Friday, November 14, 2008

worst NFL music videos

This article is an instant classic

Jets dynasty?

Some guy called Joe Rose's show this morning touting a dynasty for the Jets, based on their last two games.
 
And  I immediately thought...yeah right.
 
They have Brett Favre who will retire, unretire, and maybe retire again.
 
They have a salary cap that is out of control, and not sustainable.
 
And.  Its just two games.  Yeah they scored a lot of points, but this is the NFL after all...

What will happen next season?

Possible recession.
 
Many problems selling luxury seats.
 
Player salaries high.
 
Opting out of the CBA earlier this season.
 
What will the NFL do? 
 
Ask Jim Mandich.  He thinks there may be a lockout next season by the owners.  Call him crazy if you want, he may be right...
 
Stay tuned.
 

Jets - Pats clash

I'm not really a fan of either of these teams.  Generally, I would be okay if the score was 2-0 on a whacky over the head snap on the game's final play.
 
But, sometimes I actually watch these games, because you like to see the teams beat up on each other.  And this year, on principle I was rooting against the Pats (not FOR the Jets).
 
...naturally because I don't have the NFL Network, I couldn't watch this game.  But did I see Cassell threw the ball 51 times for 400 yards?  WTF?
 
Son instead I watched THE U beat Va Tech last night.  Now there's a game I can actually enjoy watching.
 
But my point was....did I have a point?
 
Oh yeah, its that the game was on the NFL Network.  This is silly, and I heard Joe Rose yesterday saying something like 'can you imagine being CBS, and being told, yeah we know you paid a billion for the rights to the games, but you can't have the Jets-Pats. Sorry.'
 
Now as far as the telecasts go, this weekend is a CBS doubleheader.  I read that we'll see the Dolphins at 1, and get the Titans game at 4.  I'm skeptical because on home weekends, there usually isn't a doubleheader shown, and I thought there was a rule about that...  And Fox can't show a 1pm game in the market, but will show us the Seahawks-Cards game at 4.  Yipee.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

say what?

 
Apparently, Michael Vick expects to be reinstated and thinks his future earnings and signing bonuses will pay his creditors.
 
But who would take a chance on him?

And this past Tuesday

My buddy Igor was in the team hotel on Monday and saw Courtney Bryan checking in.  He's like "hey wasn't he cut a few weeks ago?"   Then he read the paper and saw he was re-signed.
 
And in between, Bryan worked at Arbys.  Really.

Want to Help Some Displaced Dolphins Fans?

Reminder!
 
There are two weeks left to enter!!!
 

 You can read more about it http://www.displacedfansearch.com/


Displaced, die-hard NFL fans who maintain a nearly obsessive allegiance to their favorite team despite being far removed from its local market, will always have a home at DIRECTV.  To honor those stalwart fans, DIRECTV has unveiled the first official list of the top displaced-fan cities in America and is also launching a national search for the Ultimate Displaced Fan.

 

DIRECTV analyzed data from more than one million NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ subscribers to identify the cities that hold the highest percentage of fans for each NFL team.  In addition, the nation's digital satellite television leader is setting out to crown one lucky NFL fan as America's "Ultimate Displaced Fan," and send him or her to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 

Notable among the list of top displaced-fan cities were Las Vegas and Orlando, the only cities to house the highest percentage of displaced fans for more than two different teams. Las Vegas led in displaced fans for the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, while Orlando played home to the highest percentage of New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions fans. The list revealed several notable city/team relationships such as Washington D.C. housing the highest percentage of displaced fans for its most storied rival, the Dallas Cowboys, or Minneapolis housing the highest percentage of fans for its biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers.

 

The DIRECTV Ultimate Displaced Fan Search will allow NFL fans throughout the country to enter submissions on the DIRECTV Ultimate Displaced Fan Search page at DIRECTV.com/NFL between Sept. 11 and Nov. 30, 2008.  There, fans can stake their claim to this unique title through written essays/blogs, photos or video submissions that illustrate exactly why they should be crowned the Ultimate Displaced Fan.  One winner will be selected by a panel of judges, based on the example of dedication they display to their favorite team and the creativity of their submissions. 

 

The winner will receive a dream prize package, including a trip for two and two tickets to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. In addition, the winner will get to meet Super Bowl XLII MVP and New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, as well as a player from their favorite NFL team (if it's not the Giants), and play side-by-side with celebrities and star athletes in DIRECTV's Celebrity Beach Bowl flag football game, also held in Tampa during Super Bowl week. Finally, the winner will participate in their own media tour where they'll rub elbows with NFL stars while doing interviews on "radio row" at the official Super Bowl media center.

 

 

Below are the U.S. cities featuring the largest out-of-market fan base for each NFL team (based on percentage of NFL SUNDAY TICKET™ subscribers in the DMA that have listed the specific team as their favorite).  The results exclude all cities that are within the home territory of the local team.

 

 

1. Arizona Cardinals – St. Louis, MO

2. Atlanta Falcons – Greenville-Spartanburg, SC / Asheville, NC

3. Baltimore Ravens – Harrisburg-Lancaster, PA

4. Buffalo Bills – Orlando-Daytona, FL

5. Carolina Panthers – Norfolk, VA

6. Chicago Bears – Las Vegas, NV

7. Cincinnati Bengals – Charleston-Huntington, WV

8. Cleveland Browns – Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL

9. Dallas Cowboys – Washington, DC

10. Denver Broncos – Las Vegas, NV

11. Detroit Lions – Orlando-Daytona, FL

12. Green Bay Packers – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

13. Houston Texans – Fresno-Visalia, CA

14. Indianapolis Colts – Knoxville, TN

15. Jacksonville Jaguars – Norfolk, VA

16. Kansas City Chiefs – Des Moines, IA

17. Miami Dolphins – Atlanta, GA

18. Minnesota Vikings – Des Moines-Ames, IA

19. New England Patriots – Orlando-Daytona, FL

20. New Orleans Saints – Jackson, MS

21. New York Giants – West Palm Beach, FL

22. New York Jets – West Palm Beach, FL

23. Oakland Raiders – Las Vegas, NV

24. Philadelphia Eagles – Baltimore, MD

25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cleveland, OH

26. San Diego Chargers – Las Vegas, NV

27. San Francisco 49ers – Portland, OR

28. Seattle Seahawks – Portland, OR

29. St. Louis Rams – Fresno-Visalia, CA

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Greenville-Spartanburg, SC / Asheville, NC

31. Tennessee Titans – San Antonio, TX

32. Washington Redskins – Raleigh-Durham, NC

 


Cheerleader pics

I've decided to move all my pics over to dotphoto. 
 
It'll take some time to get all the cheerleader pics moved, but in the meantime, here are the pics I've added from this past week's game...



 
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dolphin nominees

Dol-Fans show your support and help two Dolphins win major NFL weekly awards. On the heels of Miami's 21-19 victory over the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday, safety Yeremiah Bell and tackle Jake Long have been nominated for weekly NFL honors.

 

Bell is a nominee for the GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week for Week 10. He led the Dolphins with nine tackles and defensed a two-point conversion attempt by Seattle to secure the Dolphins' 21-19 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter. Voting is now open, and will remain open until this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. (ET). To vote for Bell:

http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-defense

 

Long is a nominee for the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week for Week 10. He was part of an offensive line that led a running game that amassed 155 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts (5.7-yard average) and allowed only two sacks in the Dolphins' 21-19 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Voting is now open, and will remain open until this Friday at 12:00 p.m. (ET). To vote for Long:

http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=rookies

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A couple of key plays



On Miami's first TD, they ran the "flea flicker." In this play, the offense essentially executes a basic running play (in this case off right guard), and then the running back suddenly turns around and shovels it back to QB. He then will throw it long to a receiver streaking down the field.



The key here is to "sell" the run. You have to make the defense assume that its a running play so the saftey will come up, leaving the receiver in (at worst) one-one coverage.

In Miami's case, the safety did come up, but recognized the play and returned to coverage, thus putting Ginn in double coverage. But the pass was so perfect, and Ginn made a one handed catch that negated the coverage.

=======================================================



On Miami's second TD, they unveiled another wrinkle to the wildcat. This time, they lined up Ronnie as the ball handler, and flanked him with Cobbs and Ricky. And they did not use the unbalanced line we saw on other ocassions.

And at the snap, it was straight up blocking with no pulling guard. Ricky went one way with Ronnie and Cobbs going the other.

Ricky got the handoff, and went toward the right side, while Ronnie and Cobbs went left. Ricky simply followed his block and went through the line, all the tacklers were occupied, except one, and Ricky blew past him for the TD.

========================================================

And finally, Miami ran basically the same play again later. Except this time, Ronnie kept the ball and went left. The defense clearly was expecting Ricky to get the ball, but he didn't.

Now the question I had was about what else they were setting up. Cobbs stayed behind Ronnie for just long enough to make me think that he might have been running a wishbone; possibly it was a "check with me" where if he was bottled up he might have pitched it back, but otherwise the call was to have him block.

It was well-conceived, and well executed.




See? There is more to the wildcat.

Weird ending

I was watching the Arizona - San Fran clash last night, and it ended so peculiarly, I had to comment on it.
 
San Fran was down by 5, and there was something like 50 seconds left, no timeouts.  The QB throws to #89 who is knocked down at the 4 or so.  The receiver gets up hobbling, and it seems no one is sure what to do.  The QB goes up to the line to try and spike it, but the team isn't all there.  A lot of time winds off the clock, and now we're down inside of 30 seconds.  Finally, the team gets set and the ball is spiked.  But, a flag comes out.
 
Why?  Because #89 is waaaay behind the line, near the sidelines, but still in bounds.  The officials confer and decide its not a penalty, and they're right.  He hobbled upfield toward the bench, and went outside the numbers, then was walking back toward the numbers.   There were 10 other players at the line.  So, there weren't too many players on the field.  He was lined up as an eligible receiver in the backfield, so that's cool.  At issue was the fact that he went outisde the numbers on the field.  The rule was designed to keep a team from sending someone off, and then bringing on a new player to replace him by lining him up near the bench to confuse the other team about who's playing.  Because he had played on the previous play, he could go outside the numbers on the play.

So, now its second and goal at the 4 with somewhere around 30 seconds left.  Its a handoff.  Gore runs left, and a player gets a hand on him, but he takes two more steps, stumbles and puts his knee down.  Then, he crawls across the goal line before he's touched again.  He's ruled down, and San Fran quickly lines up to spike it again.  They get the play off....
 
....then the ref signals that the previous play was being reviewed.  Now, in the confusion its possible the ref was signalling timeout for the review, but because a play had run it should have been over.  And here's what's weirder.  When Gore is ruled down there are about 20 seconds left, and by the time the spike happens, we're at maybe 15.  But the clock doesn't stop until the ref announces the review, and there are suddenly 2 seconds left.  Singletary argues.
 
The review shows what I stated: Gore took a couple of steps, so he was not down by contact, so its a TD.  But the official rules him down.  And he decides to put 2 seconds back on the clock, so we're at 4 seconds left on 3rd and goal from the 4.
 
Mike Martz decides to run it, and I can't fault him for that, though the TV announcers didn't understand it...
 
Gore gets tripped up at the 2, and in their euphoria, one of the players rips off Gore's helmet.  The game is over, Arizona wins.
 
Except that the face mask penalty should have been enforced, and San Fran should have had one more down to get it in.  Though it should never have come to that...
 
It was sooooo strange.

The big game

Miami got the opening kickoff, and Ted Ginn cut left.  We were in the endzone, and I snapped this pic as Ginn got the kick. 

As he cuts, I see 53 grab a jersey, and pull it.  I look at the ref and start thinking "don't call it.  don't call it." And out comes the flag.  Ginn naturally makes it all the way to the endzone, only to have it called back - on a penalty I saw happen.
 
Miami goes on to score on a little razzle-dazzle a few plays later and goes up 7-0. 
 
Then, Ricky gets a handoff out of the wildcat and Miami goes up 14-0.  This is what that looked like to me.
 
Miami was cruising. 
 
But....then Pennington made a crucial mistake.  He threw a weak pass into coverage, and 30 yards later, Seattle had a TD to close the gap to 7, and make the game interesting.
 
Now, in truth, Miami never trailed, and was only in danger of losing kind of late in the game.  Miami led 14-13 as the 4th quarter started.  I turned to one of the guys and said "its time for a long scoring drive."  And sure enough Miami charged down the field on a nearly 8-minute drive culminating in a Ronnie Brown TD to make it 21-13.
 
Seattle got the ball back - after a poor special teams play - at around mid-field.  With just over two minutes remaining, they scored to make it 21-19 on a short pass that was just a few yards from me. 

Then comes the try for 2 to tie the game.  Bell swats it down, and Miami gets the ball back. 
 
On 3rd and about 3, Pennington tucks the ball on a designed draw, and starts toward the line.  He gets stopped by the defense, and the ball comes out.  Seattle's ball.  Oh crap.
 
Out comes the flag that Sparano had in his shoe.
 
There was 2:01 showing on the clock, so its just the right time to throw that flag.
 
After review, Miami held the ball, but its 4th and 3, and Miami has to punt.  A decent return puts the ball out somewhere near the 35.  I'm looking at the clock and wondering what might happen.
 
I suddenly started wishing it was earlier in the season.  Why?  Because the baseball infield would still be on the end of the field the Seahawks were driving toward.  And Olindo Mare - Miami's most accurate kicker of all time - is now in Seattle.  He *always* had trouble with the dirt infield.  That could be a game changer.
 
But, as it turned out, there was no need.  Miami held them off, and was able to run out the clock.  Whew!
 
Sometimes you have to win ugly games.  This was one of 'em.
 
Incidentally, one of the guys in my group was in the tunnel at halftime as the players and refs came in.  He yelled to the ref something about it not being a block in the back.  The ref came over to him and said "which one? The one on the punt?"  He said "yeah." And the ref replied "Well, that's the way it was called."  And walks off.  Gotta love it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ernest Wilford

On Saturday, there was Wilford's jersey hanging in his locker.
 
 
But on Sunday, he was hanging a towel around his neck as an inactive player...again.
 
 
Coach Sparano reminded us that its not so much about Wilford's ability as a receiver, but rather the notion that if you don't start, you have to contribute on special teams.  Its all about play count.  If you're not a starter, and you will only be on the field for say 10 plays, then you'd better be on special teams for another 10...

The practice bubble

Shed Dwg Mike and Double A Dawg get in a sack
 
You can take the boy out of Canada, but you can't take Canada out of the boy.  Hockey always seems to come first.  Even at a football training facility.
 

The weight room

The reporters all say the Dolphins use a lot of free weights, and you can hear them clanging whenever the team is in there.  But, we were all at a loss to explain the kegs.
 
Maybe its for the 72 team celebration for when Tennessee loses??

Saturday evening

After a short break, we headed over to the training facility.  We got a "photo op" with a couple of cheerleaders (I'm waiting for someone to send the pictures!), and Big Papa showed up sporting a look that rocked:
 
The locker room is always the place to be.  They even left it "lived in" for us.  Check out the dominos and the Krispy Kream box.
 
As you walk around, you realize just how many players there are on the team, and how the practice squad players turnover faster than you might think.  There were at least a couple of names that I didn't recognize.
 
Sparano really does use motivational tactics.  Check out this sign:
 
I'm always amazed by how many shoes each player has...and that reminds me - when JT got to the Redskins, he had in tow a few of his orange practice shoes from the Fins.  He had to be at practice something like the next day after being traded, and he naturally didn't have red shoes; heck he hadn't even ordered them!  The players made a lot of fun of him...
 
 

Sprinklers

You don't often think about sprinklers being on the field, but then you see them turned on, and you're surprised:
 

Personal conduct

This, too, was posted conspicuously:
 

Helmet warnings

The NFL does take the helmet policy pretty seriously.  All over player areas - the locker rooms, trainign facility, etc - there are signs reminding them about the proper use of headgear.
 
  This one in particular was funny, because the two checkmarks are over Seahawks players.  Its as if they're saying "hit these guys!"
 
 
 

Is it just me

Or does this seem rather like a "treasure chest" ??
 

Jimmy Cefalo

Another highlight of Saturday was that Dolphin great Jimmy Cefalo talked with us.  He gave us a fun 30 minute talk ranging around all topics from his playing days, to covering the dolphins as the radio voice, to Tony Sparano.
 
 
Thank you, Jimmy.  We appreciated it.

Interesting idea

One of the more unusual things we saw was "Fins Theater" which is like a giant home theater.  Well, more like a home theater on steroids.  It looks kind of like the prototypes you see at home shows, or Bose stores, or high end A/V shops.
 
 
Six people sit and are treated to a promotional Dolphins video.  Its a well done video, and the experience is certainly nice.  The surround sound is there, and there are sub-woofers under each seat to make it all more "like you're there."
 
A couple of things struck me.  First, it seemed like a "gimmick" from the 1950s.
 
And actually there was a 70s idea called "Sensurround"  Here's the description from http://www.mutantreviewers.com/rdirty6gimmicks.html

In the 70's, disaster flicks were huge business, and Universal Studios was eager-beaver to take it to the next level. This next level was called "Sensurround", and it was used for a handful of movies including 1974's Earthquake and 1976's Midway.

You know how you get a funny feeling if you hold a subwoofer up to your belly and crank the tunes? This was the basic idea behind Sensurround. They equipped theaters with giant speakers that would rumble out the bass at certain points in the movie, so that moviegoers would actually feel their insides quivering due to the sonic attack.

The funny thing was, Sensurround was somewhat of a hit, and helped to make these films legitimate event tickets. Unfortunately, there were a few hitches with the system: it caused several patrons to become physically sick, it damaged the actual theater it was in (cracks were quickly seen on the walls and ceilings, and one theater saw a huge chunk of roof come down and flatten 10 empty seats), and people sitting in the next theater over couldn't hear their own movie. This, coupled with the cost of the equipment, saw the early end of Sensurround.

I can only imagine if these were still in operation in today's extreme sports culture - who wouldn't want to go to a movie where you could potentially get a nose bleed or hit by a ceiling tile for just showing up?

And second, I noticed there were a fair number of suites that didn't have names on them.  When you purchase a luxury suite, you get your name (or your business name) embossed outside the door.  There were a bunch with no names.  Clearly, the Dolphins want to sell more suites, and this is a clever marketing tool.  I will give them that.  And I'm sure if you have the jack, it makes an impression.
 
Oh, and one thing I find really amusing about the convergence of marketing is that there's the concept of selling "what its like to be here" as shown on the video versus the whole luxury concept of "you don't even have to sit in the stands; you can sit in the luxurious club level instead"...
 
 

Guess what you can see?

As we walked along the club level in the stadium someone stopped, looked out the window and said "I can see Russia from here!'
 
I wanted to share the view with everyone. 

Web Weekend

It was great fun to be with the Dolphins over the weekend.

We started off with a little reception over at Bokamper's place.  I had wanted to ask Bo about his new place when we interviewed him early in the season,  but we didn't get to it.  Its hopping, and a lot of fun.  And best of all, Bo is often there.  Its definitely worth a visit.
 
The reception was fun, and I met up with all the website owners and had a fun time telling stories for a couple of hours, while noshing on a few treats.
 
Saturday morning, we went over to the stadium tour.  Now, I've been in Dolphin Stadium many, many times, have been on the tour more than a few times, and have seen pretty much everything.
 
But, on Saturday, I had a truly unique experience that made it all worthwhile.  I was a couple of minutes late catching up with the tour, and security checked me in, and told me the group was on the field.  I went onto the field, and they weren't there.  Someone mentioned that they went onto the locker room.
 
So, I had to walk around the outside of the field to get there.  And I was alone.  No one was out on the field.  I didn't even bother to take out my camera.  I just soaked it in.  It was very quiet, and amazing in a kind of a cool way.
I snapped this shot from the media press box later in the day.  I walked where those two people are standing.  It was really, really awesome.
 
So, we went into the locker room after that, and most of us were amused to see the red flag in coach Sparano's shoe.
 
I guess there's no way he can forget it.  And since he used it on Sunday, well, I'm glad it was there.
 
And of course, its always cool to see the lockers all setup.  Except that there were a few jerseys missing like Jake Long and Justin Smiley.