NFL may indeed stand for Not For Long

I heard the phrase regarding the NFL meaning “Not for Long” back in the day. Jerry Glanville, coach of the Atlanta Falcons, was filmed talking to a referee. The conversation occurred in the middle of a game. Jerry didn’t like the Ref’s call against his team. He wanted the guy to understand whenever penalty calls cost his team field position or contribute to losing a game. The like of which threatens his livelihood. Too many of those types of incidents, and a coach might get fired for losses.

Owners, managers, and the commissioner of the game get paid handsomely for their positions. They are comfortably stationed at home during games, in a hotel, or at sky suites at the stadium. In addition, individually, they benefit from their ownership tax write-offs or profits from various lucrative income streams. Thus, General Managers enjoy their highly paid salaries while moving players around like chess pieces.

Coaches are a lot more vulnerable; their job is to “just win, Baby.” Yet, they have a more stable position in that they at least control the game plans. That way, the outcome of a game is almost in their hands, depending upon the players on the team.    

Football has been my favorite viewing sport since the late sixties. I’ve followed the exploits of its growth to pass baseball as the favorite national game under the management of commissioner Pete Rozelle. I remember the competition for players and public attention between the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). They finally merged in a business move that benefited both leagues. Thus, they form the present National Football League.

It has been a wild ride. My favorite team, the San Francisco Forty-Niners, has won a few championships. It’s a long story as to how I became a fan of the Niners during the days of John Brodie. But especially since I began as a Green Bay Packer fan while living in my hometown of Milwaukee. The bottom line is I have watched from afar how a sports business rose as the nation’s favorite viewing sport.

Back in the day, most players would start and end their careers with one team. Those careers were longer, with the stars cementing better play to earn modest salaries. Most would play the entire game. Most went an entire season without getting injured enough to miss a game or a season.        

Today I find myself feeling for the players. They are bigger, stronger, faster, and indeed, make millions of dollars more during a season. The only problem is too many players get injured during the game. Others suffered injuries during practice. An anomaly occurred on my favorite team last week. The kicker pulled his groin during warmups. More likely, the injury prevents them from finishing a game, most times preventing their participation in several games. And heaven forbid, prohibits them from playing the remaining season of games.

Nowadays, after a tackle by one or a group of players on a running back, quarterback, tight end, or wide receiver. A fan holds their breath to see if their team players will get up off the ground. Last Sunday, during his first start of a game, our prized rookie Quarterback (QB) suffered a sprained knee during the game. From my perspective, he ran too much, but then he is a rookie. I am beginning to wonder if any coach on the Niners teaches our future star how to try to protect himself when running in place of passing the ball. I’m also wondering if the head coach has any idea of teaching his young QB the basics of a first-year pro.

There is so much movement between signing free agents or a team’s practice squad because of Injuries.  Each Sunday, you almost need a program to identify players on a team.

There have been numerous studies as to why so many players get injured. The answer is always the same. That players are bigger, stronger, and faster. That may well be, but these players are playing for family members. Somebody ought to study how many family members, friends a player supports with their players’ salary. It should also be said that too many of them are here today, gone tomorrow within a short time. More so by an injury or series of injuries costing them a lengthy career in a game they love.

Think about it; my team lost its top running back for the season about fifteen minutes into the first game of the year. I won’t go into all the injuries suffered by the Niners last year, as it derailed their entire season. They went from a playoff contender to a mediocre team, winning six and losing ten games: the main reason, injuries to key personnel. The Niners’ injury issues were similar to several teams last year.

Today, the conversation centers around our starting quarterback being injury-prone. In the last four years as a starter, his availability averages five or six games out of a sixteen-game (seventeen this year) season. The mantra is always the next man up. As sports fans, we are consumed with winning. A man injured, bring in a replacement.

The question being, how can we cut down on some of the injuries. Otherwise, players have no option but to find other interests in life. Currently, parents are not letting their children participate in football leagues because of the injury problem. If there isn’t a change soon, more fans will turn away too. In addition, seasonal injury problems have begun showing up in pro or minor league basketball and baseball. How long before we all say we have had enough of sports.

Solutions to this problem must be found if we continue to enjoy watching or playing sports.      

Peace, blessings, stay healthy, vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                   Author & Commentator

Look for the publication of our new book, “The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II.” It will be available in November .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Too Many NFL Games & Injuries

I thought it was just me and a small segment of other NFL fans throughout the country. Any number above five percent of pro football TV watching fans, in my estimation is a significant number of people. Well, Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily tweeted that viewing on Fox TVs single header through week nine was down 9% from last year. Viewership for the primetime game between the last Super Bowl champion (Broncos) and the upstart contending Raiders is a whopping 20%.

Another ominous warning for Commissioner Roger Goodell and his bosses, NFL Team Owners, should read like a stop sign on scheduling another game on another day of the week. And that is NFL ratings have declined for 27 prime time games. One can throw out different numbers for specific games. Obviously, the matchup of teams would be a determining viewing factor as would other scheduled TV events or national election news. Nevertheless, the result is that large numbers of people are turning away from the NFL. Other sports such as Baseball and Basketball are picking up the slack. Is it happenstance or a trend?

I began as fan rooting for Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers. That was before I moved west. Even before the move, I began to like the San Francisco Forty Niners. I am still a fan of the Niners but find it hard to watch them lose game after game. So much so, that I changed the channel (Nov 5th) Sunday to follow the FBI’s report of ‘nothing to see here.’

Over the last fifteen years or so, pro-football was king. Over most of those years, Commissioner Goodell and a few greedy owners started to become unreasonable.  People need to be reminded that these owners are rich and their teams are worth millions. A few successful franchises worth is into the billions. Now, the current commissioner presides over team officials that want a new stadium. They have seen the Cowboys, Minnesota, and even the Niners new facilities. They want to pay as little as possible for it, insisting their host city cough up large amounts of funds for this venture.

If you research most of these deals, you will find the NFL has taken the argument of say a COSCO or some other retail outlet and garnered a deal to build their store on a specific site in the host city. The idea is to show how this store benefits the area with a tax base, job in working for the store, and some other kinds of value for the community.

Each NFL team is a sole proprietor with limited investment partners acting as a sports entertainment mechanism. They are selling tickets to attend the game and advertising in every corner of the stadium. Don’t forget their contracts generating income with sports gear companies. They are making money any and everywhere possible. The question is at what cost to all the taxpayers in that city and or county.

 

What other business you know of allows you, the entrepreneur, to ask your customers to help finance a luxurious playing facility? The entrepreneur hires the architect, project manager, and everybody associated with building the facility. The NFL chips in because the league will make money on this venture too. The only benefit the taxpayers are getting is to say it is their team, without benefits. There is no benefit to the taxpayer, except bragging rights. The last time I checked, you can’t pay for anything with bragging rights. Nor can you trade your bragging rights or a portion of for any commodity.

Ticket prices are not going to be reduced although there is bound to be an increased seating area. Corporate is going to pay more for luxury suites. So, in the end, the owner’s revenue will increase, and sales at the concession stands will pay a higher use fee. The host city gets to pay for those tickets, maybe some at a discounted price. They also are responsible for furnishing the workforce required to direct automobile and pedestrian traffic. That is just a few of the indirect cost of hosting an NFL team in your city.

The city is already dealing with closing schools and firehouses. They’ve laid off police and are really in no shape to help rich owners build a stadium. Placing pressure on the host city, team officials scream you don’t love me. I am moving to another city where they will build me a nice stadium. Every year, I will only play an eight season schedule, plus a couple of pre-seasons game.  So we, I and you Mr. City Host will have to find other attractions to rent out the stadium the rest of the year. By the way, our league will chip in some money, but we must have money from your city if you want us to play our home games in your city. We don’t care how it’s packaged as long as it is currency or negotiable and payable Bonds.

Take the Las Vegas Raiders, please. Here is one of the poorer teams who need a stadium. Or at the very least, they need a refurbishing of the Oakland Coliseum. A team that has moved from and back to Oakland. Alameda County and City taxpayers are still paying for the 63.9 million dollar relocation, operating and training facility. Reportedly it is part of the 197.7 million borrowed for improvements to the facility. Bloomberg writers Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff wrote a piece on January 28, 2013, entitled, “Oakland Pays $14 Million for NFL Raiders as Cops Fired.” They reported that the “city and county have limited options to recover the loan because mandatory payments are limited to the amounts received from parking, concessions, and rent, according to stadium authority documents.”

It seems that these franchises will agree to most any plan as long as they are not going to be left holding the bag. Thus the problem, the host city is left with an incentive to get a deal done that keeps the team in the community.

To my mind, it surely doesn’t even out if the municipality has to lay off police officers, close schools, and other public service entities. That is why as much as I love football, I understand when a mayor like Libby Shaff says no. Especially when it comes to using public funds to maintain the status quo, make improvements or donating to the pot for building a brand new unit.

Goodell and the owners have gotten so sensitive to the injuries players are experiencing while playing the game. They sent out a memo asking the club personnel not to talk about concussed players. It’s as if they are trying to hide this fact from the public eye. Hey, Goodell, we are watching the game on a lot of big screen TVs. Replays show angles we didn’t initially see on impact. What is wrong with the NFL, are you kidding me?

And for a couple of years, Goodell has been floating this idea to add another game during another day during the week. I’ve gotten to the place where I cannot tell you who is playing on Monday night. I use to know the schedule as well as anybody including the coach of my favorite team.

Now I wonder if my favorite player is going to get up after making or getting tackled. Knock a player out of the lineup with a season-ending injury and I’m not sure who will take his place. I used to keep up with all things Forty-niners, as in who was cut or selected off the waiver wire. Now I have to wait until the announcer tells me who is returning kickoffs. I don’t know the player’s numbers much less their name. As for the NFL, the goose no longer can be sure their golden egg is in the same place they left it. The NFL needs a dose of common sense. And no one seems to have that trait that is in charge of anything.

Peace, yet stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

I’m a Forty-Niner Fan

I am not a player, coach, or owner. I certainly am not a reporter for the local newspapers, sport newscast stations. Me, I am just a ride and die Forty-niner fan, have been since the late sixties. Being from Milwaukee, I was also a Packer Fan. At least until I moved to Oakland in 1978 and had to choose as the Packers became a hot rivalry. That is when I sent the word out to my people back home. Don’t send me no more Packer crap. I am through with them. They got a big kick out of that. You should have heard some of the conversations I had with my late mother who was a die hard Bart Starr-Bret Farve Packer Football fan.

Anyway, I also happen to be a football fan. That means I not only have a favorite local team; it means I watch pro-football on Thursdays, Sundays, and Monday nights. My wife will tell you at this time of year, she becomes a football widow. Now if the game gets out of hand, I will find something else to occupy my time. I may write a blog or surf the net. This only applies to games other than those being played by the Forty-niners.

I follow the draft, trades, any and all pro football during the offseason and during the season. Before the weekends games, I forecast the winners. Most weeks I do well, sometimes I stink up the joint. At the end of the season, normally I’ve outperformed most local and national prognosticators’. My system is simple, I go with who I think can beat their opponent for that particular game. I don’t gamble on any team or play in a fantasy league. First of all, I have no money to lose and playing some fantasy game based on points scored takes away from the real football teams playing the games. I am not opposed to those who like it. I always say, do your thing.

This season my team has won one game and got blown out the last two games. Last Sunday, a team, many has picked to go to the Super Bowl scored almost any way a score can be achieved in a football game. The final score was 47-7. The only good thing you could say about that game was the Niners show up and played in the game.

Now, having said that a lot of the aforementioned local beat reporters, TV analysts and the like says my team is a complete disaster. I’m not going to go over all the departures from last season to the present, but it was a major turnover. A couple of these so-called reporters can’t and don’t try to hide their disgust for the Forty-niner owner, general manager and the coach they picked to replace the dismissed Jim Harbaugh.

One particular reporter for the Contra Costa Times wrote the following headline after the Niner beatdown by the Arizona Cardinals. Kaepernick’s woes are bad news, but the real blame falls on York (owner), Baalke (general manager). This foul reporter has insisted since the firing of Harbaugh and hiring of coach Tomsula from the Niner’s staff, that he knows how to run a football team. In fact, I think he wrote this article around the same time.  He just kept it on his computer waiting for the Niners to fall on their face.  Well, he and another couple of his colleagues will have their days this year. Pretty soon they are going to run out of things to say.  They are not fans or accurate in their assessment of the entire situation.  For me, and a lot of fans the Harbaugh magic had worn thin on the players and almost every Niner opponent.

No matter what anyone tells you, a team has to have a balanced offense to win in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Hopefully, you run with power with blocking from a decent offensive line. Your Quarterback passes enough to keep the defense honest, and your Defense keep the opponents from scoring more points than your team.  It’s been that way since the first Super Bowl. Harbaugh style was to run, run, run pass and run some more. Run a few trick plays to disguise the run.Teams were ignoring the pass and loading up on the line of scrimmage to stop the run. He relied on a very good defense, most of which was here when he got hired, to get the ball back to the offense. So they could run, run…well, you get the picture. The problem was so did the opposition. He and his assistants were being outcoached on a regular basis.The results during the 2014 season, an eight wins and eight-loss season. The next season promised to be more of the same. Besides getting on everybody in the Niner organizations nerves and dissing the owner, Harbaugh was a decent coach and nice guy. One that the entire organization could no longer stand work with or trust. He had to go, so the owner fired him. Oh, they blundered the firing but was right in removing him.

Afterward, the turnover started for various reasons. My guess, ninety percent of players leaving would have left no matter who was the coach of the team. Just check their reasons and you may or may not agree with me. Those players that would speak validated Dion Sanders implication during the 2014 season that Harbaugh had lost the team. In my mind, they should have won the Super Bowl in which they played the Baltimore Ravens. The coaching staff didn’t have the team ready to play at the start of the game.  And when they decided to play after the half, they blew a couple of chances to score based on Harbaugh calling the plays. Believe it or not, one call that should have been made was to run the ball at the goal line. They had four downs in which to do it.

As a fan, I am over it. Harbaugh is gone, and the team looks better for it. The problem is that it hasn’t translated into the field. But then they have only played three games. I will say, based upon their ferocious  schedule, new cornerbacks, and suspect offensive line, not to think of the progression of Collin Kapernick, I picked them to finish with seven wins and nine losses this season. I also expect them to have a good offseason this year by adding players and drafting others. Enough so that I expect them to contend for a divisional title next season.

That means I am on board with the general manager, coach and assistant coaches. The owner can do what he wants to do, something local reporters tend to forget. He didn’t check with them before moving the team to Santa Clara. I wonder do they or and their editors think their rhetoric sell newspapers. Sort of like the Enquire-Star reporting syndrome that we see in political reporting directed at people who don’t know how to care for their fellow man. No morals or scruples just the notion to tear down people or organizations for their amusement.

I will also say, I’ve always been opposed to NFL millionaire owners asking communities to help them pay for a stadium. They are business people who own a for-profit entity. Why should cities who are laying off police officers, teachers, firefighters, closing fire stations, and schools help a millionaire business person to finance the building of any kind of sports venue? As much as I love sports, I love society even more. Oakland may lose the Raiders because of that very idea. Why not a Raider fan you ask, could not stand Al Davis and his feud with Tagliabue, the commissioner at the time. Bottom line, hang in there Forty-niners players and fans. We will be back in the hunt next year. Look for small improvement in the Niners play from week to week. Just have patience and don’t read those Everything Niner’s stink columns’.

Peace, and make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment