As I read through NFC South headlines this morning, I felt like I was reading the Business section, instead of the Sports section. But all four NFC South teams have some significant issues going on away from the field. Let’s take a look:
While in town for Sunday night’s game between the Falcons and Cowboys, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took some time to meet with state and local leaders to talk about getting a new stadium in Atlanta. I think it’s pretty safe to assume one of Goodell’s selling points was the possibility of a Super Bowl if a new stadium is built. That seems to be a carrot any time a city, or region, talks about building a new stadium.
Erik Spangerg writes that at least one Charlotte city official is worried about the Panthers leaving the Carolinas if they don’t get public funding for renovations to Bank of America Stadium. There was a time when I would have said there was no way team owner Jerry Richardson ever would allow the team he founded to leave an area he loves. But I’m starting to wonder if the events of recent years (the firing of his two sons as team executives, consistent losing and the stress of having to be the point man for the owners in last year’s labor negotiations) have changed how Richardson views things. I don’t see Richardson packing up his team and moving it to Los Angeles. But – and this might be a long shot – I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he were to sell the team to someone that would end up moving the franchise.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue won’t recuse himself from hearing the appeals of player suspensions in the bounty drama. The NFL Players Association had been asking Tagliabue to step aside because he now is associated with a law firm that represents Goodell, who has been sued for defamation by New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Goodell previously recused himself and chose Tagliabue as his replacement. The hearings initially were scheduled for Oct. 30, but were postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. A new date for the hearings has not been finalized.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
The team quietly put out the word to the media Monday that it still needs to sell about 9,000 tickets to get the local television blackout lifted for Sunday’s game with the San Diego Chargers. Maybe the rapidly-growing Doug Martin Fan Club swoops up and buys those tickets up before the Thursday afternoon deadline. But I think that’s a stretch. Usually, when a team is saying it has 9,000 tickets to sell in a few days, it’s a way of alerting fans to the probability of a television blackout. Keep in mind, the Bucs don't have to sell every seat in Raymond James Stadium. They elected to use the NFL's new option of requiring only 85-percent of general-admission seats sell out to lift a blackout.
David Whitley has a entertaining look at the auction process to sell former Tampa Bay defensive lineman Warren Sapp's house as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. Although valued at more than $4 million, the house sold for only $2.1 million.