Was NFL Owners’ Idea for 18-Game Schedule Just a Negotiation Tool?

As the NFL players and owners continue to meet to try and agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they have several items to negotiate. One of those points was the owners’ supposed desire to implement an 18-game regular season. Most players opposed it, fans weren’t elated for it, but the owners wanted it and spoke like it was an inevitability.

Regardless of their desires, NFLPA exec De Smith says the union will not discuss an 18-game season. The rigidity of Smith’s stance on the issue makes me wonder if the owners can use that for leverage in negotiations with another topic. It also makes me wonder if they ever wanted 18 games in the first place, or if they were pushing the idea solely for the purpose of leverage in negotiations.

The fans never pushed for the idea of 18 games. As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, and Jimmy Traina wrote on twitter, contrary to what Roger Goodell has said, the fans’ objection never was four preseason games, it was just having to pay for four preseason games in order to purchase season tickets. The two are not the same issue.

It’s quite possible Goodell and the owners knew the players would object to it, and by pushing for the longer season, they’d guarantee themselves leverage for another topic. Hey, they already had guaranteed themselves payments from TV networks in the case of a lockout, who’s to say they didn’t have this planned too?

Erin Andrews’ Reebok ZigTech Ad to Appear in Fitness Magazine

A minor stir was caused around Bristol when it was announced that Erin Andrews had signed an endorsement deal with Reebok. The noise was quelled when it was pointed out some of their personalities have an association with Nike, and it appears as if EA and Reebok have moved forward full force. In fact, a print ad with Andrews is set to appear in Fitness Magazine. Here’s how the Erin Andrews Reebok ZigTech Ad will look:

The picture comes to us via The Boston Globe which points out that Andrews is the first female to advertise ZigTech products. The others are Chad Ochocinco, Peyton Manning, and Sidney Crosby. It’s quite an accomplishment for the ESPN reporter and former Dancing With the Stars contestant.

CBS Rejected Players Union TV Ad

It’s the week of the Super Bowl and a time when the only focus for the NFL should be the big game. Unfortunately, the possibility of a work stoppage looms over the game and leaves us wondering whether next season will go on as scheduled. I’ll say one thing: the connection between the TV networks and the league is not helping matters.

The web site AdAge says CBS College Sports Network rejected a “Let Us Play” ad from the Players Association that was to run during the NFLPA All-Star Game on Saturday. One can say that CBS just wants to avoid the issue, but the union feels like the network’s connection with the league is keeping them from airing the issue.

For the time being, the union has relied on social media efforts to spread their message. Here’s what one of their ads on YouTube looks like:

Michael Vick Endorsement Deal Proves Ability Is All That Matters

Michael Vick reached a two-year endorsement deal on Wednesday with Unequal Technologies, maker of shock-absorbing equipment such as vests and pads, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Vick reportedly began using the equipment after sustaining a rib injury. Though Vick did a commercial for a Philadelphia car dealership in December, his only compensation was the use of a Nissan Armada. The financial terms of the deal have yet to be released, but Unequal CEO Rob Vito said it is “sizable.”

Sizable is a relative term, especially when you consider Vick was earning a reported $2 million per year from Nike before his arrest. I don’t know anything about Unequal’s finances, but I wouldn’t imagine it would be able to match a company like Nike. Vick reportedly has approximately $12 million in debt to be paid to creditors between now and 2015, so I’m sure any extra income is appreciated — which could likely be said for most of us regardless of our financial situation.

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Cowboys Charging $200 to Watch Super Bowl on TVs Outside Stadium

Want to know why Jerry Jones is such a rich man?  It’s because there are people out there who will pay $200 a pop just to use his TVs — outside Cowboys Stadium.  That’s right, the Dallas Cowboys announced on Tuesday that they will sell a few thousand passes for people to watch the Super Bowl on the big screens outside the stadium in the east plaza.  The oh-so-lucky season ticket holders will have the first crack at buying them.

According to My Fox Houston, the price of admission includes live entertainment from the band Reckless Kelly.  No, Reckless Kelly is not a new name for The Rolling Stones.  Jones is determined to break an NFL attendance record with Super Bowl XLV, and the league has agreed to include the people outside the stadium as part of the attendance total.  How that makes any sense at all is a complete mystery to me.

The saddest part about this idea is that the $200 ticket will probably be a tough one to come by.  People will rant and rave about how ridiculous it is and then end up joining the party.  Then again, the Cowboys cheerleaders will be there.  I’m sure there are people out there who have dropped more than $200 on a night out at a gentleman’s club with no Cowboys cheerleaders and no biggest game of the year. Then again, coming from the same guy who charged over $50 for pizza and even more for parking, should we be surprised?

Nike, Converse, Jordan Use MLK Day to Release New Shoes

It seems like some sports apparel companies are using the platforms holidays afford them to release new shoes. On Christmas, we had Nike debut special shoes for Kobe, LeBron, and Kevin Durant. Now they’re using Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month as an excuse to try and get us to buy more gear. It’s really no different from the hideous red, white, and blue hats MLB has all teams wear on Independence Day and other holidays, but it doesn’t erase the feeling I have that these companies are using meaningful days for nothing more than capitalistic purposes. It makes me feel dirty in a way, but then again, this is America, right?

Here are some of the shoes you may have seen worn by players during one of the several games on Monday, via Sneaker News:

Those were the Jordan and Nike versions of the MLK shoes. One nugget about those Nikes is that the tongue of the shoe has the initials “BHM,” standing for Black History Month. If the object of the shoes was to create equality, then Nike should have shared some of their secrets with small time Converse.

Steve Nash Signs Shoe Deal with Chinese Company Luyou, Nike Not Losing Out

There was some interesting news that came out Thursday for those of you who follow player endorsement deals. CounterKicks broke the news that Steve Nash would be leaving Nike to sign with Chinese company Luyou. While the deal seemed damning for Nike on the surface, it’s not as bad as it appears.

Though Nash is no longer under contract with Nike, he will continue to wear their shoes while playing in the U.S., according to Seth Pollack of Bright Side of the Sun. Nash also said his deal only applies in China, so he’ll continue to rep Nike despite not being under contract. Rather than indicating that the swoosh is losing prominence in the basketball world, this only shows how much bigger the NBA is getting in China.

Baron Davis, Hasheem Thabeet, Ron Artest, Jason Kidd, and Nash are amongst some of the players with deals in China. Much like big names such as Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson who have gone abroad to play, Steve Nash is a recognizable figure. It makes more sense for a Chinese company to spend money to get a big-name player like Nash to draw attention to their gear. Nike still has the biggest stars in the game under contract, so losing a guy like Nash is no big deal, especially if he continues to pimp their product on the court.