Category Archives: sports

NFL Draft Day: The Gold Standard in Buzz Building

Radio City Music Hall
Image via Wikipedia

Today was “day 1” for the NFL draft–the first 32 college players are selected by NFL teams at an event at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.   No passes are thrown, no game played.  Many of these players will ride the pine this fall and winter during the 2009-10 NFL season.  Another set will get hurt or won’t make the grade, prior to making any material impact on their teams.  And some will in fact break-through, but we won’t know this for years.

In reality, Draft Day is a professional, grown-up version of children choosing kick-ball teams on playgrounds. But the execution is amazing.  There’s lots of money at stake: 1st round players will be under contract to earn more than $400M in a few months.  There’s intrigue–teams trading or not trading, moves up, moves down.  And it’s easy to follow along at home, with things like Mock Drafts, and 24/7 coverage on SportsCenter.

All in all, the NFL has shown why it has grown to be the top dog sports business in the USA.  As a business person and marketing person, I’ve got to take my hats off to the NFL.

Given all this, I find it useful to reflect on the amazing, masterful job the NFL does in driving excitement and interest in their core fan base.  It is hard to imagine any other business or franchise putting together the same level of excitement or interest based on something less immediate.  Imagine early national party presidential candidate debates times about 10.

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Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh: A Shining Example of What’s Great in the NCAA

Last night my family and I were grabbing an early dinner at the Creamery in Palo Alto.  At the adjacent table, hosting what looked to be a small recruiting dinner, was Stanford Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh.  Now, as a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I recognized him first and foremost as the quarterback who darn near ended the Steelers’ run to Super Bowl XXX in 1995.  He was a fierce, classy, and determined competitor then, and with Stanford’s defeat of USC last season, those traits obviously have remained.

Anyway, by coincidence, we were walking out to the parking lot at roughly the same time.  As I’ve got a 6 year old boy who’s gaining my love for Steelers football, I asked Coach Harbaugh if I could introduce him.  What struck me was that when I did this Coach Harbaugh was literally in his car.  He got out, said hello, and spoke to my wife, my kids and me for the better part of 10 minutes.  He invited us to a football game, and flat out could not have been more courteous.

Often I hear about how the money and the exposure in college sports has killed what’s great about the NCAA.  Coach Harbaugh is a great counter-example.

Thanks Coach Harbaugh, and go Cardinal in 2008-09!

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Gumbel Is Precisely the Problem for the NFL Network – New York Times

Amen to this assessment–I’ve heard Gumbel 3 times during the season call games for the NFL Network. He doesn’t get a passing grade. His voice is weak and his knowledge of the game poor. Given the goals NFL Network is working to attain, they need to make a change on who anchors their game calling.

[From Gumbel Is Precisely the Problem for the NFL Network – New York Times]

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Evel Knievel’s epitaph


Explorer, motorcyclist, daredevil.

“Concerning my purpose in life
I feel that God put me here
to do the best,
to live the best,
and to be the best
at what I’ve chosen to do
and I am trying to do that.
And when He’s ready,
He’ll take me —
A human being cannot ask for a better deal
than that.”

Pretty good.

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Steelers looked dominant against Seahawks

After a rocky first quarter, the Steelers dominated the Seahawks.  The EPSN reporter called the ‘Hawks defense “visibly exhausted” in the 4th quarter of the 21-0 skunking.

I love it.

The team had several high-profile injuries.  To control the ball on offense as much as they did — they took their opening drive in the 3rd quater over 100 yards (with penalties) and chewed up over 10 minutes — was quite impressive.  The D also was outstanding–the second half they allowed a single first down.

They should be able to get healthy with the bye week.  Health and momentum on both sides of the ball:  a recipe for success.


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Always good to beat Philly, but turnovers are a red flag

 That’s right, the Steelers took it to the Eagles, trouncing them 27-13 in Pittsburgh.  Sure, it’s pre-season and the Eagles are in the NFC.  Still, as a Pittsburgher, it’s always nice to beat a team from Philadelphia.  

The Steelers had 3 turnovers, 2 by veteran players (Roethlisberger throwing an interception and Parker fumbling at the goal line).  This is a troubling data point from today’s game.

It’s great the team hung together and got the W.  Still, keep an eye on turnovers.  The starters need to take care of the football.  It shouldn’t take all of camp to get the rust out on that. – NFL – Recap


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Bettis book: He ‘faked’ injury to avoid getting cut – NFL

Say it ain’t so, Bus!   

just faking that the injury happened on that short-yardage play. I had to fool the coaches and the team’s medical department into thinking the injury had occurred on that play. Otherwise, the Steelers would have had their reason to cut me and my salary.”

Business is business, I suppose, and his claim that the original injury occurred while playing for the Steelers does mitigate slightly.   But boy does it read as unseemly.

The thing I don’t get is why he’d disclose this.  He’ll sell a book, but it impacts his celebrity and announcer value.  And it sounds just awful–beneath him.  Not BUS-worthy.

ESPN – Bettis book: He ‘faked’ injury to avoid getting cut – NFL

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