Said cornerback Terence Newman: "We all joke about being on the bench this year, that we'll all have strong necks, because we're going to be looking at the board all game. It's the most incredible picture.''
On Thursday, Anderson fell on his sword and said the league erred in their directive for how high to place the board. In 2007, the league's game operations manual mandated that scoreboards or video board not be lower than 125 feet above the field. The next year, Anderson said, the minimum height was reduced to 85 feet. Not after any exhaustive research, he said. But simply because he thought 125 was far too high. "At the end of the day, it wasn't a very wise move to move it down to 85. That's our fault. We, as a department, came to the conclusion that 85 feet was appropriate. That was a mistake on our part. At the end of the day, we didn't have enough communication.'' He said the change did not happen because Jones went to the league and asked for it.
"I think we've got to be a little bit cautious about jumping to conclusions based on one preseason game,'' commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Jerry worked extremely hard to create a great fan experience. But the integrity of the game is the most important factor ... Jerry, as you know if you were down there, has incredible knowledge and detailed understanding of every inch and every movement of the sightlines and the competitive aspects of that stadium.''
So we'll see how much of a factor the video board is. Then we'll see how insistent the league's going to be about moving it, if there are multiple strikes this season. But I'll predict one thing right now: I don't care if 25 punts hit it this fall. Jones will fight to keep the video board right where it is.
Five thoughts on the Seymour trade to Oakland for the Raiders' first-round pick in 2011:
1. In the last six drafts, here's where the Raiders have picked in the first round: 7, 4, 1, 7, 7, 2. If the trend continues, the Patriots will have no worse than the seventh pick in the 2011 draft. For a ninth-year defensive lineman who turns 30 in four weeks and who has missed eight games due to injury in the last two years ... well, let's just say Seymour would have to morph into Reggie White (who had 88 sacks after turning 30) to make this deal worth it for Al Davis and the Raiders.
2. Seymour, I'm told, is angry about the deal. He lives in Foxboro, has children he may have to relocate to new schools as the school year dawns and has to get acclimated to a new defense (and an awful team) a week before the opening game. "I would not be surprised if he doesn't report,'' a good friend of Seymour's told me Sunday. I would. Aside from not earning his 2009 salary of $3.7 million, Seymour wouldn't be able to be a free-agent if he doesn't play this year. As it stands now, his contract is up after this year, and if he plays well and stays healthy, he could hit the jackpot when next year's probable uncapped season plays out.
3. This is a deal for Davis to try to win now, obviously. But how many more desperation deals can one team make? Last year, it was $55 million for Javon Walker (who's been a total non-factor), $72 million plus two draft choices for DeAngelo Hall (cut midway through his first Raider year), $39 million for Gibril Wilson (cut after one year), and $50.5 million for Tommy Kelly (a starting defensive tackle still). This offseason, the Raiders made Shane Lechler the highest-paid punter in history, more than doubling the previous record, and gave cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha more guaranteed money than Tom Brady or Peyton Manning in their current deals. As crazy as all that is, you know that Seymour will want to get out of Oakland if he can make big money anywhere else, so the Raiders almost have to try to sign him long-term to avoid the embarrassment of him being one-and-done in Oakland.
4. For New England, it simply reinforces that Bill Belichick will keep you as long as you're worth keeping, and when he's done with you, or when you can be of no more value to him, you're gone. With second-round defensive tackle Ron Brace and sixth-round DT Myron Pryor both showing well in the preseason, and knowing the Patriots weren't going to pay a 30-year-old defensive lineman the $9-million-a-year in free agency some team certainly would have if he had a productive 2009, the decision couldn't have been a painful one for Belichick.
5. Defensive leaders lost in New England in the last 12 months: Mike Vrabel and Seymour (traded), Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison (retired), and Junior Seau (not re-signed). I can't think of another team that's lost as many cornerstone players and leaders in one year since I've been covering the league.
NFL Truth & Rumors