Jul 29

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Today's guest post is by Greg Schmalz, President, Schmalz Communications

National Football League training camps open this week and six weeks from tomorrow 
American-football-2
(Thursday,  Sept. 9) Minnesota and the Saints square off in New Orleans in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game won by the eventual Super Bowl champion Black & Gold.

All eyes will be on Minnesota as there are a lot of questions surrounding the Vikings. Will running back Adrian Peterson hold out in a contract dispute? Will veteran quarterback Brett Favre return for yet another season?

Methinks that Peterson will report to training camp and Favre will play once again. He hasn’t ruled it out to this point and I doubt he would leave the team hanging. Then, again, it’s Brett Favre. He could show up in camp in late August and still be ready for the regular season opener.

The oppressive heat will once again be a major concern during training camps. It was nine years ago that Minnesota All-Pro offensive tackle Korey Stringer collapsed on the field and subsequently died from complications brought on by heat stroke. Athletic trainers will be tasked with keeping players and all personnel properly hydrated.

Then, of course, you have the RepMan’s beloved New York Jets. Despite finishing 9-7 during the regular season, the Jets showed some spark in the playoffs with road wins at Cincinnati and San Diego before losing to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game.

A new coach and a new quarterback helped the Jets make some strides last season. Rex Ryan built an aggressive defense and limited rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’ passing attempts. Rather conservative, but it worked.

What’s on the horizon for 2010? A new stadium that the Jets will again share with the Giants. But they’ll face a tougher schedule this season and they will have to open up the passing game that ranked next to last a year ago if they are going to be successful.

May want to enjoy it while you can, RepMan, because there’s a better than even chance that the players will strike next season as they struggle to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The issues between the players union and the owners aren’t about money. It’s all about greed.
 
 
 

Jan 04

Worst curtain call ever?

January 4 - giants curtain As a lifelong New York Jets fan, I must admit to taking special delight in the total collapse of the hated New York Giants. I especially enjoyed their curtain call at Giants Stadium two weeks ago.

The team's marketing and PR types had made a big deal about a special halftime celebration that would commemorate the team's many accomplishments in the soon-to-be-leveled edifice. But, they failed to factor in a horrific first half performance by 'Big Blue.' By half time, the game was clearly over and, with it, the team's chances for making the playoffs.

But, the celebration went on and 80,000 depressed fans suffered through highlights of the greatness that once was and was no more.

It was a horrible curtain call, to be sure. But, not the worst. That notable distinction belongs to my very own NY Mets who, in their collective wisdom, decided to hold a huge celebration at the conclusion of the team's final game at Shea Stadium in 2007. The Mets, though, had once again blown a late season lead to the hated Phillies and entered the final game needing a win to force a playoff. Guess what? They rolled over and played dead, falling behind by five runs in the first inning. The team made no effort to fight back and ended up losing by a lopsided score. Fans left in droves as each inning passed.

By the end, there were fewer than 10,000 people in the stands. Yet, some marketing whiz decided to go ahead with the Shea celebration anyway, and the team paraded the great players of yesteryear past the shell-shocked fans. It was easily one of the weirdest scenes I've ever witnessed.

So, note to sports marketers everywhere: if you have a mega, anniversary-themed event in the making, be sure to hold it BEFORE the contest begins. And, force the home team players to watch the hoopla. Maybe it'll inspire better performances than those turned in by the '09 Giants and '07 Mets, respectively.