Oh to have the problems that the NFL has!
The most popular game in America came back with a vengeance last night. The Vikings-Saints game carried 28% of the America TV viewer last night.
This is why the NFL has a guaranteed $4.4 billion coming to the league from TV networks next season even if there is not a single game played.
But that is not to say the NFL does not have problems. Last night the players sent a message to the owners that if there is a lockout the players will stand together. In case you missed it, after the national anthem players from both teams, lead by Drew Brees, walked onto the field and faced each other with their index fingers lifted to ceiling in a show of solidarity against the owners.
The message was clear, this is not 1987, and players will not be crossing the lines to play football.
While the gesture was well received at the game, it seems that fans generally are split on their feelings about it.
This is part of the problem, fans love the players, but fans are loyal to the teams. And in what is perceived as an argument between millionaires and billionaires, the fans who are paying a premium for the product and are still siding with the billionaires who are taking their money.
Then there is the problem of the opening game. Tradition dictates that the Super Bowl champs open the season. And what's better than a rematch between the NFL championship contenders from last year? The only problem? It was a rematch between two offensive powerhouses, and in the first two weeks of the season NFL offenses tend to underperform. (with the notable exception of Brees' huge game to start the season last year) So while you have what looks like a great matchup with marquee teams and players, (Do you really think the game would have gotten an 18 rating if Tavares Jackson was starting for the Vikings?) turned out to be a bit of a snooze.
The silver lining of course was the rating.
Like I said, if only I could have the problems that then NFL has.
I told you yesterday that I was going to do a review the managers coming on the market after this season and today I am going to feature Ryan Sandberg and Joe Torre.
Ryan Sandberg is currently the favorite to be the next Cubs manager, but how good can he really be? He has made the playoffs at each minor league level that he has coached, and he knows the Cubs talent throughout the organization. But is he considered a big league type manager by other teams besides the Cubs? The answer is a firm maybe. Some see him as having a managerial potential on par with someone like Mike Scioscia, but others see him as a career coach. What is the answer? We will not know until someone gives him a shot. As a Cubs fan myself I am torn. Ryno was my favorite player growing up so I never want to be in a position in which I will want him to be fire, but I think that he could be the type of manager that the Cubs need to maybe finally win that elusive world series.
Joe Torre is kind of the anti-Sandberg. He has been managing baseball forever and you know exactly what you are going to get if you bring him in. But the question is at 72 years of age, how much more baseball does he have in him? It is conventional wisdom the Torre is gone from LA at the end of the year, but where will he end up. To be successful he needs to go to a talented veteran team that is ready to win, or else you risk having a Lou Pinella situation.
Come back tomorrow for a breakdown of the labor issue in the NFL