Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Checking In To Tell The LBS Story

From our Corporate blog over at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 by Gil Wolchock

Fall is my favorite time of year, just like it is for a lot of folks. While I enjoy the cooler temperatures, the changing of the leaves and all the preparations for the holidays, the real coup de grace for me is sports. Let’s face it, summer is the ‘dead of winter’ for a true sports fan, but fall is our Valhalla.

I mean, could October be any better? You have baseball pennant races, playoffs and The World Series. In Hockey and Basketball, the seasons are just beginning and everyone thinks they have a chance. For America’s new favorite pastime, college and professional football are in full force.

But you're on our blog to read about unified marketing or the latest technology trends, right? You don't really care about my passion for sports.

When Sports and Marketing Collide

Sports and marketing have been closely aligned for as long as I can remember now. From the ads you see in the programs at the ballpark, to TV/radio spots (and shows created for the sole purposes of selling ads I might add). Of course, there's also the signage all over, including player uniforms, the scoreboards and that precious real estate in the line of sight of any television camera (like behind home plate).

The next iteration of fan engagement is coming through Location Based Services (LBS). There is no question that services like FourSquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places have moved beyond the fad to widespread fan adoption.

For me, I think sports is the bridge between fad and reality for LBS. Sporting events - whether you're at the game or watching it in the neighborhood bar or from your couch with your Snuggie on - have always been about participation. Fans want to be part of the experience. With LBS, they can mark the event.

- A captive audience – when you arrive at a stadium for a game, they have you at “hello”. You are there for 3-6 hours (if you include tailgating). Advertisers have long seen the value here with placement in Programs, buying up ballpark ‘real estate’, etc…

- Fans are a passionate, core demographic for sports. The term ‘fan’ comes from ‘fanatic’ - is there a more poignant example of this passion.

LBS Creates New Opportunities for Storytelling

- The narrative – here ‘IT’ is, the KEY to making LBS truly successful. At the heart of any success is STORYTELLING. At the heart of sports and why we love them is STORYTELLING. Whether it is sharing the ‘moment’ with 95,000 others or telling your grandchildren 40 years later about how you were there when ‘IT’ happened, sports is about the story! Deep in this concept of STORYTELLING is the desire to SHARE, which is really what LBS is about.

So now that we have the groundwork we need to look at LBS and assume that something is ‘missing’. If you agree that three things needed for success today from a marketing standpoint are storytelling, technology and social engagement you can begin to see where I am going.

Clearly LBS’ have the technology angle solved. Smart devices with GPS and social networking built in are what have fueled the revolution. Additionally, they are inherently social. You check in, tell your friends where you are, see where they are, etc...

What I see as missing is the ‘story’. When LBS first launched the question was raised, “Why would I check in and tell people where I am at?” In those early days the answer was, “If you give them a free beer they will check in”. While that worked initially, I don’t think it is a long-term strategy.

What should be the answer is sharing. Let people share in a group experience, add in their commentary/story, record it for posterity, and then relive it as they choose. Now, what better platform is there for that than sports?

Take this past week and look at all the great stories you could have been a part of:

Roy Halladay pitching only the SECOND No Hitter in baseball playoff HISTORY
Bobby Cox managing his last game for the Atlanta Braves
Brett Favre throwing his 500th touchdown last night on Monday Night Footbal
Quite literally there were THOUSANDS of fans looking to share those stories and LBS’ could have been the perfect tool to do so. Sure, you get a glimpse of the story with a short message, but there's more to it than that.

You could check in that you were there, you could post pictures, add running commentary and lastly share the emotions of the moment. Yet, it’s not being done, at least not through one consistent service.
The question is then why? The answer is money. It’s expensive to launch initiatives, especially ones that don’t have a direct ROI to the groups, in this case a Sports Teams, bottom line. But I see that as short sighted and where advertising can step in. For an advertiser what is the benefit of placing an ad in the program of a World Series Game? It’s that eyeballs in the stadium will see the ad, resonate with it and choose to purchase your product.

The same thing can happen through LBS with an even more emotional pull. Take the Halladay no-hitter (as a Philly fan I will). If I were checked-in to the game and right after it ended, I received a personal message to me (and the others that checked in) that I could be the FIRST to get the t-shirt commemorating the event --- how fast would I do it? Two seconds! How long would it take me to tell the rest of my social network that I did? Less than two seconds!!

Soon I would have two stories to tell, the game AND the great offer I received after, all because I was checked-in. How many of my ‘friends’ will now check into games waiting to see if they will get anything? A lot of them. If they get something, they might tell two more friends, and they tell two friends and soon we are all using shampoo from the 1980’s!

So, why haven’t teams, leagues and advertisers seen the power of this yet? I’m not sure, maybe they need to check into LBS in the off season.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

QB Shake ups Impact Week 3, and the Return of the Denny Green Quote

One of my favorite coach quotes of all time was when a FIRED UP Denny Green snapped this lovely line at the reporters in a post game press conference,

"they are who we thought they were"

It remains one of the classic moments in coach speak history, but why is it relevant to Fantasy Football and why now? Well, we are entering Week 3 and while it seems like the season just started we are already more than 10% in. To me it feels like the end is near. Seriously, I have already rationalized in my mind that after this week we only have one more week to the 'Quarter Pole' and yikes, then it's really on! Before you know it the leaves are gone, there is snow on the ground and we are talking playoffs…but I digress. By Week 3 teams start to establish themselves. They shed the expectation that they would be like last year or they don't live up to the hype that they were 'supposed to be' this year. Injuries have started to set in and already we are seeing massive QB shake ups. If there is one position, at least from a starters perspective with little impact is the QB change (with the exception in Philly). As a general rule, the QB's being yanked are guys that went undrafted but what you do need to do is pay attention to the other skilled positions on that team. Take the Steelers this week (please): with Dennis Dixon having surgery and Big Ben still suspended they turn to Charlie Batch (I think). You would never start Batch but I bet you, like me, are looking at Rashard Mendenhall and wondering if this is a blessing or a curse. Sure, a scaled down game plan dictates he runs a ton and gets 25+ carries. But the defense knows this too and they should be stacking 8 guys in the box with run blitzes. Doesn't mean Mendenhall has a bad day? No. But it does give you pause to think about an otherwise 'no brainer' scenario. Then there are the WR's and TE's. Do you bench a guy like Hines Ward? Probably not, but he probably becomes a WR3 vs. a WR2. A TE like Heath Miller might actually see some uptick as a security blanket in this scenario.

So with that in mind, where are the juicy match ups in Week 3, with the standard caveat that I will not mention guys with the last name of Manning (P), Johnson, Rodgers, Peterson, etc…



Carson Palmer – gets pretty nice match up vs. a struggling Panther team that is starting Jimmy Claussen. Your only worry here is an early blow it, but CP should put up 2-3 TD's

Joe Flacco – where has this guy been? Well, he only played two of the tougher Defenses in Jets and Bengals. Look for the Ravens to open it up and take out some frustration on the Brownies.

Vick – Do I need to even say anything else? Last week we told you, if he plays, he is a Top 10 QB

Worthy of mentioning – Orton vs. Indy

Maybe think twice – D. McNabb – had a MONSTER game last week but will that continue? Should be a HUGE spot for #5 but I have a sneaky suspicion it won't be.



Ray Rice – 'sticking' (get it?) with the Baltimore theme here; Rice is due to bust out!

Marion Barber – why did the Cowboys stop giving this guy the ball last week? They have to keep Schaub and Johnson off the field; only way to do that is run, run, run.

Darren McFadden – is he finally living up to the hype? Coming off a big weekend he should continue to get the ball, especially with another one of those "lousy QB change for just another lousy QB"

Mike Tolbert – not sure if Ryan Matthews will play for the Chargers but he quickly is looking like a 'bust' and he is having trouble holding onto the ball. Tolbert is a 5'9" 'bowling ball' and the Chargers seem to love him.

Think twice – who on the JETS to start? LT or Greene? I have no idea right now and that means, if you can, sit them both. If not, it seems like LT is getting balls thrown to him so in a PPR league his value is higher.


WR – a lot of strange match ups this week, so there is a lot of 'chalk' at WR. Here are two guys that I think can go in at WR3 but begin to perform at WR2 level

Demariyus Thomas – Broncos, after sitting out Week 1, he was Orton's 'go to guy' and you have to expect that relationship to grow. This week they get Indy at home and you have to figure they will be playing catch up at some point. Garbage time is big in Fantasy Football.

Louis Murphy – Raiders, I love this guy and not just because he is a Gator. As McFadden asserts himself, Murphy should get some single coverage and Gradkowski/Campbell can actually throw the ball well…once in a while.


Have a good Week 3 and see you as we approach the ¼ way mark!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 1 - Studs, Duds and Pick ups

Let’s start on the positive side because it was just Week 1 after all right?
The big headline grabber was Arian Foster, of course. He of the 231 yards rushing and 3 TD’s. He single handedly made the rest of the Houston Offense DUDS in fact! If you were with us in the offseason and preseason prep you would remember us talking about Foster even before the Ben Tate injury. I’ll stick by my quote of him reminding me of another former University of Tennessee Running Back --- Jamal Lewis. Certainly Chris Johnson didn’t disappoint and thanks to a great OT run Rashard Mendenhall came out in the top of the RB pack. A couple of RB’s surprised a few Owners. If you were like me and stuck with Matt Forte (my Week 1 RB pick on the radio show this week) you were handsomely rewarded with a 2 TD’s, 200+ total yards and 7 big catches! Or how about Darren McFadden? Oakland is paying the guy and I think he will continue to get the ball. WR Studs were dominated by ‘2nd tier’ guys that really maybe shouldn’t be --- while Austin Collie (11 catches, 163 yards and a TD) might have seen his best day, guys like Hakeem Nicks (4/75/3), Wes Welker (8/64/2) and Ochocinco (12/159/1) should continue to thrive and were for the most part late early to middle round picks.
The Dud list this week is littered with first and second round picks up and down the line! Who would have thought this group of RB’s could have been so bad? Shonn Greene, Frank Gore, Turner, Ray Rice and that’s not mentioning Ryan Grant’s season ending injury! Not to be outdone were eggs laid by some of the NFL’s best hands guys – Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Malcom Floyd, Deshaun Jackson and to a lesser extent Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall and Randy Moss. In fact, if you had a Viking, a Jet, a Raven or a 49er you probably are scratching your head quite a bit today.
So, who is out there to go and get? Maybe the most important part of Fantasy Football is working the ‘waiver wire’. Big caveat here though, week #1 is just that, one week. No Denny Green “they are who we thought they were” speech here. Guys you took in the first 3 rounds are not being sat and should not be dropped. You might think about trades, especially unloading a guy whose value will never be higher (see Brandon Jackson if you don’t own Ryan Grant).
• The aforementioned Brandon Jackson in Green Bay. Until they trade for someone else and they get up to speed he is the guy. He automatically becomes a RB2
• Michael Vick – yep, #7. Don’t like his ethics, morals, etc? It’s Fantasy Football – who cares? If Kolb is out this guy becomes a Top 10 QB instantly
• Fragile Freddy Taylor – I may be a Gator ‘homer’ and I love Freddy but haven’t from a Fantasy perspective for a long time, BUT, he is getting the carries in New England and he looks fresh. On top of that the Patriots JUST unloaded Laurence Maroney to the Broncos. Ride him while he’s healthy
• Any number of WR’s on bad teams that will be playing catch up 
o Mark Clayton (STL)
o Mike Williams (TB)
o Mike Thomas (Jax)
o Danny Amendola (STL)
o M. Massaqui (CLE)

Good luck in Week 2 --- may your stars rebound and your ‘reaches’ keep on plugging away.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So now that you drafted…

For so many Fantasy Football Owners it is “all about the draft” and in a lot of cases that is true, for any number of reasons.

But that can’t be it, right? Think of Fantasy Ownership like dating – I know, for some of you it’s been a LONG, LONG time (for many different reasons) but bear with me.

Remember all the prep work that went into that ‘first date’? Well your draft is the ‘first date’. How do you make sure it goes well? That you ask the right questions? Get to know exactly what you need to know and vice versa so there is a next date? How much time did you do in preparation? Have you been ‘studying’ your ‘prey’ for quite some time? Do you know where she likes to eat? What are her favorite movies to go to? Or exactly what it’s going to take to go all the way?

Ok, enough with the analogies but I think you get the comparison…

If that first date goes well it leads to a second and a third and maybe a nice relationship. Same for the draft – you put in the time, do your homework, pay attention to the little details that make your draft unique for yo, then you might just have a nice little relationship as well, with your team that is!

But what happens when it all goes wrong? You forgot your date was a vegetarian. She isn’t feeling well and doesn’t want to go on that nature hike you set up. What do you do then? You improvise!! You don’t give up! Same thing goes for your draft. No draft will ever go to the form you expect. MJD will slip because of his knee so do you take him at 4 or do you go Andre Johnson? These are the things you need to be thinking about.

But just like dating the first date is certainly important but it’s just the beginning, so too for Fantasy Football, the draft is just the beginning. Hopefully your league is built so that you can adjust on the fly (think, how do I get that 2nd date to make a better impression). What are my leagues trading rules? Restrictions on Free Agent pick ups? Too many leagues these days want to take away the ‘tough stuff to manage’ like these things. Guess what? It’s the best part!! Just like the actual best part of dating is the process of getting to know someone! The meat of the relationship here is like your ‘regular season’.

Hopefully with the right moves, the proper amount of intuition and courage you will advance to the best part --- the post season --- I am going to leave the dating side of this analogy to your imagination my friends, but I think you know where I am going.

My point here is the draft is just the draft. It is the ONE time all the Owners of your league are together (hopefully face to face because who likes online dating? ☺). Enjoy it for what it’s worth but stay engaged for the full season!! Even if it’s not going that well a season can be saved and even if it can’t be think of all the lessons you will learn by managing through it --- again, easy analogy to dating…

We are on the eve of the 2010 Football Season my friends, and just like in life, we all have a fighting chance --- enjoy your year!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Devil’s Advocate

Maybe it has been all the rain over the last few days, or the oppressive heat this summer or just quite possibly it was being stuck on an un-air-conditioned subway car this morning for 45 minutes but I am feel quite in the contrarian mood. In this case it's a good thing because it is letting me look at Fantasy Football, and more broadly at Fantasy Sports, through a different lens. I've decided that this season, once a week, I am going to look at this game we love to play from the other side of the 'pond'. No, I'm not in London advocating for the NFL Europe to return but I will be trying to separate myself and opinions, at least here, from the masses of mainstream media that try to feed you Fantasy Football in a neat little package.

You know the 'package' – it's the 'uber' site that not only gives you stats (which are useful) but also gives you projections (ok, good debate fodder) but then goes on to try to turn you and your league in to auto-bots that go through life on auto pilot. You think I'm wrong? Ha! What the FUCK is auto pick then and why are you able to use it? I think, at least I hope, it was created as a 'fail safe' for online drafters in case they get bumped off line or get called out of their room by their 'Mommy'. Me, I hate online drafts --- loathe, loathe, loathe them. Put me on a plane and take me to my 'boys' or Vegas or wherever but I need to be in a room, shooting the shit; I mean isn't what this was all about in 1992 when I joined my first league?

Enough with the diatribe, I apologize. So throughout the season I will try and tackle the mainstream thought 'police' out there and see if we can't refocus the lens.

Today's example – Rankings based on the previous season for Running backs in particular. Every magazine you pick up and who's the #1 pick? Well OF COURSE its Chris Johnson; has to be CHRIS JOHNSON. Look at his totals last year, it's Chris Johnson. Ok, I get that, but then why wasn't Chris Johnson last year's #1 pick? Oh, he didn't have the stats to support it. You mean, the guy who led the previous year didn't again --- big shocker! Anybody remember the CONCENSUS #1 pick just one year ago? Yep – Adrian Petersen. Where did he finish? 5th in Rushing…in fact, in just the last 3 years of the 15 RB's who finished in the top 5 (in rushing) only Petersen (all 3 years) and Steven Jackson (2 of the 3) are repeaters on the list. So why is he the #1 pick this year? It's because of FEAR! The fear begins with the "experts" because of the 'herd mentality'. G-d forbid you step out of line and look elsewhere --- people will stop buying your magazine, subscribing to your website or mock you on the intertubes. Fear on the behalf of the millions of Owners out there who hold the #1 pick. You will agonize, debate internally and dissect ad nausea (that's BS because the second you learned you had the #1 you though Chris Johnson, but I'll give YOU the benefit of the doubt). And lastly fear of the unknown. We all know that CJ is the choice, it's the easy one to make, the 'right' one, the safe one, but based on statistics more than likely the WRONG one and guess what Mr. #1 Draft Pick Owner, you have a LONG wait until you make your next pick. Who else would you take? There's the real FEAR…

Every year there seems to be a more desirable spot in the draft. To me, this year it is at #4. Why is that? Well if #1 is a no brainer because CJ's stats last year, well, #4 is the next big no brainer and there is a huge drop off to #5 (in my mind). At #4 we can assume that CJ is gone and that any rotation of AP, Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice will be left. Guess what, give me ANY of those three and I am ecstatic!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sage words of advice - "it's an ever changing landscape"

What worked yesterday may not work today; the tried and true precepts you've based world on are suddenly turned upside down. Sound catastrophic? In the world of Fantasy Football it very well may be. The axiom I am referring to? You MUST grab a top back in the First Round if you are say in the top 6 picks. There are actually people that swear by the philosophy of going 'back, back' in 1 and 2 and never factor much else into the equation. If you have been a savvy FFL Owner then you find these guys and prey on them. If you are not sure who they are, look in the mirror. Do you pour over cheat sheets made in April? Do you print out ESPN's ranking and go from there (even those guys will tell you this is wrong)? Better yet, in your online draft do you set up for 'auto-pick'? In poker there is a great phrase, "find the sucker at the table, if you don't see him, then it's YOU". Same thing goes with Fantasy Football. If you are going to play one way and one way only you will get run over.

Why am I bringing this up now and what's its relation to the 'Running Back Rule'? In case you missed it kids, the NFL is once again evolving. Nearly extinct are the 'every down back', the guy who will carry the rock all day long. In fact, you can count on your two hands the number of those guys out there this year. What this does is two things; 1) yes, it makes those guys all the more valuable but it also 2) creates a pretty deep pool of talent that begs you to hold off on the 'back-back' strategy. Of course all things are relative, and you MUST know your own scoring system inside and out (yes, we at the FFL Guru preach this every year and we still get complaints about our 'rankings'). In knowing that, step out of your comfort zone this year, at least look at a WR or dare I say a QB. It's a leap but it might be a leap of faith.

One thing I am getting bombarded with right now is, I have 'x; pick...who should I take? Again, just like every year, and written above, it is generally not enough info, which is why you can't rely on a cheatsheet. So what do you need to know, or what would I need to know to give you a knowledgeable answer:

- your point system
- how many teams in your league
- how many starters you have at each position
- some Owner tendencies

then I think I could a decent job. Without that it's tough, but I will give you my top 5 at the Big 3 spots and a sleeper and a bust (as of today 8/3/10)

QB - The Big 3 and then a whole lot of "isn't this guy like another guy", except maybe Romo (can't believe I said that)
Rodgers, Brees, Manning
Sleeper - Henne (some really mice weapons in Miami)
Bust - It's hard to call Tom Brady a bust but I see the continued diminishing of the skill positions in New England and that should impact his #'s. I certainly don't believe he is in the Top 4, where he is consistently ranked.

RB - it's all about versatility
C. Johnson, Rice and Jones-Drew - where is AP? Blasphemy? My leagues are all PPR, feel free to adjust as needed
Sleeper & Bust - going to package this one together; give me the Colts RB's for both Alex. Donald Brown is my Sleeper and Joseph Addai is my Bust. Addai literally carried me to 2nd place last year and I still scratch my head over it. Fact is he is aging rapidly and is barely averaging 3 yards a carry. Whether it be by injury or sheer lack of production, Donald Brown becomes the #1 back there by mid-season and isn't that the definition of a Sleeper?

WR - the guard continues to evolve; give me big, strong and tough. And as I think about it, I'm not sure I can give you a Top 3 that is heads above another. I'll give you a #1 and some thoughts, because I can!

Andre Johnson - duh

Other thoughts - give me some of these guys, they are ranking way too low by the 'experts'

Greg Jennings - STUD STUD STUD
Marques Colston - I've seen him in the mid teens, are you smoking crack? I hate the too many weapons argument (see Reggie Wayne for the last 3-4 years)
Brandon Marshall - he will become the first 100 reception guy in Dolphin history

Oh yeah - Sidney Rice just became the official first BUST for teams that already drafted, why anyone does that is beyond me, assuming that #4 stays retired...

In other news, the FFL Guru is continuing on with several very cool partnerships and projects to be announced shortly as the pre season goes on. One that is done, we are teaming up with Circus Dave from and will become an integral part of their team. You can look for weekly columns on our take of things over there as well as get Dave and all his prognosticating glory at our site,

Friday, July 9, 2010

The powers of observation

Sometimes I can withdraw into myself and not really be a part of the world around me. At its worst, I put on my ear buds, crank up the music, drop the sunglasses and 'sleepwalk' to where I need to be. Every once in awhile something will shake me out of that 'slumber' and I once again realize how much I am missing when I intentionally choose to turn off some of the senses that G-d gave me.

Intentional, like the use of the word above, is quickly becoming my motto. I am trying very diligently to lead an 'intentional life'. For too long now I have sat back and allowed the days to wash over me. While things have been good, they could and will be better.

All of this ran through me today at the airport while I waited through a two hour maintenance delay and an hour ground stop once we boarded. On top of that, I got to the airport early and got on an earlier flight, which thanks to those delays wound up taking off over an hour after my regularly scheduled flight left. Normally my reaction would be one of disgust. Disgust of the airline, disgust in myself for making the change and from there I could have spiraled right into a shitty weekend. Instead I took that opportunity to be intentional. I opened my laptop and reviewed documents for three very big meetings next week. I looked over a resume for an interview I need to conduct and I did research for a project that a friend is working on. I also reflected on my week with my children, where we visited friends and family. I wish I could put into words how special it was to see four of my closest friends on the same night with their families and to have a picture of all of us the reflection of 30+ years of friendship and then seeing our children enjoy those same bonding moments that we had.

Lastly, I spent some time observing the world around me. Mostly I was looking at the interaction of 'couples'. Not just any couples but the ones where you could tell that they have been together for awhile. What I saw scared me. It also made me think back about my own relationships and realize I now have an opportunity to be intentional once again. What I saw was that, at least in my eyes, the 'closer' a couple was, the less mutual respect they showed each other. Whether it was the husband rolling his eyes at what must have seemed like a silly request or the huffing of a wife as she yanked something out of her 'out of touch' partner I saw genuine disdain. Now I realize, having been in more than a long term relationship, that we get on each others nerves. But what I also thought about was, for some reason, the more we become comfortable with someone the less we appreciate them. If a co-worker, or an acquaintance asks us to do a mundane task we most often smile, do it and move on. However, how many times, when our significant other asks for a small favor, do we sigh, roll our eyes or do something to let them know what a bother it is. Again, I am human and I realize this does happen, but realizing that it also helps make me aware of it. By being intentional with my thoughts and actions I hope to reduce these occasions and instead, show more caring, love and support to those around me. I imagine it will be noticed and reciprocated.

My afternoon of intention wrapped up with a great phone call. I was reminded how positive I was being about my experience and how I sometimes, OK often, react with a more negative attitude. I smiled, knowing that I was acting intentionally and it showed.

As I write tonight I am thinking about one of my friends who is resilient, strong and brave. He would never say those things to you. He will tell you he deals with what's in front of him and believes in staying positive amongst many great adversities. I see he is living an intentional life. Thanks again for 'waking me up' Alex.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An All Sports Post - sorry to put you to sleep

Realignment, Probation, The Beautiful Game and a Run that was nearly complete...

Pretty amazing Spring for sports. Let's start with the last of those four up there because chronologically it came first. If you are not a fan of hockey you should at least become a fan of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whether it was the first round and the early run by the Canadiens, or you are like me, a die hard Philly sports fan, there was a lot to enjoy about this run to the Cup. And if you are a Chicagoan then you are still celebrating a well deserved Cup victory. For me, the 4 weeks+ were magical. Watching the Flyers manhandle the higher seeded and hated New Jersey Devils was great. Moving on to Round 2 and taking care of the storied Montreal Canadiens seemed to be 'icing on the cake' for a team that squeaked into the playoffs but then the real magic happened. My Fly boys looked flat after 2 tough losses in the Conference Championship Series versus the Boston Bruins and then got blown out in game 3 to go down 3-0 in the Series. At that point I began to appreciate where 'we' had gotten to so unexpectedly, but at the same time hoping to at least steal a game to save face. What started as one game turned into two and then a third and before you knew it we were in Game 7 and on the verge of history. Game 7 in Boston was a daunting task and getting down 3-0 in the first period made it tougher but somehow this team did it the impossible. Like Rocky coming back against Apollo Creed in the original Rocky, only this time Rocky wins and we don't need that "rematch" (Go watch the movie). Like so many good stories this one ended just short of history as the Flyers lost in 6 to the Blackhawks for the Cup but this run will be remembered by me for years to come and it was more than the hockey. It was memories revived and old friendships brought alive again. As the Flyers snuck into the playoffs I sat in the basement of my oldest (as in time) friend. A friendship that began at summer camp at the age of 4, survived family changes, moves, college and life has been renewed and on that final day we watched the Flyers get 'in'. Ironically, one of my other 'camp' friends from that same time period also lives in New York and we met up for the first time in 33 years to watch what became the final game of the year. It was a bittersweet but felt great to reconnect with someone and see 33 years melt away.

With hockey out of the way, I can turn my attention to the World Cup. I don't profess to be a true lover of soccer/futbol but I certainly can enjoy the spectacle and marvel at the athleticism. The whole world can't be wrong, this really is a great sport and the World Cup is truly a grand event. Today marked just the beginning but I am excited to tune in as much as possible and cheer on the Red, White and Blue. For the record, I am taking the boys from SPAIN to win it all. I like the US getting out of their group and as I will be posting this the night before the Yank take on the Brits, I like us to upset them tomorrow as well, hey, I'm a HOMER!

Next up is college sports. What started as a quiet rumor turned into a giant inferno within the week. What am I talking about? Conference realignment and the birth of true 'Super Conferences'. Already we have seen Colorado jump to the Pac 10, which I guess gets a new name and Nebraska head to the Big 10 (which already had 11). Next dominoes to fall seem to be the complete disintegration of the Big 12 (though now the Big 10 is 12 so aren't they the Big 12?). While all this is big news I am wondering what the SEC will do. The biggest conference of them all has been relatively quiet. From the reports I am reading it looks like Texas and a couple of other Big 12 schools will jump to the Pac 10+ as well. This surprises me; call it East Coast bias but why do they want to jump two time zones away from TV coverage? In my mind the natural pull would be to bring Texas and Texas A&M into the SEC and make a truly SOUTHERN conference that stretches all the way across the Gulf States. For the SEC it also brings in two HUGE TV markets in Dallas and Houston as well. It would also mean the SEC would need to add two more teams to balance out the East with the West. I would think they could have their choice of Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech. This would truly create a mega conference. It would also create a near impossible run to undefeated seasons, but is that so wrong? It would make for great football and huge ratings week after week. I know it will never happen but I like the idea. I also like the idea of the Gators and Hurricanes renewing rivalries every year!

The other big news in college football was the announcement of USC getting hit hard with sanctions from the NCAA. Now there is a lot to debate here (why punish kids that were not a part of the problem) to gloating about things like karma (it's a BITCH isn't it Coach Kiffin?). What I am trying to figure out is what happened to schools losing the right to be on television for a period of time? In the 80's, when Florida was put on probation, along with losing scholarships and Bowl games, we also were not allowed to be shown on TV. Maybe, now that TV contracts have gotten so large this is no longer an option, but if you truly want to deal a Program a blow you take away the TV coverage. Why you might ask? College athletes today want to be on TV. They want to be seen. They want to be drafted and make a ton of money. If your School is not on TV, it really doesn't matter how many scholly's you have to offer, the best will not come! I'm not saying that USC should have gotten it in this case, I am just wondering if it is even still an option...

BONUS SPORTS NOTE - as I type this the Gator Baseball Team just beat the Miami Hurricanes in their opening game in a series that will determine who goes to the College World Series --- GO GATORS!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thoughts about the NBA???

Really, why? Well it was on my mind! I also typed it on my new iPad with a Journal App that I fell in love with, so there. By the way, yes, still on blogspot with every good intention of moving to WordPress. I am thinking next weekend, its a long Holiday one and I don't have my kids, I'll be in New York, alone and mostly bored, not that anyone pays attention...

I am really disappointed in the NBA. I used to be a very big fan as a kid. I look back at the early 80's and I wonder if I am just being nostalgic or is there something to it. The night before last I was watching the Flyers hockey game and in-between periods I switched over and the NBA Draft Lottery was on, that's what initially got me thinking about the topic...

Anyway, I watched and sat there comparing it to the NFL which seems to do everything right when it comes to drafts and dealing with college players. On the flip side you have the NBA; their silly one and done college rule and this 'lottery' that is staged to determine who gets the first pick through the 14th, I think. This should be exciting stuff!!!! It's what can shape a future franchise right? Not so fast my friends --- not only is drafting NBA talent a hit and miss, moving target but thanks to stupid contracts and salary restrictions it is downright convoluted. On top of that, I really no longer understand what it takes to be an NBA player and I have to tell you, I love the college game and think I am fairly knowledgeable, but I look at the mock drafts put up by experts and I scratch my head...I know maybe 10 names from the college game and I really wonder what their impact is going to be. The overall #1 seems to be John Wall, a skinny 19 year old kid that played one year at Kentucky, because quite frankly, he had too. Now I am not knocking the kids' talent but I don't think he is NBA ready and I don't necessarily mean from a skills standpoint, though I think the top 10 point guards in the game will eat him for lunch for the next two years. What I see is an immature, self absorbed, talent laden kid that will never reach his max potential because he will no longer be 'taught' the game of basketball. All of that is sort of off topic but because year after year this same thing happens, it has made the NBA an inferior product. David Stern, the NBA Commissioner, can stick his head in the sand and point to TV ratings all day long but I see empty buildings and complete apathy about the future. You, Mr. Stern, got very lucky with an influx of talent in the Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul class. Enjoy it now because I don't see the future staying 'rosy'.

Watch your older brother, the NFL, and learn; you can market the player but at the end of the day it is the team that matters. Fans will always appreciate great talent but we fall in love with teams, winning and enthusiasm. When you hand 19 year olds $40 million without any track record of success you are creating an atmosphere of individualship and greed. Coaches are not respected in the same way as they were before and veterans are seen as has beens that should just go away. And fans? Do they even know we are there? Just ask Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks, but that is a whole different rant!

I am glad my 76ers are no longer relevant or this would all frustrate me so much more and there is an indictment in itself. I look longingly at my Dr. J jersey, the 1983 championship banner and my Moses Malone '4,4,4 Sixers' shirt with longing and passion, for another time and another era, but no longer for basketball...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Change is never easy...

...but it is inevitable

With that said, I think it is time that I say goodbye to dear old Blogspot. Fear not, I am not giving up on blogging (though it seems that way from post infrequency sometimes) but I am beginning the search and transition to a new 'home' for my blog. If you have read a post a little while back, there are a wide range of things that I will blog about (at least TWO ok?) and it seems disjointed to have them in the same place without a way to delineate them so a reader doesn't get stuck in something they are not overly interested in. I am also intrigued around the concept of building 'personal brands' and developing my own. i don't want to run multiple blogs for this reason, so I am looking at some 'tabbed' type of format which will allow the reader to view blogposts by category. For a great resource on a true 'Personal Brand', thanks to hard work and the Internet, you should GOOGLE Gary Vaynerchuck and pick up is book "Crush It".

So with that said, I am looking at Wordpress as a new potential home. Now, I like to think I am fairly tech savvy. Really, I know my way around social media and networks and really isn't that the ONLY thing technology is about these days? But when it came to researching a new home for my blog I came to realize just how much I have to learn and as I poured through document after document just how smart you really have to be to get all this stuff right. Just trying to figure out how to transfer 200+ blog posts seems to be a Herculean feat right about now. On top of that I want my URL to be without the 'name of blogging company' inserted in it, so I have to buy a URL and make sure all the pointing stuff works, plus as I plan to disable this one I need to point you all over somewhere else, etc...

Needless to say it's making my head spin a bit, but the reality is that it's a great exercise for me and helps build my credibility in 'living a digital life' which is at the core of my Employer's, Definition 6, philosophy.

As I do all these things, I have also been attending a lot of conferences in the past few weeks. Whether directly or indirectly everyone of them has made their focal point around Social Media. It's incredible how dominant the topic has been and I absolutely LOVE it! One of my favorite concepts is that of being 'hyper local'. The basic idea is that thanks to smartphones, social media and some pretty cool technologies marketing can be extremely targeted and highly localized. I agree 110% BUT I am concerned with how a local business will actually capitalize on this opportunity and as Gary V. says, "Crush It". For enterprise clients and even mid size firms they have the bandwidth to hire both internal experts as well as outside consulting groups and agencies. But how does the local pizza parlor do it, or your neighborhood bookstore or chiropractor? They need help, the landscape is forever changing. Working in the small business world I know the two greatest challenges - TIME and MONEY. They never have enough time or the money to throw at such a bold effort in the same manner as say Coca Cola. What they do have is desire and intention. I feel there is a whole niche market here that needs these services and can do great things with them but doesn't have anyone 'servicing' them. I have some really great ideas around that, and I digressed a bit, but it came to mind while struggling with my own limitations.

Anyway, not sure when I will finish the transition or if I will have any more posts here before just never know ;-)