Archive for December, 2010

Colts’ Jeff Saturday: NFL Broadcast Boot Camp “helped hone skills” for post-NFL TV careers

Colts center Jeff Saturday discussed how the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp helped prepare him for a potential television career after football, Mike Chappell reported in today’s Indianapolis Star.

Saturday was one of 25 current and retired NFL players participating in an immersion course in the broadcasting business in the four-day boot camp last June at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, NJ.

“They gave you all the different disciplines,” Saturday said. “You prepared for everything and they talked about all the things they felt were important and why they were important. They just helped you hone in on the skills.”

Wrote Chappell: “Participating players were exposed to virtually every aspect of broadcasting a sporting event: interviewing players, writing segments to be read on the air, working as a color analyst and contributing to a game-day studio show.”

Added Saturday, “We got evaluated every day in front of everybody. It was more difficult than I anticipated, but it was a lot of fun.”

For the complete story, click here.

Say again?? NFLPA president Kevin Mawae on negotiations: “Our deadline passed last month”

On a conference call with media today, union president Kevin Mawae was asked if there is a timetable on negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires on March 3.

“There is no timetable,” Mawae said. “Our deadline passed last month as far as the players are concerned. But we will continue to discuss and try to get a deal done all the way up until a deal does get done.”

Added Mawae, “The further we go along in the process without getting it done, then the more our players are digging in for the long [stretch] of the lockout.”

Union executive director DeMaurice Smith made similar comments in a letter to players earlier this month, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Wrote Jimmy Golen of The AP, “In a letter to the players that was seen by The Associated Press, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union had an ‘internal deadline’ for agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement.”

“That deadline has now passed,” Smith wrote in the one-page letter dated Dec. 1, according to Golen’s report. “It is important that you protect yourself and your family.”

However, union assistant executive director George Atallah told ProFootballTalk.com on Dec. 4 “that the ‘internal deadline’ relates to planning only.”

So which is it?

“Do do that voodoo that you do so well”

The above lyric from the 1928 hit song “You Do Something to Me” by the legendary composer Cole Porter can be applied more than eight decades later to describe economic claims made by the NFL Players Association.

On a conference call with media today, assistant executive director George Atallah recycled the union’s claim about the economic impact of a lockout.

“The average economic impact that we came up with was about $160 million,” Atallah said. “So you multiply that by 32 and there is your number.”

However, not everybody agrees. In fact, those numbers were debunked by economists in a story by Eric Stirgus of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stirgus consulted a number of experts and posted links to four of the economic impact studies he reviewed. He concluded: “Each independent expert we talked to believed there will be little economic impact if there is no NFL action next season, since they believe people will find other ways to spend their money. We rate the NFL Players Association’s claim as False.”

To further its claim still, the union recruited Jerry Watson, owner of The Stadium View Bar & Grille in Green Bay, to participate on the media call.

“Our business would be one-third depleted just from the Packers not playing,” Watson said.

Surely then, it’s elementary that Mr. Watson’s business would increase in an enhanced season with 18 regular-season games.

For starters…Money players (part 2): Pro Bowl starters average 7.1 years of experience, 91% have 4+ years

AFC and NFC Pro Bowl team selections were announced earlier this week with 22 of the 42 players named from each conference designated as starters.

Following is a look at the players chosen as starters:

  • The average starter has 7.1 years of NFL experience.
  • 40 of 44 starters (91%) have at least four years of experience
  • 27 of 44 starters (61%) have at least seven years of experience.
  • The teams include one rookie starter, who was a first-round pick.

Most starters by years of experience:

Years in League Pro Bowl starters
8 10
7 6
9 5
6 5

Money players: Pro Bowl selections average 6.8 years of experience, 83% have 4+ years of experience

AFC and NFC Pro Bowl team selections were announced last night with 42 players named from each conference. The 2011 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii (FOX, 7:00 PM ET). 

Following is a look at the players selected:

  • The average player selected has 6.8 years of NFL experience.
  • 70 of 84 players (83%) have at least four years of experience and nearly half (41 of 84) have between five and eight years of experience.
  • The teams include four rookies (three first-round picks).

Most selections by years of experience:

Years in League Pro Bowl selections
8 13
7 10
5 10
6 8

NFL donates more than $1 million to American Cancer Society

The NFL is donating more than $1 million to the American Cancer Society as a result of this year’s A Crucial Catch breast cancer awareness campaign. Funds will support both national and local breast cancer initiatives of the American Cancer Society, which has a presence in more than 5,100 communities nationwide.

Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, and Susie Spanos, wife of Chargers president Dean Spanos, served as spokeswomen for the campaign, helping to spread the word on a cause that hits close to home for both of them.

“We are extremely grateful to the NFL and its players for providing breast cancer and the American Cancer Society with such a visible awareness platform, and for the league’s generous donation to the Society’s ongoing involvement in so many local and national breast cancer initiatives,” said Scott Bennett, American Cancer Society national vice president, marketing. “We greatly appreciate the NFL’s strong commitment to this cause.”

This year’s NFL donation is comprised of profits raised through the auction of special pink items—many of them game-worn; and the sale of pink items at NFLShop.com and at retail. Many NFL sponsors and licensees also contributed a percentage of their sales of pink items in October to the cause.

The NFL and NFL Players Association supported October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their largest on-field presence to date. Many teams extended the national platform with local efforts and charitable donations; teams designated home games in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and planned special in-stadium or pregame events with local organizations.

For more information, click here.

Current and former players: Commissioner Goodell works “to make the NFL a better place”… “He cares about players around the league”

In a front-page profile of Commissioner Roger Goodell, USA Today’s Jon Saraceno writes that “Goodell has embraced his job with a forceful yet collaborative management style, aimed at resolving conflicts and tackling controversial issues head-on.”

“Roger tries to make the National Football League a better place,” said retired player John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in NFL executive and coaching positions. “He also wants the league to be what it should be in terms of character.”

Current players also spoke of the Commissioner as the steward of the game.

“He challenged me to be the best citizen that I can be,” said Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick. “I consider him to be a role model. He cares not only about me but about players around the league. It’s nothing (phony). He is real and genuine.”

Added New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who accompanied Goodell on a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, “He is cool, funny and down to earth. He is not what most people would expect. And he is a good man.”

Player health and safety, Saraceno points out, has been a focus. “Goodell, the architect of the NFL’s controversial crackdown on gratuitous on-field violence, hasn’t been intimidated by change, he has embraced it,” he writes.

“I think it has had an impact on the way everyone is playing the game,” Commissioner Goodell said of the stricter enforcement against illegal hits. “(Players) are more conscious of making sure they don’t lead with their head and don’t hit in the head area. That is a good thing for the game. The No. 1 priority for us is player safety.”

Saraceno also discusses the labor negotiations, writing, “Goodell will try to facilitate a peaceful resolution to a labor dispute that threatens the NFL, a $9 billion-a-year business and the nation’s most popular professional league.”

“I have been very clear from the standpoint that we are not where we need to be,” the Commissioner said. “We need to get an agreement. We are not as close as I would like to be. We have a lot more work to be done. I have said it publicly and I will say it again: If everyone gives a little, everyone will get a lot, especially our fans. That is something we have to do.”

For the complete story, click here.

PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police support NFL’s decision to postpone tonight’s Eagles-Vikings game

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania State Police issued a joint statement supporting the NFL’s decision to postpone tonight’s Eagles-Vikings game until Tuesday at 8:00 pm (ET).

Below is the joint statement followed by the NFL’s statement:

News for Immediate Release                 

Dec. 26, 2010

PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police Issue Joint Statement Supporting NFL’s Decision to Postpone Tonight’s Eagles-Vikings Football Game

PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police fully support the National Football League (NFL) for its decision to postpone tonight’s football game at Lincoln Financial Field between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings due to the major snowstorm striking the Greater Philadelphia Region.

The re-scheduling of the game until Tuesday will enable snow-removal equipment and public safety resources to be more broadly deployed during tonight’s snow storm.

Both state agencies will be working around the clock to keep Pennsylvania highways passable and respond to any emergency situations that may develop. The NFL’s decision will fortunately keep thousands of additional motorists off state roadways at a time when the region is receiving the full brunt of this massive storm and both the PSP and PennDOT applaud this decision.
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Week 16 features 13 Sunday games

Week 16 of the 2010 NFL season kicked off Thursday with Pittsburgh’s 27-3 victory over Carolina. Last night, Arizona defeated Dallas 27-26. The action continues today with 13 games.

Following is today’s game schedule (all times ET):

New England at Buffalo 1:00 PM
N.Y. Jets at Chicago 1:00 PM
Baltimore at Cleveland 1:00 PM
Washington at Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Tennessee at Kansas City 1:00 PM
Detroit at Miami 1:00 PM
San Francisco at St. Louis 1:00 PM
San Diego at Cincinnati 4:05 PM
Houston at Denver 4:05 PM
Indianapolis at Oakland 4:05 PM
N.Y. Giants at Green Bay 4:15 PM
Seattle at Tampa Bay 4:15 PM
Minnesota at Philadelphia 8:20 PM

Cowboys visit Cardinals on Christmas night

Week 16 of the 2010 NFL season kicked off Thursday with Pittsburgh’s 27-3 victory over Carolina. The action continues tonight as the Dallas Cowboys visit the Arizona Cardinals (NFL Network, 7:30 PM ET).

Prior to the game, NFL Network will air NFL Films-produced documentaries on former Cowboys coaches Bill Parcells (2:30 PM ET) and Tom Landry (4:00 PM ET).