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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.

Lakers-Heat, Celtics-Magic Dominate TV Ratings on Christmas Day

Phil Jackson is sick of having basketball games get in the way of Christmas, but he shouldn’t look forward to any reprieves from the NBA until he retires. The ratings from Saturday’s blockbuster double-header on ABC are in, and let’s just say the NBA on December 25th has become a tradition like the NFL on Thanksgiving.

The Celtics-Magic and Lakers-Heat — the two games on ABC — saw a ratings increase of 45% compared to last year. Even the other three games on ESPN were up 20% from a year ago. The 6.4 rating for the Lakers and Heat was almost 50% higher than last year’s Lakers-Cavs game, proving the Miami Heat is one of the most intriguing teams in sports. In fact, only the 2004 Heat-Lakers Shaq revenge game on Christmas was rated higher during the regular season the past seven years.

Many people groused when LeBron, Bosh, and Wade all joined forces in Miami, forming a super team. I immediately said it was good for the NBA, and approved with a smug grin from Stern, because it would spark more fan interest. That has truly been the case, and these ratings only augment that point. Business is booming for the NBA, and you can thank the Miami Heat superteam for being the biggest reason why. It also doesn’t hurt that Kobe and LeBron seem to be legitimate rivals too.

Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Danny Woodhead Selling More Shirts Than Tom Brady, Wes Welker

Danny Woodhead has been a major factor in the Patriots separating themselves from the rest of the NFL.  New England is playing on its own level and setting its own standards, and believe it or not their 3rd down running back has helped get them to the next level.  Woodhead is a white running back that stands at about 5-foot-8 (on stilts) and weighs 195 pounds (soaking wet with cement in his cleats).  Needless to say, he doesn’t fit the prototype.

For that reason, Patriots fans love him.  Woodhead is the epitome of an underdog story, but you can’t compare him to Rudy because he contributes week-in and week-out and helps the best team in the NFL win games.  When we actually think about it, it should come as no surprise that he is outselling Tom Brady and Wes Welker in New England area sporting goods stores.

Modell’s Sporting Goods told the Boston Herald that Woodhead has sold twice as many $20 T-shirts in the past month as Brady and Welker, who are normally the team’s best sellers.  His shirts are also the third-best seller at the Patriots Pro Shop and managers have had trouble keeping up with the demand.

With Rex Ryan’s team reeling and looking like they could turn against him at any second, I bet he wishes he could take back cutting this guy.  Woodhead seems like a great locker room guy and his play speaks for itself.  You win some and you lose some, right Rex?

College Football TV Ratings Down Everywhere But Versus, ESPN

In a year where it seems like more and more people are watching sports on TV and ratings records are continuously being set, it’s surprising to learn that the ratings on most college football TV networks were down for the season. According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN’s average viewership was up 3.2% while Versus was up a whopping 27.6%. CBS, which airs SEC games, had the highest average viewership, but they were down 0.7%. ESPN2 was down 5.1%, ABC was down 8.6%, and NBC was down 15% thanks largely to a lack of interest in Notre Dame football.

The most viewed college football game of the year was the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama which had 12.5 million viewers. The second most watched game was the SEC Championship between Auburn and South Carolina which was watched by slightly more than 10 million people. In all, six of the top 10 rated games were SEC contests, helping explain where they get the money to pay all their players. A few other interesting items of note — the Virginia Tech-Boise State game to open up the season was a huge success and the third most watched game of the year. Also, holidays are great — both the Iron Bowl and Oregon-Arizona were in the top 10 most watched games, and both took place the day after Thanksgiving.

I know I was watching many of these games this year but it looks like many sports fans were missing out. Why do you think that is the case? Were you watching? Is your interest in college football down? Were we lacking interesting teams, compelling stories, outstanding players?

All in all, I do think it was a down year in college football — the most interesting story was Cam Newton because he was great, and because he was investigated. It seems like there was a lack of star power this year and it didn’t help that many traditional powers had down years. And maybe another explanation comes from LBS correspondent Reyes who said once you get spoiled with the NFL, the level of play in college just isn’t good enough. What do you think?