Friday Afternoon Quarterback

October 30, 2009 | Keith Melchior

Wile spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon out last week, I saw parts of the game  in Wembley Stadium as the New England Patriots played the Tampa Bay Bucs in Tampa’s “home game” away from home. They claim the crowd was 84,000. I didn’t see a full shot of the crowd but I did see lots of empty seats after half time. The game started at 6pm England time. I guess they have school tomorrow and people wanted to beat the traffic. 

The NFL wants to market itself  outside of the United States. I am ok with that, but to play regular season games there once a year? No. No. No. Last year they scheduled a Buffalo Bills game in Toronto, which I think is still the home of the CFL’s Argonauts and possibly the future home of the Bills. Unemployment in Tampa is close to 12%. They, like every other NFL city, depend on the revenue generated by it’s football team. If you take away a Raven’s home game, look at how many vendors, parking facilities, local establishments, transit companies, and tax revenue is lost.  Guessing 20,000 parking spaces at 35 bucks per space is close to 700,000 dollars alone.  Fans may go out to watch the game, some would probably travel to London, but as a whole, lots and lots of money is lost. Does the NFL care? No, because it’s not lost money to them.

The NFL is an incredibly greedy organization. They know they have the public locked in for about 26 weeks a year and will do whatever they can to make as much money from it as they can. The NFL is worth BILLIONS of dollars. TV and major advertisers are lining up for a piece of the action. But why spend the money to take 2 teams to England every year. It takes away from the home team’s revenue source (unless the NFL is paying a hefty sum to the team for the away “home” game)  I don’t like the fact the NFL wants to play meaningful regular season games in England because it may just lead up to a Super Bowl date some day.  They want games played there? How about giving them the Pro Bowl. No one here cares about that game anyway and it’d be good to have the league’s star players all on the same field at once.

Anyway…… The Ravens are looking up at the Steelers once again in the standings. They also have the Bengals ahead of them. At 3-3 this game Sunday against the 6-0 Broncos is as close to a must win as possible. With the road game looming against the Bengals next week and both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh on a bye week, the Ravens cannot afford to fall 2 full games off the pace. Not that any other teams are lighting up the AFC, but the Jets are 4-3 and hold a common opponent tiebreaker. San Diego is alive once again but for how long, no one knows. Houston is 4-3 and very erratic. Besides those teams, there aren’t any other teams making a push for the post season.

Minnesota got screwed by a once is a blue moon call by the officials. Tripping is rarely called. I have seen it called 3 times now in 10 years. The first time was in San Diego in 1997 when the Ravens were there. The second time was the Dallas /Giants game earlier this season. Sunday was the third time. It nullified a go-ahead TD by the Vikings. Shortly thereafter the Steelers defense decided to take the game away for good with a fumble and interception, both returned for a TD. To say the officiating in the NFL is hugely inconsistent across the board is an understatement.

The Giants are in a 2 game slide and looking rather vulnerable. The Redskins are the worst 2-4 team I have ever seen. The Bengals are for real after their drubbing of the Bears. The Steelers find ways to win games as of late. The Broncos have found a defense and Ravens fans are all calling for the firing of the defensive coordinator.

Other than that, life is good…Go RAVENS!!!