Category Archives: NFL

John Elway and the evolving use of twitter

Vice president of football operations John Elway and the Denver Broncos have taken to a new PR model with heavy utilization of multimedia, as mentioned here on M-I-Z 303 earlier, and now, just as much use of social media.

John Elway has taken to twitter with an information flurry, for better and worse.

John Elway: “Meeting with Rick Dennison and Dirk Koetter later today. We’ve got our questions, but what’s the one thing you’d ask?”

Whether or not Broncos’ brass actually uses anything some twit tweets, the face of Denver sports in its heyday seemingly reaches out to fans directly. Will that kind of trick work on all these pissed off Denver fans? If not, it’s certainly starting to roll publiciity. That’s worth something in and of itself. I wonder if this outreach will be remembered down the line, assuming the the practice trends at all.

The strategy does carry potential for backfire if, say, a coach declines the team’s interview request following Elway’s confident assumption.

John Elway: “We also received permission to interview Saints DC Gregg Williams… He’ll be at Dove Valley on Wednesday.”

And, of course, it gives the organization the ability to quash any trade rumors about endorsement machine Tim Tebow.

John Elway: “Any speculation that the Denver Broncos are looking to move Tim is completely false.”

Two thumbs up–he avoided a common grammatical misstep by not pluralizing the last verb like boneheaded agents always do, and he also launched Tim Tebow into first name only status.

“This one’s for John.”

“Any speculation that…Tim…”

alright, John could use some help in the impact-through-brevity department. Still, if someone sees a dramatic shortfall in this strategy, please say so. Do you believe this could somehow hurt the team, public image or otherwise?


Denver Broncos’ search for new head coach utilizes brilliant strategy

In their search for a new head coach, the Denver Broncos will keep fans updated via a multimedia effort unheard of in today’s NFL. Complete with video inside the “war room” and candid in-car interviews with candidates as they presumably drive to the team’s head quarters in Dove Valley, the reach out effort represents ownership’s desire to rekindle fans’ trust in what critics label a lost franchise.

Fox 31 local news puttered away unnoticed in the living room corner, the Green Bay Packers’ NFC wild card victory over MikeVick and the Eagles already just a memory as we busied ourselves with needless conversation. Then John Elway’s face flickered on screen, and I turned up the volume.

The segment showed video clips of New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell answering questions candidly from the passenger seat, shots of John Elway, vice president of football operations, meeting the candidate and the inside of the interview room, decked out in framed jerseys–Atwater, Sharpe, you know, the big names.

In the brief video interview, Fewell said:

“First class,” referring to the Broncos organization in the interview with the team’s website.

“Mr. Bowlen, first class. The Denver way of how they did things, you would always ask questions, those guys were so successful. How did they do this? How did they practice on Friday? How did they conduct themselves when they went on trips?”

“Everything seemed like it was geared towards winning,” Fewell continued from the car en route presumably to the interview.

“Championships start at the top and it starts with Mr. Bowlen. He knows how to compete, and that makes it more fun for you as a coach. He understands competition and knows what it takes. It just trickles down the food chain. I see that in the Denver Broncos organization. I see that in how they play and how they’ve prepared and I want to be a part of something like that.”

This kind of transparency is the smartest thing ownership has done in the past five years, a brilliant PR move that I expect to catch on throughout the NFL as the proletariat continue to thirst for more and more information digestible through multimedia.

Before anyone stops to accuse me of an orange tint to my lenses, hear me out. The Denver Broncos, after a tumultuous year and a half under Coach McDaniels; amid out-of-bounds questions about owner Pat Bowlen’s state of mind; having not reached the playoffs since 2005; and following the team’s hire of John Elway, made immediate steps to distance themselves from their past by emphasizing transparency in their search for a new head coach.

The move makes sense, given the fans’ reaction to Josh McDaniels totalitarian, opaque operations. Mike Shanahan was similarly non-transparent, but he won two Super Bowls before coaching through nearly a decade of disappointment.

Now fans have a chance to observe and evaluate these candidates on their own–though they don’t have any capability to vote on a favorite through, for obvious reasons. Expect that question to come down via the Denver Post soon.

Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the multimedia content on the website. As it relates to the evolving role of journalism, I love what the the organization and their official website are doing here.

Missouri Tigers in the NFL: Week 17

With the 2010 NFL regular season officially over, two-thirds of the active former Missouri Tiger football players helped their teams to the playoffs. Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, who has both Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore, continue play into January.

Brad Smith had a huge day to close out the season for the New York Jets. He rushed for 60 yards out of the wildcat formation, almost all of them on two running plays for 40 yards and 20 yards respectively.

The pure receivers go into the offseason in relatively calm fashion. Philadelphia’s Jeremy Maclin was one of only two Philadelphia starters on the offensive side of the ball and was targeted once with no catches. Justin Gage had zero balls thrown his way–the Titans offense, as has become more and more apparent this year, really only has room for one stellar receiver and his name is Kenny Britt.

Danario Alexander headed the so-called receiving corps with a whopping three catches as his sub-.500 Rams failed to make the playoffs.

The lone Pro Bowl attendee of the bunch, San Francisco’s defensive end Justin Smith, asserted his dominance in a blowout victory. Smith had a season-high three sacks as the 49ers rolled over Arizona. In his 151st straight start, Smith also forced a fumble, technically.

Pittsburgh’s Ziggy Hood also had a sack. After a very, very quiet first eight weeks, Hood stepped up after an injury and had himself a respectable season.

Finally, Chase Daniel threw the ball around this week! With Brees on the sidelines in the second half, Daniel came in and completed two of three passes for 16 yards. He also had an ugly toss in the backfield that ended his team’s possession.

Now, the playoffs.

Missouri Tigers in the NFL: Week 16

Read this post at the Columbia Missourian’s Tiger Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings made the NFL a little more interesting for the third week in a row; the league moved their contest against the Eagles to Tuesday, December 29 because of the East Coast blizzard.

Philadelphia’s solid receiver not named DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, did what he’s done all season and racked up substantial receiving yardage. Quarterback Michael Vick and Maclin did not connect for a score, as Minnesota rookie Joe Webb played more like 2010 Vick than the hobbled Vick did. Maclin did have one very pretty sideline grab for 28 yards in the first quarter.

St. Louis put Danario Alexander on the field for a season high 43 of 66 offensive snaps . The first year player racked up nearly 100 yards working against the 49ers defense, and appeared to score when he stood up and ran across the goal line untouched after snagging a 46 yard bomb from Sam Bradford. San Francisco head honcho Mike Singletary challenged the ruling, though, and the official rescinded the touchdown call.

Playing against the Bears in Chicago, New York Jets receiver Brad Smith had an opportunity to keep his New York team’s drive alive late in the game but the former MU quarterback let the ball bounce off his hands. Regardless, the Jets clinched a playoff berth thanks to a Jacksonville loss against a subpar Washington Redskins squad.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Gage had a similar problem on Sunday–he dropped a pass that would have allowed his team to convert on fourth down in the first quarter, and did not log a catch the rest of the day.

Defensively, Pittsburgh’s Ziggy Hood sacked Carolina Panther’s quarterback Jimmy Clausen during garbage time in the fourth quarter.

On Monday night in Atlanta, William Moore had five tackles yet again, two that kept the Saints out of the end zone in an eventual loss.

San Francisco veteran Justin Smith was named to the Pro Bowl as a back up. It will be Smith’s first Pro Bowl appearance.

Former Tigers in the NFL: Week 15 resurgence

Jeremy Maclin, (c)

Read this post at the Columbia Missourian newspaper’s TigerSports page.

After scarcely making even a semblance of an impact in the NFL last week, MU products exploded across the board in week 15.

NOTE: Links typically take you to video clips of the play underlined.

Atlanta’s starting defense boasts two Missouri alums, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and safety William Moore. Each had five tackles at Seattle, and Moore also contributed an interception in the third quarter. He read Matt Hasselback’s eyes then took the ball down the sideline for 27 yards into Seattle territory.

In Pittsburgh, New York Jets WR Brad Smith ran back the opening kickoff 97 yards and scored. Smith holds the franchise record for longest play with a 106 yard return against Indianapolis last year.

Philadelphia WR Jeremy Maclin pulled in the winning touchdown to cap a 28 point Eagles come back in New York against the Giants, his second score of the day. He also lost a fumble in the Eagle’s victory.

Tennessee Titans veteran receiver Justin Gage had only one catch but it came on fourth down on the one yard line. Gage laid out, snagging the Kerry Colins pass for his first touchdown of the year.

Justin Smith, one of the most respected defensive linemen in the league, was ejected from the San Francisco 49ers contest Thursday against San Diego for laying his hands on a referee. He inadvertently shoved an umpire in the heat of the moment during a scuffle with Chargers TE Kris Wilson.

Despite Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s request for playing time on Danario Alexander’s behalf, St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo and quarterback Sam Bradford failed to get him the ball against state rival Kansas City in week 15.

Aside from Alexander, the only other Tiger to have zero impact on the game this week was Chase Daniel, who watched diligently from the sidelines in the Saints loss against Baltimore.

Purported Nike Pro Combat Jerseys–the Chiefs look terrible

The L.A. Times published a slideshow of what someone purports to be NFL Pro Combat jersey designs for when Nike replaces Reebok as the official NFL jersey supplier.

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Later, Yahoo! Sports reports from a Nike source that the uniforms are not real.

They are well-done but amateur-created art, most likely based on the current Pro Combat college uniform concepts. (That is to say, well-done for the most part — whoever designed the new fake Kansas City Chiefs uni needs to go back to the drawing board).

Can’t say I disagree. The Chiefs mock up looks awful. At least they picked the right parts of the Belichick coaching tree. Continue reading

Either the Associated Press or every stat guy on the planet is wrong here…

We had to take weekly quizzes on AP style throughout my undergrad years here. Finding a mistake in anything published by AP dulls that slow, soul crushing pain suffered by journalism students everywhere.

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first quarter of an NFL football - Sunday December 5 (AP)

The Associated Press credits Sean Weatherspoon with a sack against Tampa Bay last week. I caught the picture in the midst of searching for shots of those awful yet somehow nostalgically appealing Buccaneers throwbacks. I panicked for a moment because I thought I missed it in my graphic last week.

As it turns out, no one anywhere else credits him with a sack that Sunday. I think I’m fine. Player Page-Sean Weatherspoon