Archive - October 2016

  1. Column: Players & Teams Rebel Against NFLOctober 27, 2016

    Paradise may not be lost, but clearly all is not well at NFL central command. The league is facing a rebellion from within as both players and teams are pushing back against what they view as unnecessary meddling and interference from administrators drunk with power. Commissioner Roger Goodell and his minions have never been shy about exercising their authority over players, on and off the field. But this year it has instructed referees to go beyond the limits of sensibility to petty and oppressive levels by flagging players for celebratory gestures. According to ESPN, penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct were up by 56 per cent through the first month of the season and much of the increase was due to excessive celebrations.

  2. Column: Mascots Are Getting a Hall Of FameOctober 20, 2016

    For most athletes the defining moment of their career is when they are inducted into their sport’s hall of fame. But until now, “furry” athletes, the mascots who entertain fans at virtually every sporting event, haven’t had that opportunity. That is about to change. On October 21 a groundbreaking ceremony for a Mascot Hall of Fame will be held in Whiting, Indiana, a town of approximately 5,000 located 20 miles from downtown Chicago. The Hall, which will be located on the south shore of Lake Michigan, is expected to open late next year and according to Executive Director Al Spajer is projected to attract at least 100,000 visitors annually. Given the Hall’s location, the kid-friendly interactive design of the building, and the impact mascots have had on the American psyche for the past four decades, that number may be conservative.

  3. Column: NFL Ratings Decline InconsequentialOctober 13, 2016

    The September TV ratings are in and viewership of early season NFL games is down 10% from last year’s numbers. That much is clear. What isn’t as clear is the reason behind the falloff. Speculation abounds on the cause of the lower ratings. Among the alleged culprits are the National Anthem protests by players, overexposure of the product, lousy matchups, the loss of key players such as Peyton Manning (retired) and Tom Brady (serving a four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate), declining interest in a sport that has been vilified for the toll it extracts on its players, the legal attacks on the fantasy sports industry, and alternative methods of consumption, e.g., streaming video.

  4. Column: Arnold PalmerOctober 6, 2016

    When Arnold Palmer passed away last month at the age of 87 the world lost a one-of-a kind legend. In the 1960’s, when televised sports were in their infancy, Palmer single-handedly brought the country club sport of golf to the masses and the masses in turn were drawn to the sport. His charisma, swagger and Hollywood good looks, along with his go-for-broke playing style, made him universally attractive to men and women alike. He internationalized tournament play by annually crossing the pond to play in the British Open, drawing other top players with him. His repeated heroics at the Masters Tournament – which he won four times - put the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club on the map.