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NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival/NFL Draft Media Event @ Chelsea Waterside Park

My first editing project! Last week’s NFL Play 60 event from the NFL Draft media day. A great event at Chelsea Waterside Park that was attended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci, and former Dallas Cowboys Lavar Arington, Tony Casillas, and “Prime TimeDeion Sanders. All the top Draft prospects shared their time with the kids for a wonderful event. We get up close with Steve Mariucci, The Miami Dolphin‘s pick Deion Jordon, St. Louis Rams pick Tavon Martin, and the New York Jets pick Geno Smith. Also a few words from Prime Time himself, Deion Sanders.

NFL Play 60 Media Day April 24, 2013NFL Play 60 Media Day April 24, 2013NFL Play 60 Media Day April 24, 2013

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NY Jets Need To Deliver, For Their Fans Sake

I was originally asked to write this piece for the Football Reporters Online NFL Draft guide.  Unfortunately, the guide was not put together for release.  The piece focuses on the New York Jets, their fans, MetLife Stadium, and PSL’s in regard to the Jets.  The idea that a PSL is “an investment” is discussed in contrast to those who want them for future generations.  This is a topic I have covered countless times.

I did not want this piece to sit in limbo for eternity.  Every Jets fan has their opinion on the PSL’s.  They are also outspoken in regards to other teams possibly entertaining the PSL idea.  The story never changes, but every once in a while new pages need to be added for a deeper in depth story.

Enjoy!

Since 1996, football has watched itself grow beyond the typical funding, state grants, and loans that it takes to create and furnish a new stadium in the NFL.  The advent of the PSL has created opportunities for some but has also turned off many depending on the team you are a season ticket holder for.  When it comes to MetLife Stadium and the New York Jets, what was supposed to be a worthwhile “investment” turned into turmoil for many.

When the New York Jets announced that they were going to use PSL’s to help finance the new stadium, it was met with mixed reactions.  Especially from those long time season ticket holders who had been with the franchise since the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium.  Many fans have been with the Jets, supporting them in every situation and season longer than any staff member associated with the team.  That shows dedication while Jets’ employees will always move on.

The term “investment” has been used loosely when it comes to the purchase and ownership of a PSL.  People are split on this concept.  Many long time season ticket holders want to hold onto their seats.  Like many before them, retaining them in order to pass them along to a younger generation to enjoy.  Others “invest” in a PSL and sell the season tickets in hopes of making a profit selling the tickets either on a game by game basis or the entire season.

Jetsseasontix-592x274As many Jets fans know today, that is nearly impossible.  This past season, tickets were being sold for a fraction of their face value.  Some went through Stub Hub and purchased seats for each game, sitting in the same seats as if they owned a PSL.

Since the Jets introduced the PSL’s, I have related them to holding stock.  A flat value paid to a company in hopes that they value of said “stock” would rise due top the performance of the team.  No one owns one PSL, the minimum would be two seats or two shares in the team.  That PSL money helps to fund the stadium along with other “seat investors” and the Jets organization itself.

After that flat investment was paid, for example, 5,000 per seat just to be able to have the right top purchase season tickets.  The PSL only give you a license to purchase your tickets in the lower and middle tiers of the stadium while the upper part of the bowl is a complete NON PSL section.  So after you have your seats and tickets for that flat price, it is now up to the Jets and their team performance to determine what the future value would be for those PSL’s.

Just like any public company who offers any form of public stock, that stock value is determined by that company’s performance.  Google continues to actively trade at a high price many are willing to pay while Facebook is struggling to even keep its shares at a reasonable price.  There are many variables that determine what the stock price would be worth.

Jets Cut PSL PricesBut the main question remains, is this investment the best value for my money?  Will I get a return on my investment?  Is the company’s performance in the short-term and the long-term enough to be worth my time and money?  New York Jets fans ask themselves those same questions.  Since the beginning, the Jets have restructured prices & PSL structures in an effort to keep seats filled for more than one game.

The Jets performance has been sub par at best.  Performance has been below expectations.  The organization and the team have not risen to the occasion that their investors (fans) would have hoped for.  Especially in this new Roman Colosseum they built for the VIP’s and corporate sponsors.  The Jets have done nothing to raise these values with a New York Super Bowl less than one year away.

When a company is not performing to expectations, investors have certain rights to make changes in a company to ensure their investment does not hit bottom.  But the Jets are not a public company.  PSL holders can complain but the ultimate decision still lies within the Jets executive offices.  Even though the Jets on field performance has not met expectations from investors, all they can do is sit back and hope the decision makers in charge do the right thing.  Not just to increase performance and value, but for their fans as well.

Recently, the Cleveland Browns did away with their PSL structure.  Starting this season, new season ticket holders only have to pay for their tickets.  Current PSL holders will have the opportunity to add-on new seats without having to pay for a new PSL and still maintain their PSL holder privileges.  The Browns organization is doing this to help raise attendance and draw fans back to live games.  The Jets and Woody Johnson can learn from other teams examples and not just leave an upper bowl with Non PSL seats..

PSL holders for both the Jets and Giants are offered opportunities to purchase tickets for other events at MetLife Stadium.  It may not be in their seat or section, but they do get offers first before non PSL holders or the general public.  The true test of this benefit will come during next year’s Super Bowl.  Will these PSL holders be offered any kind of seat, even if their respective team is not in the Super Bowl?  How will the Jets and Giants handle ticket disbursement for the Super Bowl to their PSL holders?

There are so many questions and not enough answers when it comes to PSL’s and the benefits it covers, regardless of the team.  But one thing is clear, the more you pay for your seat location, the better your benefits and the better you are treated y that respective organization.

4708201386_c84096e02a_zOn June 16, 2010, the Jets held an open practice at the still being constructed MetLife Stadium.  Many tables with sales representatives we strewn about talking up season tickets and PSL packages.  They were in their collar shirts and khakis and offered up the usual brochures to passing fans who wanted more information.  The sales representatives for VIP sections, Coaches Club sections, and luxury boxes had a very different approach.

Clad in suits and offering up sales pitches to those who want to spend at least six figures per season were treated very differently.  As I followed one such sales agent, I heard him tell his prospective client the following: “you would receive the same treatment we reserve for Woody Johnson.”  Was this a part of the sales pitch?  Was it right to tell this prospective luxury box ticket holder he would be treated differently than those fans who or for a PSL in the lower bowl or even a NON PSL holder in the upper deck?

It does appear the Jets do not treat all their fans as equals.  In one such case with luxury box holder, Jack Usman, who I interviewed in the past said that “his sales representative had  been dressed so provocatively in the shortest, tightest skirt and the highest heels he had ever seen”.  He was amazed how a sales agent would dress like that just to talk about a luxury box.  All because he wanted to spend close to 1 million over three years on a box to bring clients.  If he was just another fan, it would just be a phone call and a package sent to his house.

In this age of “he who spends the most wins”  has taken its toll on professional sports.  One used to be able to bring a family of four to a football game.  These days, parents sometimes have to decide which child goes to which game.  Forget about the cheap seats in the upper deck.  What kind of experience is that for a childs first football game.  To those in charge of those decisions, it does not matter.  The only thing that matters is the bottom line,  regardless of who occupies those seats.

PSL’s may be a necessity for certain NFL teams to build their new stadium, but at what cost to their fans? Depending on the market you enjoy your favorite team in can also determine the cost of the PSL’s.  So many factors affect price structures.  The New York Metropolitan area just happens to be the most expensive market for professional football.

tommywilsonWhen the Jets rolled out their PSL’s there was a tremendous fan base shift.  Many older, dedicated fans from the days of Shea Stadium and the Polo Grounds never stepped foot in MetLife Stadium.  Some even passed away after making their initial PSL paymentt like Tommy Wilson.  The man paid for the seats in October 2009 and only saw them from above.

Professional sports have always kept up with the times, especially the NFL.  With the modernization of new stadiums & being able to offer cutting edge amenities, comes a hefty price tag.  One that gets passed to its fans in certain cases.  None has been in a higher profile situation more than the New York Jets and their fans.  This past season  added more fuel to an ever going bonfire.

The Atlanta Falcons have just been approved to be the latest franchise in the NFL to build a new stadium. A team on the cusp & capable of a Super Bowl appearance.  Will PSL’s be used in the building of the new stadium?  Will there be enough viable funding options to not lay a burden on the fans with PSL’s?  Time will tell.  If the Falcons organization needs to do marketing research to determine the fans options, Jets fans are always willing to share their opinions.

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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?

New York Jets sign Free Agent Kicker Nick Polk & OT Michael Turkovich

According to a report this yesterday by ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, former Dallas Cowboys’ kicker Nick Folk has signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets.
aFolk

Folk went to New York last week to work out for both the Jets and the Giants. The signing likely means that the team will part ways with the incumbent place kicker Jay Feely, who struggled at times in 2009, and is a restricted free agent.

A Pro Bowler in 2007, Folk was released last December after struggling down the stretch. He was replaced by Shaun Suisham, who fared slightly better, going 5 for 8, but missed crucial field goals. Few in Dallas seem to believe Suisham is the answer at the position.

Some writers have since decried the move to let Folk go; the general thought is that the team could have stashed the Arizona State product on injured reserve–as Folk had hip surgery last off-season–while he sorted out any issues. Gerry Fraley at the Dallas Morning News, of course, called this the “worst decision [the] 2009 Cowboys made.”  Just goes to show that even some writers feel very deeply about even a kicker.

His reasoning was that Folk, a talented kicker, had a lot left in the tank; that he was snapped up fairly quickly by a team with serious playoff aspirations, I’m afraid, would seem to signal that Fraley is right on the money.  The New York Jets are showing all in the NFL that they are to be treated as serious Bowl contenders and that goes for decisions in the off season.

The Jets have also signed free agent offensive tackle Michael Turkovich.

Turkovich, a former Notre Dame standout, was in training camp with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent last summer but was released after injuring a knee.  The Jets still need a wide receiver and an offensive linbackber.  Will the Jets go aftr the rookies or go after one of the veteran free agents?

Xtra Point Football: NFL Draft Prospects: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame. A Jets Fit?

Morning all.  I came across this article this morning on Notre Dame Wide Receiver Golden Tate on Xtra Point Football.  Just from the name alone I had to stop and read the article.  After reading it, I agreed on a lot of points in the article on how this kid can fit into the Jets offense.  The Jets can really increase their threat down field and really turn it up. The Jets have missed opportunites in the past to have an all around solid offense.  They would have either a good QB, running game, or good wide receivers.  They finally have the running game and QB situations in place.  They are so close to having a great wide receiving core they can not miss out.  This is a key to going back to the AFC Championship game and maybe the Super Bowl.  If they can keep Thomas Jones and a three back core, then there is no stopping the Jets.  They need to same depth at WR.  Edwards can not do it on his own.  Dustin Keller had a great rookie year and Jericho Cotchery was hampered by injuries.  The potential is there and Golden Tate can be a golden fit.

Golden may only be 5’11”, but wasn’t Wayne Chrebet a short receiver who stunned many?  Someone able to get his hands on the ball and make yards after the pass.  Same thing as Tate.  Tate was also a great high school running back rushing for over 200 yards his Junior year.  I read a couple more scouting reports on Tate and he looks like a great fit.  But the founder of XPF Mike Cardano thinks otherwise.  He thinks they already have a solid WR line up.  I disagree.  They need a stellar tandem on both sides of the field.  Braylon Edwards is primed to be one of those men.  He has the potential to be a great receiver.  Tate has the speed and agility to throw off the defense and make key catches.  Mike Cardano believes they already have enough depth at WR.  Although Brad Smith can do QB in the Wilcat, he can not be a running back,.  This is where Tate can come in.  You throw his back experience into their versiion of the Wildcat then you give Brian Shottenheimer more options to throw off the opposing defense.

Here is the article and Mike Cardano’s response to Golden Tate being looked at by the Jets.

Written by MC3 Sports Media
Friday, 19 February 2010 07:40

godentateThe college football season is over; withdrawals, depression, misery. Before you slip into an apathetic stupor for eight months, remember that the NFL Draft is just around the corner! From now until April’s NFL Draft, I will be profiling some of the more interesting prospects. I can’t promise that I’ll get to your favorite player, but if you’d like to see a certain player profiled, shoot us an email and let us know.

What a freakin’ sweet name ‘Golden Tate‘ is. I wonder if his given name had anything to do with his Irish commitment back in 2007.

Critics’ biggest knock against Tate has been his ability, or lack thereof, to separate from defenders. Draft Overlord Mel Kiper concurs. According to the South Bend Tribune, Kiper notes, “He didn’t separate from the [cornerbacks] on the initial routes. But he was great after the catch in the open field, running with the football.”

Separation or not, he showed that he has a knack for adjusting to the ball and making the catch with defenders around. Tate was quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s go to guy in 2009, even before and after fellow star wide receiver Michael Floyd was out with injury. He had at least 5 receptions in every game in 2009 except for two-blowouts against Nevada and Washington State. In an overtime win against Washington, Tate blew up, catching 9 passes for 244 yard including a 77 yard reception and a 67 yard touchdown reception.

Like Clausen, Tate played on NBC his entire career and was subjected to the scrutiny that comes from playing at one of the most storied programs ever. He’s also familiar with the pro style offense used by Charlie Weis. These factors likely make Tate more NFL ready than his peers; consider it usually takes three seasons for wide receivers to mature to the NFL game and this will only improve his draft stock.

Tate’s height is the bane of his draft stock according to some analysts. He’s 5’11 and while he won’t be the shortest receiver in the pros, he certainly won’t be the tallest either. He’ll have to use his quickness to get off the line against physical NFL corners.

Among his attributes heading into the draft, and mentioned by Kiper in the quote above, is his ability to run after the catch. Tate is a former running back, rushing for over 2,000 yards as a junior in high school, and is an experienced return man. His strong legs, quickness and ability to make cuts will make him a nightmare in the open field even against the faster, more disciplined NFL defenses.

The South Bend Tribune article mentions Tate’s 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine as important in deciding his eventual draft position. Kiper is quoted as saying, “To me, if he runs well, he could be a late-first-round pick. If he doesn’t, you’re talking about second or third round for Golden.” To some (I’m looking your way Al Davis), 40 times are everything. To others, they’re just measurements that don’t necessarily translate into production on the field.

He’ll likely be picked late in the first round-really the perfect spot to pick a receiver. It’s not that pro bowl caliber pass catchers haven’t gone in the top 10; it’s that so many busts and disappointments have gone so high. With wide receivers, talent sure plays out, but I’ll use the old credo that they depend on others to get them the ball.

The Jets are a popular choice to nab Tate in the latter part of the First Round. Questions surround whether Braylon Edwards will ever develop into the wide receiver the Jets hoped he would when they acquired him from Cleveland midseason. If he does wind up in New York, can you imagine the marketability a guy named Golden would bring in a city whose mayor dubbed Manhattan ‘Revis Island’ after their star cornerback? A billboard of Golden next to the Golden Arches in Times Square comes to mind.

XPF Founder and New York Jets fanatic Mike Cardano isn’t so sure.

“I actually don’t think the Jets will take a receiver that high. They are set with Jericho Cotchery as a possession receiver and I think that they think Braylon Edwards can be ‘the guy’, especially with a full year of training camp.  Something that often goes unnoticed/unmentioned is that Edwards is a fantastic blocker and that helps the Jets running game on the second level springing big runs.  If they can get him to kick the ‘dropping the ball thing’ just a bit, I think they are OK there.  I’m OK with Brad Smith as the 3rd guy and one of these days the speedster David Clowney will catch a 70 pass (not in pre-season but an actual game).  I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked up a veteran receiver, but I would be shocked if they drafted a receiver in the first three rounds.”

The Cowboys, picking two spots ahead of the Jets in the first round, may be in the market for a wide receiver to play alongside Miles Austin. Like Edwards, Roy Williams is largely considered a disappointment since coming to Dallas as Terrelle Owens‘ successor.

If he slips into the second round, there are some teams picking at the top of the round that could certainly use help in the passing game. – Danny Hobrock

Danny is a sports journalist who primarily covers college football and professional baseball. He is a contributor for several sports related blogs and is the former editor of a political and current events website.

  • For more player profiles and complete coverage of this Year’s NFL Draft, visit our NFL Draft Prospects Home Page with new profiles being added each week.

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