Readers rip away
Wide range of opinions on NFL Network, draft, more
Posted: Tuesday April 10, 2007 10:22AM; Updated: Tuesday April 10, 2007 11:35AM
The stars have come out today. Two friends in the business check in with observations I thought I'd pass along -- the first from NFL Network host Rich Eisen about the frustration of some readers not being able to get the network on their cable systems. And Rick Gosselin, the draft maven who writes about the league so well for the Dallas Morning News. I'll let them start, and then move on with your e-mails:
IT'S NOT OUR FAULT, WHICH I THINK WE'VE ALL HEARD BEFORE. From Rich Eisen of Los Angeles: "Read your column, as always, and felt compelled to chime in on the e-mail one of your readers sent in about NFL Network and its somewhat twisted logic, if not misplaced anger. First, NFL Network is on cable. In many places. It's just not available in places where you or Tom Wall from Chapel Hill, N.C., live. But I understand the spirit of the e-mail.
If the NFL allowed NFL Network to be distributed in the manner that certain cable companies desire, like Tom's TW Cable or your Cablevision, then NFL Network would be on a pay tier -- as in an extra $8 or $9 PER MONTH. And we'd be on a tier with many channels you've never heard of. At that point, I'd imagine Tom would write you with outrage that the NFL was making him pay that amount of money to get the channel.
Believe me, NFL Network would be available to Tom on his cable system right now if we had our way. It seems more appropriate for Tom to wonder about the dissatisfaction the cable companies have created by NFL Network not being on his cable system, instead of the other way around. By the way, if we got on Tom's system the way we prefer, it would cost Tom the price of a movie ticket over the entire year, as opposed to nearly that much every month.''
The one thing I don't feel good about in this battle, Rich, is that there was a deadline last year -- in September when the season opened -- and it never got close to being settled. It doesn't lead me to believe it will be resolved any time soon, and nothing I heard at the league meetings last month suggested otherwise.
GO SEE THE FROZEN FOUR. From Rick Gosselin of Dallas: "I've got an event you can add to your list of things to do -- the NCAA Frozen Four. I attended last weekend to see Michigan State upset Boston College 3-1 for the NCAA title.
"Michigan State finished fourth in its conference and didn't have any player receive as much as honorable mention all-conference. Boston College was the preseason pick to win it all. BC had six players who were No. 1 NHL draft picks, the Spartans had none. Michigan State scored twice in the final 18 seconds to win. One Boston paper called it the biggest upset in NCAA finals history.
"It's one of the best games I've seen in any sport in years, with tension from the drop of the puck until the finish. The great thing about the event is it still belongs to the fans. Corporate America hasn't wrestled it away from the fan like it has the NCAA Final Four. The building is still full of common Joes who just love hockey. They came from hockey hotbeds all over the country and a good number of the fans wore their school jerseys. I saw some Quinnipiacs and Merrimacks mixed in with the Minnesotas, Wisconsins, Denvers and New Hampshires.''
Since I love the pucks, I'll keep that in mind as I head into my next 50 years, Goose. I've been thinking about it, and I think my next sports event -- at least the one I'd like to see -- is The Masters. I'm your basic 109 golfer, but I've got to say that getting high-def TV now makes Augusta look better than ever, and I'm entranced. But the Frozen Four is a great concept, and I'll see it someday.
THE KEY TO NOT PICKING IN THE TOP 10 IS TO BE GOOD. From Kevin of Vancouver, B.C.: "I enjoyed reading your MMQB on how hard it is to trade down out of the top 10 in the draft. Given the risk-reward in those top 10 picks and the ridiculous amounts of money that have to be paid there, the top 10 teams have to get lucky and have some sound cap management to avoid picking there. I look at the Patriots and Chargers, who have consistently found excellent players outside that top 10. I'm a Saints fan, and pleased that they're picking where they are because I think it's better for the franchise in the long-term. What do you think?''
I don't think it's luck at all. Well, luck might be the case with one or two picks, but you're right about the Pats and Chargers. Scott Pioli and A.J. Smith, the chief personnel men for the two franchises, don't count much on luck to avoid picking high (though Smith did have the top pick in 2004). They are excellent nuts-and-bolts football guys who don't make some of the mistakes other GMs do.
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