Andrew Luck is the “next big thing”. He’s going to be the #1 draft pick next off-season. He’s the best prospect since Peyton Manning, some are even saying he’s better than Peyton, and he’s the top prospect of all time. He’s got the arm strength, the accuracy, the ability to read defenses, and the intangibles…
2011 NFL Draft: NFC East Grades New York Giants Prince Amukamara was the biggest steal in the first round; the Giants were able to nab him with the nineteenth overall pick. 1/19: CB Prince Amukamara [Nebraska] 2/52: DT Marvin Austin [North Carolina] 3/83: WR Jerrel Jernigan [Troy] 4/117: OT James Brewer [Indiana] 6/185: LB Greg…
Sports have become a major part of our culture today. Everywhere you go, you see people wearing sports apparel, playing sports or just enjoying sports in general. As sports get bigger, more and more money is thrown around the sports world. A billion dollar stadium, team specific stores, athletes getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars, tickets that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, are all examples of money getting thrown around as sports get bigger. With all these numbers and dollars in the sports world, you must look around your city and ask yourself, “What impact do sports have on our cities?”
Sports can drastically change the economy of a city. Sports teams can improve the economy of the city, as well as the media market value of the city. The #1 media market in the United States of America is New York City. They have a total of 10 sports teams based in New York, which is the most in the country. The 50TH media market in the United States is Louisville, Kentucky. The only sports team they have is the University of Louisville. As you can see, sports can make the difference in your city being a mass media market among the rest of the United States. The number one economic city in the US is, again, New York. They make 1.264 trillion dollars a year. The 50th economic city is Raleigh, North Carolina. They have one NHL Team, and they only make 53 billion a year. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of the teams in New York do well every year, and New York is the top city in the US. It’s obvious that the impact that the sports teams have on New York as a media market and as an economic stimulus is large especially compared to cities with one or no sports teams. You can’t logically look at these numbers and say that these 10 teams in New York don’t have an impact on New York. I believe that these sports teams are the only thing separating New York from Louisville, or Raleigh. Every city has people. Every city has money. Not every city has a reason to grow, however. Sports provide the reason to grow, get bigger, get stronger, and get richer. New York seized the opportunity and became the top city in the United States. Sports can give any city the opportunity to succeed.
Speaking of opportunity, sports have provided many ways for young and developing countries to generate revenue and popularity. In Peru, foot racing is a very popular sport. Because of the popularity, many jobs are created. The runners need shoes, so shoe factories are created and jobs are created from that. They also need uniforms, so jobs are created for that. The races bring in tourism from all over, so hotels and lodges are built. Tourist also rock climb, ski and take part in other activities that use the Peruvian landscape. Alive & Kicking, an African ball manufacturer, provides a way to make affordable, functional balls so Africans can play soccer. They employ 20 workers per job site, and they are trained and provided with better job opportunities. With more balls to play with, Africans get better at soccer, which increases the sport around them, so that one day it will be just like the races in Peru. When you play sports a lot around the town, you get better and as a whole your city gets better at the sports. When your city is better, sports facilities start to be built, so there’s a place to showcase your abilities. People come to the facilities and watch you show your talent. Then businesses start popping up, just like in Peru. Just like in New York, sports give the opportunity to grow as an economy, a city, and a society.
People go where the sports go. Fans follow major league baseball teams as they go into Florida for spring training. All those new people in Florida help boost the economy. The short spring training period brings $750 million total to the state of Florida. In 2009, 9,205 jobs were created because of spring training. $571 million of that $750 million total came from out of state, showing that fans will spend money wherever their favorite sports team goes. In Florida, they have held 12 Super Bowls, they hold the annual Daytona 500, they hold the “Super Bowl” of bass fishing, and they have 5 bowl games. Fans follow their teams. All these help out Florida’s economy greatly. Your sports team being successful also brings more fans to the city, and makes more fans willing to spend money on your team. In Starkville, Mississippi, home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the success of the team has bolstered the economy a lot. Every game day, it is projected 15,000 outside city fans come to Starkville. That’s an extra 15,000 buying hotels, food and items from the local stores. The fan shops around Starkville have at least doubled their production from outside the football season and when the football team is doing badly. A good sports team can bolster your economy. Florida has also had many successful teams in their state, which can also explain why they get $32 billion in sports every year. The Marlin’s (MLB) won the World Series in 1997 and 2003. The Buccaneers (NFL) won the Super Bowl in 2002. The Lightning (NHL) won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Having more sports teams and more teams that are successful can have a giant impact on the economy of the state or city.
Sports not only directly bring money into the city; they provide thousands upon millions of jobs for people, even if they are temporary jobs. In Peru, there are many shoe factories because of the popular races. In every city, there has to be memorabilia shops. The sports team itself provides jobs, because most players move with their team, so they qualify as citizens with jobs, and the front office people and coaches also count as jobs. The restaurants prosper, especially on game days. Gas stations and convenient stores also get higher sales around games. With all of this increased store traffic, the stores would have to hire new employees to help out with the game day crowds. These are some of the more permanent jobs, but there are also temporary jobs. Construction, to build the stadium and facilities around it, increases drastically to get the facilities built in time. The team also has to pay employ vendors to work in the stadiums during game days. They also have to hire security, field crews, janitors, broadcasters, light operators and electricians. All of these jobs in and around the stadium are available during just game days and the season, but they are still jobs and help bring in tax money for the state. With new jobs for people and the city rallying behind the sports team, the culture could change as well as the economy.
Sports can have an effect on the people in the city, and the way they live in general. Cities tend to get behind the teams in their city, and they become intense fans of the sport and the team. They want to support their team and go to the games, and let everyone know they’re a fan of that team. This sort of entitlement brings people in cities together. In public, you hear complete strangers talking about the upcoming sports season, or you hear war cries of the local team. Sports can bring a big city, like Atlanta, together with the sense of a small town community. Big, worldwide sporting events bring can drastically change cities, like the Olympics did to Atlanta. The Olympics pushed Atlanta into the world wide picture. Everyone was talking about the Olympics in the city, at a time when there were still many racist in Atlanta. The Olympics was a catalyst for peace in Atlanta and the exhibition of racism. The Olympics brought Atlanta together as a whole, and gave them a reason to fight together against all the problems the city had at the time. When sports can bring together a city, bring peace and eliminate racism, it’s obvious that sports have a positive impact on the culture of a big city, bringing small town togetherness into one of the world’s leading cities.
Sports can drastically change the economy and culture of a city, that fact has been proven. People still debate about the exact impact, and some say sports have no real impact. You can’t look at this information and say sports have no impact, when they have changed cities into powerhouses and basis for cultural togetherness. It is no coincidence the #1 media market and economically powerful city, New York, has the most sports teams. It is no coincidence Atlanta got rid of its racism issues during the same time the Olympics occurred. Sports change your city, in the most dramatic way. The best part about sports changing cities is that the change is for the better.
2011 NFL Draft: AFC East Grades New England Patriots Bill Belichick drafted the successor to Tom Brady with his third round selection of Ryan Mallett. 1/17: OT Nate Solder [Colorado] (Raiders) 2/33: CB Ras-I Dowling [Virginia] (Panthers) 2/56: RB Shane Vereen [California] (Saints) 3/73: RB Stevan Ridley [Louisiana State] (Texans) 3/74: QB Ryan Mallett [Arkansas] …
2011 NFL Draft: AFC South Grades Tennessee Titans The Tennessee Titans shocked many when they selected Jake Locker with the eight overall pick, but he is worth it. 1/8: QB Jake Locker [Washington] 2/39: LB Akeem Ayers [California, Los Angeles] 3/77: DT Jurrell Casey [Southern California] 4/109: LB Colin McCarthy [Miami (FL)] 4/130: RB Jamie …
Vonta Leach might be one of the true anomalies in the NFL right now — a Pro Bowl free-agent-to-be, still yet to turn 30. In this distorted labor situation, that alone will put you in some pretty exclusive company.
Teams and agents, operating under the awkward backdrop of an on-again, off-again, on-again lockout, still do not know when the 2011 league year will begin and what it will look like. Some clarity is expected when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals makes a decision on whether or not to stay Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to enjoin the lockout. The possibility exists that the NFL will have to impose rules for the 2011 season at some point, and if it does, general managers expect those rules to look an awful lot like those used in the 2010 season. That included players needing six years of accrued seasons to become unrestricted free agents (rather than four, the norm during the past CBA).
“It has been kind of a weird year,” said Leach, 29, a seven-year vet. “By this time you usually already know where you’re going to be at, and you’re establishing a relationship with your new teammates if you’re not going to be with your current teammates. Right now you’re just in limbo about everything, but I’m ready to go ahead and get this over with no matter what the rules are.”
And if the 2010 rules remain in place, then Leach, Houston’s Pro Bowl fullback, will be among a very select handful of prime free agents in what could be the worst crop since this era of free agency began in the mid 1990s. It makes last year’s mundane market seem remarkable by comparison, as this class of roughly 220 players lacks sizzle at key spots like quarterback, offensive tackle, and anyone capable of mustering a consistent pass rush.
The potential lack of name recognition aside, here’s a look at seven other free-agents-to-be who could stand to do well on the open market.
Nnamdi Asomugha, corner
By far the top prize of this free-agent class and the only one of these 200-odd players who could rightly make a claim to being the very best in the world at his position. He’s without a doubt in the top two or three, if you want to put Darrelle Revis first. Asomugha is creeping up on 30, but is still in line for a massive payday that will exceed $15 million per season. Houston and Dallas are not shy about spending money, and both could use a corner. The Jets were a rumored suitor, but in this scenario still have Antonio Cromartie as a restricted free agent. Given his age, Asomugha makes the most sense for teams that are already playoff ready or just on the cusp.
Thomas Davis, linebacker
The Panthers love this linebacker, who has essentially missed two straight seasons because of injuries now. A 2005 first-round pick, Davis was emerging as a leader and a key figure in their defense. However, consecutive ACL tears have cast his future in doubt. He’s still just 28 — and that’s with two lost seasons. He fought as hard as he could to make it back last season and Carolina kept a roster spot open for him for a good part of the year hoping he would do so — a testament to how much general manager Marty Hurney thinks of his importance to the team. I would suspect he will garner a fair amount of interest and would be seen by many as the top linebacker available.
Darren Sproles, running back
A potential special teams game-changer and someone who, after being franchised in the past, might be a luxury the Chargers can no longer afford with Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert in the backfield, too. Might have been an intriguing possibility for the Falcons — who hit big on former Chargers running back Michael Turner in free agency a few years back — but their selection of Jacquizz Rodgers in the draft negates that. Too much talent for an innovative coordinator not to tap into as Norv Turner has for years in San Diego. Sproles was in line for a nice deal a year ago prior to being designated a restricted free agent under the uncapped year in 2010.
Marc Bulger, quarterback
You will find plenty of scouts who believe he is done. They feel years of heavy hits and concussions have rendered him less of a quarterback and decision-maker. They don’t see him getting through a season as a starter. But there are plenty in the Ravens organization — where he was a backup last year — that believe Bulger could end up being a free-agent steal for someone. He clearly fits Arizona’s system, as he and Kurt Warner have the same passing roots. Arizona chose to be too frugal with him a year ago, but I doubt that’s the case now. While some in Washington’s organization are high on Bulger, I doubt the Redskins would put together the kind of financial package the Cardinals would. Could Bulger re-establish himself in Arizona as Warner did a few years back?
Anthony Hargrove, defensive lineman
Personal demons behind him and tapped back into his athletic prowess, Hargrove could shine outside in a 4-3 scheme. New Orleans lacked depth at tackle, and so he played primarily on the interior, but other teams see him as a potential disrupter off the edge. He’d love to get the opportunity. Still just 27 years old, he’s an absolutely baby by the standards of this free-agent class.
Aubrayo Franklin, defensive tackle
If you are desperate for a true nose tackle — Washington, for instance, is — then this is your best (only?) real option. Age is not ideal, as he is 30, but he has played at a Pro Bowl level in the past and was franchised in 2009. Was a spare part early in his career, so a bit younger health-wise than some veterans of the trenches. He can be a difficult force to handle anchoring the defensive line.
Terrell Owens, receiver
Based on production alone, Owens was a steal for the Bengals in 2010. Even though it was a miserable season for them, Owens was very solid. He still drops too many balls and still puts his foot in his mouth (calling out Bengals owner Mike Brown after the season was silly and shortsighted). It could be another long wait for him this offseason, but I have to wonder if Seattle, which dabbled with the idea of signing him a year ago, might be his best option this time around. No matter where he goes, or when he lands, there will be no lack of intrigue surrounding it.
Overall, the defensive line, though without marquee names, is a strength here. The players mentioned above, plus ends Cullen Jenkins and Andre Carter (though I like him much more as a 4-3 outside linebacker), could help someone’s front seven without a doubt. Jenkins is a versatile player whose stock will be high coming off his superb effort in the playoffs helping the Packers to a Super Bowl title.
Oh, and this shallow market will be likely made even less fertile by, say, Mark Clayton — who was emerging as a deep threat for the Rams in 2010 before injury — possibly staying put. And I don’t think too many people envision Olin Kreutz anywhere but Chicago. The Panthers will certainly make a concerted effort to retain Davis, with management huge fans of his will, effort and desire, to say nothing of performance.