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Saturday, April 19, 2014

CBS Made a Bold Move for the 2014-2015 Season, Here's One Suggestion Each for the Other Networks

With upfronts just a little more than a month away, the major broadcast networks are either scrambling (ABC, NBC, Fox) or putting the finishing touches on (CBS) their 2014-2015 schedule. There are always many factors each network head considers when putting together their final slate, but one factor that seems to be controlling the sleepless nights of these executives is the simple fact that there are less viewers in broadcast primetime than ever before. At least less viewers that are watching their programs live. Yes, broadcast television has and will continue to lose viewers to cable but there will always be an audience for the shows on the "over-the-air" networks. That audience however is more and more devouring those offerings on their own time (DVR, streaming services) which is leading to decreased ratings, which in turn is leading to lower ad revenue for the broadcast nets.

So how, in an age where we are almost a 100 percent on-demand culture, do you assure those live eyeballs and delay the death of the network broadcast model? You have to be, and let me hit just hit a couple of buttons here, but you have to be bold. Bold as in programming moves that no one would see coming, but moves that also make quite a bit of sense to attracting and maintaining viewers. No network is immune to this strategy, a strategy that you've already seen put into effect in the very recent past. CBS, the number one network in primetime, bought the rights to eight Thursday night NFL games for the upcoming fall season. Keep in mind, these right are not exclusive (they will also be shown on the NFL Network) and CBS already had a great Thursday night lineup (ratings-wise, do not take this as my endorsement of the quality of programming that The Big Bang Theory is not). But they made the move because the landscape is changing, more and more by the season. With that in mind, here are four bold moves I'd suggest to the other networks to get more live eyeballs back on their networks.

1. Fox should acquire the rights to WWE Monday Night RAW. Not for one of their cable networks, but for actual Fox.

WWE on broadcast television wouldn't be a new thing, NBC famously aired "Saturday Night's Main Event" starting in the mid-1980's and it came back for a second run in the late half of the 2000's. Even Fox has aired wrestling before, picking up the rights to the show in 1992 but only airing it twice. The WWE package is up for grabs right now and Fox is a rumored partner, however with programming likely to air on one of their cable nets, be it FX or Fox Sports 1. Currently Monday Night RAW resides on USA and Smackdown is on Friday nights on Syfy, two networks a part of the NBC Universal family. They have the right to match any offer but with the guaranteed audience that Monday Night Raw delivers (it did a 1.9 adult rating on the Monday after Wrestlemania, which is more healthy than what The Following has offering in recent weeks) I think this move would be a coup for Fox. Yes, you would have to take away an hour from your network affiliates (unless they go back to a two-hour RAW starting at 8ET or put the third hour on FX or Fox Sports 1 - both options unlikely), but you acquire two more hours of live event programming which is about as DVR proof as it gets. WWE would benefit with more exposure and credibility which would lead to more eyes and more dollars to their WWE Network. Fox could use wrestler cameos on some of their primetime shows as well. If Fox wants to get really bold, they could air one of the pay-per-view events on their network per year, possibly Summerslam or maybe go for broke and air a Wrestlemania live on network TV. The more I think about this the more both unlikely and intelligent this move seems.

2. NBC should renew Parks and Recreation and Community, move them to Saturday nights at 10/9 Central.

People stay home on Saturday nights, believe me, it's true. You get to a certain age and it just happens. But while there's really no point to watching anything in primetime on Saturdays right now, SNL still draws a lot of viewers, and a lot of them are live. It's consistently the top-rated show on all of broadcast come Saturday nights, despite it's 11:30pm Eastern start time. So maybe it's time NBC gives the show a proper lead-in. Take your two critically acclaimed cult comedies that draw barely a 1.0 18-49 rating on Thursday nights and move them to Saturdays at 10 ET. If people do venture out that night, they'll DVR the show like most fans of those shows do anyway. I'd schedule NBC Saturdays like this - 

8 ET       Best of Late Night with Seth Meyers
9 ET       Best of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
10 ET     Parks and Recreation
1030ET  Community

Add those best of shows (weekly highlight shows in essence) to help the night flow and expose more eyes to your late-night programming (one concern would be that people would be less inclined to watch The Tonight Show or Late Night live, but I don't fear that outcome too much in this scenario). I would hold off on this schedule until January after the college football season has concluded however. Seem crazy? It is. But NBC on Saturday nights (or anyone for that matter) can't do much worse than what they are doing now.

3. ABC should take the "Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. strategy" and apply that to their Disney connections. Also, TGIF.

The TV ratings landscape has really changed over the last decade. Let's take a look at the 9pm Eastern hour from Tuesday, April 15th. On the Tiffany network, you have NCIS:LA bringing in a monster 14.69 million people and a 2.1 rating in adults 18-49. On ABC, you have Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bringing in nearly ten million less eyeballs but still ending up with the same 2.1 rating. Still, both networks accomplished their goal for the evening. ABC drew a strong number in the demo it cares about, while CBS attracted a lot of their normal older viewers but still did a nice job hitting that 18-49 demo. Forget about all those numbers and demos though and let me give you a different age group to care about. Kids. Specifically kids that are obsessed with the things that they like, which in turn, is actually most kids. When you're young and you like something, you go all out, and I'd like to see ABC capitalize on that fact.

With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, ABC took the most popular movie franchise and turned it into a television show. Knowing you're not going to get Robert Downey Jr. to play the Iron Man on TV, they instead took secondary characters from The Avengers franchise and worked it into a show. Perhaps the ratings haven't been as boffo as the network may have optimistically hoped for, but I'm telling you, a 2.1 18-49 number is a number that any network will take on any night at any time (and if you somehow not only found this article and are still reading it, you know that is the case as well). What I'm suggesting for ABC is to take that strategy and apply it to their Disney library. I'm not taking airing Frozen at 7pm on Sunday as part of The Wonderful World of Disney, I'm saying take a secondary character from Frozen and build a spinoff around that. Or with any Pixar film. Get that revenue stream and bring it to your network.

Where would you program a show like this? Friday nights of course. I'm not the only one who's going to suggest that you bring back TGIF. This block of programming was loved by my generation as kids and there's no reason ABC can't try to duplicate that success. If anything, ABC should be the network airing the Girl Meets World, not the Disney channel. I bet just as many people aged 25-34 watch the follow up series to Boy Meets World as kids do.

Capitalize on nostalgia and capitalize on the addictive personalities of kids. TV success!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Three Cheers to Gord Ash

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Thursday Night NFL Package: Whos the Favorite?

It took a long time before the NFL Network gained the sort of access into America's homes that they have today, and part of the reason they are able to justify not only being on most cable packages but also charge consumers about a buck and a half per subscriber for their network is the fact that they show live games on Thursday nights. They still want to bring you those games in 2014, but they also want another network to pay for them.

Here's what the NFL is proposing to networks - you pay us for the right to air NFL games on Thursdays, BUT we also get to air the network as well. So NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, whoever it ends up being, they are going to pay millions of dollars for something that will already be aired on another network. Will they share a feed? Will two different crews broadcast the game? Either way, someone is going to pay millions of dollars for the right to air possibly 13 or so games (I believe Thanksgiving, Opening Night, and the last week(s?) of the season are not included in the deal. And because the NFL can do whatever they want, they'll just be finding yet another way to profit from their product.

Side note: Roger Goodell made a deal with the devil. A Super Bowl in New York City? What about a a blizzard? What about the cold? Guess what - at last check Feb 2nd in NYC is going to be 52 degrees and sunny. Alright, back to the topic at hand.

So what network do I think will win the bid for Thursday night football? Here we go, and keep in mind that the NFL wants to sell this to a broadcast network and not a cable channel. So NBC can't bid and put the game on NBCSN, and Fox can't bid and put the games on Fox Sports 1. Well, I mean, they can bid like that but I think the NFL will ultimately award the games to a broadcast network. Alright, here's my odds:

Turner Sports - 1% 

Turner had rumored interest - remember they used to broadcast a half season of Sunday Night Football back in the day - but again I think the NFL keeps the games off of cable because they will already be on cable on their network. Turner would have to get creative (and pay a lot of money) to get the bid. Like maybe put the game on TNT, the home radio feed on TBS and the away audio on TruTV. I'm not sure they'd even be able to get clearance to do that without providing their own broadcast teams, but that's how you would do it.

CBS - 6% 

I put CBS down so low because I'm not sure they want it. That's right, CBS is that strong in their primetime lineup and on Thursday nights especially that I think they put in a bid for posterity and nothing else.

Fox - 10%

Fox desperately would take these games but they will be too insistent on putting the games on Fox Sports 1. Or I could see them putting together a package where 10 games are on Fox and three are on Fox Sports 1. Or maybe the first three quarters are on Fox and then switch to Fox Sports 1 for quarter number four! All kidding aside, a split Fox/Fox Sports 1 package is likely and they are solid contenders but I think they will be outbid, basically.

NBC - 23%

NBC could also present a split NBC/NBC Sports package come to think of it. But you know, the Peacock could really use it on their broadcast network, especially with their comedic failures of this season. Plus, they already have the Thursday night season opener and the Thanksgiving night game, so it makes sense. But I think they will be outbid, strongly, by...

ABC - 60%

ESPN sees it's challengers in NBC, Fox, and even CBS all all three are giving their own sports networks the ol' college try. But ESPN will not be defeated, and they will throw a bone to their partners at ABC. ESPN will put together the package with the games to air on ABC, a network that would kill to have a solid Thursday night performer and would love to get the NFL back on it's airwaves. ESPN may ask the NFL for more rights in the deal, such as the ability to bring NFL Primetime back on Sunday nights at 6pm (NBC airs Football Night in America at that time so the NFL gave exclusive highlight rights to Dan Patrick and the gang but I could see that changing). Either way, I think ABC's desire for the NFL to return will show up in their bid and they'll be bringing you Thursday night football next season.

But so will the NFL Network, of course.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Do I Hate Certain Teams More Than I Love the Packers?

Watching the Seahawks/Saints game today, I realize I think I hate certain teams more than I actually love the Packers. I mean, I love the Packers. That goes without saying. But I think there is a scale. A love/hate scale. For as much as you love something, you can hate something the same amount. So for as much as I love the Packers, I hate certain teams just as much.

The obvious teams to hate are the Lions, Bears, and Vikings. Of those three, I hate the Vikings the most. I lived in La Crosse for six years, was around a lot of Vikings fans. And the whole Favre thing. Plus, I respect the Bears. The Vikings? I honestly don't get the appeal in that team. Except for AP. He's allright.

Other teams come and go. Niners. Cowboys. Eagles. Giants. Basically whoever last beat the Packers in the playoffs. But the Seahawks. I can not stand the Seahawks. Russell Wilson doesn't do it for me, I'm not like everyone else where I like him just because he went to Wisconsin. I think his act is contrived, and I don't like how cocky he was after the Fail Mary game. Pete Carroll. He's the worst too. I'll never get that image of him of him standing by the ref when the final verdict for the touchdown came down that night. So painful.

This article was written by a shell of my former self.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My LiveStrong Band Stays On

My answer to why I still wear the Livestrong wristband: I wore it initially for two reasons, my fondness and admiration of Lance Armstrong as well as the work he was doing for cancer research and the inspiration he provided. I am saddened by the fact that he is planning to admit to doping, but I will continue to wear the band to support the foundation that he created, Livestrong, and the work that they are doing, aiming to prevent the deaths and pain of our loved ones. I have no plans to get a tattoo in my life, so I consider this wristband my tattoo. It stays on, as does the fight against cancer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Rose Bowl Result Doesn't Matter

I made the mistake that I often do after a big loss to one our of favorite Wisconsin teams - I checked Facebook. The news feed was cluttered with people expressing their disgust about the Badgers losing and many of my social network friends were calling for Bret Bielema to be fired. I felt quite sad for those feeling pain after the loss. What those upset about the Rose Bowl heartbreak don't realize is that the outcome of the Rose Bowl, from a fan's perspective historically, doesn't matter.

Here's my point - the Rose Bowl is a consolation game. Getting to the game itself is the prize, the result of the game really doesn't matter from season to season. Sure, you want to win the game and fans should be disappointed that the Badgers lost. But there's two reasons that the initial Facebook reaction should not have been carried into your office today. One, Oregon is the better team. Never were the Badgers favored, and never did we think that Wisconsin had the more talented squad. The better team won, congrats. But more importantly, the Rose Bowl - just like every other college bowl besides whatever they call the championship game - is no different than the NFL's Pro Bowl. Getting there is the reward, the outcome of the game is irrelevant.

College football's postseason is already a flawed system when compared to every other major sport. Only two teams get to play for the trophy, the rest of the pack takes vacations to (in most cases) warm weather locales to hang out and then, oh yeah, play a football game. What's the difference between Oregon winning the Rose Bowl and Temple winning the Gildan New Mexico Bowl? Both teams were awarded for their solid regular seasons by the chance to play a game in a neutral site on national television. Both teams won their final game of the year and flew home feeling happy. Yes, I realize that Oregon did it on a larger scale, but the fact that the Ducks won the game still remains irrelevant. Coaches don't get fired if they lose bowl games - hell, some coaches leave fore new jobs before the bowl game even arrives, what does that say about their importance? Recruits are going to be impressed that the school made the Rose Bowl, but not whether your team won it or not. Win or lose, it's the final game of the season for both teams, and both schools return to business as usual after the contest.

Here's the meat and potatoes of this post - Getting to the Rose Bowl is a legitimate accomplishment that should be celebrated. But the result of the game is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

I don't fault anyone for being upset that the Badgers lost, it's a natural reaction. But to have those feelings last longer than ten minutes is pretty ridiculous. These bowl games, after all, are exhibition games (unless you're betting on the games, then that is a different story). And to get so upset about the loss that you think Bielema should be fired is even more asinine. Sure, he may not have coached the best game (the timeouts that he did took are easy to criticize in hindsight if you had the advantage of watching the game on TV) but he's not the reason the Badgers lost this game. Getting to the Rose Bowl in back-to-back seasons is a good enough accomplishment for me. Sure, I would have liked to see the Badgers in the national championship game, but they were denied a trip there because of fluke hail marys, not because of bad coaching. Let's drop the wish to fire this guy right now.

When you look at this period in Badgers history years from now, it really won't matter that the Badgers lost the Rose Bowl. You'll say, "The Badgers went to the Rose Bowl in back to back years under Bielema", just like we say "the Badgers went to the Rose Bowl three times under Alvarez". The operative word there is went as opposed to won/loss. Getting there is the reward, the result is just a cherry on top of the sundae.

Need more proof that the Rose Bowl doesn't matter? Watch sports television the day after the Rose Bowl. Nobody was talking about the timeouts. Nobody was talking about the dynamic offenses. A few mentioned the last second spike. But the top story? How cool were the Oregon helmets!

Congrats, Wisconsin. You made the Rose Bowl. You lost the exhibition. Better luck next year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So Who's Printing the WHINEsconsin Shirts?

I hate that it took a loss like the Badgers 38-31 defeat to Michigan State to get me to do a post about how frustrated I am with the structure of college football, but I'm pretty sure this is an argument I've taken up before. Here's the meat and potatoes of what happened on Saturday night: The Badgers played a conference foe on the road, a team that was ranked number 16 in the nation. Their quarterback struggled with turnovers and badly thrown incompletions, yet he still lead them to a 31-point output. They were on the bad end of two blocked kicks, and lost on a last second Hail Mary pass that was so close it had to be reviewed. Michigan State earned their victory and played a hell of a game, yet so did the Wisconsin Badgers. But the fact that the game counts as a loss in the standings means that the Badgers national title hopes are over. One loss, you're done. It's a system that is debated every year, yet one that seemingly will never be changed.

Again, I know my position may be taken with a little less than a grain of salt because I am the fan of a team that just was eliminated from the chase, and that's fine. The thing is, the position I'm taking is something that I'd say at least 90 percent of the fans of college football agree with. One loss, and that's it? The Green Bay Packers had six losses out of sixteen games, yet they were able to play for their championship. The St. Louis Cardinals had more than 70 losses and now are two wins away from the World Series (which pisses me off to no end, mind you). You may think I'm comparing apples to oranges but in what other landscape does one mistake end your chances at success? I don't know... maybe a battlefield in the middle of a war? Seriously, one mistake, one fluke play, one tough road loss at any point in the season, and it's over. Doesn't seem right.

You'll get your proponents of the current college football season, with their biggest argument being that there is no need for a playoff because the season is essentially one long playoff structure. But why is that okay in college football when it would be preposterous in any other sports format? College basketball recently added more teams to it's postseason format, and Major League Baseball is looking to do so. The wild card format has given teams in the NBA, NFL, and NHL the chance to stay competitive through the end of the season. Even in the World Cup you have the chance to advance from group play if you lose one game, and each team only plays three games in that stage of the tournament. Yet in college football, this format is accepted? Because it's always been that way? I just don't get it, especially after last night.

Something you probably know about me by now is that I'm pretty reactionary, although I think it's something I've been able to temper over the years. Yet I thought that as a whole, Wisconsin fans were pretty reactionary to each Brewers loss in the playoffs, as after every defeat the claim that "our season is over" was echoed across America's Dairyland, especially on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. If the Packers were to lose this weekend, I'm sure at least a handful of people would be writing 2011 off for them as well. But I can't blame you if you think that the Badgers football season is over, because when it comes to any National Championship hopes - it is.

So in true reactionary form on Saturday, I proclaimed that "I am never watching college football again until they have a playoff!" And you know what, I might actually stick with that claim. Let's say best case scenario for the Badgers is that they run the table, beat Sparty in the Big Ten title game, and earn a Rose Bowl berth. That's okay with everybody? Who honestly still gets excited for the Rose Bowl? Remember, this is not 1994 anymore. The Badgers were a legit National Championship contender this season. Russell Wilson was a legit Heisman candidate this year. All that however is washed away because of a single, last-second fluke play, and that's supposed to be fine?

Seriously, spare me the argument that Wisconsin doesn't deserve to be in the National Championship because the season is like a playoff, and the Badgers couldn't get through their season undefeated. My argument is that the system needs to be changed. There are more than 120 teams in Division I-A, but because of their schedule or what conference they are in, many don't have a shot at the National Championship right off the bat. And then many of the teams that could win it all won't, because of one loss along the way. Hell, after Saturday night, they should be in the National Championship debate, right? Oh wait, they lost to Notre Dame at the beginning of the season. Sorry. Disqualified.

I am writing this post pre-Packer game as well, because I can't imagine what words I'd come up with if Green Bay lost. But remember a few weeks ago, when the Badgers beat Nebraska, the Brewers won a couple of playoff games, and the Packers destroyed Denver? That weekend was so great, but you had to know that the lamely framed "WINsconsin" couldn't last forever. And with the crushing Badger loss, coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols pouring heavy amounts of salt into that wound, I think karma is coming back around. Wisconsin fans, as a whole, need to learn that championships aren't won in the regular season, or in the first days of the playoffs for that matter. Because judging from the Twitter and Facebook statuses of the last couple of days, not to mention my tone in this article, "WINsconsin" has quickly become "WHINEsconsin". And I can't say that we don't deserve it.
Go Pack Go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three Nights in Charlotte

It took me three days past the 28th anniversary of my birth to finally make it to a Packers away game. About time, I know. I can't really say it was totally worth the wait, but it was a great time and a very exciting game.
I think I've mentioned this before that I am more interested in the experience than the actual X's and O's of the game itself, and being on the road is an awesome way to totally allow yourself to be inundated by that experience.

I headed down to Charlotte with a few friends on Friday afternoon. Megabus from DC, only the best for me. We did get a nice cheap room in the Hilton on Priceline (name your price baby), the same hotel that the Packers stayed in. Downtown Charlotte was nice. Unlike downtown Milwaukee, people actually go out downtown after dark. The first thing I noticed as that people in Charlotte were much better dressed than Wisconsin. Shocking. The women, better looking than Wisconsin. Another big shocker. (I really want to devote an entire post to Southern Belles, but unfortunately my weekend did not contain as much first hand knowledge as I would have liked.) Bars were cheaper than DC, but not Wisconsin. People out were generally nice in Charlotte.

On Friday night, there were a few Packer fans out and about, but by Saturday, we had totally taken over the city. This did not surprise me, neither did the multiple bars filled with Packers fans, or the numerous Packers fans that invited us out to party or tailgate with them. One thing that did surprise me and was very evident in Charlotte was how hard Packers fans rep with apparel. Seriously there is no denying the green and gold. Packers fans have Packers gear for all weather, all occasions, and lots of it. I once had a non-Wisconsinite comment to me how weird it is that it's acceptable to wear a Packers jacket to a funeral or a wedding or church. It is reflection of the socio-economic status of many Packers fans, maybe the lack of fashion sense too, but also the extreme loyalty Packers fans have. Me, all I brought was one jersey for gameday.

Gameday - It again was no surprise that Packers fans dominated the tailgate and pre-game drinking scene. A few highlights:

- Having security come to our hotel room due to our morning volume level. I mean, I guess we were playing football, shotgunning beers, and repeatedly watching video of the first ever Lambeau Leap

- UNC-Charlotte dance team
- Some dude in a Ben Roethlisberger jersey sharing his moonshine with us.
- A Panthers fan with a Ohio State bottle open telling us we had to sing the Ohio State fight song to use it. Then me promptly singing "On Wisconsin!"
- Terry Glenn jersey
- Steve Beuerlein jersey
- "The Belt" - my group of friends was pretty high on the belt celebration. We propositioned pretty much everyone in Packers gear to do it and got pretty excited each time they obliged.

- As the game got closer and closer, the Packers fans become a higher and higher percentage of fans entering the stadium. Again, this goes back to us enjoying a good tailgate.

Overall, there were less Green Bay fans than I thought. I'd say only about 10% of the stadium. Charlotte fans were generally optimistic, mostly due to Cam Newton. They were good fans despite their inferior team and 2-14 record last year. Lots of nice teal Steve Smith jerseys. Definitely good value on their purchases. The Panthers fans were pretty cordial too. Most were nice and a good number talked shit as home fans must do to away fans. They did get a little cocky when they were up 13-0. I won't say we were worried, more in disbelief at that awful start. We knew Rodgers would get hot and take us back. Even with that weird 4th down play at the end of the 1st half, we still were confident and knew we weren't going to give up the lead once we got it early in the 2nd half. We did make it interesting, but Woodson and Matthews again stepped up when we needed them. After Driver recovered the onside kick, the celebration was finally on. I definitely expected a more convincing victory. I thought the 4th quarter would be nothing but Packer fans. Unfortunately, that did not happen until the last minute.

Packers fans, last ones to get into the stadium, last ones to leave.
First ones to get in the parking lots, last ones to leave.

I'll take that combination any day. The celebration continued long after the game. Another win for the Pack, and continual optimism for the Carolina fans. I may have lost my credit card and been kicked out of the bar by the end of Sunday night, but all and all, a great weekend in Charlotte.

Yes, those are 3 Robert Brooks jerseys. At this time there were only 10 people left in the parking lot. That's how we roll.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Collins Done For Season, Career Too?

Nick Collins is out for the season. If this is the first that you're reading of this, then let that sink in for a moment. But my concern here isn't that the Packers had to place a key player on the injury reserve, that kind of stuff happens every season. Look at how many guys have been ruled out for the year already in the first two weeks of the 2011 campaign, including guys that are a major focus point of their teams' playbooks as Jamaal Charles, and maybe (it's just a matter of time, really) Peyton Manning. Plus, the Packers are no stranger to overcoming injuries, it was probably their biggest obstacle last year and they still won the Super Bowl. I hate to see a guy like Nick Collins on the stretcher, but again, that's not my big concern here.

My big concern is this quote from Mike McCarthy: He's a heck of a football player, he's a true team guy... He was on pace to possibly have a Hall of Fame career.

Wait, on pace? As in, he'll no longer be able to have a Hall of Fame career? I mean, guys have missed seasons before and still made it to Canton, but the way that Mike McCarthy is speaking has me thinking that it's his belief Nick Collins may never step on the field again. That's my concern.

This sentence from Mike is much more encouraging: ... (Nick) has a neck brace on and he's walking around. You would never know he has a serious injury.

That means he's walking. And that he'll be able to walk for a long long time and that there is no reason to think otherwise. But I hate to do this when I bring up the wrestler Edge from the WWE. Edge is a guy that retired this year from wrestling not because of something that happened, but more or less because of something that might happen. His injuries over the years left him more vulnerable than the average wrestler to a life-threatening injury, and when he heard that news, Adam Copeland (Edge) decided to hang up the boots. For Nick Collins, the way that McCarthy was talking has me thinking that Collins may have to go the route of former Packers such as Sterling Sharpe and Terrence Murphy, guys who had to retire to prevent the definite career ending injury.

It's all speculative on my part, but I was concerned with the words that McCarthy used, especially since he's historically tight-lipped about how bad player injuries actually are. The constant use of the phrase "he'll miss significant time" comes to mind. The fact that Coach Mike would even suggest anything longer than that has me far more worried for the future of Nick Collins than it does the 2011 Packers season.

(Thanks to CheeseheadTV for the quotes. Make sure to catch my interviews with their Brian Carriveau every Monday and Friday at 8:25am on K107.1 FM in the Fox Cities, or check them out right here.)

Cam Newton Is So Awesome (And Oh Yeah, the Packers Won)

On Sunday afternoon, Cam Newton again threw for over 400 yards in his second start in the NFL. So far the kid has two 400 yard games, three passing touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns on the season. You would think that with a young quarterback the Panthers would run the ball a lot, but they have put the ball in Newton's hands. He is playing like he has been in the league for years already. I have no clue how awesome this guy will be, but for right now he is the greatest quarterback in the game.........................
...Wait a minute, what am I saying? You'll have to excuse, as I fear that I was brainwashed from watching the game on Fox. You can except that marriage proposal from Jim Mora any day now Cam. Again, sorry about that, lets get back to the PACKERS 30-23 WIN. On Sunday the Packers were without cornerback Tramon Williams, but Charles Woodson did what we pay him to do. Woodson put the team on his back as he finished the game with 2 int's, a fumble recovery, and 5 tackles. It will still be nice when we get Tramon back, but a nice job of Woodson to step it up.
The game started off looking like it might be a long day for Packer fans. Green Bay won the toss, chose to kick, and Newton put together a great drive for a 7-0 lead. On the following kick off Randall Cobb fumbled the ball as the Pack went down 10-0. After another field goal the Pack were down 13-0. If the Packers would have been playing any other team besides Carolina I may have been a little worried. But the Pack got it into gear as they went on a 23-0 run to take back control of the game. John Kuhn was able to get in from 1 yard out, and later Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings on a 49 yard bomb to give the Packers the lead.
The game was put away on a 84 yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson. After getting a lot of looks last week Nelson was this week's James Jones (as in, just where the hell is this guy?) until he caught that touchdown. James Starks looked to all but lock up the starting role in the running game. I hope they just make him the starter, and use Grant in certain packages. It seems like the Packers are just starting Grant because he is the vet at this point.
We can still be worried about the defense, but they seem to be making plays when they need to. It is only the second game of the season and we are 2-0. I can't start to be questioning a team that is 2-0 on the season. Next week the Pack will head to Chicago for a good test. The Bears forgot to show up in the second half Sunday against the Saints. Hopefully the same occurs next Sunday, game time set for 3:15pm.

Kudos also to Donald Driver, the Packers new all-time leader in receiving yards.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Packers vs Panthers Preview

Whenever I hear Packers/Panthers, the pictured play is the first play that comes to my mind. I still think this might be one of the best catches by a running back of all-time. Either way that was 1997, and now the Panthers have Cam Newton, the "next great thing", running their team. We all know how the Packers did in week one, but the Panthers on the other hand came up on the short end. They were defeated by the Cardinals 28-21. But it's a new week, so what are the keys to watch in week two?

Packers can't just focus on Newton..... remember the Panthers have a two headed monster at running back in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. I think if the Panthers try to slow the game down, and give a heavy workload to the running backs that could cause the Packers some problems.

Panthers can't beat the Packers in a shootout..... because the Panthers lost Beason for the year, so they are already weak on defense. I don't think the Panthers have the offensive power yet to be a shoot out team. Don't get me wrong - Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Williams, and Stewart are a great start, but they still need some more receiver weapons to be a real shootout team.

How many different..... receivers are going to catch balls this week? Nine different players caught balls for the Packers in the first game. I feel like the first team to hold us to under six different guys catching balls will really slow down this offense. You can say we have a two headed monster with Grant/Starks, but I don't see them running over to many teams anytime soon.

Special teams could be huge for both teams..... this week. Last week the Packers got a kick return from Cobb, but also gave one up to Sproles. The Panthers gave up a punt return to the Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson. Will either team get a big special teams touchdown to change the pace of the game? If the Panthers get one that could help their chances.

Panthers now know how we felt..... last year about injuries. As I said before Jon Beason is out for the season after hurting himself in week one. The rest of the Panthers defense is very young. Carolina doesn't t really have much depth at linebacker, and will play guys by committee this weekend. This could be a huge advantage for the Packers this week. I really have to say that this is the kicker that makes me think the Packers will win this game.

Overall it should be a good game, and we will see what Newton can do. The Cardinals are not as big on blitzing as the Packers are, so will Newton be able to keep his cool? The Packers should get good pressure on Newton this week. That should lead to turnovers, and that should lead to a Packers win. I'm going to go with with the Packers this week, and a 31-10 win. Game time is noon Sunday on FOX.

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