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A breakdown of why the Washington Redskins drew a 36 million dollar salary cap penalty

As we all wondered the ins and outs of how something could first be okay and then totally and completely not okay, Sally Jenkins gave us the detailed history of why the Skins received a salary cap penalty for actions taken during an “uncapped” year.

It all has to do with what amounts to a quest by the Redskins to gain a competitive advantage. Jenkins writes:

What happened was this: Back in 2010, when the NFL entered hardball negotiations with the players union for a new labor contract, the owners warned each other not to use the situation to get a leg up. were in an uncapped year, with no limit on player salaries, and entering a tense and emotionally fraught labor situation, and they asked each other not to abuse the circumstances.

In essence they said, “Don’t try to set yourselves up to be in a better spot when this is over.” Think of it like a yellow caution flag in a car race: The drivers agree to hold their places and not to accelerate until the track is clear.

But that’s exactly what Snyder did. To a lesser extent, so did Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones just sped up a little. Snyder apparently floored it. The Redskins shifted money, moved it, dumped it, and did everything they could to emerge from the labor pause with the books cleared of bad numbers, so when it was over they could get the biggest jump possible on other franchises in buying up new players.

Jenkins goes on to give a great synopsis about why Dan Snyder isn’t only disliked among scorned Skins fans but why his peers aren’t such fans of his either. I think it’s a worthy read.

[To finish this post click on Read More]



Jay-Z and NJ Nets Plan to Sell 11 Luxury Suites for About $46,000 Per Month

As the NJ Nets become Brooklyn’s team, their most well-known owner, Jay-Z is leading the re-branding effort for the team.

Apparently, the Brooklyn rapper/tastemaker/husband/father/bajillionaire has his hands in everything from the champagne and utensil makers to the design of the uniforms. To revitalize the Nets brand they’re seeking to make it slicker and more stylish. The Wall Street Journal ran a great piece on the effort that you can find here.

The part of the story that stood out the most to me was that much of the effort centers around appealing to high end ticket buyers and fans.

In addition, the Nets are set to begin marketing 11 luxury suites that will be known as “The Vault at Barclays Center,” a small, high-end space on the event level of the arena. Yes, Jay-Z chose the forks—in addition to offering his input on the Champagne ($300 bottles of Armand de Brignac), the layout (asymmetrical) and much of the décor (lots of black and shimmering metallics).

The suites themselves, which are still under construction, will be unabashedly bold—and that includes the price tag: $550,000 per year, with a minimum three-year term. That works out to $45,833 per month, instantly making them some of the most expensive rental properties in the city. That’s just slightly less than the $50,000-per-month asking rent on the townhouse

in TriBeCa where Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the beleaguered former director of the International Monetary Fund, recently resided.

I’ve wailed and moaned and complained about the fact that just like everything else in America

, viewing live sporting events from seats where the event is visible is quickly becoming a luxury for only the highest earners. Obviously, part of that is the enhanced home viewing experience and the fact that dealing with traffic when you don’t have a driver and a bar in the back of your limo is such a freaking drag! But there’s also the unrelenting focus on building everything with luxury in mind thereby raising the cost of tickets and in many cases taxes-which are also paid by those folks who don’t make enough money to enter the stadium unless they’re going to work concessions.

But Jay-Z and the Nets see the upper crust demographic as a market that should be pursued aggressively:

Yormark said Jay-Z actually approached him with a rough concept several years ago, shortly after he acquired a piece of the team. Jay-Z used the word “premium,” Yormark said, and told him that he wanted the new arena to feature a small area where the “who’s who of New York” would congregate. Not just luxury suites, Jay-Z told him, which were essential to any new stadium construction. No, he wanted something more than that.

Indeed, while Barclays Center will feature 100 suites in different parts of the arena (average annual lease: $267,000), The Vault was conceived as a collection of uber-suites, part club scene and part Kasbah, replete with a VIP entrance framed by a 15-foot sheer curtain. The first tenant? Jay-Z himself.

I’m interested to see how this rebranding works. Over the past few years the Nets have had a lot of difficulty drawing in fans and moving the team to Brooklyn which narrows the organic interest base has the potential to re-energize the franchise or destroy it altogether.

One thing we know for sure-there must be a whole lot of people in New York with a whole lot of money if they can spend that much on luxury suites for a team that hasn’t won 50 games since 2001-2002. The rest of us can only imagine.





The Darren Rovell Skewer That Had Me Laughing Out Loud

A little while after I joined twitter I stumbled upon Darren Rovell’s timeline. I’m not much into business news and I rarely watch TV (outside of reality trash) so I had no idea who he was. He quickly became one of, if not my favorite, follow. He was full of good information and random sports business stats. In fact, there are lots of blog posts from spring and summer last year where I linked to Rovell’s twitter page. For example, when he calculated how much Brett Favre’s sexting fine actually cost him in real dollars. I love that sort of stuff.

But then Rovell got more popular. The NFL lockout became the story of the day and suddenly Rovell wasn’t just spewing this or that about financials, he was commenting on labor and the sport itself. Something that, judging from his tweets, he seemed only vaguely familiar with and had no interest in learning further. His follower count skyrocketed during that period and then he ended up getting a show on NBC. EGO OVERLOAD. I stopped following him right before Chuck Todd and other members of the media began to complain about Rovell DMing them and subsequently unfollowing-or worse, never following in the first place.

Last week, Rovell threw a hissy fit when a Playboy sports reporter wouldn’t take a photo with him. He then dangled his 175K followers (a count that now surpasses 178K) in front of her face and quickly became the Twitter village idiot. That’s quite a feat given the amount of stupidity on twitter. Between Roland S Martin and Toure alone there’s enough stupidity to write a really really long stupid ass book. Rovell was so insulted by Jamie Edmonson’s NERVE to refuse a photo that he went on to insult all the playmates basically saying they weren’t up to his standards. After that, to prove his point that ugly girls are ruining the playboy brand he pulled some playboy publication numbers showing the pub in decline.

And that episode pretty much encapsulates while I no longer follow Rovell. If you have 178K followers and you take the power of social media seriously then you know it’s irresponsible to connect those two things no matter how hurt your feelings were that one of the models wouldn’t take a photo with you. Sure, ugly girls are hurting the brand-not the fact that porn is basically available everywhere for free now-including most sports web blogs. You can barely find out a box score without running click first into a pair of breasts. Even if the models weren’t attractive, Rovell has no proof that the decline of the pub didn’t come first. Maybe Playboy’s lack of popularity has affected its ability to attract top naked…talent? Or whatever.

Since the Edmonson episode, those who are aware of Rovell (and I say this because most people still don’t know who he is despite what he thinks), have been having a good old time mocking Rovell and his tendency to measure everything in dollars and cents, misunderstand the simplest counterpoints, and shout for no reason.

[Click Read More to finish this post]



The Super Bowl Where Jerry Reese Looked Like a Genius and Everyone Else Looked Like An Idiot

Hakeem Nicks, one of the Giants dynamic receivers.

When the season first began I was (and many other bloggers and members of the media)  put off by the Giants off season moves-if you can’t call them moves. I think Reese’s conservatism had everyone off kilter but as it happens sometimes his choices proved successful. Now neither he or Tom Coughlin  have to worry about being in the proverbial “hot seat” for at least the next few years.

Still, winning in the NFL always involves a bit of luck. Last night on twitter Mark Cuban said something to the effect of good teams get to the playoffs but the hot teams win. And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. The Giants ended this season with a brutal schedule, but they got hot (and healthy) at the right time.

The Patriots, on the other hand, had a fairly light schedule all season and were never really exposed for their inability (refusal?) to run or cover the pass. Or, even, to rush the passer consistently. I definitely didn’t go into the Super Bowl (or leave it!)  thinking the best or most dynamic teams competed for the trophy. In fact, everything about the Super Bowl was a let down for me except the very brief and controversial (I guess?) appearance of M.I.A. during halftime and Belichick’s decision to let Ahmad Bradshaw score a TD to keep time on the clock.

But here’s the kicker: If the NFL comes down to what team is better on a particular day, you have to say the Giants met that mark time and time again this season. And that’s the kind of thing you have to reward. The cliches: rising to the challenge and capitalizing on mistakes.

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about all the debate about who’s the greatest team/QB/QB/coach and whatnot. I’ve complained over and over again about the lack of nuanced thinking in sports. I’m also perpetually annoyed by the rush to compare or assign labels. Before Super Bowl, people were talking about whether winning would mean that Brady and Belichick are the best QB/Coach combo ever. REALLY? Then, of course, we have to compare Eli and Peyton. Then, of course,  you have to compare Eli and Brady.

For those who really wanted to ratchet up the “stakes” they made this Super Bowl an arbitrary litmus test for Brady’s legacy as though he doesn’t already have 3. As though starting in 5 Super Bowls is something to scoff at win or lose. As though he’s retiring this year. And by the way, the same people who set that litmus test will next tell us that Super Bowls aren’t the only measure of a great player cause Dan Marino doesn’t have one.

Oh by the way…that “Patriots Dynasty” was over a long time ago. Talk about catching a late bus.

Anyway, I’ve written this before, but I’ll say it again: it doesn’t hurt to appreciate what different players are bringing to the table without seeking comparisons. I don’t know what it is about entertainment that causes people to immediately seek a frame of reference. I guess I understand the impulse but not when it interferes with judging people on their own merits.

Speaking of judging folks on their own merits, Manningham and  Nicks were very impressive last night. The web will be buzzing about Manningham’s sideline reception for a while. What’s funny is that early in the game Manningham’s tendency to fade out cost the Giants some yards, but on Manning’s backside throw to Manningham I think it paid off to know the man’s tendencies especially with Cruz and Nicks covered on corner routes.

Now for the stuff you must read:

Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustrated grades NBC’s Super Bowl telecast. Overall, he thought they did a good job. I didn’t see any of the pregame so I can’t comment on that. But I do think that the broadcast of the game itself was very well done. Some hiccups with Al Michaels but still Michaels and Collinsworth are one of my favorite duos. I know many people don’t agree. Before the game we chatted on twitter a little bit about whether there is a need for such a long pregame anyway. Well, I’m of two minds on this. No, there isn’t a need. However, had two teams I was interested in been playing I probably would have watched it for the video profiles. One thing is for sure: I’m over the two week build up to the game. But we ain’t talking about that right now. [Super Bowl Media Grades. Sports Illustrated.]

If you’re over the story lines you can get to the nitty gritty of the game by reading Chris Brown’s breakdown of the two biggest plays of the game. The first play was the Welker drop that still has everyone (including Brady’s wife and Welker himself) having fits. I’m still seeing lots of debate about whether or not the drop belonged to Brady or Welker, this post might help with that conversation.  [Draw it up: Super Bowl Edition. Grantland.]







Trying and failing to get excited about SuperBowl 2 - stories from the second media week

I promised I’d update you guys with more good stories from the dreaded SECOND week of media leading up to the SuperBowl. Seriously, NFL, let’s get rid of the two week build up. PLEASE.

Now, for the stories…

Tight Ends have been the talk of this season. Well, I’ve been talking about them since 2009 and predicting that their roles would be expanded due to the size, speed, and versatility of modern players at the position. Now that there are soooo many TEs getting 60, 70…100 + touches in a season everyone is writing about tight ends. This week it was Jeff Darlington at If Ron Gronkowski’s ankle holds up and Aaron Hernandez gets going early Super Bowl may put the cap on a perfect year for many Tight Ends across the league. [Tight Ends Are Truly Changing The Game.]

Wes Welker is a damn fool. I learned this after following him on twitter. Of course, I remember him playfully mocking Jets coach Rex Ryan during the whole foot fetish thing but I didn’t know how funny he could be until twitter. Funniest thing that happened: he made his girlfriend breakfast in bed…it looked totally gross and he gave it to her on a paper plate in a room that looked completely empty besides their bed (which she was lying in!). Welker’s followers roasted him for an hour but he took it like a sport. Apparently he and the girl are now engaged. I swear, the things you have to do to get a ring these days! Anyway, Aaron Hernandez said Welker has an “asshole” sense of humor. More on that here. [Welker humors Patriots who usually frown on funny stuff.]

The newly designed put up a piece about Giants WR Victor Cruz in which they argued that lots of the coverage around Cruz boiled him down to racial stereotypes. I’m not sure if that’s the way I’d describe it, but I’ve noted in MOST coverage of black athletes there is a clear obsession with the “pull yourself up from a rough upbringing by your bootstraps” storyline and as the writer mentions the media rarely fleshes those stories out to be fuller than that. On the other hand, those ashy to classy stories are sooooooo frequently the case among black athletes that it’s hard not to tell it-especially when the athletes themselves revel in how far they’ve come from a surface standpoint. [The Story of Victor Cruz is too often framed by racial stereotypes.]

While you and Gisele were praying for Tommy, Chris Brown at Smartfootball was writing for Slate about the Patriots brilliant No Huddle. Unlike my Atlanta Falcons the No Huddle is not the most unpredictable thing about the Pats offense, but it is a key part of the dazzle. In the post, Brown wonders why more teams don’t embrace the No Huddle since huddles in real life aren’t quite as #dramatical as they are on television. Well, I think part of that has to do with the fact that not every offense is quite as streamlined as Patriots. Maybe it’s a comfort factor. Take a look at Aaron Rodgers’ perspectiveabout playcalling when he took on some of those duties while sitting due to injury. [Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the genius of the Patriots' no-huddle offense.]




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