Bears vs. 49ers Open Thread

Here we go with game two against the 49ers. This will be a tough opponent to say the least.

The Damn Drum Line

One of our favorite posts here at Fire Everybody is “The Chicago Bears Drum Line Sucks”.  This post brings out the big fans of those guys banging drums in the corner of the stadium aimlessly, and of course they replace cheerleaders which would actually be welcome by 90% of the Bears fans.



Well every year I hope the drum line is gone but, like bedbugs, they are back again this year.  Whoop-de-do.  And now for the haters…

The Real Cost of Ray Rice

A few years ago when we went to Reno for the Super Bowl weekend, Carl and I beat against the Ravens…just because Baltimore sucks, of course. As we all know, that game cost us money.

The one good thing that came out of that Ravens victory was that it was Joe Flacco’s free agent year and Baltimore basically had to sign a very average quarterback to a very expen$ive, very long term deal.

I guess that will happen to every team that wins a Super Bowl to some degree (I can’t imagine what Russell Wilson’s next deal will look like). On top of this soaking, now the Ravens are going to get soaked on Ray Rice.

Back in 2012, Rice signed a big contract with a $15mm signing bonus. That bonus was prorated over the maximimum five years which = $3mm per year on the cap. Rice also had a prorated roster bonus, another $1.75mm hit. His total cap charge for the Ravens will be $4.75mm this year. The Ravens have taken his combined 2015 and 2016 prorated years and decided to eat all of it in 2015 (or maybe they had to, not sure on this). So next year, Rice’s cap hit (technically dead money) will be $3mm + $3mm + $1.75mm +$1.75mm for a grand total of a $9.5mm cap hit for 2015. That smarts.

So not only are the Ravens out all of the money they paid him up front, their cap space will be hurt next year, on top of having all of the egg on their face in the press. Since they cut him they can’t get any of the money back***. Rice’s legacy will be felt in the Ravens front office for a while.

***unless Rice has a conduct clause in his contract and even if he does, the odds are that like most NFL players, he has spent most of this money immediately with nothing to show for it – the lawyers time to claw back the money from Rice might cost the Ravens more than they could actually collect. I guess they could bring some sort of civil suit, but with the bad press they already have received, they would just be swatting another hornet’s nest at this point. I imagine that the Ravens just want to bury this and move on.

(Thanks to Jason at Over the Cap for help on understanding Rice’s deal).

NFL Economics Addendum

In the previous post, Carl addressed an issue that I imagine the NFL and owners are trying to figure out, and that is the declining value of the game day experience. I have seen myself that even teams with rabid fanbases such as the Packers do not sell out their luxury boxes. This is a bad sign.

So exactly what is the NFL selling with regards to the “game day experience”?

I get NFL RedZone on my Dish setup at home and I never really watched it until last Sunday. It is simply a-may-zing. I get the RedZone free with my other Dish subscriptions. In other words, it was just a “throw in”.

During commercials for the Bears/Bills game, I was flipping over to the RedZone broadcast and I was blown away. I think at that time there were something like TEN games going on at once and the RedZone was showing ALL of them. All of what mattered anyways.

Now, I am an old school “three yards and a cloud of dust guy” and like a good up the middle run just as much as the next aging sport fan. But today, I believe that the patience level has waned (see baseball’s falling attendance). RedZone showed EVERY SINGLE scoring play AS THEY HAPPENED and if more than one team was in the red zone, they would go split screen. Or triple, or quads. If one game went to commercial, they instantly got rid of it and went to a different game. There are NO COMMERCIALS on Red Zone so the action is always right in your face. If they missed a scoring play because of another game, they would replay it when they had time. And they showed every scoring play, including field goals.

If a game was a rout, they fully ignored it and concentrated on the close games.

That last part is more important than you might think. The second half of Sunday’s afternoon action had only two games. If I only had my network choices I would have been saddled with the 49ers blowing out the hapless Cowboys all afternoon. But with the Red Zone, they just put on the Panthers Buccaneers game which I was happy with for personal reasons (I could chuckle at McClown and Lovie). I actually got to see this live and laugh my ass off (let it load and watch it one million times):


This sort of technology has got to make it hard for anybody to actually want go to the game, when you have basically ZERO cost, and all the cheap food and booze you can drink, with no commute, with your own personal bathroom, and you can catch ALL of the scoring in ALL of the games at the same time on NFL RedZone, with your fat ass sitting right in front of your giant Samsung flat panel in glorious HD with surround sound, PLUS whatever network games you are eligible for on regular network TV (that you can DVR if you want). At the end of the last game, RedZone even shows EVERY SINGLE TOUCHDOWN scored that day so in case you passed out you can still see them.

So I can’t get the NFL ticket with Dish (that is only on Direct TV for now) but with NFL RedZone, I am not so sure that I need it.

Dish also provides FREE (after you buy the Sling adapter for $50) streaming service to any of my other devices, so if there are two network games going on at the same time I can have one playing on my phone, one on my tablet and the RedZone on my giant ass Samsung HD. Or I can switch all that around and stream the RedZone to a device and put a live game on the TV. I also get NFL Rewind for free since I am a Bears season ticket holder so I can go back and watch any game in its entirety at any time on any of my devices. And they have a “shortened game” option that skips all the huddles and stuff in between plays. Games actually last about 30 – 40 minutes. NFL Game Rewind costs $40 if you want to buy it and can somehow insulate yourself from the quick score reporting that we are saturated with. In fact, if you can actually insulate yourself from the scores, the NFL Rewind is the optimal way to go. Why spend three hours for the good stuff when you only need to spend 40 minutes and can watch whatever replays you want at any time from any camera angle (coaching angles are now included)?

On top of all THAT, I get a zillion college football games (I cannot honestly remember a game that I couldn’t watch) and can not only DVR those, but I can DVR the NFL games and watch them later on any device because with the Sling you can not only watch live TV, you can access any recordings on your DVR as well – from any device.

All of this is honestly mind boggling.

I am getting more and more sure that I don’t have to drive my sorry ass to Chicago for too many more games (especially in the cold weather).

But back to the question. What is the NFL going to do in the future to sell all of these tickets when fans are faced with choices like this? I am not sure, but I guess with TV revenue and soaking taxpayers for the costs of the stadiums it probably doesn’t matter.

NFL Economics

Over here at Fire Everybody we admire Jerry Jones for his complete insanity, such as creating that amazing stadium in Dallas with amenities that Bears’ fans can’t even imagine.  Bears fans can’t even use actual washrooms near halftime unless you are on the rich side of the field (we are over on the poor side since we don’t want to pay tens of thousands for PSL’s and overpriced tickets), much less take part in any of the other amenities he’s created.

Dan gets a lot of emails for skyboxes and season tickets for various teams and we chuckle at how desperate they seem to be to fill these expensive seats.  The experience at the stadium is pretty lousy in real-world terms – wireless is often crappy, the food is pretty terrible, parking and traffic are abominable, and most of the employees are stone morons.  I haven’t even gotten to the huge costs relative to watching it at home on your high definition screen with all the food, drink and other amenities that come for free.

I didn’t watch the game since I was over at the Bears for the opener but have heard from the ol’ intertubes that about half the fans at Jerry Jones’ palace in Dallas were wearing 49er colors and cheering for San Francisco the whole game.  Ha ha ha ha old man that’s what you get for fielding a crap team for years while meddling in all the decisions.  Plus, that stadium is way bigger than the Bears and I’m sure it is quite expensive to fill up, and impossible to do so when you continuously miss the playoffs every year.

The skybox prices everywhere are outrageous and skyboxes are pretty much exactly the same as watching it on TV, only worse.  You aren’t outside, you probably aren’t even cheering the action, you are basically watching it on TV and paying $1000 / head to do so.  That’s insane.  I know businesses are paying for this and not individual humans and there are times when a skybox is invaluable for sales but then there are the 6-7 games out of 10 (don’t forget those 2 terrible useless preseason games) where really no one is interested at all.

The NFL will really be struggling to fill these expensive stadiums unless they do something about the prices and amenities relative to watching on TV, and huge stadiums (Dallas) with lousy teams will bring out crazy events like half the fans at your home opener wearing the other teams’ colors.  This doesn’t mean that the NFL is in trouble – it is doing awesome – but the era of charging ever more for a lousy game day experience is fading since it is 100x better to watch it at home or in a local bar when you can at least track all the other games happening simultaneously and don’t spend an inordinate amount of money and half your day doing it.

Slauson and Garza Out

40% of our starting offensive line likely won’t play for the next few weeks. Slauson and Garza both suffered high ankle sprains on Sunday. This really smarts but is all part of being an NFL team. I haven’t heard too much on Jeffrey’s hamstring besides that is isn’t too serious. The Bears are keeping that one close to the vest. Sunday is a stiff test and we need all the help we can get. Vegas has the 49ers as a solid 7 point favorite.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I was able to watch the whole game yesterday and I have a few thoughts now that I have digested it for the most part.

The Good:
Jay Cutler. 35/49 for 349 yards and two TD’s. Even after we started having rotating talent due to injuries, Cutler remained focused and accurate.
Willie Young. This will turn out to be a great acquisition for the Bears. Young was all over the field and killing guys to boot.
The offense. We rolled up the yards on the Bills, as expected.
The defense. In general, I think that even though not perfect, we are obviously several steps ahead of where we were last year. In the run, we swarmed to the ball very quickly and it is obvious that our d is much faster.
Matt Forte. He was clearly one of the stars on the field yesterday.
Special Teams. While I am not singing the praises of the special teams this morning, at least it wasn’t the disaster we saw in the pre season.

The Bad:
Jay Cutler. Two dumb decisions lead to picks and likely cost the Bears the game. We have to have better decision making from our highly paid position players.
Jared Allen. I zeroed on him for a lot of the game and he looked pretty well dominated out there. Got to have more production out of him for sure.

The Ugly:
Time management. Trestman could have done better on the last drive of regulation. But we did extend the game into OT so he did his job right, in the end.
Turnovers. Marshall’s fumble and the picks pretty well did us in.
Kickoff returning. Virtually non existent. Gotta take a chance and try to swing the field.

Yesterday was a lot of could have, would have, should have. No time to cry though – we have a very tough test this Sunday night in San Francisco.