NFL rating down, no surpise

The last couple of weeks I have seen stories in which the NFL ratings are down and they are getting worse.I guess I have a few thoughts on this and why the NFL is finally having issues.

  • With all the concussion talk, it was just a matter of time before people stopped watching
  • The product on the field is not as good as it use to be, when you have up’ed the flags for how you hit, how you block, how you line up on special teams you end up with cookie cutter games with no excitement or great team plays. Basically you have teams going out there and passing it for 60 minutes and nothing else.
  • The NFL policy in which each of their teams has to be on national television once every three years (I believe)
  • The NFL lost it unique brand when it put it money ahead of the people. When you have to have extra long commercial breaks, coaches that are required to wear NFL gear, NFL gear for everything, a restrictive social media policy, people can not relate to that and over time you will lose people.

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Battlefield 1 Review

So I have been playing Battlefield 1 now for about 24 hours for both Campaign and Multiplayer. I thought I should get a couple quick initial thoughts out there about the game.

  • Campaign
    • The visuals on the cutscenes amazing and detailed
    • The layout of the five stories is good
    • My only issue is the length of Campaign is short in playtime terms
  • Multiplayer
    • The classic modes are still good (Rush, Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Domintation)
    • The horses are more imortal than tanks…. If horsers were this durable, why did the army need tanks?
    • Flying the airship is awesome!
  • Misc
    • The UI is a bit clunky as the top level menu does not stay like on the website
    • It appears that there is no loadout option on the menu

Overall, this is a good game which I will continue to explore and probably curse when it is overrun by aimbots/hackers in two weeks

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College coaching going stupid

Why do teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan win year after year? The answer is easy…. They keep it simple. I know that this is a general statement but this is how the good teams win. I got to watch two displays this last Saturday where college football coaches who had chances to knock off teams in the top 5.

The first was the NC State-Clemson game in which NC State had the chance to kick the game winning field goal at the end of regulation. They had the ball at the ~10 with about ~30 seconds and they call what play???? A PASS!!!!! Why?!!! Why?!!! Just take a knee or run it ahead of a couple more yards! The actual result: A sack which led to a field goal miss. Now I’m not saying the same thing would have have occurred if the ball was snapped at the ~7 yard line, but if you don’t give your team the BEST chance to win, then you should not be a coach of a major college program.

The second one occurred during the Ohio State-Wisconsin game. In overtime after the Ohio State TD score, the Badgers have 3rd and Goal from the ~5 yard line. What is the play call from the side line? A run to the short side for no gain. This was followed by a sack on 4th down to end the game. This loss by Wisconsin was due in part to poor coaching decisions. When you are at the ~5 yard line on 3rd down, you PASS THE BALL, the run has a low percentage chance of getting you to the end zone (or the 1 yard line) as Ohio State had been stuffing  you for most of the 4th quarter. Once again, the pass might have failed on 3rd down, it might have worked, but the point is that you give your team the MAXIMUM number of chances to go out there and win/tie the game.

In the second case, Wisconsin cut their chances in half with the run on 3rd down. I personally would rather have 5 pass catchers other there rather than 1 runner. If they did this twice, that is basically 10 chances to get into the end zone. This is why the Alabama’s, Ohio State’s win year after year, they give their players a chance to perform to the max of their abilities while calling simple plays to win the game. You see this in many upset chances that coaches go all stupids instead of using what got them there in the first place.

 

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NASCAR continues to drive in reverse

To off topic of the usual Baseball/Basketball/Football/Soccer discussion, I want to take today’s post and discuss NASCAR racing. And based on the recent TV ratings and attendance numbers this might be a post that is not viewed by many. I caught a little bit of the race on Sunday and noticed the large empty sections of the bleachers of the rain postponed race. It got me thinking that this seems quiet common of all NASCAR races in recent years, and with article recently on low TV ratings, it makes me think how this could have happened to a sport that was considered a top tier sport a mere 20 years ago.

In my thoughts, there are could of reasons NASCAR has fell on hard times:

  1. Single TV Contact – This in my opinion is the biggest miscalculation and gaff for NASCAR, possibly greater than the next five combined. For the 2001 season, NASCAR signed a single network contact with FOX in the hopes people would know which network would have the race each week. Later on, FOX sub-contracted with NBC for the second half of the season. This model/idea had one major flaw, there was no incentive for other network to provide any coverage like it did for the previous 30 year. If you looks at the other major sports, they all have multiple network contacts: NFL (CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN), MLB (Regional, FOX, TBS, ESPN), NBA (ESPN, ABC, TNT, Regional) and NHL (Regional, NBC, NBCSN). NASCAR previously had contracts at the track level with ESPN, TBS, TNT, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, TNN…. That is seven network that did not care to promote NASCAR or provide coverage, that is seven networks that might be promoting the sport during another sport telecast for an upcoming broadcast.
  2. Inconsistent sponsorship – Back when I use to follow NASCAR closer, you knew which driver was in which car because of the sponsorship/color scheme, but this no more. Sponsorship’s change way too much to have any consistence to follow a driver. Though this might be one that really be fixed.
  3. Race for the championship – Back in 2003, NASCAR thought (incorrectly) they had a major crises on their hands…… a driver won with only one win. This championship for Matt Kenneth led to the “Race for the Championship” which would be a playoff system. The problem is, why should other drivers really try (and sponsors pay for cars outside the championship) when will not receive equal focus?
  4. Not everybody can win – When you have 40 (or 43 previously) cars on the track in the 90’s and before, you knew on any given week (and with a little luck) that a driver could win. Those days are gone because the technical gap is too great, there is only 10-15 drivers that can really win each week. It is now too costly to get into the sport, the cars are too different to the fans to relate too and wins too hard (without a 5 car team).
  5. Inconsistent race dates – If you compare the 2015 to the 1996 season, you see that there was 0 Saturday races in 1996 (5 in ’15) and only two races at night (9 in ’15). This not knowing when the sport if on, coupled with issue number one leaves the fans confused when the sport is on.
  6. Same tracks – The tracks are too similar to each other. If you use the 2015 season as reference, you only have a couple  different track types, notice the issue that there are too many of the semi-oval tracks. People want to see a variety and not the same race week after week.
    1. Semi Oval – Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fontana, Texas, Charlotte, Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky, Richmond and Chicagoland.
    2. True Oval – Dover, Loudon, Indy, Darlington, Homestead.
    3. Short Track – Martinsville, Bristol
    4. Super Speedway – Daytona and Talladega
    5. Odd ball/Road Course – Phoenix, Pocono, Watkins Glen

Now I’m not one just to leave the issues on the table and not provide recommended solutions. Below is how I would fix NASCAR.

  1. Bid the races out on the track by track basis, spread the wealth…. get NASCAR’s name out there on multiple networks all the time all year long.
  2. Continue the race to the championship, but also include minor trophies. You could have a season long point trophy, an FA Cup style races where certain races drivers are paired off with the one finishing better moving on until the final two face off, a race for the rest for the drivers outside the top 16. All of these can run concurrently with the Chase, this might give the fans and drivers an extra inventive to race.
  3. Make the cars more like traditional cars since nobody wants to watch racing cars they can not relate too.
  4. Make all races (except 1st Bristol and 1st Charlotte) a day time race on Sunday (no Saturdays). I know the reason the Saturday races were added, but it just does not work. All Sunday races start at 12pm or 3pm CST depending if is a west coast race.
  5. There needs to be a effort into mixing up the tracks, NASCAR needs to add tracks that race different, have different strategy, add some more road courses. Drop some of these semi-ovals races from 2 per track to 1.

 

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Football’s double standard

Today’s thought is not the double standard on how QB’s are treated different than other positions, or how snapper have different rights than other blockers. Today’s topic is the double standard I feel fans of football apply to College verses NFL football. Over the the  years the NFL tried to decrease the time of play by starting the clock after out of bounds and not stopping the clock on sacks, but eventually they gave up and even moved the 2nd game of the day to 3:25pm CT. The reasons this increase occurred are obvious: higher passing attempts lead to more completion, longer commercials, more corporate money (if they are going to give you an extra $50 million, why not extend the commercial 30 seconds longer?)

I started thinking about this the other day while catching two college football games…. The Texas/OSU and the Wisconsin/Michigan games. The Texas/OSU game took 3 hours and 40 minutes while Wisconsin/Michigan took 3 hours and 10 minutes. I understand that Texas/OSU had a large amount of points, but Wis/Mich finished 14-7 but still took over 3 hours????? This seems to be a current trend in college football in the last 10 years that even the low scoring games take longer than the NFL games, but goes with out the uproar NFL and MLB games get.

So as I continued to think, why? Why is there no uproar over this double standard? Maybe it because the games are on Saturday? More pride at stake to care about time? More scoring? Maybe because the NFL starts 1 hour later (in general) to the college game? I don’t think there is any solid answer out there

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Thinking once again….

It’s been over two years and I’m once again going to give this blog thing a try. I’m going to try to post a little less often to avoid burnout(Once every 7-9 days), hopefully on Sunday’s for the most part. Looking back at my last posts, this is what I see that has happened since the last time I posted:

  • Bret is still the coach as Arkansas and it did not turn out to be the disaster I predicted [can’t get them all right I guess :)]
  • Gary Andersen is gone from Wisconsin (Thank God!) and Paul Chryst is the coach. Hey, we are off to a very good start….better than Bret 🙂
  • Bo is gone a Wisconsin for basketball and Gard is in. He seemed to over achieve last year with mid-level players.
  • The Brewers ended up taking since the last post thanks to the incompetence of Doug Melvin and we had to blow the whole thing up. Amazing that the Cardinals never have to go into a rebuilding mode (and it is not because of that larger fan base.
  • Bench clearing brawls still happening in MLB even though the solution is SIMPLE. New GM, same idiotic policy (See prior post)
  • The Bucks got new owners and getting a new stadium.
  • Listening to the Dan Patrick show the other day and they mentioned that the NBA will make it a point of emphasis to enforce traveling. I laughed too.
  • A point that is close to me…. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwood’s League won the championship this year. As a 9-pack holder and was at all the playoff games it was truly great following the team including the walk off home run in game 1 of the championship.
  • The Pro Bowl is still as boring is bad as always….. If they would only change it to a future stars with rookies and second year players
  • Now onto soccer, I have really have started following Sacramento Republic FC
  • Carlisle FC having a good season
  • Big Brother has really gone into the toilet. It basically has become repeat comp after repeat comp. It really lacks in game play in recent seasons, as alliances don’t matter and skating through is the new norm
  • What is this with CBS delaying Amazing Race?
  • I bought a drone to fly in the park. Videos are here.
  • Countdown to Battlefield 1 has started
  • House of Cards was great and the following season was good
  • Other Netflix shows I have been watching:
    • Last Man Standing
    • Poirot
    • Family Guy
    • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2 is stupid IMO)
    • Narcos
    • Chopped
    • Cutthroat Kitchen (Is awesome!)

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Selig causes another bench clearing brawl

Once upon a time there was a disagreement during a baseball game that led to a bench clearing brawl, how do you correct that from ever happening again? If you are Bud Selig, you don’t, and you don’t even acknowledge that there is a even a problem. That is what happened Sunday during the Brewers-Pirates contest. If you have not seen the play you can see it here.

This incident is the one of many unnecessary multi-player incidents that seem to occur weekly MLB baseball in this so called “Modern Era” of baseball. It should be of no surprise to anybody that the commissioner does absoultly nothing to address the issue nor acknowledges that there is a problem while his counterpart league have resolved their issues years or decades ago. Bud Selig sits around while the kids run the household, but this no surpise to me since he has proven before that he is weak on punishment.

I have written about this before, but it amazes me that nothing is done about a simple rule change. Suspend the players that join in from the outside and suspend anybody that comes out of the dogout/bullpen.

In this case, Gomez will get what he deserved unlike last year, he escalated a shouting match with the pitcher. This appear to be the one thing that Gomez needs to work on or he will self-destruct as everybody will try to get into his head all the time and provoke fights with him, especailly since it appears that Selig will do nothing to curtail these indicients from occuring.

The use of instant replay should used in these situations (if commistioner do nothing does nothing) to assist in ensuring who should be ejected. I would normally expect this to be an easy thing to change, but given that it took 10 years longer than it should have just to get replay, I’m not expecting any changes anything soon.

In the end, it should be of no surpise that if at the end of the season attendence is down, what is the cause of it. The lack of changes or the delay to put in much needed changes will be the downfall of MLB if drastic action to bring back the youth to the game are not implemented. There are other sports that will be more than happy to fill its spot, this incident is just one of many problems with baseball.

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