Thursday, September 9, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week One Notes

The 2010 NFL season begins tonight in New Orleans with an NFC Championship game rematch between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings – but today also marks the beginning of my weekly NFL-themed blog, named after the best hair in the game!

Rather than analyzing each individual match up, like I did on my blog last season, this year I’ll be taking a look at some of the storylines from around the league each week.

Here we go!

According to reports, the NFL is predicting the lowest average attendance since 1998 this season – but is the recession to blame?

The LA Times says the problem might be that the league has made the broadcast of its games SO good that people would rather watch from the comfort of their own homes, with the option of watching multiple games (and not shelling out double digit dollars for a cold one).

Of course nothing beats being there in person, but then again both options have their benefits (see: no lineup for the bathroom).

The Times says all of the networks showing NFL games saw their numbers rise last season, and in fact all had their most-watched regular season games in 2009. Add to that the fact that 3D broadcasts are the next big thing and channels like NFL RedZone keep you up to date with every big play as it happens, has TV actually taken a chunk out of stadium revenues?

It’s tough to say – but the owners are fighting back!

Among the cutting-edge improvements fans will see around the league this year are hand-held video devices at some stadiums, allowing people to watch all games, and the RedZone channel being featured on scoreboards.

Here’s another interesting one: teams are now allowed to put messages like “Raise the Roof” and “Pump It Up” on scoreboards to get the fans making more noise. In other news, teams weren’t allowed to put messages like “Raise the Roof” and “Pump It Up” on scoreboards to get the fans making more noise until this season!

Does anyone else find that a little odd?

Speaking of NFL stadiums – did you know that some places are still paying off old buildings that are currently just parking lots? Crazy!

Moving on – the New England Patriots have some big question marks on the contractual side of things heading into this season.

Quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Randy Moss are both in the final year of their current contracts – but talks are seemingly headed in opposite directions for the two players.

All anyone wants to talk to Brady about lately is an impending contract extension, while Moss came out this week saying he feels like he’s “not wanted” by the organization.

Brady is the face of the organization and is likely due a nice big pay raise from the $6.5-million he is due this season, so he’s got nothing to worry about. As for Moss, having Brady in his corner probably won’t help as much as a solid season will.

Last season Moss had 1,246 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns – hopefully this contract business won’t end up being a distraction for he and his teammates.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning says his team will just have to put up with slow, clumsy umpires when they get their season going against Houston on Sunday.

Manning was upset by a rule change that sees the ump line up behind the deepest back in the backfield, instead of in the middle of the defense (because of too many collisions between players and refs). If the umpire is slow to get into position, it in turn slows down a hurry-up offense.

After the Colts QB complained about the rule, the league tweaked it a little bit so that it won’t be a factor in the final two minutes of the first half and the last five of the second half as the ump will return to his old spot.

Game to watch: Well this one is obvious – on Sunday the Steelers play the Falcons, which means Troy Polamalu and his legendary hair debut.

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