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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cable vs NFL Network Math

Some math before the NFLN Dallas/GB non-telecast begins. There are 100M cable subscribers. 100M * $0.70/month * 12 months = $840M dollars. For EIGHT FREAKIN' GAMES! OF WHICH ~TWO OR THREE ARE ANY GOOD! If they gave too many good games to NFLN, then FOX, NBC, ESPN, and CBS would all get pissed at how things over there are watered down (which they are already, hence the 'flex' game scamming). And speaking about the networks, the deal they negotiated in 2004 costs them ~700M per year. That covers a whole lot of games every week for 17 weeks plus playoff and some super bowl coverage too. Now contrast that with the 840M/yr the NFL wants for its NLFN. The NFL is dreaming. It is a shakedown, trying to get that much money for an 8 trick (or more like 3 trick) pony. They can argue that you are getting 12 months worth of programming, but how many people are watching football in February-August?

Here are some prices which other cable networks get ($/subscriber): ESPN 2.90, ESPN2 0.33, ESPN News 0.04, Disney Channel 0.80, Cartoon Network 0.08, USA 0.60, CNN 0.44, Fox News 0.60, Nickelodeon 0.34, TNT 0.89. The issue here is that people watch sportscenter every day. They watch a lot of this programming 24/7/365. The NFL Network is a niche channel with a narrow segment that will turn the network on a handful of times PER YEAR. TNT (similarly priced) gives a strong content of movies and shows that are watched all year long by a wide audience. The bottomline is that NFLN is a premium channel and the NFL wants the entire country funding it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NFL Network crushes access to DAL vs GB

Milking the theme of "exposed," we now get to say that Thurs night's Dal-GB game on the NFL Network will expose the NFL's greed. Nothing like a blacked out blockbuster to put the spotlight this time on the league's attempt to get every cable subscriber to pony up 70 cents per month to pay for the owners' and players' coffers. The debate about the structure of cable fees (where some stations are premium and others are part of the basic subscription) is fascinating. I am no fan of the cable companies and their monopolistic power, because they will raise cable rates whether NFLN is successful in getting into the basic subscription package or not. But the bottom line is that NFLN has an extremely narrow interest, so saddling zillions of homes with this cost is ridiculous.

For the most part, every game on NFLN has been sleepy enough that the diehard football fans like us have not minded missing out. That will change on Friday morning if this game lives up to its hype. I for one think the Cowboys will wipe the floor with the Packers, but if the Packers make it a game to remember, the pressure for a settlement will rise. If the game is a dud, it will merely mark more time while the NFL figures out how they must capitulate and bring their demands down. Root for the Cowboy blowout. Root for NFLN to implode. Root for exposing NFL greed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It always starts and ends with Manning

The passing rating numbers: 2004= 55 2005= 76 2006= 77 2007= 75

GM Reese: "The quarterback has gotten skittish, for whatever reason. Maybe it's because he's feeling pressure, but he has to get used to that, because it's going to keep coming. I think he can do it, because he's shown he can. He was off yesterday and didn't play well, but I still believe Eli will do it."

Those were some of his public comments. He has no choice but to put on a strong and supportive front, whether he believes the stuff he is peddling or not. We here have the luxury of calling it the way we see it. Pilot to bombardier, bomb bays open... Note how even Reese falls into the "Eli trap." The Eli trap is believing that (1) because Eli "did" it means he can do it again and (2) because he can get it done means he can get it done on a consistent basis in the future. On both counts this is simply untrue.

He can play well against the Lions, maybe his most complete game, and then stink it up terribly. Doc calls him "2Q" because that is the number of quarters per game he is good for. Marvelous was a little more blunt about the prospects for this team-> if the Giants had to play the Vikings again next week on a neutral field the Giants would lose again. What that says is simply that Eli would not have enough again next week. If the Giants were exposed as a team 3 games ago vs Dallas, then Eli was exposed this weekend vs the Vikings. All of his sins were spotlighted, in front of 75K fans, in front of his brother, and in front of the entire NFL. With respect to the second point about Manning playing more consistently because he has gotten it done before, the only way to answer that is to look at his completion percentage and passer rating the last 4 years... he has shown NO IMPROVEMENT in the past TWO seasons, so why should anyone believe he is all of a sudden going to get religion and make a quantum jump in production? Out come the cruel hard realities- he is inaccurate and the Vikings have found a tell or two. I will be a little more blunt- this guy is a rich man's Dave Brown and needs to be shown the bench.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just read the prev post from 7AM this morning

The previous post, a pre-game warning about Sharper, says it all. When does management put in a stop-loss order on this QB? Better yet, when does management get a backup to challenge this guy for his job? Fyi the assist goes to Schwartz on the pregame interview which tipped me off to the Viking secondary having the day they would end up having.

remember Darren Sharper today

I was there 2 years ago when the Giants fell asleep to the Vikings and lost a game they should have won. Similarly, they play a weaker team once again at home two years later, and Giant veterans are quick to point out that this team is different. But I will remind everyone that two things are still the same:

1) Darren Sharper will still be playing centerfield

2) Eli Manning still telegraphs his passes and does not look off one side of the field
Why do I mention that I was at the game? Because when you are at the game you get to watch what YOU want to watch, not what the camera wants you to watch. And I watched Sharper's eyes watch Manning's eyes. He did it all day. You think he got three INTs that day because he was lucky? He got them because he was looking to jump every pass Manning was throwing. It is two years later, and Sharper paid his dues to Manning, kissing his a** and saying how wonderful Manning is with two more years of experience. Two more years of confidence and not getting caught off-guard. But it was what he did not say that got my attention. He did not say ANYTHING about two years less of telegraphed passes. That is because THAT is the SAME ELI. This is a very winnable game for the Giants, and they will need to pass the ball against one of the worst rated pass defenses in the league. Please let me see Manning look off one side of the field to freeze Sharper there! If there is ever a Safety that you must look off, it is Sharper. He has 2 INTs this season in 10 games and has this game penciled in for another. IF YOU HAVE SHOCKEY OR BURRESS ON MAN COVERAGE FOR A DEEP ROUTE AND WANT TO FREEZE THE SAFETY, YOU MUST LOOK OFF SHARPER TO THE OTHER SIDE FIRST. Sharper is 32 years old. He is probably a half-step slower. Don't give him an extra step this afternoon.

One more thing- did any of you notice how Kitna killed the Lions vs the Packers this past Thursday? He has telegraph-itis too, and was not helping the pass offense one bit. Sharper's 2 INTs this season? Yep, both were against Kitna.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Still playing in the shadow of that DAL loss

The Giants face the remaining two NFC North teams (Min, at Chi) in successive weekends. Both of these teams are 0-2 vs NFC East teams (Dal and Phi). The Viking game sb a win because Eli Manning sb able to throw all day while the Vikings will only be able to run on us. Peterson was upgraded to questionable, but if I am the Vikings I hold out my rookie sensation one more week since Taylor did just fine w/o the phenom able to play. Peterson is the team's future, let him heal. And if he plays, deal with it and just make sure that one player does not beat you.

Remaining sched after the Bears... at Phi, Was, at Buf, NE.

Trying to determine the outcome at Chi, at Phi, at Buf is anybody's guess. We could win all 3 and we could lose all three. That is a swing of anywhere from 12-4 to 9-7, assuming we win vs the Vikes and Skins at home and lose to NE (gee that last one is a reach!... I'd make the game pick'em vs their second stringers too fyi). What does any of this mean? Since losing to Dallas a few weeks back, almost NOTHING! We will get a wild card road game and even if we beat up on TB or SEA, bfd. We will lose the following week to GB or DAL unless we pitch a perfect outing, and our season is pretty much mapped out... yes, w 6 games left in the reg season. Sad but true. This was the hangover from the Dallas loss- it boxes us in almost regardless of anything we do. The only thing that can change this 'track' is if there is a tremendous improvement in a player or unit or if injuries really derail us. The loss of Kiwanuka and Jacobs (how long?) really track us for that road wild card. LIVE MAN WALKING DEAD.

Monday, November 19, 2007

two horrendous calls by the officials

Joke call #1-

Kitna has nowhere to go, runs ~2 steps to his LEFT, is about to get sacked and the ball comes loose. FUMBLE! No, say the officials. SACK! No, say the officials. Intentional grounding??? No again. And the ruling is....Incomplete forward pass! @#$%^&*! SOMEHOW, instead of this being a disaster for the Lions, they get the ball back at the line of scrimmage. Outrageous. If it is somehow ruled a forward pass, it is grounding because he is already in the grasp and the ball is not being thrown to anyone.

Joke call #2-

Kitna is flushed out of the pocket, this time to his right. Despite a huge head start, Tuck is moving too fast for him. Tuck dives for him, gets him by the legs and trips him up. The call? Personal foul, hit below the knees. This call was equivalent to a turnover, because it gave them a first down when they were in deep trouble late in the game. Strahan and Coughlin went nuts in the media on this one. I think we need to start fondling the private parts of QBs lest they feel neglected and unloved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NYG 16 Lions 10

Not pretty. A win is a win, especially on the road. But the game should not have been this close. As we have been saying all season, the Giants made enough mistakes to cost them vs better teams, but since they happened vs a weaker team we still managed to prevail. This theme has plenty of legs, because once again we were our own worst enemy.

The GOOD- Manning. Offensive Line. Strahan (3 sacks) and Tuck. Some opportunistic picks by Madison, Wilson and Butler off of deflections. Jacobs in the 1st half. Bradshaw kickoff return to start Q3. Tynes (3 for 3).

The Bad- some garbage penalties, some of which were horrible calls by the officials.

The UGLY- Moss and Jacobs fumbles in Lions territory that took anywhere from 6 to 14 points off the board. The prevent defense, which gives up more points in 1.5 minutes (7) than the first 54 minutes (3).

Jacobs injured his hamstring and Kiwanuka broke his leg. Manning is using hard counts to draw the defense offsides. He could not use this weapon in previous years because it would draw a false start from Petitgout first and thereby cause more harm than good. (that was a joke, guys.)

Summary- good win, but should not have gone down to a possible late TD causing a loss. Burress came on in second half to help the team, but it is clear he is a liability with diminishing returns now. Nothing has changed from last week's prognosis that we are a flawed team that is in the second tier of a weak conference.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

6 days in the desert

I was trying to figure out why there was no post the past 6 days. Answer- because there was a finality to the Giants' season this week. It is over. No, of course the Giants are a decent team this year and there are more than a few things to get excited about... like the play of Aaron Ross and Justin Tuck and the offensive line. But any real ideas of a championship got completely obliterated. It was not a likehihood that the Giants could or would ascend to that place in the league. But there was a chance. And the Giants missed their chance. Yes, we have read all week how the Giants are still in very good shape at 6-3 and that they aim to be playing the Cowboys again blah blah. Ultimately, like I have said here before and will remind you of as much as is necessary--- this game is about winning championships. If you are not building to that, then go get Schottenheimer and you will do better than this and still come up short.

Click on this link for a very good synopsis of the NFL this year and in general.

In the article 5 strong teams are mentioned. Their QBs are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Ben Roethlisberger. See the pattern? These guys are the ones that make a difference. They play 4 quarters. They fight for their teams. No shrugged shoulders. THEY MAKE PLAYS AND WHEN THEY ARE DONE MAKING PLAYS THEY MAKE MORE PLAYS.
Two years ago when Favre was getting dumped on, too many INTS, retirement, I said GET HIM! This past year when Garcia was going to be a free agent, I said GET HIM! (Click link) Garcia and Favre are on the way out yet they still give you every ounce of passion and never let up. If you think I am dreaming when I tell you that either of these guys would transform this team in one training camp, then you do not know football.

So we will all go back to our tv tomorrow at 1PM and look for a win. I will be looking for championship play from our QB. Still looking.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dal 31 NYG 20... EXPOSED.

The Giants were exposed. They were beaten by a better team. The Giants lost this game at the line of scrimmage. Not badly. But enough. The Giants made mistakes that a better opponent forces you to make, and they made fewer plays because the better opponent gave us fewer opportunities. The Giants also made mistakes which are more glaring in a loss than in a win. Costly penalties, some shoddy tackling. When Manning gets the ball at his own 42 with a 14-10 lead and Q2 winding down, it is a travesty what took place. He takes not one but two sacks, and enables the Cowboys to escape the first half in which we were actually looking pretty good. If not for a gift Dallas penalty it would have been 17-14 Dallas.

And then came the Manning second half. The inconsistent/disappearing act. Tell me how it is possible for a QB to get that many delay of games? How is it possible to get a delay of game in the hurry up? That is a metaphor for Manning. He has poise yet he does not. He plays well and he does not. We needed 4 quarters out of him, and we get 2. Sometimes the OL or the DL is not going to be aces, and we need help. Manning is in a position to help and does not. No, to be fair, it was not Manning that was called for a hold which negates a TD. But this is the same QB as last year that comes up empty. The QB always seems to get more of the credit in a win and more of the blame in a loss, but since the QB is the one with his hands on the ball half of the game it is up to him to make things happen. Like it or not, the Giants cannot go to the next level until Manning goes to the next level.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

getting ready for Dallas

1) The starters at CB in week 1 vs Dallas were McQuarters and Webster. Now they are a healthy Madison and Ross.
2) The Giants are last in the NFL in red zone defense. The coaching staff analyzed this during the bye week to determine what tendencies can be changed to get better there.
3) A win on Sunday extends the winning streak to 7, which would be the longest since 1990, when that team won 10 straight. Get it? Long winning streaks are the hallmark of consistent teams that WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.
4) Those Red Jerseys the Giants will be wearing on Sunday are a crock of s**t.
5) Speaking about crocks of s**t, Flex Scheduling has moved the Giants-Lions game to 1PM next week to bump the Dallas-Skins game to 4PM. People who buy tickets and actually attend these games are pawns. Ridiculous! Like the Lions-Giants game had to be moved? Two potentially 7-2 teams in the FOX national slot? Insane, all of it.
6) 6 out of the 10 geniuses take the Boys on Sunday. This is a good thing for us. And Blezow does NOT have the Giants as his (Sch)lock of the week. Thank you thank you!
7) Manning has a 79 QB rating, but he has a 99 rating in the red zone. WHY? Because the playcalling by Gilbride in the red zone has been (unlike last year) unpredictable. I also think that down in the red zone (where speed is so critical) Manning thinks less and throws to a certain spot, thereby avoiding the telegraph and INT.
8) The Giants have 30 sacks through 8 games. They had 32 all of last year.
9) Yah, so the Gmen are 6-0 vs teams with a combined record of 13-36. But let's give credit to the Giants for getting their business done... do you think that the Giants are going to be slightly more up for the Dallas game than they were for the 49ers or the Dolphins? The Giants are a confident team that has a lot to prove tomorrow.
10) Pierce says the Giants were flying to the ball in practice this week, and have not practiced this well (fast) since the Giants beat the Skins 36-0 after Mara died.
11) Bradshaw looks to get more action this weekend... as long as he protects the ball, he IS a HUGE help on pass catching out of the backfield.
12) I am very disappointed in our third receiver option. Moss sucks, he does not finish runs, and does not get first downs. And Smith is out again... is durability going to be a problem here?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dallas at NYG

The stakes are huge for the Giants. If they lose there is realistically no bye this year. How do they win this game?

1) Manning plays 4 quarters. See prev blog.
2) No romo-ing right. The Dallas QB is as lethal rolling out of the pocket RIGHT as Manning has been lethal on play action.
3) The battle of the line of scrimmage is (as usual) critical. When the Giants have the ball, they must create that surge to get the run yards and make the play action more effective. Dallas has been effective against the run, and the Giants need to establish the run. A war.
3a) On the other side, the Giants dline needs to stop Dallas on first down so that it can get the 4 DE's on the field to make plays. Romo needs as much pressure as possible, and the Giants will give him a lot more than they did last game, when Strahan was not in season's form and Umenyiora was hurt. (Dallas did NOT see the 4DL rush in the first game.)
4) The Tight Ends. We need Shockey to get a lot of touches. He always gets the better of Williams, and that is the mismatch we have to leverage. Likewise, with Witten the bad news is he is always trouble for us. The good news is that we cannot do any worse against him than we did in the first game.
5) Beat the cr*p out of them! This game will be won by the team that is more physical. Control the line, beat up their WRs, pound Romo, bring the game to them or else they will bring the game to us.

If the Giants play their 'A' game they are a better team than the Cowboys and will win.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Manning at Midseason

From QB Coach Palmer:

Q: Tom Coughlin mentioned that a lot of times what you don’t see is Eli audibling to the right play in the run game…

A: Outstanding. Outstanding.

Q: That is something that probably nobody realizes?

A: No one realizes it. He gives our team numerous chances to be successful, not just in the passing game, but also in the running game.

From Off. Coord. Gilbride:

"We certainly didn’t throw the ball as well as we would have liked and we are disappointed in that despite the conditions. the last game and a half we have not thrown the ball as well. Last week there were extenuating circumstances but the second half of the San Francisco game we didn’t throw the ball particularly well and this week I don’t think we threw the ball as well as we could have even though the conditions were difficult."

Q: What are some of the things you are going to look to improve upon for the second half of the season?

A: I think consistency in throwing the ball. I think that is a fairly obvious area that needs to be looked into. We have had some games where we have been outstanding, we have had some halves where we have been exceptional, but in terms of game-in and game-out for the entirety of the game, I think if there is an area that needs to be scrutinized and hopefully investigated to the point where we could come up with some reasons why and get those things corrected, that would be the area.

ultimatenyg comment- Manning's play controls the fate of this team. Inconsistent? We get another wild card and another playoff loss. Consistent? IF MANNING PLAYS 4 QUARTERS WE CAN BEAT ANYONE IN THE LEAGUE, INCLUDING THE PATRIOTS. Why? Because we have an excellent offensive and defensive line. It is not unreasonable to ask a 4th year QB to play for 4 quarters. Historically speaking, the odds do NOT favor such an outcome. His track record indicates declining production. Maybe that can change this year if Burress can get healthier and Manning gets some religion. All I am saying is that the leverage is HUGE. With the exception of specials, the team is there to go very far if Manning can deliver.

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