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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NFL DRAFT Sets record for Viewership and Internet page views

Record 39 Million Fans Tune Into 2009 NFL Draft On NFL Network, ESPN & ESPN2


First-Round Coverage Outdraws All Weekend
Basketball, Hockey & Baseball Games

Fans Spend More Time on NFL.com

A record 39 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2009 NFL Draft on NFL Network, ESPN and ESPN2, according to Nielsen Media Research. The total audience for the 2009 NFL Draft is an increase of nearly 2.5 million viewers from 2008 and tops the record of 38 million viewers set in 2007. Total NFL Draft viewership has increased 66 percent from 2001 to 2009 (from 23.5 million to 39 million).

First-round coverage of the Draft drew a combined average viewership of 6.3 million viewers on ESPN and NFL Network – exceeding the average viewership of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (Yankees-Red Sox; 4.6 million viewers), FOX’s Saturday Baseball (Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals; 4.1 million) and all other weekend NBA and NHL playoff action (topped by NBA Playoffs First-Round Game 4 on ABC, Cavaliers-Pistons; 5.4 million viewers).

Fans visiting NFL.com on Draft weekend spent a record average of 45 minutes on the site – up 153 percent from a year ago. Visitors to NFL.com over the weekend increased 28 percent over 2008 while video streams accessed were up 65 percent. In addition, fans viewed three times more NFL.com Draft content on their wireless devices than a year ago.

More than 48,000 fans followed the NFL Draft via the NFL's Twitter pages. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Draft tweets were read by 3,690 followers. NFL Network's Rich Eisen drew 4,383 followers and posted 309 updates throughout the network's two-day draft coverage. NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes had more than 1,500 followers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ESPN: No Oakland Raiders Bias - NFL Draft Notes


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My long-time friend Richard Lieberman is prone to hyberbole and god-love him, this is one of those moments.  The San Francisco Chronicle blogger may have made some hay by charging ESPN with a "bias" against the Oakland Raiders, but where I am in New York, and where I was at Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft, the notion was quickly put to rest.  I'm going to spend about as much time on this as ESPN did, but the bottom line is a lot of people didn't like the Raiders draft, almost from top-to-bottom.

I was editing videos in the Interview Room when I overherd NFL Network's Pat Kirwan, and Clark Judge of CBS Sports doing a take for NFL Network, and both were almost laughably derisive of the Raiders decision to take Darrius Heywood-Bay, who's the third ranked receiver in the draft over Michael Crabtree who was picked in an almost regional slap-in-your-face move by the cross-bay San Francisco 49ers.  The preseason game will be interesting.

This is what one scout at draftcountdown.com wrote about Heywood-Bay:

A smooth, fluid athlete...Long strider with rare speed...Explosive with great acceleration and a burst...Quick and agile...Terrific height and bulk with long arms...Excellent leaper...Nice body control and ball skills...Tough and not afraid to work the middle...Vertical threat who can separate...Also a dangerous weapon on reverses...Great work ethic...Could also contribute  as a return man...Still has a ton of upside.

Is inconsistent catching the ball and does not have great natural hands...Questionable instincts and awareness...Still very raw as a route runner...Not much wiggle and won't make people miss...Doesn't break a lot of tackles...Average strength...Marginal blocker...Has little or no special teams experience...Wasn't real productive..Workout Warrior?

As to the best draft? Well, that's three years before anyone can determine, but I'm going to give props to The Miami Dolphins for getting West Virginia Quarterback Pat White in the second round of the Draft.  It's the best mating of man, scheme, and need I've ever seen. In the "Wildcat" offense they run he will succeed and perhaps be in line for "rookie of the year" honors by seasons end.

Print that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Giants try to pick up a free agent receiver and other pre draft notes

Giants try to pick up a free agent receiver and other pre draft notes

It seems that the reports hold some truth at least: The Giants want to swing a deal with the Browns to get Braylon Edwards, who is another talented but "difficult" to work with receiver. Edwards may have some problems working with new Browns and Ex Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini, which seems to be the main issue right now. The Browns want a #2 and a #5 pick in this draft, plus receiver Steve Smith. The Giants countered with the two picks plus receiver Dominik Hixon. What some people are missing is that Edwards isn't Burress. He's two+ inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter. Can he play the same "Jump Ball in the End Zone" game? Sure he can. But if Hixon also goes in the deal the Giants would still need to get another "taller" wide out in the Draft or Via Free Agency to help stretch the defensive backs.

I'll cast my vote for Brian Robiskie early, or Ramses Barden late. I prefer to see a team built through the draft rather then through free agency. To pick up one, two or three players that is is one thing, but there is no way you can get 20 players through free agency without going past the salary cap, at least this year. Now let's see if there still is a salary cap next year. Seattle Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell seems to agree with me that "there isn't really a franchise player in this draft." He told the Sporting News this weekend "(At #4), you think of who will make an impact on your team as quickly as possible-except for a QB. That guy your going to groom."
Right on Tim! Every team i've ever seen play that continually won in post season did so because a G.M or a scouting director took the time to build the team through the draft and not through trades and free agency.

Things are heating up for next weekend at the NFL Draft. We will bring you the latest news all week and from the draft both days.

Our Blogs are at: nflbiz.blogspot.com, and nfldraftmag.blogspot.com
Our websites are www.footballreportersonline.com and to order our NFL Draft Guide (E-Book-PDF) please go to www.gridirondraftguide.com

Last Thursday on our Internet radio show/ podcast at Football Reporters Online was our 2 Hr. mock draft show. This week we have out 2 Hr. Preview show Thursday night at 9pm eastern, and our 45 min. Day one wrap up sunday morning at 12:30 am, plus a two part total recap on Monday the 27th at 7:30 eastern (pt.1) and Thursday the 30th at our regular 9pm eastern slot (pt. 2). The Shows can be heard at www.blogtalkradio.com/Football-Reporters or on iTunes at Keywords: Football Reporters.

On Saturday and Sunday we will team up with Sports Business Simulations, Black Athlete.com, and Consensus Draft Services to bring you all the NFL Draft coverage you could need I would love to hear from you at : askdrfootball@gmail.com or at 1-866478-5982.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

NFL Draft: Matt Stafford, Avoid The Detroit Lions


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A Message to Georgia QB Matt Stafford regarding the NFL Draft. 

Matt, one week from today you're going to be in New York for the NFL Draft as player and I as media .  Many people expect The Detroit Lions, holding the first pick in the player selection event, to make you the number one pick. I've got some advice for you:

Don't let 'em.

Matt Stafford (photo from Google Images)

Matt, the Detroit Lions are an organization of rich tradition, but a history of failure. The Lions have never reached the Super Bowl and playoff appearances have been few and far between.  And the ownership has focused more on hiring personalities than building a winning organization. You won't win there. 


Take a look at the NFL coaches who have won.  All have one thing in common: they're known for systems.

Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers was known for one play, the Power Sweep, which the Packers ran to perfection winning Super Bowl's I and II. 

Chuck Noll was the four-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers who's system consisted of a trap-based running game and aggressive pass-blocking on offense and on defense the "4-3 Stack Overset" alignment. That was the basis for the Tampa Defense that was created by Coach Tony Dungy, who was a Steelers assistant.

Coach Dungy took that Tampa Defense to the Indianapolis Colts where he was reunited with his old college coach and now offensive coordinator Tom Moore, who installed a unique spread offense, and that team set NFL records for wins and playoff appearances, and won a Super Bowl. 

I could go on, and on.  Tom Landry was the father of the 4-3 Defense and "zone" pass coverage with the New York Giants in the 50s, then refined the concept, creating the "Flex Defense" as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys where he won two Super Bowls.

Coach Bill Walsh is the father of the West Coast Offense and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers (and indirectly two more, as his system was still used after he left), and for good measure A Pac 10-Championship at Stanford. 

You getting the picture, Matt? 

Jim Schwartz as Lions' head coach and Scott Linehan as its offensive coordinator are not known for a system that works.  Name an NFL Quarterback that Linehan developed into a Super Bowl winner? 


While Linehan is known as a coach who's pass-patterns Urban Meyer used for his spread offenses at Utah and Florida, it's Meyer who won with a new total offense he created, and not Linehan. 

Coach Linehan recently said they find the players and then make the plays for them, which means he's got no idea what he's going to do. 

Don't go to Detroit, Matt.  You won't win there.

So where should you go? 

Denver, where Head Coach Josh McDaniels has a proven, modern offensive system. And New England, where Bill Belichick has the best situational offense in the NFL.  You can learn of Tom Brady.  But if you go to Detroit, don't say I didn't warn you.  But if Linehan reveals his system as a result of this little attack of mine, maybe things will change. 

We'll see.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Fix is In?


By Michael – Louis Ingram


Bernie Parrish, it seems, has been playing defense all his life. From his playing days with the Cleveland Browns, he saw the future in understanding the need to look out for himself and his fellow players down the road.

Parrish would be instrumental in helping to set up the first Players’ Union back in the 1960s – the same one that would morph into the NFLPA and Players, Inc. today. “I got interested in it after I was voted player rep for the Browns in 1960,” said Parrish,” so I’ve been at this a while.

“We sat down and tore a retirement plan out of the hides of men like George Halas, Paul Brown and George Preston Marshall – a buncha tough old buzzards; developed and gifted a pension plan that became what the modern players have now; and baseball followed suit with our premise soon after.

“Fortunately, for the baseball players, Marvin Miller kept the baseball union straight and made it his business to look out for all his people, and Major League Baseball’s pensioners today receive four to five times more money from their sport than football, in spite of the fact we’ve made more money over the same time frame – while Gene Upshaw & (former NFL commissioner Paul) Tagliabue diverted from that path with retired players (from 1982 and back) into other plans for the players that excluded us.

The death of former NFLPA head Upshaw led to speculation a new leader would be sympathetic to a faction of retired players - Parrish among them – and resolve several long – standing issues; as well as a couple which emanated from the recent award of $28.1 million dollars won in a class – action suit spearheaded by Parrish and Hall of Fame defensive back Herb Adderley, now stuck in appeal.

During Super Bowl week the speculation of a new leader narrowed down to two principal candidates – former players Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent; but the ascension of lawyer/lobbyist DeMaurice Smith to president of NFLPA was a complete surprise to just about everyone – except Parrish.

Parrish revealed on the BASN / blogtalkradio shows, “the Football Reporters Online” and “The Batchelor Pad” hosted by our colleague, L.A. Batchelor that the process in electing Smith, in his opinion, wasn’t on the up – and – up.

“I was in Tampa during Super Bowl week at the Marriott Waterside,” recalls Parrish, “which was across the street from where most of the Super Bowl stuff was happening, and was having a coffee at a Starbucks which was adjacent to the lobby and the Café Waterside when here comes the inner circle of the NFLPA - Richard Bertelsen, Jeffrey Kessler, Clark Gaines, Jack Quinn, etc. They walked right past me, and didn’t recognize me. There were a bunch of fans around, so it was a little loud.

“Kessler, who was eye to eye with me for 7 hours during the deposition in the class action suit, is looking right at me. I was ready to say, ‘So, Jeff – did you bring the check?’ But he didn’t recognize me, and I’m thinking, ‘this guy has got to be one arrogant ass…’

“They all looked dead at me, walked by and then walked into the Café Waterside, which was closed, but the maitre’d let them in and closed the door; he (maitre’d) soon left, and I walked in and sat down at a table right next to them about 4-5 feet away. I’m looking out the window at the Coast Guard gunboats - and I listened for 90 minutes to them talking about several things – including rigging the election and getting Smith enough votes to get him in as Executive Director.

“They also brought in Cornwell as a supposed challenger. At first I thought they were talking about (former Buffalo Bill) Cornelius Bennett, but it was Cornwell, who was on the list of nominees as of January 29.

“So here I’m thinking the judge leaves Berthelsen (de facto Executive Director) and Kessler (lead counsel vs. Retired players) in charge in spite of the fact they ruled their action shirked their fiduciary responsibility to the retired players, instead of appointing a conservator like they did with the Teamsters after we won the lawsuit.

“They had arranged through several phone calls what they called ‘breakout meetings’ with 10 guys and one meeting went 6-0 against them, so they reworked the process.

“They also talked about getting a hold of Mary Moran, daughter of Rep. Jim Moran, who works for NFLPA in Human Resources, saying they needed to get a hold of her right away and she had to make her dad make these calls right away.

“We know he (Moran) called Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Rep. Kendrick Meeks (D-FL) because Troy Vincent had called these congressmen, to insure the election was honest; but Rep. Moran outed Vincent due to the fact there were indications if Vincent had been elected, he would’ve cleaned house and fired his daughter in the wake of that move.

But Rep. Moran outed Vincent not just to help Smith to win the election. Patton Boggs, who is the largest lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., would be seen in a favorable light by NFLPA. So there were more things involved than just trying to have Moran help his daughter keep her job – there’s a lot of politicking goin’ on,” Parrish said.

According to Parrish, Patton Boggs earned $330 million in monies in 2008, and allegedly gave Moran over $2 million, according to an online watchdog concern.

It is because of these discoveries that Parrish is concerned about the direction of the NFLPA with regard to hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the retired players who had their the pension plan “infiltrated” by concerns not in their best interests – as well as the logic of the newly elected Executive Director.

“Well it doesn’t appear that a positive change is gonna happen,” said Parrish, “with Smith saying he was keeping Berthelsen and Kessler; and was ‘happy with the current staff’ – I don’t know how he was able to assess that over 3 days;

“They say they pay homage to us – well, homage doesn’t pay much; we’re owed 100s of millions of dollars because of the collusion between Upshaw, Tagilabue, the owners and Aon Consulting, who controls our plan actuaries; and our salaries are held down by Aon, who was ordered to pay $190 million in restitution to clients in Illinois, New York, and Connecticut – for cheating their customers.”

Parrish went on to imply there is more to this, and he is sending a letter to the new Executive Director to get a first – hand response to what he discovered.

“Smith says his staff is just fine; the same ones who violated fiduciary responsibility in taking care of our concerns. You think AIG’s crooked? Wait ‘til all this comes out.”

BASN will continue to keep you posted on this issue.



Hot Stove Football #2

Hot Stove Football #2: Oh Plaxico oh Plaxico... and why did the NY Jets think they needed Jay Cutler?
By Dr. Bill Chachkes-Managing Partner-Football Reporters Online

The Ny Jets never seem to be happy with what they already have. If they feel that Kellen Clemens will never run the Jets Offense on a regular basis, try trading him for the extra draft pick.Then people will take you seriously when you say you need a QB. Until then, people only see the Jets as further behind the Giants in PSL sales.
I'm not so sure they were ever seriously considered a factor in the "Jay Cutler" Saga. The three way deal between the Broncos, Titans, and the Jets was talked about for all of 5 minutes and then dismissed at least on NY sports talk radio.

The Giants are doing their "voluntary" off season workout program, and 59 of the current roster players are in attendance. Osi Umenoria is confident that his knee is close to 100%. He was also sure that his teammate Plaxico Burress would return to the Giants after getting probation. Guess that one went out the door with the last gasp of winter. Burress was released after he won his case against the Giants to recover his withheld roster bonus of one million dollars(think Mike Meyers' Dr. Evil when you hear that).

General Manager Jerry Reese has not yet made a major attempt at signing a receiver in free agency, but will certainly address that in the draft. The Giants had college prospect Percy Harvin in for a workout last week. but there have to be other names on the radar. One such name should be Cal-Poly's Ramses Barden.before the superbowl no one even knew who he was except for a handful of scouts. Barden is the only receiver in this draft at 6'5" or above (6'5-1/2"-229lbs) and while he is still a bit raw, he has the potential to go a long way in the pros. We wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Barden heard his name called mid to late on day two of this years draft. The other is Rutgers' WR Kenny Britt. I'm not so totally sold on Mr. Britt . Although he is 6'4", he only weighs about 212 pounds, hardly someone who can out muscle larger defensive backs over the middle. He can jump, but would need to learn the mechanics of the "Jump Ball" game in the endzone.

Up In Buffalo, Terrell Owens has already missed a "voluntary" off season work out with his new team of choice. So i ask you, is this the way to start off on the right foot with your new team and coaching staff? I woulkd think you'd want to do everything you can to show the people of upstate NY that you are happy to be there. Sure the workouts are "voluntary", but it is also "strongly suggested" that players attend.

Down I-95, the Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb isn't too happy that so many veteran players are leaving. One media vet tells us that it's been building up to this for years due to poor management on the part of the Eagles front office. You have to feel bad
for Donovan because he puts his heart and soul into trying to make the Eagles a winner. It's shameful that the front office won't give them the tools to do so.

Some of the area college programs have already released their schedules for 2009. The Liberty Cup match-up between Fordham University (Patriot) and Columbia University (Ivy) is sure to be hotly contested as always. Columbia's Head Coach Norries Wilson is one of the hardest working coaches to grace New York City's college football scene in some time. He also gives a great post game press conference no matter what the outcome of the game, and always has a high quality of Insight into all phases of the game. As a college player, coach Wilson played in two bowl games at the University of Minnesota as an offensive lineman. Fordham's head man Tom Massella has been around winning football for years, and while the Rams had a tough 2008, they were the 2007 patriot league champs. Both teams also work hard on the recruitment front each year. Circle your calendars for September 19th at 6pm at Fordham's Jack Coffey field.

The NFLPA elected a new executive director 2 weeks ago named DeMaurice Smith. Mr. Smith is a talented litigator, but has no other football related experience other then being a rabid Redskins fan. So maybe there is some truth to the story that the election may have been "jerrymanded" by player association lawyers Kessler and Berthlesen. At least one retired player who is part of the suit against the NFLPA to recognize the lack of health care benefits to retired players believes it is true, and has gone on record to anyone who will listen. There is even another story that the 28.1 million dollar settlement will be reduced by 50% to the players.

As comedy man Yakov Smirnoff says "what a country this America is"

You can also find us at:

examiner.com/new york football examiner

Monday, April 06, 2009

Alex Shoumatoff's Vanity Fair Article On The Bohemian Club

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Bringing an end to a story that made my blogs famous, infamous Vanity Fair (VF) Contributing Editor Alex Shoumatoff finally published his work on the Bohemian Club’s timber management plan and how he got snared by police for tresspassing at its private retreat near the town of Monte Rio, Calif. 

If you remember, Alex Shoumatoff set out last year to help his Harvard roommate Jock Hooper do a smear job on the Bohemian Club, which is a kind of resort home for many San Francisco luminaries, and not all of them male.  Hooper was someone described as a "disgruntled former member" of the exclusive gentlemen’s club that has is favored by the business elite, former presidents, international leaders, and men who enjoy music, wine and song, and ok, I know at least two women who've recently been there (with their boyfriends).  The club's lightened up a lot over the years.

Anyway, Hooper quit the club when it wouldn’t approve his forest management plan (read: major ego) and then became the leading critic of the club’s plans to preserve and protect old growth redwood trees on its property.  He then got Alex and Vanity Fair to do some dirty work for him, or try to. 

Now I write this with the full expectation of being invited to the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, rather than having to sneak into it.  Hear me talking Graydon! 

This story started last year when Shoumatoff managed to sneak in to the Bohemian Grove during the annual event the club holds in July. But his wandering, covered in detail in his story, only lasted 40 minutes before he was arrested by security guards and a part-time service employee at the famed Grove who quickly spotted that the kind of sloppy, preppy Topsider-wearing editor was not one of their own. 

In VF, Alex writes that he was trying to fit in with that style of dress, but folks I talked to say he wasn’t hard to miss: he was dressed like a caddy wearing a Pebble Beach pullover and apparently asked off-beat questions that proved to be his downfall.  Most of which he mentions in his article. 

He was quickly captured cowering behind a bush, but his large body gave him away.  He was then arrested by the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Department, spent the night in county jail, and forced to pay a fine for trespassing.  His arrest was captured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post, Gawker, Huffington Post, and, of course, here at zennie62.com and the San Francisco Sentinel .

Shoumatoff’s piece in Vanity Fair this month may be the first case of a hatchet job that turned into a hachet boomerang:  Club members say Shoumatoff’s piece is so  dramatized and so full of factual errors (that I will detail in a follow-up post), that it proves to be an embarrassment for him and well as Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter. And they refered to being attacked by "right wing bloggers"! 

I'm neither right of center, nor posessing wings like a bird, but I am a blogger.  As an Oakland guy who hangs out in San Francisco a lot, has worked for and helped  many local politicians both Democrat and Republican (but I'm a Dem), and gotten to personally know a number of "Grovers" as Alex calls them, I can tell you they're more than a little tired of people putting them into this "conservative White male" box, especially since this "liberal Black male" has been invited to visit and by members who are not all White, and aren't at all conservative. 

I'm happy to come to their defense to be frank. 

I'm glad Alex got caught because he could have just used the contacts he was developing to visit the club in a legitimate fashion.  Instead, he bozoed his way in and looked like a clown in doing so.

And the club's forest plan?  According to several sources, it's going through the review process well.  But what I find so interesting even over the important consideration of the trees, is how one blue-blood institution, Vanity Fair, can muster the gall to call another blue-blood institution The Bohemian Club "elitist" when VF's not even invited me to its Oscar Party, and Graydon Carter will not take my calls. 

This'll teach 'em!

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