Happy 68th birthday to Keith Richards

 

 

For Sunday’s game, I see these as the keys to the game:

  • Pats defenders need to remain disciplined in their assignments. Don’t focus strictly on Tim Tebow; Willis McGahee is a very good runner that cannot be overlooked.
  • Learn from the Chicago game: Utilize a 4-4 defense with one deep safety, even if the thought of the corners playing man is one you don’t want to think about. More importantly, remain committed to this until the scoreboard reads 0:00; the Bears got burnt when they reverted to their Tampa Two in the 4th quarter. If there was a time to get away from the bend don’t break defensive philosophy, it is this game.
  • Run the ball: the best way to counteract an effective pass rush is to run the ball. Add in screen passes, and short quick passes that are thrown before Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller can get a chance to get close to Brady will take away Denver’s biggest advantage.
  • Start fast: the Pats are averaging just 5.8 points in the first quarter. The best way to counteract a running team is to make them play from behind; look at the Eagles game as an example; who was more of a threat, LeSean McCoy or Vince Young?

 

 

The Patriots just gave Jerod Mayo a five-year extension, and what’s the first reaction from many Patriots fans? Congratulations, great move Pats? No; the glass half-full crowd immediately jumps on ‘why haven’t the Pats extended Wes Welker’, and the doom and gloom scenarios ensue. Relax folks. If need be the Pats can franchise him for about $9 million next year. Welker previously stated that he did not want any contract negotiations going on during the season, and due to the lockout that was virtually no time to do so before the season began. I have full confidence that the Patriots will take care of Welker and he will be catching passes from Brady in 2012 – and beyond.

 

 

Earlier this week the NFL announced that they extended their contracts with CBS, Fox and NBC through the 2022 season; this is in addition to a deal made in September to extend espn’s contract through 2021. A few thoughts on the announcement.

The fee increase was reportedly in excess of a 60% increase, with annual rights fees more than $1 billion. No wonder the owners fought tooth and nail the last two years for what seemed to be a relatively small percentage of the pie with the NFL Player’s Association.

Forget any thoughts about teams being constrained by the salary cap based on contracts that they signed with players over the last couple of years. The concept of the cap coming back to haunt a team in a year or two seems to be pretty much out the window now – and that’s before considering the amount of money teams are saving with new rookie contracts.

One terse comment in the NBC announcement that seems to be overlooked was that the new contract includes “enhanced flexible scheduling’; I’m just speculating here, but my guess is that perhaps that means they get to choose any non-protected game for Sunday Night Football, as opposed to the current setup where the NFL only gives them the green light if they deem the current game to not be “competitive”, i.e., includes a team that is definitely not playoff bound. As we saw a week ago that became a major topic of discussion when today’s Pats-Broncos game did not get flexed to Sunday night.

Both NBC and Fox mentioned ‘TV anywhere rights’; I will be curious to see how that plays out and where the lines are drawn. Verizon already pays for rights for games on mobile phones, and DirecTV pays a boatload of money for their Sunday Ticket package. They too are expanding that offering, making it available online through a Sony PlayStation. Will DTV open that up to more business partners, or remain exclusive with Sony? At what point will Fox and NBC’s offering take away from the Sunday Ticket?

As for what many fans have clamored for – a chance to purchase single games on demand on a pay-per-view basis – don’t hold your breath. I cannot envision how offering that would realistically be more profitable than the current setup, and the NFL and their business partners are not in the business of making less money as an altruistic offering to their customers. If pay-per-view became available then nearly all residential customers would drop their Sunday Ticket subscription, so the only way to make it worthwhile would be to charge such a hefty fee – say $75 or more per game – that the backlash from that price would be such a public relations nightmare that it would not be worth it.

 

 

For those that haven’t seen it, here is the video of the incident for which Julian Edelman was arrested. Yeah, dropping the charges was the right call.

 

 

One more Keith Richards song: