Interview With NY Jets Sack Exchange Member Marty Lyons

A few weeks back at the National Football Foundation’s announcement of the 2012 Collegiate Football Hall of Fame inductees I had the chance to get some words from former New York Jets Sack Exchange member and 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Marty Lyons.  Marty was a pleasure to speak with and offered great insight into both college and professional football.

Marty gives his thoughts on the Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez QB controversy, physicality of the game, differences from when he played to today, amongst other topics.  One can see Marty has a true passion for college football and the growth of its players.  When Marty was speaking with others before this interview, he captivated their attention and engaged them all on all topics football. Watching his excitement made me smile and captivated to hear more from this member of the Sack Exchange.

Former Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson At NFF HOF Announcement

Former Dallas Cowboys, Oklahoma State, and Miami (Fla) Head Coach Jimmy Johnson gives his thoughts and opinions on today’s collegiate and professional players, injuries, social media, and more.  Always great to hear candid opinions than one’s already prepared for press statements.

Also catch my other videos of the event on my YouTube page.  You can also find an interview with former New York Jets Sack Exchange member and 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Marty Lyons.

NFF Announces 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class

From the national ballot of 76 and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced last Tuesday May, 15th the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class, which includes the names of 14 first team All-American players and three legendary coaches.

  • Charles Alexander-TB, LSU (75-78)
  • Otis Armstrong-HB, Purdue (70-72)
  • Steve Bartkowski-QB, California (72-74)
  • Hal Bledsoe-SE, Southern California (61-63)
  • Dave Casper-TE, Notre Dame (71+73)
  • Ty Detmer-QB, BYU (88-91)
  • Tommy Kramer-QB, Rice (73-76)
  • Art Monk-WR, Syracuse (76-79)
  • Greg Myers-DB, Colorado State (92-95)
  • Johnathan Ogden-OT, UCLA (92-95)
  • Gabe Rivera-DT, Texas Tech (79-82)
  • Mark Simoneau-LB, Kansas State (96-99)
  • Scott Thomas-S, Air Force (82-85)
  • John Wooten-OG, Colorado (56-58) – selected from the FBS Veterans Committee
  • Phillip Fulmer- 152-52-0 (74.5%) Tennessee (1992-2008)
  • Jimmy Johnson- 81-34-3 (70.0%) Oklahoma State (79-83) & Miami (Fl.) (84-88)
  • R.C. Slocum- 123-47-2 (72.1%) Texas A&M (1989-2002)

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss.  “Each year the selection process becomes increasingly more difficult, but George Corrigan and the Honors Court do an amazing job of selecting a diverse group of the most amazing players and coaches in our sport’s rich history.  This class is certainly no exception, and we look forward to honoring them and celebrating their achievements throughout the year ahead.”

The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December, 2012 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.  They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2013 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2013.

The announcement was made from the NASDAQ OMX Marketsite in Time Square, which has hosted the event the past four consecutive years.  XOS Digital produced the NFF web streams for the second consecutive year.  Enjoy video for the years inductions into this year’s College Football Hall of Fame.

It A Hard Knock Life, But Not For The Jets

It appears fans of  HBO’s  Hard Knocks will not be able to get up close, personal, and behind all the scenes of the New York Jets this training camp.

According to Dennis Wasznak of the Associated Press, the Jets have reportedly turned down HBO’s offer:

A person familiar with the decision said the team decided to not participate in the hit HBO show this year after being approached by the cable network about appearing again.

Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and company were big stars and drew huge ratings two years ago—the last time the show aired—but the Jets opted to pass on doing it again this summer, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because neither the team nor the cable network had announced the decision.

This past Tuesday night on The Jets Zone on Blog Talk Radio I said this was the best decision the team could have made.

When you consider the three ring media circus that has already surrounded the franchise, the media frenzy and questions that came up when “backup” QB Tim Tebow was traded for, another Darelle Revis situation, and the locker-room problems the Jets had last season, the last thing they need are more cameras and eyes on the team as they go through training camp.

From a football perspective, the show would be a serious distraction. The report states the reason for turning the show down is the fact that they have a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano, and that makes perfect sense. Sporano is going to have his hands full with a new defense and getting used to the Jets.  The last thing he needs is his focus taken off the team.

Unfortunately, the Jets’ decision is a football fans loss when it’s all said and done.  .

The show would have been a must-watch had the Jets been the focus.

 I can only imagine what the dynamic between Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and the camera would be like. There are only so many cameras and so much face time available—who would end up getting most of the spotlight?  Who would have the biggest crowd of fans when the cameras would be present?

And then there’s boisterous head coach Rex Ryan. What would he have up his sleeve for the audience?  More yelling?  Another snack?  Perhaps a few wise cracks or dirty jokes would be heard on top of the cameras covering his weight loss.

Alas, fans of great reality TV will suffer, because it appears the Jets have made the smart and conventional move for the first time in a while.  With 1,001 cameras already on them they did not need HBO’s as well.

They’ll be better for it, and the rest of us will be stuck hoping for anybody but Jacksonville.

How A Wilson Football Is Made

Last Wednesday, April 25th, Dr. Bill Chackes of Football Reporters Online and myself were invited to a demonstration on how Wilson footballs are made.  This was being done on the top floor of the NFL Store in midtown across from Bryant Park.  After the demonstration, Dr. Bill interviewed Kevin Murphy, General Manager of American Football.  The company behind Wilson.

DSC_2465It was educational to see how Wilson makes their footballs.  This was only the second location in their history where they have done this demonstration outside their factory.  The only other location is at the Super Bowl each year.  So for those who went to the NFL store last week were in store for an exclusive.

Wilson footballs are made by hand here in America.  Yes, American footballs being made, hand made, by Americans.  The way Wilson has done it for over 80 years.  It is a good feeling knowing that they care about their employees enough to give them that job security.

As you watch the video, you can see how the workers take pride in what they do.  Knowing that each ball they make was crafted by them.  There are under 25 workers in all who hand craft these footballs.  It is an apprenticeship, a trade that has to be learned over time and perfected by few.

I would like to thank both Dr. Bill Chackes and John Fennelly for giving me great opportunities over the past two years.  Videos like these, my writings,  and others over the past two years would not be possible without them.  I thank them for giving me exposure and experience.

NFL Draft Prospects at NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival

This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to join Dr. Bill Chackes, Zennie Abraham, Julie Buehler, and others at the NFL Draft Media day event which was held during the NFL Play 60 Youth Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park.  It was a busy morning with every member of the press looking to get some words from Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

DSC_2515The Play 60 event was enjoyed by all the kids who participated and their families who watched.  Before the event, the kids had a chance to play Xbox 360 Kinnect games.  It got the kids going so they had energy for the real field.  All the players interacted with them in every capacity.  From throwing them passes to handing off the ball for running plays.  The kids ran combine drills and played small heads up games.

While the press flocked around RG3 and Andrew Luck for interviews, many of the other players stood waiting for their opportunity to be interviewed.  It took a while but every draft prospect did get their chance to answer questions.  It was hard to see some players just standing there with no one talking to them.  In the end, everyone had their quotes and every player was able to give their thoughts.

DSC_2499Roger Goodell thanked everyone for being there and the importance of the Play 60 program.  Mike Mayock of the NFL Network gave his opinions on the draft and where he thought the teams would find their best draft prospects.  It seemed more of a strategy session than an interview.

But in the end it was a success.  Not just for the NFL or the draft picks, but for the kids who participated.  The more interaction the players have with the youth of America, the more these kids will realize how important physical fitness is.

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2012 NFL Draft: The Season Begins Here

The NFL Draft means something to everyone, in their own way.

For the teams, it is a chance to obtain those missing pieces of a puzzle that was the Super Bowl last season.  Others looking for fresh, young blood to rejuvenate a team to push its way back into contention.  But to everyone involved in football, it is four days that could change the course of a teams season.
To the fans, everyone takes it differently.  To the casual football fan, it is a couple of days where teams pick college players in order to fill positions on their team.  To the frenzied fan of a team, the opportunity to retool and find some fresh faces to add to the veterans who can get the job done.  But to the die hard fan of the draft, it is a lot more.

The die hard fan plays out the draft the same way Robert Byrne and Bobby Fischer play a chess match.  All the players are lined up by position.  Moves thought out carefully.  Reacting to your opponent.  Thinking ahead to gain an advantage.  Studding statistics.  Know the advantage before a move is made.  The die hard fan knows these moves.

But to everyone, it is a look into what could be the future of a franchise or someone looking to keep their dream alive.

The draft is a magical time.  A time where any fan can see a potential hall of famer be named to their team of destiny.  A moment in time where a fan stops to imagine hearing their own name announced as a draft selection.  Draft day brings us one step closer to seeing how these new gladiators of the gridiron match up to their veteran counterparts.

Maybe its fitting the draft takes place in New York. A city where people come to from all over the globe to capture their dream. They come to see where their future lies. A city that has delivered to so many can now deliver to them.

Football fans will converge at Radio City Music Hall for four days to not just see who gets drafted, but to immerse themselves in the NFL experience.  Fan events, player interaction, and bickering between other fans makes this a precursor of a season to come.  Groundwork to be laid as to whose fans will have bragging rights next year.

You can ask any fan how they feel about the draft.  Everyone will mention at least one great signing and complain about 99 others.  Those are fans, that is what they do.  Fans are the best market research to let a sports franchise know how it is doing.  You can hear them loud and clear after each and every draft selection.  The teams conscience.

Every fan has some part of the NFL calendar they look forward to.  Some wait all year for the draft.  Why?  It is the official day where collegiate athletes become professional football players.  The NCAA to the NFL.  A transition.  The new breed that pushes the progression of football just one more notch on the game’s time-line.

The start of the 2012 season begins on Thursday.  The first major event on the NFL calendar for the new season.  Every franchise waiting, patient for their turn to select that next great player to represent their franchise.  The new face of the team marketing machine that entices fans like a circus ringleader.  To get you to cheer for the greatest game on earth.

And we do.

Not just because of that.  It’s the memories.  Being able to share that experience with others to smile and laugh about later.  Giving that next generation the lesson needed to stay educated on how the NFL draft works.  The Draft has become an event onto itself.  The Draft at Radio City is like the Allman Brothers coming to the Beacon Theater.  You know it is coming every year.  Planning ahead to make the necessary arrangements.

This is a big week for those players looking to be selected by the professional team of their choice.  Some fans looking to see if they predicted the same selection as their favorite team.  The anticipation could be a little more than some can bear.  But with fans from every team in attendance this week, it will be a week those players looking for a new home will not forget.  If the teams make a bad move, the fans will never let them forget.  So, are you ready?

Help The Jets Design Their 2012 Season Tickets

This past Monday, the Jets announced via Facebook a contest where some lucky fan could win season tickets for the upcoming 2012 season.  One lucky individual will be able to share their ideas and have them voted on to see if their design is worthy enough to be placed on a season ticket.  Here are details from the Jets:

The Jets have announced that the team is asking fans to help design their 2012 season tickets. Fans who like the Jets on Facebook can vote for the photos that will be incorporated into the 2012 season ticket design. Also, fans can enter to win a pair of 300-level 2012 season tickets and one lucky fan will get to use the tickets he or she helped design to see the Jets live at MetLife Stadium this year.*

Fans can vote on three tickets per week for a total of nine tickets through April 23rd.  The 10th ticket is reserved for the Jets Ring of Honor, an announcement that will be made later this year.  Seven current players – David Harris, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Sione Pouha, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Bryan Thomas – and Coach Rex Ryan will be included in this vote.  Curtis Martin, 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and Jets Ring of Honor great, will be featured on a ticket and also included in the photo vote.

Fans can vote and enter for a chance to win at facebook.com/jets.

This is the first week pictures can be submitted and voted upon.  The Jets used Facbook again this year for fans to enter into a drawing to announce a draft pick at this years 2012 NFL Draft in NYC.
The Jets always make their official announcement regarding any contest or promotion on their website first.  But more and more people visit and use Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis.  It makes sense to update on these sites more often as the Jets will will reach a larger demographic.

Facebook and Twitter provide a faster, streamlined process for conducting market research.  From comments left to liking a page to entering contests, companies have instant information provided to them on a real time basis.  A company’s Facebook page or Twitter account can do the work of a market research firm, to some degree.

Now the team needs to integrate social media into their live events.  Whether at a game or a rally, it is easy to use tech outdoors to keep the plugged in updated on their live feed.  Many events already do this during trade events, company sponsored events, and countless more gatherings that use social media to spread the message outside the event.

Each Bing event I went to utilized Twitter in easy ways.  They set up monitors to view feed, provided a hash tag, and gave out prizes to those who Tweeted.  Twitter is great for real time during live events.  Facebook is good for real time on a mobile device.  Hard to set up a public live feed in a central location.  Facebook is better for individual use to create buzz or on the company page with real updates, pictures, comments, and more.

I walked and filmed in just about every parking section at MetLife Stadium.  I have seen what fans do in each section.  Like nomadic tribes, they all have a certain spot they prefer.  There are many ways the Jets could implement social media interaction during tailgating.  If they create a buzz and feature aspects of it during the game, it would provide a true social experience.

The digital screens around the outside of the stadium could feature Twitter posts with the Jets hash tag.  Show pictures taken right there during tailgating so people can see themselves as they enter the stadium.  Best tailgate picture could be featured on the website and in the stadium.  There are many other ways to integrate social media into tailgating, but if the Jets want to know, they know who to contact.

Many Jets bloggers and fans already use social media to enhance their tailgate.  L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter.  Their use and others I know of supersede what the Jets do with social media during tailgating.  When done right, you create the perfect pregame fan interaction.  I am not sure what other sports franchises do, but the Jets can do more to create real time in real time.

New York Jets Acquisition of Tim Tebow: Thoughts & Opinions

Last week the New York Jets made moves to bring Tim Tebow to the New York Jets from the Denver Broncos.  Many have speculated as to how Tim Tebow would be used.  Considering the contract extension to Mark Sanchez, how would this trade impact his starting status?  Was this a move to mix things up and have more of an on field presence?  Or was Damien Woody right in stating this was a move to help the Jets sell season tickets and PSL’s?

We as fans, the media, and the alternative media can speculate all we want.  Only the Jets know for sure how Tebow is to be used.  By unlike others, I have no comment on this trade.  Once Tim Tebow gets into training camp, the pre season, and the regular season, then I will make my decision.  If a player has yet to step foot on a field for a team, how can one make a true assessment of how that player’s abilities?  Sure he did well in Florida and Denver, but he has yet to play for New York.

Everyone was excited about Brett Favre coming to the Jets.  But all that hype and play ended in a 9-7 season.  So all we can do is wait and see how Tebow settles into his position as the Jets back up QB and see what his on field performance is like.

I took a little time to give more details on my opinions of Tim Tebow being traded to the Jets and recorded them for all to see:

MetLife Stadium Luxury Suite Holder Wants Out, Jets File Lawsuit

Yesterday was the official start of free agency.  But the Jets have more on their minds than just who they need to sign.  I am not talking about the upcoming Draft or deciding on how much they need to pamper Mark Sanchez.

Apparently, there are some issues with the Jets trying to get payment on one of their luxury boxes.  John Brennan of The Bergen Record posted an article on NorthJersey.com this past weekend in regard to this matter:

The Jets have filed a million-dollar lawsuit against one of their MetLife Stadium luxury suite holders — a Canadian copper mining company — for alleged failure to pay the bill for their suite last season.

According to the suit filed in Bergen County Superior Court last week, Super Metals Mining Inc. and its chairman, Jack Usman, signed a three-year deal for Luxury Suite 14 last June. The deal was for a total of $1.2 million, including license fees, suite tickets, and reserved parking. Another $100,000 was promised by the defendants in exchange for “certain sponsorship and advertising rights,” the suit alleges.

The Jets contend that a first-year fee of $321,000 was never paid. Seizure of an $80,000 deposit lowered the first-year amount owed to $241,000. The second- and third-year suite fees were $357,000 and $375,000, respectively.

The suit seeks a judgment of $1.1 million plus attorney fees and other litigation expenses.

Jack Usman, President of Super Metals & Mining, Inc. based in Toronto, Canada was very forthcoming about his issues with the Jets.  He was open about his dealings with the Jets, his sales representative, the overall costs, and everything he went though in trying to cancel his agreement even before the end of the season.

This all started when Jack came down to NYC to talk to various investment houses about getting on one of the stock exchanges like the NYSE.  The intent was to take Super Metals & Mining public.  First in Canada, then the United States.

Jack decided to get a luxury box at the new MetLife Stadium.  He wanted a place to take friends and hoped to fund the cost of the box on what he would of made from SM&M going public.

He originally met his Jets luxury suite representative at Del Friscos in NYC.  Pretty upscale place to meet to talk about a stadium box Jack thought .  They even got a limousine for him to take to the restaurant.  Makes one think about getting a luxury suite.

When Jack met the representative for the first time, it was during the day.  He thought it shocking to see her arrive in the shortest black skirt and highest heels he had ever seen.  Plus when she greeted him, she kissed him on the lips.  She according to Jack, was also making subtle advances & overtures to him.  He found this all to be strange as Jack is about 6 foot and 300 pounds.  Jack said even HE would not make advances to himself.

The representative personally drove him home to his residence in NYC.  The subtle remarks were still happening.  The night ended with Jack being told he would receive the contract by mail.

Jack received the contract June 14th.  He needed to send the Jets an $80,000 deposit on the first seasons price of $320,000.  This was not an issue as the $80,000 was paid.

In July, the Jets asked for $18,000 to pay for the 50 Yard Line seats Jack got with the suite.  Great seats by the way.  Then, the remaining $240,000 was due in early September.  Jack found all this was a lot packed into a short timeframe.

Super Metals and Mining never went public.  Holding onto the luxury suite now gets a little harder.

On August 4th, Jack was admitted to the hospital.  His issues had him almost near death.  Seven days later, he broke his foot in eight places.  Jack is now crippled for life.  He will never walk the same way again.  Jack never attended a preseason game as he was dealing with these and other health related issues.

Jack wanted to cancel the box at that point.  He felt with his current health,  how would he enjoy the suite the way he wanted to.  Even the Jets representative came to visit him in the hospital.  Jack said he did give her other payments when she came to the hospital.  It seemed there was more of a care in the suite being paid and sharing her tales of woe rather than how Jack was doing.

Jack decided to go to the opening game against the Cowboys on September 11th.  He was on a mix of pain killers and alcohol.  Jack did not feel right being there as his enjoyment for the suite diminished.

Jack attended three other games but wasn’t up to staying until the end, including Jacksonville (came early to avoid crowd and left at half-time), Miami (came 2nd quarter & left in the 3rd), and forgot the fourth game. He had to drink to kill the pain as his leg had been broken so badly. It still swells like an elephant leg, when walking with a cane more than 1 block.

It was soon after that Jack decided to cancel the suite and terminate his contract.  According to Jack and e mails from the Jets, the Jets agreed to cancel the luxury suite.  The Jets tried to prolong the termination.  Obviously in hopes of retaining that income rather than losing out on over a million dollars.

Jack called his time very displeasing.  Citing the Jets for double billing, lousy suite service, being mis-sold on all fact and representations, antagonistic, and having certain requests unfulfilled .

Jack’s banker received a call from the Jets asking for everything to be paid in full for the season.  Jack said his banker laughed and wondered where they would get it from.

A couple high ranking executives at the Jets from sales & marketing contacted Jack.  They tried to prolong the entire situation.  On October 23rd, the Jets wanted the rest of the payment.  With the company not going public Jack did not have the funds.

There was even an agreement for SM&M and the Jets to do a promotion together.  Thousands of free t shirts, a free trip, and more was to be planned.  This would of cost SM&M close to $100,000.

After all previous payments were made, Jack owed the Jets $104,000 for the season.  Jack has no problem with that.  He does have a problem with them going after payments for the remaining two seasons.

They had months to try and settle with Jack.  He says he was never served with any papers in regarding to the lawsuit.  They agree to let him out of his luxury suite and they still go forward and sue for all three seasons.

Jack wonders how they could do this to a fan.  He even asked me if this is how all potential ticket holders have been treated.  He is not the kind of guy who would have the suite to impress friends or inflate his ego.

In the close to four years I have been covering the story behind the PSLs, season tickets, and new stadium funding, this is the first story I have heard surrounding the luxury boxes.  I have witnessed sales pitches and heard them myself.  I even followed around a representative and potential luxury suite buyer during their open practice in the new stadium.

I never heard anything like what Jack Usman told me.  He wondered if all potential luxury suite buyers get treated that way or only the ones looking to spend a million dollars.  One will never hear of a regular PSL holder being treated that way.  Even if that regular PSL holder is worth several million.  Just because one has the net worth, does not mean they have to show it.

Both sides have their story.  Both sides will have  their day in court.  Jack plans on countersuing the Jets for a sum more than the Jets are seeking.  He does not want the money.  He would rather give it to a charity that benefits children who lost parents on 9/11.  It is more about proving a point than the money.

Contracts are terminated for various reasons.  Sometimes both parties part ways amicably.  Not this time.  One party just wants out.  The other just wants to be paid.