The Michael Vick Dilemma

13 07 2009

So you are running a brand new football league made up of NFL retreads and undrafted college players.  You are planning on playing games on Thursday and Friday nights during the NFL season and you are trying to develop a fan following and bring people into stadiums in this troubled economy.  What do you do to try and make a statement, try to eke out a spot in the ever-increasing world of sport?  Well, there is a very interesting option that may or may not come into play.  Michael Vick was drafted by the Orlando franchise.

This brings up a very interesting question.  Is the media circus that is guaranteed to follow Vick good or bad for the league?  First, it is nowhere near a done deal that Vick would come play in the UFL.  He comes off of house arrest for the dogfighting charges sometime this month and the NFL commissioner will be making a determination if Vick is going to be suspended further.  If he is suspended by the NFL, the UFL commissioner would also need to make a ruling if he would be able to play for them.  Then there is the issue of Vick himself, if he even wants to come play in a “minor” league.  But that’s not what we’re talking about today.  Today, we look at the fundamental question of if the UFL should let Vick come play for them.

One thing that Vick brings immediately is publicity.  There is no question about that.  I can see the headlines right now: “Disgraced star to play in upstart league” and so on.  But with Vick would most certainly come a lot of negative publicity.  I’m sure that the PETA folks are going to be all over him, regardless of where he ends up playing.  Does the UFL really want that kind of press?  I think so.  For an upstart league, any publicity (with a few exceptions) is good publicity.  I don’t think that Vick will end up playing in the UFL.  For Vick, this could be an opportunity to show an NFL team that 2 years away from the game (in prison) hasn’t taken away from his abilities.

I have a hunch that Roger Goddell will let him back and the circus will follow him to the big leagues.  For the UFL though, I think they would love to have a chance to let him bring some attention to their league.

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If you have a draft and nobody knows about it, did it really happen?

19 06 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present you with the latest in a long line of “minor league” football– The UFL!  The United Football League is planning to kick off their season this October with franchises in New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Billing themselves as a developmental league is not a bad plan, but competing with the “sanctity” of High School football by playing on Thursday and Friday nights may not be the best idea.  They did apparently get a national TV deal with the Thursday night games appearing on Versus.

To give them some credit, they did start off with some big names to coach their teams.  Jim Fassel will take the helm in Vegas, Jim Haslett will coach in Orlando, longtime Defensive Coordinator Ted Cotrell will be in New York, and in San Francisco… What’s that…?  It’s a Denny Green sighting!

So last night, the UFL decided to get together behind closed doors and have themselves a little draft.  They didn’t tell anyone when they were going to have their little secret get-together to divvy up has-been/never was NFL players and college grads who weren’t going to get a sniff in the NFL to begin with.  Retread coaches and retread players, sounds like a recipe for some fantastic football action! Probably the best known name to come out of the draft is former Chicago Bear and St. Louis Ram Adam Archuletta.  There had been some chatter that J.P. Lossman and Michael Vick would be involved in the draft, but it was not to be.  Denny Green had some interesting choices.  He loved coaching Larry Fitzgerald so much with the Cardinals, he drafted Larry’s little brother Marcus to play for him in San Fran.  He also picked our favorite AFL superstar Brett Dietz to play QB.  I can picture the first press conference.  “Brett Dietz is what we thought he was!”  Good times!

Over the next couple months as more players and more details about the league come out, be sure to tune in here for all the latest and greatest on the UFL.  After all, with College Football and the NFL, there certainly isn’t enough football going on in the fall!





And for the Bon Jovi jokes, a Philadelphia blog (linky)

10 12 2008

Should’ve thought of explaining the league’s (please not) death throes thusly. [The Sports Complex]





Briefly: Even TMZ Makes Fun

29 07 2008

::Sigh:: TMZ, do you have to take a shot at the AFL? You kneecap the national discourse daily with your irregular journalism, and yet you’re still able to locate a high horse from which you can make statements like “the most pointless title in footballdom?” Isn’t there a model or starlet you can drive to drugs or an eating disorder? Pick on someone of your own douchevolume. [TMZ.com]





Monday Night (Arena) Football Liveblog: Philly at Georgia

12 05 2008

So, as we’re all well aware, there’s a crazy gimmick for tonight’s MN(A)F game: your announcing crew is… everybody! We’re going to try to document this disaster. My theory: train wreck that a plane crashes on to, the wreckage of which is loaded onto a tanker which runs aground in the Aleutian Islands, and everyone who isn’t eaten by polar bears is picked up by a zeppelin that explodes.

Other analysis: Philadelphia by 17. Georgia has been awkwardly stumbling from game to game on defense, and hasn’t really found a rhythm on offense. Philadelphia is (a) operating like a surgeon and (b) irritated about letting their guard down last week. Let’s see what happens.

We’re also going to try this liveblogging software thing, and if it works, great, if it doesn’t… Sorry, four people.

If you’re interested, do this thing:

Okay, you should be seeing frames, and you’re probably not. Work, dammit! And if it doesn’t end up working, go here: LIVEBLOG!

That was fun. My thoughts, from the end of the liveblog were thusly:
I think we were best served when Ray was commenting by himself. Also, if we could get a more judicious use of the microphones, instead of “Hey, it’s the guys on the field all the time: isn’t that weeeeeeirrrrd?” that’d be great. Stick Ray on the sidelines, because that was cool, but let him talk more.

The game was a solid B+ (Philadelphia played pretty sloppily), and the experiment a B or B-.





No Announcers? This, I Could Get Behind

7 05 2008

Oooh! It looks like this week’s Monday night game between the Philadephia Soul and the Georgia Force might have a bit of a twist. The incomparable Awful Announcing gets ESPN PR announcements that we don’t even get to think about the concept of getting a sniff of the lingering odor of, and the pertinent one goes a little something-something like this:

ESPN2 will present a special “Live-Wired” telecast of Russell Athletic ESPN Arena Football that will bring viewers into the arena through additional microphones, locker room access, and wall-to-wall action and sound from the AFL matchup between the Philadelphia Soul and Georgia Force Monday, May 12, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 and in high definition on ESPN2 HD. The game will also be simulcast on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

Analyst Ray Bentley will narrate the game and lead viewers in and out of breaks, timeouts and plays in the red zone, as well as conduct live interviews throughout the telecast. Most of the audio will come from on-field action through commentary from the players, coaches and referees. ESPN2 will utilize sevenseven [sic] microphones total.

I hope sevenseven is 77, not 14. Though it could be 49, I suppose. Or seven #7 microphones, but I think I made those up. BUT I DIGRESS. Ray Bentley – my favorite of this year’s series of (largely) meh announcers – gets to run the show on his own and I feel like he knows when to stay out of the way. As an ex-coach, he actually has a grasp on the rules and strategy, so hopefully, he’ll let the players, refs, and coaches take care of the action of the game, and he’ll be content to break it down for you afterwards.

The bad news? The audio gets dumped every 45 seconds with the ordinary number of mics. I can’t imagine what this is going to sound like with extra microphones and the filthy mouth of, I don’t know, Brandon Register. (Somebody tell me who’s a curser on these teams: I just guessed.) Aaaaaanyway, I’m more than a bit curious as to how this is all going to work out, and it seems to me you’d do well to have a liveblog of this, so let’s plan on meeting in this space Monday night to see the clusterfuck that is us trying to interpret what’s going on in the Open Broadcast of Arena Madness in a live-bloggy sort of format.

[HT: Thanks, Sam for the link to Awful Announcing, who already did most of the heavy lifting]





Yes, We Know: Ryan Perrilloux Is/Is Not Arena League Bound

6 05 2008

Because we would be remiss if we didn’t comment:

No, LSU quasi-semi-demi-proto-star Ryan Perrilloux is not going to play for the Grand Rapids Rampage, though they did take a flyer on equally wacky Adrian McPherson earlier this season. And Kansas City’s full to the brim with the meeting-shirking, alleged-drug-doing, bulky Quincy Carter to deal with “character issues” of this poor kid’s caliber. Concievably New York could use him (get away, Rohan Davey!), but who else? Back up Matt Nagy in Columbus? Back up Utah? Shake up LA?

Just go to Jacksonville State, Mr. 60-Million. You could be the best jaguar gamecock* in history**, and if you keep your nose clean, maybe get an education? It’d serve you better than the Arena League would. Not only is Grand Rapids uninterested, it would behoove any professional or semi-professional team to encourage you to make an effort get through college. (See also: the aforementioned Adrian McPherson, as well as Maurice Clarett, and others I can’t think of off the top of my head.) Fantasy College Blitz is more eloquent in their argument, and I mostly un-ironically used “keep your nose clean” two sentences ago, so I’m clearly not to be trusted, but my point and theirs boils down to the somewhat dull “don’t fuck up anymore.” 

*I’m an idiot!

**Anyone care to fact-check this?

[Update: I edited this to sound a little less moronic. Still: Perrilloux, don’t be a dumbass. Go back to school, get drafted, make an obscene amount of money, and then when it turns out you can’t quite hack it, play for the expansion Las Vegas Excess in 2010.]