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“After Week 1; What Are Each Team’s Chances in the AFC West; The Best Division in the NFL “

AFC_West

philip rivers
Philip Rivers calling an audible

San Diego Chargers:

WEAKNESSES: 

The Chargers should be improved and fun to watch, but I’m pretty shocked that so many in the media are so high on the Chargers this year.  They are definitely improved but for years they have had issues closing games.

4th Quarter Fails:

ESPN gave a shocking stat that said that the Chargers haven’t scored in a two minute drill in 22 games.  22 GAMES!  River’s is a good but not great QB and that is a very ugly stat.  Last year it was painful watching him and the Chargers struggle late in games.  In last years opener they were beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead 27-10 with 13 minutes to go in the game; and lost!  Closing games has haunted Rivers and the Chargers for a long time.

Run Defense: The Chargers were 23rd in rushing defense last year and they struggled again opening night giving up 140 yards on the ground.  They will need to control first and second down runs to allow for their pass rush to attack the QB on third down.

Lack of Depth: Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen HAVE to stay healthy.  Branden Oliver is a nice player but he’s no where near as good as Gordon, who is the answer to the Chargers running game.  Gordon can make plays catching or running with the ball and I really like him.  Wide Receiver Keenan Allen is one of the most underrated players in the game.  He brings an attitude and a confidence that is infectious and he is the backbone of the Chargers offense.  If either goes down, then the Chargers are in big trouble.

STRENGTHS:

Pass Rush: With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers have a legitimate pass rush duo that can stand up to any team in the NFL.  If the Chargers can stop the run on the early downs, they will have success on defense.  Ingram is fun to watch.

Playmakers: Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen are the real deal.  Gordon can do anything on the football field and he is as tough as nails.  Keenan Allen is the confidence and swagger that they need on offense.  With them in the game, the Chargers are a different team.  Mike Williams is still hurt, but Travis Benjamin is a speedster that spreads the field out.

Linebackers: I like their young linebackers too.  Jatavis Brown is a comer and at only 23, he is still learning the game.  Hayes Pullard III is 25 and he also has a lot of potential to be good.  Korey Toomer is 28 and plays with heart.  If the DL can keep guys off of them, these LB’s make plays.

PREDICTIONS:  8-8

If the Chargers were in the AFC South they would win the division. I think they have improved but they are in the toughest division in football.  They struggle finishing games and I see them near a .500 team this year.  It’s hard to see them winning on the road in the division but they will make most games pretty close.

alex smith
Alex Smith finding the open man against New England

Kansas City Chiefs:

WEAKNESSES:  Now before you get Super Bowl tickets Chiefs fans, let’s let the euphoria and overreaction to the opening day win in New England subside.  I do like them though and you always have that home field advantage.  New England has 3 Super Bowl wins after losing their opening game.

Alex Smith:  I said it when Alex Smith was doing great with the 49ers; he is an average to good QB but he will never win anything in the NFL.  So far I’m right.  Alex is the perfect QB for an Andy Reid team.  They are the Ichabod Crane’s of the NFL; play not to lose.  Smith’s 1-3 yard passes may work some in the regular season, but if you don’t take risks in the NFL, you don’t go far in the post season.

Age/Health:  Pass rushing stud Tamba Hali will be 34 this year and is already on the PUP list and will miss the first six games.  He has failed to even practice.  He’s admitted he pretty much has little to no cartilage in his knees which greatly limited him to only 2 games last year.  Chiefs fans will remember his torrid and long twitter rant on how upset he was that the Chiefs wouldn’t let him play last year.  Hali can’t have much left.  Safety Eric Berry is lost for the season and this really hurts this defense. Justin Houston’s health is always a concern.  After losing starter Spencer Ware, Kareem Hunt had a great opening day at RB and the hopes are that he is the answer.

STRENGTHS:

Justin Houston:  He finally seems healthy.  He played a great opening day game and if he stays healthy, watch out.  He’s great against the run and as a pass rusher and he’s a game changer.

Pass Rush:  Dee Ford was a pleasant surprise last year ending the season with 10 sacks with Houston and Tamba Hali physically limited.  The hopes are that they can get all three on the field at once in some passing downs.

Run Game: The Chiefs offensive line just keeps chugging along. Doesn’t matter who the running back is, they seem to get the job done on the ground and short passing game.

Playmakers: With WR Tyreek Hill, underrated Albert Wilson and TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City has a lot of weapons to throw to.

PREDICTION:  11-5

I’m not a fan of Alex Smith or Andy Reid but I do like this team. I know it’s crazy trusting a rookie QB, but if somehow Patrick Mahomes II takes over and plays well, then all bets are off.  He really throws a great long ball and accounted for 41 passing TD’s and 12 rushing TD’s his last year at Texas Tech.  Health on the DL will play a big role on where the Chiefs go.  I see them getting into the playoffs again and being a dangerous team that no one will want to play.

von miller
Von Miller celebrates another Bronco win

Denver Broncos

WEAKNESSES:

QB:  I don’t like ANY QB on the Denver roster.  Trevor Siemian is average and always is good for 1-2 bad mistakes a game.  I think they will struggle late in games holding leads and coming from behind.  Denver last year got conservative when they would be ahead when they should have went for the throat.  They have the worst QB’s in the AFC West in my humble opinion.

RB/injuries: This group has to stay healthy.  Jamaal Charles isn’t what he once was with the burst that was seen for years now gone.  CJ Anderson is solid but not great.  The hope is that injured RB Devontae Booker will be back in week 3 or 4.

Offense:  Denver was 21st in passing offense and 27th in rushing offense in 2016.  This defense isn’t what it once was and they won’t be able to carry a team with a struggling offense like they have in the past.

Defense/Health:

Derek Wolfe and Shane Ray have to stay healthy for Denver’s defense to be good.  Shane Ray is on IR and will play in week 8.  Denver was ranked 28th against the run last year and that doesn’t bode well against the likes of the Raiders and the Chiefs.

PREDICTION:  10-6

The Broncos defense is not the same one that won the Super Bowl.  They can still make plays and get after the QB but the dominant run defense is gone.  Offensively they are limited.  They could get away with it in the past with a great defense but those days are gone.  The Broncos should have a good year though. They have talent but they have key holes that will keep them from being an elite team and expose them at times offensively, and when they try to stop the run.

derek carr
Derek Carr looking for receivers

Oakland Raiders:

WEAKNESSES:

Defense, defense, defense: 

First off can the media finally be called out on crazy predictions?  Some were again very high on the Titans.  Not getting that.  Some have the Chargers in the Super Bowl and several have the Raiders going 10-6 or 9-7.

The Raiders defense played pretty well on opening day against a Titans team that isn’t going to wow anyone on offense.  In 2016 the Raiders were last in sacks and 26th in overall defense. The Raiders still have key holes at LB and DB and Karl Joseph still is struggling covering TE’s.  The Titans are so vanilla on offense that the announcers at times were telling the audience what the plays were going to be before the Titans hiked the ball.

Mario Edwards Jr. and Ed Vanderdoes had some good moments in week 1 but for the most part the Raiders pass rush wasn’t a big factor in the game.  Jihad Ward had a terrible first year and he must prove he belongs. The key to the season will be how well this group plays, especially the DL.

Bad Drafts & Signings Adding Up:

In the salary cap era all teams have weaknesses.  That’s why it’s so important to hit it big in the draft and in free agency.

NO ONE defended Reggie McKenzie more than I did when Raider fans were asking for his resignation.  After the 2014 draft all was forgiven and Raider fans said “In Reggie We trust”.  The Raiders failed picks and signings though are piling up.  There is DJ Hayden, Jihad Ward, Shalique Calhoun, Clive Walford, Connor Cook, Sio Moore and Tyler Wilson as fails. And if Edwards can’t stay healthy or excel, you have another swing and a miss.  In fact, take out the 2014 draft and the Raiders have had many more misses than hits.

Sean Smith and David Amerson signed big contracts and could not be cut because they would have combined for a $17.5 million cap hit if they were let go.  Remember Curtis Lofton, Nate Allen, Matt Schaub and LaMarr Woodley?  Reggie has done some good things but he’s had some big misses too.  The Raiders need to clean up these bad draft picks and signings and improve the defense and add depth.

STRENGTHS:

Offense, offense, offense.   The Raiders could beat teams like the Titans in their sleep.  It’s the teams that can score that they worry about.  They have a top 3 OL, the best depth at RB in the NFL, and one of the best group of WR’s in the NFL.  Add an excellent QB who usually get’s all day to throw and that spells success in the regular season.  In the post season though your defense is a huge reason for success.  Right now the Raiders do NOT have a championship defense but this offense will always keep the Raiders in every game.

PREDICTION: 12-4

Save the homer/hater stuff.  If I say good things about the Raiders, then non Raider fans lose their minds saying I’m a homer.  If I tell the truth about a Raider weakness then some Raider fans attack me.  When you use facts and tell the truth, it’s not as popular as being a homer or a hater.  My record speaks for itself.  If I was wrong all the time I would be embarrassed for 43,000 people to follow me on twitter.

The Raiders should go 7-2 or 8-1 in their first 9 games (obviously nothing is for sure).  The final 7 games though is a brutal stretch.  With their ability to score, that alone will win games.

If the Patriots don’t completely shut down Atlanta for most of the second half of the Super Bowl, then Brady doesn’t lead a comeback. Offense puts butts in the seats but defense wins championships.  Again, the Raiders don’t have a championship defense.

The Raiders will go as far as their DL and defense takes them.  I think they lose in the Championship game to either Pittsburgh or New England, but the hopes are that their defense will rise above and take them to the Super Bowl; but that is a big hope.

In a game where injuries, ego’s and even sheer luck can change outcomes, teams fortunes can change in an instant.  It’s nice though that the AFC West is back on top.  Now if only the teams would stop moving.

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“Oakland Raiders and NFL Revenues: The Staggering Truth”

davis kroenke spanos

Last week we first looked at possible stadium venues in Oakland that were realistically being looked at.

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/raiders-stadium-sites-update-video-how-to-morph-levis-a-future-nfl-stadium/

We also looked at realistic ways to pay for these stadiums.   The outpouring of positive comments and support for these ideas was amazing with thousands seeing that this could actually be done in a responsible manner. I really appreciate my smart readers.

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/how-to-finance-a-new-oakland-raiders-stadium/

Raider Fans Awaken:

First off, Mark Davis is the owner of the Raiders and that isn’t changing. He’s not going to sell and can’t be forced to sell unless he does something illegal. No petition will change that.

Let’s face it; social media has changed everything. Many people refuse to look at actions or facts exchanging them for biased opinions and conjecture. I guess I’m not smart enough to do that because I just go by what I see.   And what I see shocks me.

First off I would love to have a beer and a burger with Mark Davis.   He has that dorky fun type of thing going on. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy.   The reality of the matter though is that as an owner, he’s in way over his head. How many of you in your first 6 decades of life never held a job. Now you own a billion dollar business.

His actions have shown a lot about the Raiders situation. It’s almost as if the City of Oakland is like a guy that has this girlfriend. She’s not hot; been beaten up by life a bit; is kind and loyal as all get out but he now sees there are physically hotter women out there. He spends time and money on Inglewood and San Antonio (Raiders gave 50k to help spend for a city wide questionnaire in 2014 on how much their fans would want the Raiders) but all the while he tells his girlfriend Oakland that he’s not cheating and really wants her. He explains that he loves her and he’s not even looking for better options; he’s just using these as leverage to make sure the City of Oakland is serious in making a commitment. Everyone who believes that is as naive as an 18 year old girl at her first fraternity party.

Most Raider fans are angry and they are getting an education in NFL 101. I love football but that doesn’t mean I love how the NFL treats people. Look at how the NFL treats the refs; they said they can’t afford them to be full time even though bad calls are almost the norm now. The cheerleaders have to sue the NFL just to get minimum wage.   Retired players are treated like old race horses that are no longer needed. And fans are money signs where emotions and loyalty mean little.

Yet some fans are sensitive about their love of football and they will deny facts and defend every move the NFL makes until their dying day even though the NFL doesn’t care about anyone else but their profits.   Reminds me of some that blindly defend political parties. You can love a sport but still be honest about it.

Mark Davis acts like Oakland isn’t even on his radar at times.   You hope that he wakes up and puts the same effort into Oakland that he has into other cities.

How Do NFL Teams Make Money?:

The NFL is now the richest professional league in the world.   The NFL has 3 types of revenue.   National Revenue or Revenue Sharing; which has television revenue, national ad revenue and general ticket sales along with other miscellaneous items. This adds up to about 61% of NFL teams revenues.

The second form of revenue; which is NOT shared by the teams; is Territorial Revenue. This is money made anywhere near the radius of the teams home city. It could be in the form of in person or online merchandise sales, local television, radio and tv ad revenues, naming rights to the stadium and other things. This is also a large chunk of the teams revenue. This includes PSL’s.  Below is a list of the PSL revenues. Dont’ kill the messenger.

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2012/11/15/sports/nfl-personal-seat-licenses-compared

The third which is also not shared; and a far third at that; is ticket revenue. Why do you think teams are so obsessed with getting new stadiums? Well this is why. Teams share general ticket sales but KEEP all revenues made by luxury suites, club seat ticket sales, parking and any type of luxury boxes. While fans gave a salute for New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft for not charging a PSL (personal seat licenses) to the fans on his stadium, they forgot to add that he tore down 1500 end zone seats (which is revenue that is shared among NFL teams) and put in a huge luxury/club suite area. He pockets millions without sharing.

I went on the Dallas Cowboys web site and asked for suite information.   I counted 116 luxury suites alone in Dallas’ AT&T stadium and that doesn’t count club seats. Some of these suites are $30,000.00 per game and ALL of this money is NON revenue sharing and goes straight into Jerry Jones pocket.

Let’s also not forgot PSL’s. It’s literally free money. It’s like what Costco does and teams make so much money off of it you can’t count it.

Once PSL’s are paid for it’s predicted that the 49ers will make between $310-400 million just on PSL’s. The most expensive PSL in Dallas will cost you $150,000.00 PER TICKET and they expect between $625-675 million in PSL revenue once they are paid for.

Oakland Raider Revenue:

The NFL has always been extremely secretive about their profits.   They’ve lied a lot about them in the past before the internet. The number for the Raiders or any team is really a guess. Forbes gives the best estimate. As many have stated, the Raiders are worth $1.4 billion dollars and that the Davis’ family is worth $500 million. Again, San Diego and Oakland do not have businesses so they are considered the poor teams in the NFL. While most of the owners are worth billions, the Davis’ and Spanos’ families only have their NFL teams. Now dry your eyes; somehow these guys will make it financially.

Oakland Raiders Revenue History (2)
Oakland Raiders Revenue History

Last year Forbes stated that the Raiders made $285 million dollars gross. They made $40 million in ticket sales and paid out $158 million in player salaries. Their operating costs were the lowest in the NFL but again, the Raiders would not disclose the number. In contrast the Dallas Cowboys made a staggering $680 million. The operating costs were #1 as well but no one knows the exact number. The Cowboys are worth 4 billion dollars and are considered the #2 most valuable sports franchise in the world only behind Spain’s soccer empire, Real Madrid.

I read 5 financial online publications and 7 sports publications and got 12 different financial numbers and ideas on NFL revenues. On average most believe the profits for the lower teams like the Raiders are between $25-40 million net profit per year and that doesn’t include the appreciation of the teams which is in the millions. It is believed that this is the first year in NFL history that they made over $14 billion dollars in one year.

Roger Goodell has stated that his goal is for the NFL to make 25 in 25; $25 BILLION per year by the year 2025. They still dream of expanding to London in the next two decades.  The NFL would be considered the 140th richest COUNTRY in the world right now. They could finance several trips to space and buy several countries. That’s scary power.

Green Bay Packers; The Key To Knowing the Profit:

Remember that before the internet, the NFL lied so much about revenues that it was a running joke in the financial community.  NFL teams still don’t have to disclose financials but the Green Bay Packers are owned by the public so they are the only team that actually has to state their revenues but again, that’s shared revenues only. If you add up their share with the rest of the league, the NFL made $7.2 Billion in money that was shared by the teams. Again, this doesn’t include territorial money.

In the past decade or so the Packers have spent $320 million in upgrades to their stadium and surrounding area. They have built stores to sell Packer gear online and in house and have made a bundle. They also have renovated the stadium and they are building a “Titletown” area which will have shops and other ways to show off the tradition of Green Bay and to give a museum and fan experience to their faithful. They now are in the process of also upgrading their club and luxury suites. Green Bay is a classic Midwest team and is obsessed with giving their fans the utmost they can while turning a huge profit.

In the past 3 years, the Packers revenue has gone up from $300 million to $375 million. Their net profit last year was $39.4 million. Even with putting over $300 million into renovations and upgrades, the Packers have said financially they’ve never been stronger.

Final Thoughts:

The extreme greed of the NFL is unsurpassed and isn’t going to change.   Billionaires want one thing; more billions. Anyone thinking differently has never owned a business. I worked for a fortune 500 company that was the biggest money making medical company in the U.S. To them though it still wasn’t enough. They were caught in a insurance scandal and my CEO was arrested by the Department of Justice and it was reported on national television.

What does this all mean? It means that owners are not loyal to cities or to fans; they are loyal to what will make them money. I’m glad that fans are getting it. You can still love your teams and cheer for players but also realize this isn’t family; its business. In my opinion, if Mark Davis wanted to they could figure out a stadium in Oakland. Apple is making over $200 billion a year and this is chump change to many tech companies.   Just like the 49ers, there isn’t a door I would not knock on.  I hope he learned from the mistakes of his father Al Davis. You can only go back home so many times before no one is there waiting for you at the door.

“How to Finance a New Oakland Raiders Stadium”

COLISEUM CITY/METRO
A Past Rendition of a New Oakland Raiders Stadium

Please sign this petition to get Cliff Branch into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/276/842/889/induct-oakland-raider-wr-cliff-branch-into-the-nfl-hall-of-fame/?taf_id=14680187&cid=twitter

Yesterday we looked at the Oakland Stadium situation for the A’s and the Raiders and explored the various venues that may work for a new facility.   Today we will look at how to pay for it.

https://jimjax4.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/raiders-stadium-sites-update-video-how-to-morph-levis-a-future-nfl-stadium/

The Truth About Using Tax Payers Money:

Economists have overwhelmingly found that spending public money on stadiums has little economic benefit for the city and rarely creates the jobs and prosperity that the backers promise. This recently was seen in St. Louis with the Rams. The City of St Louis still owes $129 million to pay for the abandoned football stadium now that the Ram’s are leaving. The city of Oakland still owes $100 million from the Al Davis upgrades when the Raiders moved back. The numbers don’t lie. Using tax payer money would be very irresponsible. Some cities selling their souls for teams have done 30 year tax loans. Insanity. New stadiums may help keep the team in the city but the teams are the financial winners in the end.

The First Thing Mark Davis Should Do:

If I were Mark Davis I would hold a press conference immediately. I’d say, “Whatever has happened in the past or with the NFL vote is water under the bridge. I will do anything and everything that I personally can to build a permanent stadium in Oakland for the Raiders. My goal is not to hurt the A’s or the tax payers of Oakland in any way but I want a football only stadium to compete. It’s up to Libby Schaaf, the City of Oakland and my search team to get the funding that is needed.  I have hired Carmen Policy and Disney CEO Bob Iger to help with this process.   If the unfortunate happens and things don’t work out and we have to move, I want it be known that I did everything physically and financially possible to make this work”.

Leadership. That is what is needed. If Davis would do these things, I see a stadium being built no problem. Carmen Policy has MEGA stroke in the bay area.   He is personal friends with many local and state politicians and corporations through out the bay area including Silicon Valley. His winery and his past dealings when he was with the 49ers have made him powerful in the bay area. Disney also obviously has a lot of pull anywhere. Hire anyone affiliated with the Giants/Jets situation or the 49ers new stadium. Anyone that knows what to do and how to get it done.  Now let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the situation.

Ways to Get Revenue For A New Stadium:

  1. Corporate Money:

What the Raiders need for a stadium is lunch money to Technology companies. If you can’t get a sponsor out of Silicon Valley while having the clout of the NFL behind you then you flat out didn’t try or ask. This is the adult world and they are not going to come to you. The 49ers did a great job of doing this and in the end they had their pick of sponsors without using tax money. Knock on doors, wheel and deal. Hello Carmen Policy. If I was Mark Davis there isn’t a door I wouldn’t knock on or hand that I would not shake.

  1. Sell Part Ownership:

Mark Davis is a nice guy but he’s in over his head. Why can’t Mark Davis go to the CEO of Disney Bob Iger or any big wig rich guy and sell off 5-10% of the team. With the money from a new stadium and appreciation Davis will have more money in the end than he could ever imagine. Davis is still the managing general partner and he has more shares than anyone.

  1. Live Streaming:

THINK GLOBALLY. Some of you older fans may say huh? at some of these ideas but its time to think outside the box into tomorrow.

A total of 61% of all revenue is shared by the teams. What ISN’T shared is what the NFL calls territorial revenue.   Any local tv, advertising, merchandise, or other revenue that is created within the teams local radius is totally kept by the team. Last year alone Green Bay made $151 million in Territorial Revenue, $34.9 million in their new local club houses alone; that included online and in person sales.

If I were the Raiders I would approach You Tube and/or Google or Direct TV and create a live stream with the local television affiliate. During the stream you can advertise, sell items or do whatever you want. I would even make a separate app that can be used on all tablets and phones.

When Yahoo did live streams on a few of the NFL games last year, the NFL was shocked at the numbers. In one of the games they had an average of 10-20 million viewers watching the stream every minute. You can taste the advertising money. Now that pales in comparison to television viewers, but you are now thinking globally because many of the people that would watch the games are not in the U.S.   I actually researched the geographical breakdown and the fact is for one game on Yahoo at times 33% of the viewers were NOT in America. Even though we forget it sometimes, the world doesn’t revolve around the U.S. and there are a whole lot of new fresh faces to market to.

You are now entering into a huge untapped revenue source and your popularity can only grow.   ESPN has done it for their college games without announcers. I’ve actually streamed it sometimes and it’s great.   It’s starting small but growing in popularity. Streaming is the future and the present. Concerts are live streamed all the time, so why not NFL locally?

I would do marketing campaigns with local Hispanic, Indian, Chinese and other cultural based channels and advertise the live streaming and the merchandise. I would make the Raiders a world wide brand and market the Oakland Raider nation as a global entity.   When it grows I would then do pre and post game shows in various languages (with advertising) on various foreign channels or stream them. People would drink it up like it’s got the antidote. No one has done this but the Raiders have a large following all over the world. If you can’t make money this way, then you just aren’t trying.

Why do you think dozens of countries are at WWE Wrestlemania and even TNA is now getting into India. GLOBAL MONEY.   Wrestling has been marketing globally long before WWE.  WCCW in Dallas had viewers all over the world they marketed to. I would also begin creating a social media like Twitter or Facebook JUST for Raider fans through out the world.

  1. Guaranteed Tax bonds:

Guaranteed corporate tax bonds are done all the time in the U.S.. The City of Oakland would be responsible for this.   Go to Kaiser Health or another company and ask for a $300 million tax bond so you pay in time. Kaiser has so much money now that they are going to build a college. Health insurances are making hand over fist with the cuts to providers so this is doable.   In the end you can possibly even make a little money after paying it back.

  1. Uber

In smaller ways you can make a deal with Uber. Have a Raider fan app that will be exclusive for games giving Raider fans discounts on fairs in exchange for advertising money and cash.

6.  Sell Office Space:

Another effective way to make money is to sell office space. If you walk in the back of the San Francisco Giants A T & T park, it is filled with medical offices. Oakland has tons of medical offices that would love to upgrade to new office space. This is year round revenue.

  1. Developer Rights and Part Ownership:

This is one that is a favorite of the City of Oakland and they’ve talked about it with Mark Davis and I don’t like it. First of all Mark Davis is obsessed with having a huge area for parking for tailgating. That is great but parking is not a year round revenue source. With BART, parking would be less of a need and would take up valuable land that could give the City and possibly the team year round revenue with stores and other businesses. With a new stadium you could make picnic areas outside the stadium for pre-game partying. Mark Davis also wants complete control of the land.

The City wants to offer a developer cheap land and part ownership in exchange for $300 million; that’s the short fall that is needed to build a new stadium right now. If this was San Francisco or the South Bay near Silicon Valley this is a no brainer that any developer would want. In Oakland, not so much. The City is also offering a 9 acre parcel of land as well. This seems to be a popular hope but in reality I like the previous ideas a thousand times better and I’m not thrilled that this is a good idea.

 

Final Thoughts:

Above are just ideas off the top of my head. Smart people can figure it out if they drop their ego’s at the door.   Too many people trying to be right instead of doing right. Of course they aren’t as cut and dry as I’m putting it but they also aren’t as complicated. Problem is you have ego’s, hurt feelings and insecurity with people in these deals and that’s where things go wrong. Where there is a will there is a way.

The City of Oakland needs to get off their butt and act. It’s also time for Mark Davis to prove people wrong and show the NFL that he is a real NFL owner. Will he hire people to work hard like he did for Carson or will he just have his hand out looking for corporate money from tax payers in cash strapped Oakland while pleading victim.

Do you think for a second that Stan Kroenke created his sports empire by just sitting by waiting for others to give things to him? Do you Think Al Davis would kick a can and say aw shucks, you fix it?

What is needed is confident and competent leadership. We will see if either side has these abilities.  I hope that Mark Davis and Libby Schaaf put in the work and make it happen. Schaaf has to show business and political savvy and Davis needs to stop telling Oakland that he wants to stay and start showing it. The Raider fans have been through enough; Make it happen. There’s lots to do.

 

“What Happens With The San Diego Chargers; a Lesson For All NFL Fans to Learn”

chargers
A man & His Daughter @ San Diego Chargers Lot

I’m writing this for the good San Diego Charger and NFL fans that are interested. It’s truly a sad time for them and my heart hurts for any city that loses their team. No, loyalty and doing right doesn’t mean much anymore.   Let’s look at what is happening and what will happen.

What Happened At the NFL Vote?

It’s hard to listen to the insiders or the experts anymore because they are so wrong so often. I use common sense and business savvy and try to figure things out.  It’s really not as hard as people make it out to be.  Social media makes it that way sometimes.

When Raider fans already had the Raiders moving the last month I didn’t react. Why? Because if I’m an NFL owner and I have to pick between a guy that has built up a multi BILLION dollar sports empire and a 61 year old man that has never formally held a job in his life and only got the team because he inherited it, then it’s a no brainer for me. I pick Stan Kroenke over Mark Davis. In the end the NFL felt the same. Raider great Tim Brown even said he was shocked at how little the owners listened to Mark Davis and how they were so excited when Stan Kroenke spoke.   Welcome to the business world everyone.

Where Will the Chargers Play Next Year:

The NFL’s fiscal year starts April 1st. Most in the know feel that the Chargers will negotiate a deal to play in Los Angeles sooner than later. The key point for the Chargers is not getting screwed by Stan Kroenke.   They want to have equal profit sharing and they still need to pay for the relocation fee of 500 million and find a place to play.

It’s hard to think that the Chargers will stay in San Diego.   In fact it’s near impossible.  Too many bridges have been burned.   While 92 y/o Alex Spanos is still beloved, his son Dean isn’t. When he and Mark Davis thought the Carson deal would go through, Dean continued with negative remarks about the City. The San Diego Supervisors released a statement yesterday saying that if the Chargers want to negotiate in good faith that they are committed to it.   BUT if they just want to turn it into a charade because they want to move to Los Angeles then they are not interested. Not exactly words to cuddle by.

I listened to the San Francisco bay area sports talk shows Tuesday and they had 2 San Diego Sports reporters on and both said that the relationship between San Diego and the Chargers is over. They ripped Dean Spanos to shreds calling him dishonest and his negative remarks about the City of San Diego were death blows to the relationship. The new stadium in Inglewood is not going to be finished until 2019 which is a long way away so this transition; especially with the flakiness and quirkiness of Southern California fans with sports teams (Lakers have another record loss in tv viewer ratings) will make it interesting.  The NFL only wants two teams in Southern California and San Diego doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Stan Kroenke’s Rams so there is much to do.

The Real Reason Spanos is Leaving San Diego:

In 2008 the Chargers were legally able to move if they wanted to. They also could negotiate a new stadium in San Diego too. The reason why the City of San Diego has called the negotiations a charade is that many feel Spanos always wanted to move to LA. Insiders said that he felt if another team came to Southern California; (and especially if 2 teams would come); the Chargers fan base would dwindle due to new competition. Spanos probably was right but he wasn’t honest about it. Many feel he put the City and the fans through a lot of nonsense thinking he wanted to stay, when he really didn’t. He was biding his time.

Spanos also knew financially that he could not move on his own. The Chargers and the Raiders are family owned teams; which means they have no other business but the NFL so they have much less cash than other owners. He then teams up with the Raiders Mark Davis who is another man that inherited his team from his father and is in the same financial situation. They both thought the Carson project was a done deal so Dean Spanos gloated a little bit and stayed out of the limelight. He was so hated in San Diego that he refused to go out in public or on the field for some ceremonies.

Davis; who has never really held a job in his first 57 years of life; was also devastated when the Carson project fell through. Now he’s going back to Oakland with his tail between his legs and his hand out saying gimmee.

 Final Thoughts:

It doesn’t matter if you are a Charger fan, Raider fan, Bronco Fan or a Chiefs fan. The NFL has proven they don’t care about the cheerleaders, the refs, the retired players or the fans.   They are billionaires who want to make even more money and the fans are their puppets to get it. Anyone thinking that their teams are in love with them are as naive as it gets. Ask those in Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis how much their teams loved them. Nada much.   They DO love our money though.

The NFL and the owners do not care if you have a million people at a rally; they don’t care about your loyalty and they don’t care how it hurts you or your family if your team leaves. This is business, especially in the new millennium.

Does that mean we can’t enjoy our teams? Of course not. Love them, cheer for them, wear their gear and have fun. But we are not gang members. Rib each other in fun but stop showing hate and venom to other teams fans.   Do you think your teams owner cares if you are broke or sick or having problems?  Do you think your undying loyalty is cared about unless they get money out of you?  I was born but not yesterday.

Remember that we are all in this game called life and that is much more important than loyalty to a sports team. There are joys and triumphs, successes and failures, sickness and pain, and happiness and love in our lives. The important things.

Love those that love you and be good to each other. And say a little prayer for Chargers fans all over. They lost a part of their childhood today and even adults lost some innocence. In the end, it’s a painful lesson for us all.

 

 

Colombia & Soccer Rises Above Violence, Pain, & the loss of Andres Escobar For Redemption.

andres escobar

 

“Life doesn’t end here”.  

Andres Escobar, Colombia footballer

It still hurts today.

When you say the name Andres Escobar to a longtime soccer fan, immediately the smile will come off of their faces and a sadness will be seen.  The pain is still there for the memory of the murder of Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar even 20 years later.

In the 1994 World Cup held in the U.S., there was one team that everyone wanted to see and that was Colombia.  They were like rock stars with the likes of Carlos Valderrama, Carlos Rincon, Andres Escobar and so many others.  From the famous scorpion kick from their goalie, to the fun and amazing way they played, Colombia was definitely the team to watch.  Defensive star Andres Escobar at the age of 26 was ready to sign a large contract after the World Cup with famous Italian team AC Milan.  His dream of marrying his Fiance Pamela Cascardo and living in Italy to play soccer was coming true.

In an amazing 26 international game stretch before the World Cup, Colombia lost ONLY one game.  In the World Cup qualifying matches they gave up an unreal, 2 goals.  They were on fire dominating the World Soccer scene.

To qualify for the World Cup in 1993, they needed to tie Argentina.  Instead they gave what I believe is the worst loss for Argentina in Argentina, 5-0.  What was amazing is video shows as a sign of respect, the Buenos Aires fans giving rounds of applause to the Colombians after the game.  It placed Colombia for the first time on the world stage of soccer.  Pele and many others announced that Colombia would win the World Cup in the U.S.  The country Colombia partied like rock stars and their passion was amazing.  For once they would shed the reputation of being a violent and out of control country, and gain the respect they wanted.

At that time the rise to prominence for Colombian soccer was linked mainly to one thing; drug cartel money.  Colombia had never been a world power.  The three biggest drug Cartels, owned teams in the Colombian soccer league.  Soccer was the perfect way to launder money that they had gained illegally.  With that money they now could afford the great fields and players that were needed to make them a world class power in soccer.  One of the drug Cartel leaders was Pablo Escobar.  He was so powerful and rich that Forbes Magazine had him as one of the richest men on earth.

A house is only as good as it’s foundation and when you have a foundation built on drug money, only pain and violence will follow.  That’s what happened to Colombian soccer.  Colombia was a mess in general with more murders being committed per capita there, than anywhere else in the world.  Public officials and politicians were bought off, and like many players said, you couldn’t trust anyone.

Pablo Escobar ran for office to avoid extradition to the U.S. for his drug running; and he won!  He and the other cartel leaders used Soccer to launder the money by lying about players salaries and bonuses and also about gate receipts and ticket sales.  Pablo Escobar did a lot for the poor, building housing and soccer fields and helping out the little guy. He also had public officials murdered and after one match where he didn’t like a referees call, he had the soccer referee gunned down in a parking lot after a game.  Much like Al Capone did in Chicago, it created a love for him like a modern Robin Hood to cover up for the violence and pain that he created.  Eventually though Escobar was killed and even a few of his family members were slaughtered; in front of their wives and kids in some cases; right before the World Cup would start.  After he was killed Colombia was in a violent chaos.  No more order in the underworld.

The stress on the Colombian players was now overwhelming.  Andres Escobars’ great friend and teammate Chonto Herrera was told the day before their World Cup match that his brother was murdered.  They began to worry about their own families safety.  Some players began saying they now had to win or wonder what would happen back home.  Andres shy smile was now gone.  In an interview he said he finds peace by trying to read at least a little bit from the Bible every day.  He found comfort in having a picture of his late mother and his fiance Pamela Cascardo in his Bible.

Andres was unlike any 26 year old you’d ever know.  While many were party animals, his faith was a foundation in his life.  He also loved his country and the poor.  His family talked about him going to stores and buying toys and driving through the city giving them away in poor neighborhoods.  Even before he signed a big contract, he set up scholarships for poor and needy kids.  His father was a banker and he set up foundations to help the needy.  His whole family had hearts of gold and his heart was no different.  He was handsome, kind, humble and felt for those in need.  Everyone loved him.

In the first game of the World Cup the joy was out of the faces of the players of Colombia.  In a stunning match, Romania beat Colombia 3-1.  The World was shocked.  Their next game was against the U.S. who they had never lost to and who had never been a world power in soccer.  Unfortunately the violence at home was getting worse and so was the stress of playing.  Also there were rumors that the Colombian cartels had lost millions in bets that were placed for Colombia to beat Romania and many were not happy.  There were rumors abound and you could see the fear and the pain in the players faces.

Against the Americans the impossible happened.  On a simple cross by John Harkes of the U.S., Andres tried to stop the ball and he accidentally kicked it into his own goal.  It was a dreaded moment that I will never forget.  I told my friends right then and there, they are going to kill him.  My friend said it’s just a soccer game and I was dumb to think that.  Even when I was a kid I loved history and cultures and I just knew growing up what some cultures could and would do.  A chill goes up my spine right now even writing this.  I still feel the pain of that moment.  I see Andres face on the field knowing what he had done and the possible ramifications.  One of his teammates commented that you could see the fear and the pain in Andres eyes after that moment.  In irony, Andres sister said that the second Andres did the mistake, her 8 year old son became upset and said that they are going to kill Andres.  She said that people loved Andres and that he would be safe.  Young people know more than what adults think.

Andres own goal made it U.S. 1 Colombia 0.  Another goal followed and after a late goal by Colombia the U.S. had stunned the world and beaten them 2-1.  Colombia beat the Swiss 2-0 in their third game but with Romania beating the U.S., it meant Colombia would go home.

There are conflicting reports but there was supposed to be a trip with Andres and his family where they would visit parts of the U.S. Andres didn’t go and he came home.  Friends and teammates say that he was crushed by his mistake but he answered all of the media’s questions.  In time the people of Medellin; his home city; were very supportive and caring.  He began to feel better.

On one night Andres was asked to go to a club.  Many of his teammates begged him not to go but he said he didn’t want to hide and that he would be alright.  In a club in Medillin, the Gallon brothers; notorious Colombian cartel members; began to mock Andres relentlessly. This upset Andres greatly saying he just made a mistake and he was sorry for it.  After a heated argument Andres left the club.  In a chilling video in the parking lot, Andres was gunned down by cartel bodyguard Humberto Castro Munoz with a .38 caliber gun.  His friends saw the shooting and rushed Andres to the hospital where he died 45 minutes later.  Andres girlfriend said that the murderer was laughing and yelling goooooooooaaaaaal when he shot Andres.  The World Cup was still going on and the soccer world was angered and outraged.  Colombia was in turmoil.

Andres death was too much for the country to take.  The grief now was unconsolable.  One famous Colombian writer said, “for the first time in my life, I’m ashamed to be Colombian”.  The country gave bodyguards to players with some having up to 40-50 of them to protect them and their families.  One players child was kidnapped.  The entire country was in pain and hope was hard to find.

The soccer team would never be the same.  Many retired or just played abroad.  Most vowing that they would never play for Colombia ever again for what happened to them and Andres.  It was rumored that after days in jail, the Gallon brothers paid off the courts with 3 million dollars in cash and were set free.  Murderer Humberto Munoz was the fall person and he did only 11 years of his 40 year sentence.  He was let out for being a model prisoner.  Andres Fiance and family were outraged.

Colombian soccer began to fall off the map.  For years it struggled.  Fans stopped coming; the pain was too great.  In 2010 at the owners meeting for the Colombian soccer federation, 14 of the 18 teams were now near bankruptcy.

Fast forward to the last 4 years where there has been a form of redemption.  The Colombian soccer team is now back at the World cup.  With a talented squad, they are now trying to prove again that their reputation for being a violent country based on drug money is wrong.  Their past haunts them.  I have some Colombian friends and they are a very kind and passionate people with great pride.  They long for people and other countries not to judge them and to get to know them.  They are also honest about their past and hopeful for their future.

A statue of Andres is now at a park named after him where soccer fields are.  Andres always dreamed of having soccer fields all over for every kid to enjoy.

Andres’ last written words were published in newspapers everywhere.  They were, “life doesn’t end here”.

Even with the loss of his physical life, Andres is still touching people today.  I hope through his memory, along with the soccer fields and parks made in his honor, that more people will support Colombia’s attempt at becoming the peaceful nation that Andres dreamed of.  I know that for millions of soccer fans in Colombia and all over the world, no one will ever forget the great Andres Escobar.