Saturday, September 12, 2009

The NFL's Dark Secret

If you are looking for further signs of the unraveling economy it's probably best not to visit an NFL stadium this year. If you are looking at another reason to hate Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys, you'll want to peek at this release from Team Marketing Report .

According to this excellent piece of work by TMR, the average price for an NFL ticket rose 3.9 percent this year to $74.99 a docket.

TMR attributed most of the overall increase to Jones soaking his Texan pards in order to pay for the $1.2 billion amusement park he built for Tony Romo this year. You know, the place where the scoreboard is too low?

The average price of a Dallas seat this year grew to a whopping $159.65, or more than double the average cost of a ticket league wide.

"How 'bout them Cowboys!"

Even without the Cowboys' ridiculous increase, TMR reports the average ticket price still would have risen across the league by 0.6 percent.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Tressel Puts OSU Season at Risk

Style doesn’t count. If it did, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel would be one of the most disagreeable men on the planet this week. The staid Tressel saw his Buckeyes, in a win last Saturday over Navy, perform like an '84 Escort with two pistons.

Their ugly victory resurrected questions about the quality of Tressel’s football program, and with No. 4 Southern California visiting the Horseshoe this weekend, OSU fans might have reasons to worry.

For the Trojans aren’t the Midshipmen, and considering the trouble Ohio State had in beating them, Tressel can hardly be sending his Buckeyes onto the field with overconfidence. He needs nobody to tell him that his teams haven’t been impressive against elite opponent outside the conference since upsetting Miami to win the National Championship in 2002.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Michigan a Big Test for Clausen

Much has been made about how Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen seems to have a different demeanor, about how he is having more fun on the field and playing with more confidence.

Those things will come with winning and experience. Clausen, of course, is now a junior, having put together back-to-back spectacular efforts against Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl and last week against Nevada in this year's season opener.

With talented receivers Golden Tate and Michael Floyd in his arsenal, Clausen could threaten Notre Dame's single-season passing record of 3,919 yards set by Brady Quinn in 2005.

(Continue to Bob Birge's Irish Eyes Are Smiling)

Trojans Have No Chance in Swamp

The Troy Trojans' advertising slogan says: Anyone … Anytime … Anywhere.

No one can dispute Troy’s willingness to go on the road to play in backyard of some of best teams in college football. In the past three years, Troy has traveled to LSU, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Florida State.

You know how many of those games the Trojans have won? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

And they won’t win Saturday when they make a return engagement to “The Swamp” to play the No. 1 Florida Gators.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

Tiger Puts Stricker on Notice

Coming into Round 3 of the FedEx Cup, both Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods needed to just finish in the top 10 to all but secure that one of them would win the Cup this year.

Tiger got the memo, currently tied for first after 36 hole of the BMW Championship at Cog Hill in Chicago. Woods usually does well at Cog Hill, so it is really no big surprise to see his name atop the leaderboard on a Friday evening. And while Tiger cannot clinch the Cup with a win this week, he certainly can put a huge amount of pressure on the current Cup leader Stricker.

Maybe that is why Stricker is struggling horribly after two rounds this week.

(Continue to Par for the Course)

Theo Fleury on Comeback Trail

You have to feel good for Theo Fleury, who has been cleared by the NHL to return to league play, even if his chances of actually sticking with a club at this point in his life would seem to be pretty remote.

He's 41 years old and hasn't played in the NHL since 2002-03 with the Chicago Blackhawks.

A terrific player in his prime -- he scored 30 or more goals eight times -- hockey's little big man at 5-feet-6 and 180 pounds was troubled by substance abuse, a problem that wrecked an otherwise tremendous career.

I was covering the Colorado Avalanche for the Rocky Mountain News when then-general manager Pierre Lacroix made another of his blockbuster trades by acquiring Fleury from the Calgary Flames in February 1999 for the playoff stretch.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Philadelphia's Big Baby

The Eagles franchise, 26 year old offensive linemen, Shawn Andrews, is a dominant and gifted football player.

He has a love-able, youth personality that earned him the nickname "The Big Kid." Andrew lists Willy Wonka as his favorite movie of all time and owns a framed copy of a golden ticket. A few years ago, he went up against professional sumo wrestlers outside of the NovaCare Complex. He even sports a dyed "bro hawk" hairdo to show that he can joke around and have fun.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Hey, It's Still Baseball Season

So I'm watching the Mets on their way to what's sure to be a slaughtering by Philadelphia, and realizing that you're probably wondering what I do with this next month, considering it's the first time in five years that the Mets have not had the ol' "meaningful games in September" thing going on.

Besides rooting for David Wright to hit doubles.

And the answer is quite simple - I root like the dickens for Josh Johnson and the rest of my fantasy baseball team.

Let me give you some history. (Wow, fantasy baseball history! The excitement is dripping from the walls!) Each year four of us from college get together and do our fantasy draft - a four-person league. Because it's such a small league, we have to narrow down the baseball universe, so it's just American League and National League East teams that we choose from. Hence the super-clever league name, "East Coast Bias".

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)
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