Category Archives: The NFL Is Your Friend.

They’ll follow you anywhere.

Neutral site games — they’re not just for college football anymore!

The NFL has also talked internally about playing games in other cities in the U.S. which do not have pro teams, with some buzz about playing a game at Notre Dame or Alabama, as well as Hawaii and cities in Canada. It is viewed as a unique and profound way to grow the game globally and extend the reach of sales, merchandising and broadcast rights around the globe, with there only so much more room for growth within America.

Well, if I’m an NFL player with a choice of a game in Hawaii or Tuscaloosa, I know where I’d prefer to go.

Honestly, I can’t really imagine ‘Bama fans are going to be as taken with the Dolphins coming to town as they are with Nick’s team.  Can you?

(h/t)

Advertisements

23 Comments

Filed under The NFL Is Your Friend.

Goin’ natty

I’m not sure I agree entirely with this premise as phrased, but there’s no denying it’s thought provoking.

On the business side, college football has become a national enterprise, with comprehensive, multibillion-dollar media deals increasing exposure and a collaborative postseason system designed to crown a true national champion.

At its foundation, however, college football is still very much a regional sport across the United States. And because regions tend to go about their football differently, as they do with things like food, lifestyle and dialect, there is a simple explanation for why teams from the South have won national championships in 13 out of the last 14 years.

College teams from different parts of the country ostensibly compete for the same top players, but players tend to stay close to home. Those pipelines in the South, spanning from the Carolinas west to Texas, are pumping out rocket fuel.

“It just means more” is not just a slogan in the Southeastern Conference. It helps explain the current state of college football.

I think there’s a lot more tension going on between the two than is reflected merely in recruiting.  But, I do think it’s fair to say that despite the money interests aligned on the national side, it has yet to overcome the sport’s regional appeal.  Old habits die hard, and all that.

The question is, assuming the likes of ESPN need a little help to remake the sport’s approach, what could help them with the reshaping?  Here are a couple of thoughts that popped up in response to Russo’s piece.

From a purely commercial perspective, the NFL is the most successful sports franchise in this country’s history.  If the commercial perspective is all that matters to the folks running college sports, then emulating the NFL to grow college football beyond its current financial standing isn’t bad advice.  For the rest of us, it sucks, of course, but since when did that matter?

19 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Take it from the top.

Talk about your change of direction — the Big Ten is reportedly replacing Jim Delany, famous for subtle racial shading and threats to take his conference’s football home to DIII with the African-American chief operating officer of the Minnesota Vikings.  Is that a subtle hint that the conference is bracing itself for the upcoming days of NFL-style commercialism and player professionalism?

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:

1 Comment

Filed under Big Ten Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Wednesday morning buffet

Grab you some news:

10 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend., Transfers Are For Coaches., What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Gus, you had one job to do.

So, you may have seen this scathing criticism of the quarterback whisperer.

“Jarrett Stidham, the kid from Auburn. Here’s this kid, he was a five-star, four-star kid at Baylor with Art Briles, okay? They have the absolute fiasco that happens there and then he decides to leave Baylor and goes to Auburn,” Lombardi says on the podcast. “Really if the kid was smart, he would have stayed at Baylor with Matt Rhule. Because if he plays with Matt Rhule at Baylor, he’s probably going to throw. He probably would have been a first or second-round pick. He’s easily better than Daniel Jones if he plays in an offense that would have highlighted what he can do.”

… To continue that thought, Lombardi then really went all in on Auburn’s offense, which he says could be the worst offense in all of football.

“That offense at Auburn, I’m not sure what the hell it is,” Lombardi said. “They run power, they run unbalanced… But anyway, that offense, seriously, might be one of the worst offenses in football, so you can’t evaluate a quarterback in it or they can’t train a quarterback, that’s the other thing. (Gus Malzahn) can’t train them.”

Tell us what you really think, man.

To be fair about it, I totally agree with this Jerry Hinnen rebuttal.

Ultimately, that is spot on.  Gus is being paid a lot of money, not to make the NFL love his quarterbacks, but to win Auburn football games.  (See, for example, Nick Marshall.)

But — and you knew there’d be a but — you can’t tell me Gus isn’t selling himself as some sort of QB guru on the recruiting trail.  And, yes, that includes Stidham.

Interesting point there.  Yes, Stidham led the conference in completion percentage in 2017.  However, his passer rating was only good for fourth best in the SEC.  Here’s the thing, though:  Stidham’s passer rating and completion percentage both declined last season.  Think that might have had any impact on Stidham’s thought process about returning for another year at Auburn?

Contrary to Lombardi, Malzahn’s offense is just fine, at least when he’s calling the plays.  (I expect the Tigers to rebound from what they accomplished under Lindsey last season.)  But there do appear to be some cracks in Gus’ quarterbacks coaching game, which, I admit, is a little weird, because after I saw what he did with Chris Todd a few years ago, I thought he really was something of a guru.

Gee, I wonder if there’s anything said about that on the recruiting trail these days.

19 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Come back, baby, come back.

After another NFL draft that saw plenty of kids who left school early go undrafted, there have been plenty of questions about why there isn’t a path for them to return to college.  I mean, no harm, no foul, right?  Plus, if you hammer constantly that you’re all about helping student-athletes succeed academically…

Okay, let’s not get carried away here.  And I digress.

Anyway, Andy Staples explains why that’s more difficult than it seems at first glance.

This year, 49 of 144 early entries to the NFL draft went unselected. I’d love to see a change that would allow those players to make more informed decisions and have an avenue to return to college. But it would require either a separate rule change independent of the draft rule and/or the willingness of college football coaches to manage their recruiting so that they leave roster spots open for players potentially returning to school.

On that last point,

For reasons both altruistic and selfish, college coaches don’t want their players to leave early and not get drafted. Most coaches want the best for their players, and most coaches would prefer to get a veteran starter back rather than break in a new player at that position.

But coaches also need to know what their scholarship count will be come August, and if they have players hanging out there in March—after both football signing days—unsure about whether they’ll return, then they could get caught in a crunch. The NCAA allows 85 scholarship players on an FBS team, and programs must be at or below the limit when practice begins. So a coach would have to leave scholarships open while signing his recruiting class with the idea that a spot or two could be filled by a player who removes his name from the draft.

I’m not unsympathetic to the numbers crunch there, although, as Staples notes, there are ways to minimize that risk by providing a brief period for kids to get better real-world feedback on their draft chances while not leaving coaches out on a limb for very long with potential roster management dilemmas.

Of course, if they really want to avoid the problem, there’s always coming up with more player compensation so that some of the kids don’t feel the need to leave early in the first place.  I know, I know…

30 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Blame it on the weed.

Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Elijah Holyfield, Jonathan Ledbetter, Natrez Patrick and Jayson Stanley all had to deal with marijuana and/or impaired driving charges while at Georgia. All of them ended up as undrafted free agents. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe they’d have been undrafted anyway. There’s simply no way to know for sure.

Maybe is doing a shitload of work there, but Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Again, there were plenty of NFL draftees that had been arrested for something during college — or before — and still heard their name called during the draft. But I’d suggest that it still affected their stock.

Mississippi State defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is the first that pops to mind. He was arrested for the awful offense of punching a woman in a fight when he was still a recruit. Yet, Simmons was drafted with the 19th pick by the Tennessee Titans. Without that significant blemish, though, his talent surely would have seen him be one of the first to go off the board this past Thursday.

Likewise, LSU’s Devin White went with the fifth pick despite a couple of arrests before he’d signed with the Tigers. One of his purported offenses was complicated beyond my comfort with even discussing it here and ultimately was expunged from his record, anyway. But White has the size of Georgia’s Patrick and ran a blistering 40.

Imagine how much higher in the draft White might have gone!  Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

Chip Towers is just sayin’, y’all.

32 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, The NFL Is Your Friend.