Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FFHL NFL OFF-SEASON UPDATES


FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,
Attached are a few tidbits on the NFL and some other miscellaneous stuff to help fill up the summer. College news and more summer updates will be forthcoming.
Enjoy,
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

This time of year, any football news except arrests and courtroom drama is good news, right?  For most of you, American football trumps the ongoing Euro2012 soccer championship.  No matter how skilled those futbol players are, a final outcome of 1-0 for a game just doesn’t cut it.  They also need to at least add instant replay on determining goals, so when a team miraculously puts the ball into the net it should count as one point (Croatia was robbed of a goal – England won 1-0).

This letter is related to the NFL.  I will send out a separate letter on preliminary college happenings.  As the season approaches in August, I’ll kick out another letter with rules changes and coaching changes, etc. for both NFL and college.
Many of you are asking, who is the favorite to win the Super Bowl this year (Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Sunday February 3rd).  Following is some preliminary info in that regard.

“OVER/UNDERS” FOR EACH NFL TEAM

Before the season starts, you can make a bet on whether your team will win more or less than a certain number of games (called an “over/under” bet).  For example, Pittsburgh’s number is 10, and you can bet whether the Steelers will win more than or less than 10 of their 16 regular season games.

Following is a list of all of the team’s over/under for the 2012 season (left column) as of 5/25/12 from Cantor Gaming (these numbers have changed somewhat, but it gives you the idea of how teams were expected to do as of that date).  And for a comparison, the next column is Pro Football Weekly’s projections of the regular season records, and then MGM Resorts International’s Race & Sports odds (as of May 1st) to win the Super Bowl:

                    CANTOR      PFW             MGM “TO WIN
                    OVR/UND     RECORD      SUPER BOWL” ODDS

GB                12      12-4                       9-2
NE                12      12-4                       6-1
HOU             10      10-6                       8-1
PHI               10      10-6                       8-1
NOR             10      10-6                       10-1
PIT                10      10-6                       12-1
BAL              10      10-6                       8-1
SF                 10      12-4                       6-1
DEN              9.5     9-7                         8-1
NYG             9.5     10-6                       12-1
DET               9.5     9-7                         10-1
SD                 9        8-8                         22-1
ATL               9        10-6                       30-1
CHI               8.5     10-6                       10-1
DAL              8.5     8-8                         10-1
NYJ               8.5     7-9                         15-1
KC                8        9-7                         35-1
CIN              7.5     8-8                         35-1
CAR             7.5     8-8                         30-1
MIA              7.5     4-12                       40-1
TEN              7        8-8                         40-1
BUF              7        8-8                         40-1
SEA              7        7-9                         30-1
OAK            7        6-10                       25-1
AZ                7        7-9                         40-1
WSH             6.5     7-9                         30-1
STL               6        4-12                       50-1
TB                 6        4-12                       60-1
MIN              6        4-12                       30-1
CLE              5.5     6-10                       80-1  
IND              5.5     4-12                       75-1
JAX              5.5     5-11                       100-1

For you gamblers out there, keep in mind that the over/under numbers change based on the amount of money bet on each side. As an example, as of 5/25/12 the Philadelphia Eagles over/under was 10, but you had to bet $13.50 to win $10 (that is, PHI would be listed in Vegas as “Over -135”, whereas the normal straight-up bet would be $11 to win $10.  That means bettors on average liked Philly (at that time) to go “over” and for the Eagles to have an 11-5 record or better for the regular season.  Another example was Atlanta with an over/under of 9, listed at “Over +105”, meaning that you could bet the “over” with $10 to win $10.50 [$20.50 payback minus $10 original bet].  This meant, roughly at the time, that more money was being wagered by “under” bettors, who projected Atlanta would have an 8-8 record or worse this regular season.

Based on Pro Football Weekly’s projections, Miami would be a great “under” bet, and so would St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota.  PFW likes San Francisco the best to go “over”, followed closely by Chicago to also go “over”.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS
                                       
                                                  PFW Projections     Lindy’s Projections          Fugitive (me)

NFC Division Winners               PHI;GB;NOR;SF     same as PFW                   PHI;CHI;ATL;SF
AFC Division Winners               NE;BAL;HOU;DEN  same as PFW                   NE;PIT;HOU;SD
Wild Card Teams                      NYG;CHI;KC;PIT     NYG;CHI;PIT;TEN          DET;GB;BAL;CIN
Super Bowl                               SF over NE             HOU over SF                    PHI over NE




NFL PRO BOWL
It has been decided (by an optimistic and/or delusional group of fellows) that there will be a Pro Bowl following the 2012 season.  It will be played in Hawaii on January 27, 2013, the weekend after the Conference Championship games and before the Super Bowl game.
The league (“NFL” ownership/management) was supposedly against it, but the NFLPA-Players Association was for it.  I hope this ends my commentary concerning a yawner “exhibition” game.  Can any amount of marketing bring this to life?  I have faith in the TV-watching public that the game will be discontinued after this year because of low TV ratings.

NFL SALARY CAP
I don’t particularly care to talk about this subject either, but this little-known provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is interesting.  For 2013, the league will impose a salary floor that will require each team to spend, on average, at least 89% of the salary CAP annually on players.  Teams in violation could lose draft picks and be fined up to $6.5MM.

If this provision would have been in effect in 2011, about 1/3 of the NFL teams would have had to spend significantly more in order to reach the floor;  KC and JAX were $30MM under the CAP last year.

In advance of this new CBA provision, Tampa Bay decided to ramp up their spending early.  The Bucs had total payroll of $93MM last year (2011), and spent $103MM on two free agents this offseason in WR Vincent Jackson and OG Carl Nicks.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The AFL has had its share of labor problems this year, with a couple of stop-and-start strikes and a recent plan for a management-imposed lockout.  The league just announced in mid-June that the two sides settled on a new CBA.

Playoff Picture

National Conference
San Antonio Talons (11-3) are two games ahead of Chicago Rush (9-5) for the Central Division title.
Arizona Rattlers (11-3) are 1.5 games ahead of Utah Blaze (10-5) for the Western Division title.

American Conference
Philadelphia Soul has clinched the Eastern Division and a playoff spot.
The Southern Division has no team above .500, with Jacksonville Sharks and New Orleans VooDoo at 7-7 and Georgia Force at 7-8 in contention for the division title and a playoff spot.

Two non-division winners from each conference get wild card berths in the 8-team playoffs.

Championship
The Arena Bowl XXV championship game is scheduled for Friday, August 10th in the New Orleans Arena.

UNITED FOOTBALL LEAGUE (UFL)
This league is defunct, and won’t be revived if the “new” United States Football League takes off.
USFL
I have no updates on this since last letter in May.
This league should be structured to support the NFL, similar to baseball’s minor leagues.
More later.


FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1:
Which NFL team has made the playoffs each of the last four years?
Amazingly, there’s only ONE team that has accomplished this feat.
HINT:  The answer is not Indianapolis, who went a miserable 2-14 last year and missed the playoffs.  Your answer is narrowed down to 31 teams.

QUESTION #2:
Which NFL team has the longest playoff drought, twelve years without a playoff berth?
HINT:  Detroit (1999) and Houston (since inception, 2002) both made the playoffs last year to break their long absences from the post-season.  And it’s not the New York Giants, who won the Super Bowl last year. So the answer is narrowed down to 29 teams.










ANSWER #1:
Baltimore Ravens

ANSWER #2:
Buffalo Bills

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