Thursday, May 31, 2007

I spy with my little eye...a Vick

According to an AP report that hit early this morning, the prosecutor investigating the Michael Vick case has linked Vick to dogfighting and charges are imminent. According to prosecutor Gerald Poindexter, eyewitnesses to Vick at dogfights in Virginia have voluntarily come forward to finger Vick.

Suddenly Vick is in a lot more hot water, and things could really be on the verge of finally falling apart for the talented player who has lived on the edge for quite some time. As I watch this case quickly unfold, I can't help but think that this isn't going to end well for him.

Speaking of football...
It appears that Chad Brown might be on the verge of returning to the Patriots. If moved back outside to his natural position, Brown might provide the Patriots with decent depth.

If he does indeed come back, it would make sense for Belichick to move him to the outside for other reasons as well - he struggled when moved to the inside, and with the five linebackers in front of him, there are three, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, and Adalius Thomas, better suited to the inside.

A new challenger to enter the arena...
According to reports, there's a new football league on the horizon - the United Football League, tentatively scheduled to begin play in August of 2008. Even though it's looking at kicking off during the NFL season, the league is reportedly looking at a smart design for competition.

The UFL is looking at setting up teams in eight markets that currently have no NFL team such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Antonio (though nothing is written in stone...except for maybe Vegas). Games will be scheduled for Fridays so that it avoids competition with the NFL's Thursday and Sunday games as well as college football's Saturday heavy schedule.

For the real football hardcore, that means five straight days of professional or college football from Thursday through Monday. For the NFL, this means little except that they might accelerate their plans on getting a team into the L.A. market.

The league will face a lot of issues as a start-up. The last league to successfully challenge the NFL for any sort of market share did so before the big television contracts, however, it's a loophole in the laws that govern the NFL's broadcasting that the league hopes to take advantage of. According to one report:

The UFL plans to exploit the 1961 Sports Broadcasting Act, which prohibits the NFL from televising games on most autumn Friday nights. The United Football League the U.F.L. plans to make a smaller deal with a cable network like USA, TNT or Comcast’s versus network.
This might be a smarter move than the USFL in the 1980's or the more recently failed XFL which tried for spring league football, competing with the more established fandoms of baseball, not to mention for ratings with playoff basketball.

Their bigger problem will be competing for talent with the NFL. The only way I can see that happening is if the UFL offers guaranteed contracts with the caveat that if the league folds, then no monies are guaranteed. Otherwise what incentive will talented players have to go to a smaller league with no established stars, no established fan base, and what is likely to be a much smaller television contract?

How serious is the upstart league? Investment banker Bill Hambrecht, an owner of one of the original USFL franchises has already put up money along with his partner Tim Armstrong, a senior executive at Google, and basketball mogul Mark Cuban has already dipped his feet in as an owner.

It's certainly bound to be an interesting ride.

Yanks at Sox...
I was going to preview this weekend, talk about match-ups, best-case/worst-case scenarios and all, then it occurred to me...there's no reason to talk about how far ahead of the Yankees the Sox could be at the end of the weekend. Really.

Until the Yankees show that they can string more than two games together without immediately losing three, there's not point in talking about them in relation to any sort of run at first place.

Yes, they are that bad right now (in spite of their win last night). They are at a point where they merit far less consideration from the press than they are currently receiving - do the Texas Rangers or the Kansas City Royals get this sort of press? No? Until the Yankees pull ahead of Baltimore and Toronto, I think (unless something else goes monumentally wrong for them) I will begin to focus more on the Orioles and the Jays in the AL East.


Dave said...

I like this idea...screw the Yankees! Let's focus on Tejada and the O's instead!

I think the angle the UFL is going to take player-wise is to go after players who'd be later-round draft picks in the NFL and camp cuts. Not a bad plan - you can pay those 3rd and 4th rounders more money than they'd get in the NFL, making them the "marquee" players.

They can start by taking Chad Brown...I just don't see the need for him. Too old.

Kevin Smith said...

Honestly, I think you're right about how they're going to try to stock the league, and I do agree with you on Brown. I just think the only way he sticks is if he moves back to the outside...and is a back-up. He just can't play the inside.