If you like Thursday Night Football, then this piece isn’t for you. You are the NFL fan Kommissar Roger Goodell loves; the one who keeps gulping down the sports slop the NFL is pumping out these days. The NFL remains the most popular sports league in this country despite the fact that under Goodell’s watch, the NFL keeps finding ways to ruin its own product. Thursday Night Football is yet another example.
Honestly, I never had an issue with TNF before now. The fact that the NFL used its own network to get its bottom feeders a shot at a nation-wide audience didn’t put a burr under my saddle. But now that CBS is getting a part of this package, it’s pretty clear the NFL is selling us some serious lies about the quality of the product they are dishing out. If you doubt that, consider the following points.
1) They want you to think now TNF will feature better games
Ironically, the best lies have a kernel of truth in them. While Goodell and the rest of the NFL Politburo can honestly say this year’s TNF schedule is better than previous years, it’s like saying not shooting yourself in the face is better than shooting yourself in the face. Last year’s schedule is interesting not for who is on it, but for who isn’t. If you look at it, there wasn’t a single game that featured two teams who made the playoffs. The closest examples were Seahawks vs. Cardinals and Chargers vs. Broncos, but when both of those games were scheduled, nobody was picking Arizona or San Diego to be in the play-off hunt. Conversely that schedule was chock full of barn-burners featuring play-off teams against dogs, like Patriots-Jets, 49ers-Rams, and Colts-Titans.
The party line coming down from the NFL Kremlin is now TNF will feature games between divisional rivals. At first glance that sounds pretty damn good, but when you look at the schedule, it looks like more of the same. If you doubt that, look at this list and tell me how many of these games look like both teams could be play-off contenders?
- Pittsburgh at Baltimore*
- Tampa Bay at Atlanta*
- New York Giants at Washington*
- Minnesota at Green Bay*
- Indianapolis at Houston*
- New York Jets at New England*
- San Diego at Denver*
- New Orleans at Carolina
- Cleveland at Cincinnati
- Buffalo at Miami
- Kansas City at Oakland
- Dallas at Chicago
- Arizona at St. Louis
- Tennessee at Jacksonville
*Games on CBS, all others on NFL Network.
I count one…two if you think Pittsburgh and Baltimore can be anything more than mediocre. Three if you looked at Dallas at Chicago after drinking a quart of varnish. Other than that, this is just more bad football brought to you by the people who don’t want you to notice it is bad football. The best way for you to not notice is to keep it on the NFL Network.
2) The season opener and Thanksgiving games tell the story
It’s not an accident that these two games which feature Green Bay at Seattle and San Francisco at Seattle respectively are not part of this crap-tastic TNF package. The reason for that is obvious, what but not what you would expect. The NFL already made a concession to the TNF schedule to entice a network partner; there are three teams over the past ten years which have consistently been at the top of the league in terms of merchandise sales and television ratings: Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Dallas. Do you think it is an accident the two teams on that list which have had any recent play-off success are on the network portion of the TNF schedule?
3) Sunday Night is the new Monday Night
The hard reality is that the prime real estate for non-Sunday afternoon football isn’t Monday anymore. You can look at the Sunday Night schedule and see that pretty plainly, but what really bears that out is the presence of Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Dallas on Sunday night. Those three teams are on SNF a combined seven times, as opposed to 4 combined appearances on Monday.
4) Even CBS doesn’t buy Thursday Night Football long-term
Think about that for a minute. Normally, bidding for NFL broadcast packages is a feeding frenzy with the winners inking multi-year deals worth billions of dollars. That’s not what happened here. CBS got this contract despite the fact they weren’t the highest bidder. The Eyeball Network only ponied up $275 million for the rights to TNF, and it’s only a one-year deal, with an option year. It’s almost like CBS signed a utility shortstop rather than a deal to broadcast the most popular league in the country.
What’s weird about this is the NFL expected a $400 million price-tag, yet took the low-buck offer from CBS when they could have got their asking price from Turner, ESPN, NBC, and Fox, who had all placed bids. Another fun fact is that CBS gets no additional play-off games under this deal. Clearly, CBS is hoping to make Thursday Night Football into a long-term franchise, but hope is not a strategy. Keeping your options open at the lowest commitment possible is, and both sides are doing it.
CBS is clearly using 2014 season as an audition for the NFL because they have doubts about another weeknight of football, and NFL may be coming to the conclusion they have either hit the ceiling for their pricing, or the saturation point for their product, or both. The NFL surely isn’t putting out a marquees product, and CBS isn’t paying marquee prices.
But this strategy will probably work because there are still enough of the fans Goodell loves; the ones who will slurp up anything he lays down.
By J-Dub and Ryan Meehan
The Deep Six is another series from Sports Blog Movement that has found a new home on Dubsism. In its history, it has sometimes been written by J-Dub, sometimes by Ryan Meehan, and sometimes a collaboration. Sometimes it has appeared on Sports Blog Movement, and sometimes on Dubsism, but it has always been about delving deeply into the topics that live in the intersection of pop culture and sports.
In today’s installment, J-Dub and Meehan continue the long march toward the beginning of the real NFL season by taking a look at the people with whom we share that season. No, they are not here to discuss your drinking buddies; they are probably drunken reprobates like they are. Rather, this is about the television personalities we must all suffer during that enjoyment of football.
Here’s the premise. We all know the broadcaster ranks are full of people who don’t suck, like Gus Johnson. We all know those ranks are full of those who do suck; they are far too numerous to mention. But in between there is wide band of broadcasters no one just can’t definitively assign to either category. That why J-Dub and Meehan are going to look at people in four different broadcasting categories: Analyst, Color Commentator, Play-by-Play, and Sideline Reporter.
To help decide into which category these folks should be flung, J-Dub and Meehan are going to explore the pros and cons of each. Being that the theme of this series is the Deep Six, normally they would cover six members of each category. But since this is about football, they’ve decided to include the extra-point.
Without further adieu, here they are (in alphabetical order).
This is another installment in the Sports Blog Movement series which now calls Dubsism home. Tales of Depression and Sorrow takes a hard look at certain instances, or specific seasons which would make sports fans cringe in horror and pain, or expands on that to take a hard look at the long-suffering fans of franchises who have tortured their supporters for decades.
Last year, we did an examination of Ryan Meehan’s tortures at being a fan of the New York Giants. Now, we turn the tables, as it is Meehan’s turn to ask the questions; to probe J-Dub’s deepest traumas over years of being a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan.
Only fun things can happen when a Giants’ fan and an Eagles’ fan get together; you can almost hear the knuckles hitting the teeth from here!
Click here to listen to or download the Blast-Cast (MP3 format)…The Blast-Cast is also available on Itunes.
P.S. During the Blast-Cast, J-Dub and Meehan ask for your Tales of Sorrow and Depression. They say there is no story they won’t hear, but to be honest, they’ve already heard from far too many Chicago Cubs fans…
Sports Blog Movement may be gone, but the Blast-Cast has returned. Today’s episode is all about a preview of the upcoming NFL season that only J-Dub and Ryan Meehan can bring you. This is more than just which team is better than which…this is stuff you really need to know!
WARNING: This Blast-Cast gets a bit more R-rated and addresses some controversial subjects. This is because J-Dub and Meehan get into a discussion about how NFL Kommissar Roger Goodell is going to screw up the NFL somehow, and this leads to a point where J-Dub has a profanity-filled tirade and says some things that some may find objectionable. Granted, that’s not really news, but the point is that if you are easily offended, maybe you should skip this podcast and stick with something more NPR-ish. In other words, if you choose to listen to this Blast-Cast and hear something that pisses you off, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Click here to listen to or download the Blast-Cast (MP3 format)…The Blast-Cast is also available on Itunes.
Radio J-Dub, Volume 2 – How The Jim Irsay Situation Illustrates America’s Hypocrisy Toward Addiction
In today’s episode, J-Dub talks about how Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay’s arrest for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance has morphed from a story about a man and his demons to a pointed commentary on how America has a huge problem when it comes to addiction and how we as a nation view it. This podcast was inspired by a piece posted on Sports Blog Movement by J-Dub’s regular collaborator Ryan Meehan.
You can subscribe to and download the podcast here, as well as get information on how to participate when Radio J-Dub is being recorded live. Radio J-Dub can also be found on Itunes.
We here at Dubsism are excited to bring you a new feature, an audio podcast to go along with the series of video podcast we produce. In the inaugural episode, J-Dub talks about how NFL free agency is like having a girlfriend who is jet-screaming hot, but is also bat-shit crazy. He also puts to rest some misconceptions about the Phil Jackson as president of the New York Knicks saga, and lays out a reason you’ll never get from the dick-tards at ESPN about why a Jackson return to the Los Angeles Lakers is all but impossible.
You can subscribe to and download the podcast here, as well as get information on how to participate live when Radio J-Dub is being recorded live.
The NFL once was the ultimate gridiron struggle, but in recent years it’s become more of a contest to see who can get the zebras to give them the biggest advantage. We’ve all seen the offense line-up on 4th-and-short with no intention of snapping the football; rather it’s all about which yardbarker can draw the opposition offsides. We’ve all seen the receiver who rather than making a play for the ball decides to mug for the cameras and the referees, begging for a penalty. The sad, but simple fact is that the NFL is now all about penalties, and pretty much everything about penalties is bullshit.
Watching penalties in the NFL is a lot like getting a speeding ticket when you’re in the middle of having a great day. You have legitimate reasons for enjoying yourself, but some assbag with a badge has to yank you to the side of the road because you’re going 33 in a 30. It’s not you were blatantly breaking the law; you didn’t blow through a school cross-walk at 85 mph and turn some kid into a hood ornament. You were just jamming out to Rush’s “2112” and trying to mind your own goddamned business; but you ran into Officer RadarGun who has a quota to meet and his wife refused to give him blowjob before he left the house that morning, so he’s going to ass-rape you instead.
In the NFL, Officer RadarGun is personified by the likes of zebras such as Ed Hochuli, Gene Steratore, and that black guy whose name we can’t remember. The difference here is that in the case of the NFL, the bullshit nature of the enforcement of the rules isn’t the fault of nit-picky enforcers incentivized by straight-up quotas. Think about how the NFL would look like if it referees were expected to call at least 6 holding holding penalties per game.
As ridiculous as that sounds, the NFL is really all about finding ways for the refs to employ some form of game-stoppage strategy. If you doubt that, stop to consider all the ways a referee can stop a football game colder Hilary Clinton taking a cryogenic sitz bath. But rather than dwell on that, we are here to look at penalties and the three reasons why most of the calls made in the NFL today are complete bullshit; the reason behind the calls, and the shit that comes from the people against whom the calls go.
Honestly, this is just an update of some interesting numbers from a piece I wrote last year concerning Peyton Manning’s proclivity for gagging in big games.
- FACT: In three years at Tennessee, Peyton Manning never beat main rival Florida.
- FACT: Peyton Manning now owns a 11-12 playoff record as a starting quarterback.
- FACT: In 8 of Manning’s 13 career playoff appearances, his team has failed to win a single game.
- FACT: Peyton Manning is 0-4 in playoff games in temperatures below 40 degrees.
- FACT: Manning is now has the most playoff losses by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
With all the talk about Manning’s legacy, you simply cannot gloss over his post-season failures.
Hindsight being what it is, there a whole lot of football commentators who have a giant shitburger to eat this morning. For purposes of full disclosure, I did not see such a complete dismantling of the Broncos as the outcome of Super Bowl XLVIII. But I did see a Seahawks victory being entirely possible. There were lots of media types out there who did not, and some of them were downright dismissive of the NFC Champion.
It was pretty obvious last night that the Seahawks were out to prove something to the nay-sayers. Perhaps you don’t believe that. Perhaps you think last night’s manhandling of the Denver Broncos was just a function of another Peyton Manning big-game fold. The post-game comments made by Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin blew that illusion out of the water.
Baldwin was just one of the Seahawks to come into the Super Bowl with a chip on his shoulder. Baldwin had a major beef with ESPN blow-hack Cris Carter because he had said the Seahawks receivers “were appetizers because the team lacked a main course.” This led to a tasty post-game call-out of Carter; when someone asked Baldwin what he had to say about the criticism now that he was Super Bowl champion, the receiver didn’t pull punches. From the Everett Herald:
“OK, y’all listen to me loud and clear,” he said. “Y’all listening? Y’all hear me? For all y’all who called us, the receiving corps, average, pedestrian, appetizers—I’m not going to say any names, but he knows who he is—I respect what you did on the field, but stick to playing football, because your analytical skills ain’t up to par yet. You need to slow down and go back and not do it half-assed and put some effort into it, because you’re saying some stuff that didn’t really make sense.”
“That dude who said that we were appetizers, he told me to Google him, and I did Google him, but I didn’t see any Super Bowl appearances, and I also saw two losses in conference championships. I have a Super Bowl ring, and I would gladly show that to him. And if he doesn’t have time to come see it, tell him he can Google it.”
While Baldwin never let Carter’s name come out of his mouth, it was pretty obvious who he was talking about, especially when he referenced Carter’s lack of a Super Bowl ring. To be fair, there no law that says you have to have won a Championship to be a commentator, but Cris Carter is the last guy who should be talking about being an appetizer. I’m on record as saying he is underserving of his Hall-of-Fame status; largely because Carter defined a guy who was an “appetizer.” Sure, Carter never won a ring, but he also never was a “main course.” In other words, Carter was a classic “possession” receiver, who is calling out other guys for being “possession” receivers.
Carter’s biggest problem is that he really believes he is one of the all-time greats, when is really isn’t. The game has changed in the past thirty years, but we are determining greatness based on some old standards. Just because Cris Carter is 4th all-time in career receptions doesn’t make him the 4th best receiver of all-time; it means he played in a era when the forward pass was used far more than in previous eras. That false belief in his mind gives him license to sit on ESPN and say some of the stupidest whit ever heard, which is an accomplishment considering some of the electronic sewage that comes out of Bristol.
Regardless of what you think of Cris Carter, the most joyous thing to come out of the Super Bowl was the fact that somebody finally called out Carter on his bullshit. It’s been long overdue.
1) What Vegas Thinks
As a retired bookie, J-Dub has always known that professional gamblers pay attention to five key statistics:
- Yards Rushing per Game: Regular Season – Seattle 136.8, Denver 117.1; Post-Season – Seattle, 144.5, Denver 120.0
- Yards Rushing Allowed Per Game: Regular Season – Seattle 101.6, Denver 101.6; Post-Season – Denver 64.5, Seattle 134.5
- Points Scored Per Game: Regular Season – Denver 37.9, Seattle 26.1; Denver 25.0, Seattle 23.0
- Points Allowed Per Game: Regular Season – Seattle 14.1, Denver 24.9; Post-Season – Seattle 16.0, Denver 16.5
- Ratio of Points Scored to Points Allowed: Regular Season – Seattle 1.85, Denver 1.52; Post-Season – 1.43, Denver 1.51