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  • RamDez
    Is The Media, NFL Ruining Sports?
    by RamDez
    By Barry Waller

    Gridiron Gateway



    The National Football League has become the largest enterprise in professional sports as Major League Baseball, the NBA, and especially the locked out NHL are facing futures that range from serious questions to outright disaster. Imagine owning part of a factory that is flourishing during a depression, and it’s easy to understand why ownership in an NFL franchise is an enviable place to be. Unfortunately, for football fans, things are not so rosy.



    With the cash flowing, the league feels confident in every decision it makes, and when it comes to making more and more money, entrepreneurs like the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, and the Redskins Daniel Snider, who lead the group of “bottom line” owners, have tunnel vision.

    Now the NFL has its own network, basically a worldwide televised public relations division. That may be a good addition for fans that love as much information as possible, but what does it do for the traditional way sports are covered?



    I can’t imagine a 24-hour news report running on the “U.S. Government Network”, and it’s probably not even legal for such a show to be aired. The reason for that is simple. After awhile, people may start to think that what they are watching is the objective truth, something on which the American media is supposed to be based, instead of what Washington wanted folks to believe.



    The problem the real media has, is that the NFL Network will get cooperation from players, coaches, officials and league executives, that even ESPN and FOX may not get. Certainly their own excesses and faulty journalism make those two TV sports giants, and others who “cross the line,” less pitiable. With the recent “60 Minutes” firings at CBS, and the scandal at the New York Times last year, alarms should be sounding as Joseph Pulitzer spins in his grave.



    Instead, the obsession for ratings and more money for stockholders keep pushing the media further and further from its noble roots, to the point where being a “National Enquirer” reporter is no longer a situation to be embarrassed about. Like the NFL, money is driving the media that covers it to be more about flash, about hype, about dirt, than about substance. The NFL doesn’t like some of the negativity, so they start their own 24-hour infomercial, which will no doubt drive the real media to lower depths to compete.



    Football purists are dismayed by the changes in the game which appear to be purely to enhance the marketing of the league, turned off by the focus on off-field and negative issues, and by the way some NFL players go about their business these days, and they see no hope for it to get better, or even not get far blacker for them. As long as the owners, many of whom are in it solely for the riches, and not the love of the game, are led in the direction...
    -01-13-2005, 01:52 PM
  • RamDez
    Debunking An NFL Myth
    by RamDez
    Debunking An NFL Myth



    By Barry Waller

    Gridiron Gateway





    It’s something NFL fans hear constantly. Right now it seems to be on the lips of every Rams fan and those who cover the NFL. In fact, in may be the “first commandment” of the football bible. One even hears head football coaches reciting the age-old adage when discussing football strategy. Wouldn’t it seem like someone, at some time, should actually take a bit of time to prove that “Running the football helps your defense by keeping them off the field, and running the clock.”



    I guess, like all too many long held beliefs, people simply believe because so many people say it over and over and over. One thing I love most about writing my opinions on NFL football is that I have the burning desire to hold such tenets up to the light. This one falls flat on its face.



    The NFL has changed drastically in the last 35 years, since the AFL-NFL merger brought the idea of high scoring offenses into a league that stubbornly clinged to their old ways, and that old imperative about the ground game.



    Sid Gillman and his San Diego Chargers were employing an offensive machine in 1968 that was years ahead of its time, one that has flowed through Bill Walsh, Don Coryell, and Dick Vermeil; to Sam Wyche, Hank Stram, Ernie Zampese, Norv Turner, and Joe Gibbs; and finally to Steve Marriucci, Mike Martz, Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, and Andy Reid, as well as hundreds of other college and professional coaches.



    Gillman’s scheme has mutated many different ways as it branches off the trunk of his coaching “family tree”, but the pass patterns, and the philosophy that accurate short passing is better than a running attack, are alive and well. Once old school coaches like Vince Lombardi, George Halas, George Allen, and the rest of their peers were history, unable to win against the new pass-happy NFL offenses, all the NFL organizations upgraded their playbooks to the modern game.



    The NFL helped the change by amending rule after rule to make the passing game a better option, even a far more advantageous one. The advent of a national TV deal now worth billions made for a good reason for the league to ignore the caterwauling of NFL “purists” whining about messing up the game, and remake their game. It was commissioner Pete Rozelle’s vision, and that Chargers team that Rozelle, then Rams GM, saw plenty of when they were in Los Angeles, influenced it greatly.



    Yet, now, so many years later, NFL fans and analysts are still not convinced that teams should not return to the days of Lombardi to win consistently, even with the rule changes that include when the game clock starts and stops.



    Players no longer play both ways, or even every play on one side...
    -09-30-2004, 06:54 AM
  • RamDez
    From the Rams locker room today
    by RamDez
    TYOKA JACKSON STATEMENTS 12-30-2004





    “ To me they sound that way (on whether the criticism of Martz is personal), and to me that’s sad, that’s sad. What kind of journalistic integrity is that, to make blanket statements about a guy’s personality and don’t know him that well? I could talk about you, but I could only critique you as a reporter. Other than that, that’s all I’ve got. When you guys walk out of here, you won’t have people standing out there yelling obscenities at you. You won’t have anybody out there critiquing your job today on national TV, you won’t see it. “



    “If you guys make a mistake, it’ll get edited out, but it just doesn’t work for the rest of us like that. I look at it and I’m thinking, what do these people think, who say these things and have no idea what they are talking about. What do people who never played the game, what are they talking about when they sit and critique people who sit down and work 18 hour days trying to win a football game in the National Football League, and they sit and critique one or two plays?”



    “What are you thinking really? You go home and your day is over and you can come back and talk about something negative the next day. I don’t understand people like that.” “



    (Asked what is “out of bounds for reporters)

    “When you go into “deep” analysis about what you think is going on, but have no clue about what is really happening. Analyze what you just watched, and say, ‘I saw a team that didn’t play well, or I saw a team that maybe didn’t play to its ability’. But when you go further and say, ‘well it looks like they packed it in, or it looks like he lost the team’, what are you talking about?



    How many team meetings have you been in, the people that make these statements? Were you in minicamp? How many times have you come in the weight room, or seen coach come through and have personal conversations with players in the locker room about stuff other than football? Anytime? No. How many times have you seen him put his arm around players and ask them how their kids are?”



    ‘He’s lost them, they don’t want to play for him anymore, they don’t respect him’, I hear that and shake my head. To me it doesn’t sound like that person who’s talking has any idea what they are talking about. I know they don’t. Where is the integrity to not speak about things you know nothing about?”



    ABOUT MARTZ



    “Here’s the point right here. I can’t make a statement and describe a guy, a human being, a man his age, and make you understand who he is over the 4 years I have known him. I think he’s a great guy, he’s an honest guy, he’s a man of integrity. He’s too honest sometimes. He tells you guys things that are too honest, and you guys take it and run with it. He’s an honest person, he’s an...
    -12-31-2004, 01:32 AM
  • RamDez
    From the Rams locker room today
    by RamDez
    TYOKA JACKSON STATEMENTS 12-30-2004





    “ To me they sound that way (on whether the criticism of Martz is personal), and to me that’s sad, that’s sad. What kind of journalistic integrity is that, to make blanket statements about a guy’s personality and don’t know him that well? I could talk about you, but I could only critique you as a reporter. Other than that, that’s all I’ve got. When you guys walk out of here, you won’t have people standing out there yelling obscenities at you. You won’t have anybody out there critiquing your job today on national TV, you won’t see it. “



    “If you guys make a mistake, it’ll get edited out, but it just doesn’t work for the rest of us like that. I look at it and I’m thinking, what do these people think, who say these things and have no idea what they are talking about. What do people who never played the game, what are they talking about when they sit and critique people who sit down and work 18 hour days trying to win a football game in the National Football League, and they sit and critique one or two plays?”



    “What are you thinking really? You go home and your day is over and you can come back and talk about something negative the next day. I don’t understand people like that.” “



    (Asked what is “out of bounds for reporters)

    “When you go into “deep” analysis about what you think is going on, but have no clue about what is really happening. Analyze what you just watched, and say, ‘I saw a team that didn’t play well, or I saw a team that maybe didn’t play to its ability’. But when you go further and say, ‘well it looks like they packed it in, or it looks like he lost the team’, what are you talking about?



    How many team meetings have you been in, the people that make these statements? Were you in minicamp? How many times have you come in the weight room, or seen coach come through and have personal conversations with players in the locker room about stuff other than football? Anytime? No. How many times have you seen him put his arm around players and ask them how their kids are?”



    ‘He’s lost them, they don’t want to play for him anymore, they don’t respect him’, I hear that and shake my head. To me it doesn’t sound like that person who’s talking has any idea what they are talking about. I know they don’t. Where is the integrity to not speak about things you know nothing about?”



    ABOUT MARTZ



    “Here’s the point right here. I can’t make a statement and describe a guy, a human being, a man his age, and make you understand who he is over the 4 years I have known him. I think he’s a great guy, he’s an honest guy, he’s a man of integrity. He’s too honest sometimes. He tells you guys things that are too honest, and you guys take it and run with it. He’s an honest person, he’s an...
    -12-31-2004, 01:32 AM
  • RamDez
    Fearless “Non-Predictions” For The 2004 Season
    by RamDez
    By Barry Waller

    Gridiron Gateway





    I hate predictions, especially concerning the final records of NFL teams, since injuries and luck play such a huge part of the way things play out each season. The media will be full of such nonsense this week, as always, in the quest to hold their readers’ and listeners’ attention for what has become a 12 month obsession for so many.



    The major football publications and networks try to withhold their guesses as to which teams will rise, which will fall, and which will remain where they were in 2003, as long as possible, so the last couple weeks have really been loaded with the final standings imagined five months early in the minds of modern day Nostradamuses. Since dozens of so-called “experts” have wildly differing opinions on which club will hold the Lombardi Trophy aloft in February, with the same factors available for all to examine, does it mean that many of those pundits have no clue?



    A look back would prove that in past seasons, even the most respected analysts, with direct information pipelines from organizations, have been way off in their pre-season prognostications. In fact, they are way wrong far more often than they are on the money. However, when it is all said and done, no one is searching for those six month old issues of all those publications that were so sure they had “handle” on the season. That is very fortunate for the writers who would have very serious doubts arise as to their competence, were this the case.



    The guys on ESPN occasionally joke about one another’s pre-season picks, but mostly the guys who put their opinions out there in August for all too see, often in print, are in no hurry to compare their vision to the final reality. In that way, the media is very much like the politicians they seek to discredit these days.



    Of course, just like whatever administration is trying to hold onto their jobs in Washington, each and every media person that put out their predictions, and sold the value of their picks over others like the guys selling “tip sheets” at the track, would have good excuses for the failure of their crystal balls. The thing is, in the NFL it is not just a possibility that teams will get hit by devastating injuries, bad weather, bad breaks, or other things that turn 11-5 into 8-8 or worse; it’s EXPECTED, or at least should be.



    Since no one knows which teams will be hit the worst, or when it will happen, these predicted final standings things are really nothing more than something draftniks can use to do 2005 mock drafts eight months early. That’s not to say there are not teams that appear to have better ability to persevere when the bad stuff hits, as it already has to some clubs, including the Rams. The haves and have-nots in the league appear to be fairly well defined, though...
    -09-05-2004, 04:53 AM
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