Last updated 9/8/2020 at 9:45pm
2020 NFL SEASON OPENS TOMORROW
If the National Football League’s 2020 season wasn’t beginning tomorrow at Kansas City, many of the cities with smaller franchises would be in for a huge financial hit.
What I’m referring to is cities with franchises like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Cougars, Indianapolis Colts and even the Green Bay Packers would fall deeply into the red as far as the projected income from a normal season is concerned.
The city of Green Bay, with its 250,000 population, will take a hit even if the season goes undisturbed. Lambeau Field has a 78,000-plus capacity but the team said that at most 12,000 fans will be allowed to view each home game this season.
And if most of the crowd is from Green Bay, there will be an even greater negative impact that will cut into the $15 million economic bonanza each game provides the city, according to a recent article appearing in USA Today Sports Weekly.
“Overall, the Packers contribute more than $160 million a year to Green Bay’s economy from games, special events, meetings and conventions, charitable grants and year-round tourism,” the article points out.
Every NFL team will have a negative bottom line at the end of the regular season, but the television royalties will soften the financial hurt somewhat if the season continues through early January without any delays due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
On a more positive note, our Houston Texans, who don’t have many problems getting into the post-season playoffs, are getting sick and tired of getting bounced out before the conference championship game.
So, Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien convinced owner Cal McNair to loosen the purse strings and pick up some talented free agents and extend the contracts of their impact players.
The main deal that O’Brien orchestrated last weekend was to extend quarterback Deshaun Watson’s contract with a new four-year, $156 million deal making him the second-highest paid player in NFL history.
He’s only behind Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes’ contract worth $45 million a year compared to Watson’s $ 39 million, followed by Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($35 million), Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger ($34 million), LA Rams’ Jared Goff ($33.5 million) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (also $33.5 million).
Other deals made by O’Brien to start this season was to outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (four years/$54 million), offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (three years/$66 million) and inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (four years/$58 million), according to Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle.
Houston’s plan for tomorrow night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is to limit big plays by Mahomes. The Texans learned a valuable lesson there in last year’s playoffs when Mahomes guided the Chiefs from a 24-0 early deficit to a convincing 51-31 victory en route to capturing the Super Bowl.
However, the Texans’ first-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver must come up with a plan to curtail Mahomes with his richest contract in Northern American professional sports history.
Weaver speaks highly of Mahomes, “He’s honestly one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, and the thing about him is the play is never over. You think you’ve got him in the grass, he escapes and he’s chucking the ball down the field.
“It doesn’t matter if he escapes to the right of the pocket or the left side of the pocket. He can make every throw from every angle. The guy is remarkable,” Weaver concluded.
And I must have picked the winner of this game with my heart instead of my head because I believe Houston can win this game and said so in my Fearless Forecast.
KWICKIES…It certainly feels good to sleep in my own bed after being an evacuee for nine days. I was elated to see my house standing in one piece with no a shingle out of place and no visible damage to the house. It’s hard to understand why Orange, Texas suddenly is the target of these massive hurricanes. I feel sorry for those not so fortunate.
Dustin Johnson showed why he is the world’s No. 1 golfer by winning the FedEx Tour Championship and all that moolah Monday afternoon.
Sorry to hear about the passing of Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock at age 81. Lou got traded from the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 when I was still in their organization. He was fast as greased lightning and holds the National League record for stolen bases with 938 and stole 50 bases in 12 straight seasons.
And while on the subject, we lost a good friend in Ronnie Logan, who passed last weekend. He was one of the best athletes to come out of Orange back in the 1950’s.
A couple of late NFL signings last weekend include crybaby Jadeveon Clowney, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Tennessee Titans and good guy Adrian Peterson, who signed with the Detroit Lions.
The Miami Dolphins named veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter Sunday at New England instead of rookie sensation Tua Tagovailoa. It won’t be long before Dolphin fans will be chanting for Tua to get some playing time.
JUST BETWEEN US…If you owned a major league baseball team, would you rather the team scored most of its runs early or late in the games? Our Houston Astros, who don’t seem to win many games away from Minute Maid Park, scored early in all four games at Anaheim last weekend while the Los Angeles Angels scored mostly in the final innings, winning all four games from the Astros in their final at-bat. It’s hard to decide whether LA is great when the game is on the line or the Astros bullpen that weak in the latter stages of the game.