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This year's Super Bowl will surpass all others when it comes to ticket prices, according to Fox, which is televising the NFL's penultimate game.
The costliest tickets are expected to be around $2,600. That's for the 9,000 seats reserved for the rich swells, who can go inside and keep warm at the game, expected to be played in icy conditions outside at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Joe Fan? He'll have to freeze, assuming he can even afford general admission.
Those prices are about two times what they were at last year's Super Bowl held in New Orleans.
NFL mouthpieces came up with the usual babble in explaining away the league's continuing trend of pricing out the average fan.
"We are looking to close the gap between the face value of the ticket and its true value as reflected on the secondary market," Brian McCarthy told Fox. "The uniqueness of the Super Bowl in the New York/New Jersey market is also driving unprecedented demand and buzz."
I guess buzz is getting more and more expensive.
In the meantime, let's get back to real football. I've been thinking about Andrew Luck, the Colts quarterback. I thought the guy might be heading for a season worthy of challenging Peyton Manning for MVP, but his offensive line has apparently fallen apart and it's hard to complete passes when you're flat on your back.
What are your thoughts? Is the NFL becoming too elite? Can Luck bounce back and stay upright?
- Getty Images
Super Bowl 2014: Pay Up or Freeze originally appeared on About.com Football on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 10:40:36.
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Who's your choice for the worst team in the NFL?
Andre Johnson says it's the Houston Texans. His words carry weight because he is a, well, a Houston Texan.
"We suck," Johnson told the media.
That's a pretty strong recommendation, when one votes for his own team as being the worst.
Still, there are other entries: Atlanta and Jacksonville, the other dogs with the worst records, which right now stands at 2-9.
Here's my pick:
The Jaguars have won two of their last three, so they're eliminated from consideration. The Falcons have lost five straight, the Texans nine.
Both the Falcons and Texans have offenses that can gain the occasional yard and first down, but they couldn't find an end zone with a GPS and a Sherpa guide.
The Falcons and their fans whimper and whine about all their injuries. Big, hairy deal. Every team in the NFL must deal with injuries. Grow up, Falcons fans.
The Texans, oddly enough, have a defense that leads the NFL in giving up the fewest yards. Now, when it comes to giving up points, that's another story. They invite opponents into their end zone like you ask your neighbors over for a beer. Politely and with real compassion.
The difference between these two teams is that the Texans must actively seek ways to lose, and that's what I look for in a really bad team. The Texans are very creative and aggressive when it comes to finding ways to come up short.
So there you have it: I agree with Andre Johnson. Congratulations, Houston fans: You're No. 32!
There are some other teams that are stuck in neutral or reverse these days, just as there are some teams and players on fire right now.
Worst Team in the NFL? originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 15:41:50.
Don't laugh, this was actually an idea that was seriously considered at one time. Quarterbacks would wear red jerseys and therefore, could not be touched.
There's no doubt that injuries to NFL quarterbacks hurt the game. QBs are the stars, and they are dropping like flies this year.
Injured: Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford, just to name three. In all, nine quarterbacks are on the injured reserve list this season.
Quarterbacks get hurt a lot for various reasons, one of which is they are frequently in the most vulnerable of positions when they're letting it fly. That's when they get smacked a lot. They don't know it's coming and can't prepare themselves for the hit.
They also get hurt when they opt to run, which is happening more with the read-option offense. Most quarterbacks aren't built to run. They can't absorb the hits from linebackers and safeties like running backs can.
Quarterbacks are better protected today than they have ever been, especially when they're in the pocket and not scrambling, but they are still dropping at an alarming rate.
The NFL's competition committee will look into it this offseason, as it does every year. Frankly, I'm not sure how much more they can do.
I hope they don't go overboard and I definitely hope they don't make them wear red jerseys.
What's your opinion? Do you think the NFL should do more to protect quarterbacks?
Speaking of QBs, two of the best in NFL history are facing off this week. That's the best game in a full slate of good ones. Here's my pick and analyses of the best ones.
Red Jerseys for NFL Quarterbacks? originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 at 16:44:34.
When an NFL quarterback tells the media, loudly and in no uncertain terms, that his opponent knows what play is coming, it's code talk for something else.
The play-calling and offensive game plan are dull, unimaginative and we're not going anywhere. Don't blame me.
That's what Robert Griffin III said after the Redskins' latest disappointment, a 24-16 loss to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
He said what was obvious to anyone who has watched any Redskin games since Griffin returned to the lineup this year after an injury.
The best adjective to describe Washington's play-calling is the worst adjective to use to describe an NFL offense: "Predictable."
It's hard to call predictable plays for an offense led by a versatile, multifaceted, explosive quarterback like Griffin, but Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is managing to do it.
Shanahan is, of course, the son of the Redskins' head coach, Mike Shanahan. There have been many cases of father-son nepotism in the NFL that resulted in embarrassment all around, but the younger Shanahan did have NFL experience before he was hired by his father.
Maybe this is a good time for some of that wise, fatherly counsel, though it might be too late since the Redskins are sitting at 3-7 and will miss the playoffs, barring a miracle.
But, something clearly must be done for the Redskins to catch back up with the rest of the league, if they are to have any hope of salvaging something from this season and give them something for the future.
Kyle Shanahan needs to get much better and imaginative with the play-calling. Either that or his father must fire him, demote him or take over the play-calling himself. He's done it before, with great success.
Washington Redskins: Time to Fire Kyle Shanahan? originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, November 18th, 2013 at 18:16:26.
The only NFL team more overrated than the Denver Broncos is the Kansas City Chiefs.
Everything has fallen into place for the Chiefs and their gaudy 9-0 record this year. That won't last past this weekend.
The Broncos compiled their 8-1 record against a variety of cream puffs, milksops and twinkies. The Chiefs' schedule has been even easier.
Not only have they played the losers, they've played ailing losers, losers at half-strength.
Look at some of the quarterbacks they've played against recently:
- Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie making his first start.
- Career backup Jason Campbell.
- Case Keenum, another guy making his first career start.
- Terrelle Pryor, a great athlete, but a lousy quarterback.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, another backup who may be the best of this weak lot.
And now, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning may be hobbled. I have a feeling his aggravated ankle injury is worse than he and the team are making out.
The Chiefs are big underdogs in most quarters. I don't think they'll get pounded by the Broncos because they match up well and their strengths can exploit the Broncos' weaknesses.
Still, this is the week the Chiefs get their first black mark on that sweet, unblemished record.
Unless they get lucky, which is their specialty.
The Chiefs-Broncos game is just one of some great matchups this weekend. Here are the top games and my incisive analyses.
Only One NFL Team is More Overrated than the Denver Broncos originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, November 14th, 2013 at 09:29:23.
What a mondo-bizarro NFL weekend.
- The Jaguars get their first win of the year, beating a thoroughly mediocre and now hopelessly embarrassed Tennessee Titans team 29-27.
If the winless Bucs beat Miami tonight, we can say that every NFL team in Florida has at least one win.
- The lowly Rams beat the Colts by 30. The Colts are the weirdest NFL team this year.
They beat the 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos and lose to the Dolphins, Chargers and Rams.
They are playing their season in some reverse dimension, beating the good and losing to the bad.
- The Panthers beat the 49ers 10-9. Actually, this isn't such a huge stunner. What's weird is that both quarterbacks sucked so badly in this matchup.
Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton are supposed to be two of the best young guns in the game. If one of them has a decent game, his team wins. Neither one does.
- The Saints get a record 40 first downs against the Cowboys. At No. 39, Saints Coach Sean Payton tells his offense they're on the verge of setting an NFL record.
"That's just like telling a pitcher he has a no-hitter," quarterback Drew Brees tells the media afterward. "It stops."
Actually, it doesn't. They get it on a fourth-and-five, further humiliating Dallas.
-The Giants are still alive in the NFC East division race?
Yep. Despite starting 0-6, they have now won three in a row after beating the Raiders, and are only 1 ½ games out of first place.
Amidst all this chaos, who can put out a Power Ranking that makes any sense at all?
I can. Read it here.
NFL Bizarro! originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, November 11th, 2013 at 12:39:57.
If I say anything in this blog that offends you, please contact my spokesperson and I will immediately call a press conference and fall all over myself apologizing for whatever it is I supposedly, allegedly said - not that I am legally admitting to anything.
We live in the age of special counsels, class action lawsuits and sensitivity training. Even in football.
The issue here is the NFL appointing a special counsel to investigate the situation between Miami Dolphin linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
Did Incognito bully and harass Martin to the point it was something illegal in the workplace?
The Dolphins have admitted they asked Incognito, a well-known bully and dirty player in the league, to "toughen up" Martin.
They have not confirmed specifically who in the organization made that request.
Let's conduct our own little mini-investigation here: I have uncovered the fact that Miami offensive line coach Jim Turner is a former Marine Corps infantry officer who's in his first NFL job.
Nah, couldn't be him. Let's look elsewhere.
Imagine the NFL commissioner calling in a special investigator in the days of players like Bronco Nagurski, Dick Butkus or Jack Lambert.
For bullying a player. For "toughening" him up. I would have loved to see those special counselor interviews.
How did Martin react to the "toughening up?"
NFL Bullying: Are We As a Nation Becoming Soft as Play-Dough? originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, November 7th, 2013 at 07:50:06.
People make fun of backup quarterbacks in the NFL because they make millions for doing ... well, nothing.
But, those of us who scoff at the huge salaries of the clipboard holders weren't laughing during Monday night's game between the Packers and Bears.
Aaron Rodgers goes down early with a left shoulder injury and the Green Bay offense, behind backup Seneca Wallace, sputters like a 1969 Yugo.
The Bears on the other hand, had veteran backup Josh McCown who has been filling in for the injured Jay Cutler.
McCown is 34 years old and has started 11 games since 2006 - with a record of 3-8 - but he had enough veteran guile to steer the Bears to a 27-20 road upset over the heavily-favored Packers, and now Chicago sits atop the NFC North with the Packers and Lions.
We get all agog over talented rookies because they're fresh and new and exciting, but sometimes it's the old vets who make the biggest impacts in the NFL.
Speaking of new and exciting rookies, here are my top 10 rookies thus far in 2013.
Bears' Backup Bounces Green Bay and Top 10 Rookies of 2013 originally appeared on About.com Football on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 at 08:15:09.
I'm getting a lot of comments these days from readers asking me, "Hey Tim, aren't you ashamed to be an NFL writer from Florida?"
As you know, the great state of Florida isn't exactly an NFL powerhouse these days. Of the three NFL teams in the state, two are currently winless.
As in zip. Thanks gosh for the Dolphins, huh? Without them, we'd be 0-15, which is the current combined record of Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.
Only two teams in modern history have gone winless through an entire NFL season, the 1976 Bucs and '08 Lions. This year, we could have two.
Both from Florida. One on each coast.
Getting back to my point, no, I'm not ashamed. I'm not even abashed. I have nothing to do any more with those losers. I keep my distance from them because I don't want to get anything on me.
Plus, I've seen it before. I was a Buc beat writer years ago, and I also played a critical role in Jacksonville landing the Jaguars franchise, when I was a highly influential columnist there, striding the halls of power wielding considerable clout.
So, I've seen it before. When you've personally witnessed hundreds of people wearing bags on their heads, it sort of loses its effect.
Incidentally, John McKay is still my all-time, favorite coach. Nobody has ever had a better sense of humor regarding relentless and incessant losing than McKay.
In the meantime, there are some real NFL teams playing this weekend, and here are my picks and breakdowns for the top games.
The State of the NFL in Florida: Historical Futility originally appeared on About.com Football on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 08:02:17.
If you're a fan of the NFL, and it's safe to assume you are since you're here palling around here with the likes of me, you had a field day this weekend.
Here are just some of my highlights:
- Best game: Lions over the Cowboys 31-30. Duh.
I didn't even mind those sideline tirades from Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. He was just pumped, like the fans. All those idiot talking heads should get off his back.
- Top performer: Calvin Johnson with 14 catches for 329 yards, the second-best receiving day in NFL history. Amazing performance.
- Runnerups: Drew Brees with five TD passes in the Saints' 35-17 win over Buffalo and Andy Dalton with the same in the Bengals' 49-9 romp over the Jets.
- Chief Lucky. Yes, it's true that Kansas City has had some luck on its side this year as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. The Chiefs keep beating teams with banged-up quarterbacks.
Still, I think it's more of a case of a matchup of a team with talent with the right kind of coach. They needed somebody like Andy Reid to guide them.
- Where's the Eagles offense? The Philadelphia offense has scored three points in the last two games. This was supposed to be the explosive story of the year, Chip Kelly's whiz-bang schoolboy offense lighting up the NFL. Maybe when they can field a healthy quarterback we'll see it.
And maybe not.
- Flightless Birds. Not many teams have sunk as fast as the Falcons. They were everybody's preseason darlings, but they lost again Sunday, this time to the lowly Cardinals.
The Falcons can't block, they can't run and they sure can't tackle. How could this same team have reached the NFC championship last year?
Atlanta is done for the year. The best the Falcons can hope for is to make it look respectable and build some momentum for next year.
Great Games, Great Performers This NFL Weekend originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, October 28th, 2013 at 11:30:39.
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