America's favorite sport. The huge ruckus and amount of people that were in the sportsbooks during the weekend for preseason football make the same exact rooms look like ghost towns the rest of the week when baseball is in its wild card race.
  • The Denver Bronco's Jay Cutler seems like he will take Jake Plummer's job sooner than we thought.
  • The San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers seems like he can lead the Chargers to a winning season.
  • The Tennessee Titans' Vince Young has shown a lot of his talent and potential. As expected, it will take time for that to develop into wins.
  • The Arizona Cardinals' Matt Leinart is rich. He better be ready when Kurt Warner goes down with an injury.
  • The Oakland Raiders are terrible. Again. Ha!
  • How in the world do the Bengals and Bears defenses score so often!?
  • I have yet to find a dark horse/surprise team...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

If I were Commish...

With Roger Goodell set to take over as the NFL Commissioner, I started to think about what I would try to accomplish if I were the most influential man in football...

  • A completely different television angle. The reason why football games are so exciting to see in person is that you can see all the players throughout the entire field. On television, we usually only see the quarterback drop back in the pocket on passing plays. The receivers and secondary are not on camera until the ball is thrown. I know it may be difficult and expensive, but I would push all the television networks to adapt a camera hanging from behind the offense, similar to the angle we see in our beloved Madden video game. This way, all 22 players are on camera at all times. When the Steelers pull off one of their signature crazy reverse trick plays, fans at home will be able to see everything and everyone and thereby have a clue as to what the heck is going on, unlike the Seahawks.
  • Bring the Chargers to Los Angeles. Keep the Saints in New Orleans.
  • The NFL's fear of Las Vegas ends with me as commissioner. Face facts, football is the most enjoyable sport to bet on. I would build a stadium and bring a franchise to America's top tourist city. Vegas is also the perfect place for a Super Bowl.
  • Completely revamp the overtime rules. The coin flip/sudden death method is terrible and it is amazing how everyone has put up with it for so long. Let us take a token from the NCAA and let both teams have a drive to score.
  • No restrictions on touchdown celebrations. I want to see group dances. I want to see props. The NFL is, before anything else, entertainment.
  • Kickoff Weekend is great not only because everyone is excited and hungry for football, but because it features a Thursday night game and a Monday night doubleheader. Why not continue this throughout the season?
  • Work out a deal for exhibition games with some college football teams. I truly believed that the USC Trojans could have beaten the San Francisco 49ers last year.
  • More international regular season games. The only place in which David Stern's NBA has surpassed the NFL is that is has expanded basketball's popularity to Asia, Europe, and South America.
  • Find a way to put computer chips in the football so that we never get another Ben Roethlisberger phantom touchdown.
  • If the referees think it is a questionable decision, allow them to review it before making an initial call. The whole "indisputable evidence" places way too much importance on the initial ruling.
  • Make pass interference reviewable and the maximum penalty 15 yards.
  • Move the NFL Network and NFL Sunday Ticket to cable. The financial loss would be regained by advertising.
  • Bob Costas and Al Michaels do every Super Bowl. Is there anyone better?
  • Ban ESPN from mentioning Terrell Owens.
  • Apologize to the city of Seattle and the Seahawks. You know why.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

2006-2007 NBA Schedule Released

Amidst all the hype of the opening of NFL training camps, the NBA quietly released their schedule for the upcoming 2006-07 season. The season begins with a TNT doubleheader on Halloween night as the rising Chicago Bulls visit the Miami Heat, who will have their ring ceremony prior to the game, followed by the Phoenix Suns at the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of one of the greatest playoff series of all time. The NBA is establishing tradition with Kobe vs Shaq for Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Days. While Los Angeles and Miami are large markets and the Kobe-Shaq rivalry, no matter how old it may be, will always attract an enormous holiday audience, I would have gone with a Texas sized showdown in Dallas-San Antonio and Cleveland-Miami doubleheader. If I were the NBA, ABC, or whoever has the final call on the schedule making, I would throw the two biggest stars in all of sports on the same court in Dwyane Wade and Lebron James (Can you say "Team USA?"). And anyone who truly knows basketball knows that the Mavericks and Spurs were the two best teams throughout the entire season last year. That being said, the NBA always does a great job scheduling, which is a large part of why basketball is the most marketable sport.
The following should be of no surprise as the NBA is all about its stars, so fans get to see LeBron, D-Wade, and Kobe more than anyone else:
10 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
10 -- Dallas Mavericks
10 -- Detroit Pistons
10 -- L.A. Lakers
10 -- Miami Heat
10 -- Phoenix Suns

9 -- Chicago Bulls
9 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
9 -- Dallas Mavericks
9 -- L.A. Lakers
9 -- Miami Heat
9 -- Phoenix Suns

5 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
5 -- Detroit Pistons
5 -- L.A. Lakers
5 -- Miami Heat
5 -- Phoenix Suns