Around the NFC West: Pricing out fans

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
7:29
AM ET
The New York Giants drew favorable publicity during the lockout when they extended deadlines for renewing season tickets.

But in a twist reflecting the NFL's economic realities, the move actually put the team in a favorable position. Fans taking advantage of the extended deadline authorized the team to charge their credit cards when the lockout ended. The Giants had already collected large sums through one-time fees for seat licenses, so if any fan walked away from those licenses, the team could double up by selling new licenses to fans on waiting lists, creating even more revenue opportunities.

All of this comes to mind as the San Francisco 49ers sell tickets for their future stadium in Santa Clara.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News says seat-license fees are leading some longtime fans to give up tickets their families have held for generations. Rosenberg: "This month, the team assigned current holders of some of its best season tickets 9,000 much costlier club seats in the new stadium -- and if they don't buy them by March 16, they lose the seats that in many cases have been in their families for generations. Buddies with four primo seats would need to pay a total of $145,000 to $190,000 to buy new club seats and season tickets over the first five seasons in Santa Clara. Their current seats at Candlestick would cost about $25,800 for a half-decade based on next season's ticket prices." Noted: Giants fans experienced the same choices when their team opened its new stadium. Several of them tailgating before their Week 2 game against the St. Louis Rams said the experience had negatively affected their relationship with the team.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com looks at free-agent receiver options for the 49ers while lauding Michael Crabtree. Maiocco: "Crabtree, who is signed through 2014, figures prominently in the 49ers' future -- and for good reason. In a passing offense that ranked 29th in the NFL at just 183.1 yards per game, Crabtree was 28th in the NFL among wideouts with a career-high 874 yards receiving. And he also scored major bonus points with the coaching staff for his determination and effectiveness as a blocker in the 49ers' offense." Noted: Crabtree's blocking was indeed fantastic. At one point, Crabtree resisted praise for that area of his game. Receivers known primarily for their blocking must not be producing all that much as receivers, the thinking goes. But Crabtree did make some important catches. I just haven't seen much evidence of progress in the on-field relationship/trust between Crabtree and quarterback Alex Smith. That's one area to monitor through the offseason.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee revisits Frank Gore's season. Barrows: "When Gore had the ball in his hands, he seemed to fine. But he often removed himself from games at the end of the season and in the playoffs. During a critical fourth-quarter drive against the Giants in which the 49ers ground attack appeared to be gaining the advantage against the New York defense, it was third-string runner Anthony Dixon who entered the game. He was tripped up on a potentially big run on 2nd and 4, and ended up gaining three yards. On third and 1, he was stopped for no gain."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates the Rams' search for a general manager. Joey Clinkscales and George Paton are under consideration. Thomas: "Arizona director of player personnel Steve Keim was scheduled to interview over the weekend, but his interview has been pushed back to this week. Contrary to recent reports, Houston Texans scout Mike Ackerley -- formerly with the Tennessee Titans -- is not a candidate for the Rams' GM job. Neither is another former member of the Tennessee scouting department -- Rich Snead. If Snead joins the Rams, it would be as a scout." Noted: The focus to this point has been on filling out the coaching staff. The team is looking for a GM to fit with coach Jeff Fisher, not to overhaul the team to the GM's liking. That makes the GM hiring anticlimactic, particularly after Fisher's hiring carried so much drama. There's a high likelihood the next GM will fit well because Fisher will be part of the hiring process. The tougher part is finding a GM with the right abilities from a personnel evaluation standpoint. More here.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times updates plans to tweak the Seahawks' uniforms. O'Neil: "A little birdie gave out a few hints the helmets will be darker, and there will be some feather trim. The helmets are not expected to go back to being silver."

Also from O'Neil: thoughts on Deion Branch's return to the Super Bowl.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com outlines the case for Cortez Kennedy as a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Former coach Dennis Erickson: "Cortez might’ve been as dominant a defensive tackle that's ever played. He was dominant when I had him in Seattle in the four years I was there, and he was dominant before I got there. I don’t know if you can see a defensive tackle who dominated a game like he did when he was with the Seahawks. … You knew he was going to make it in the Hall of Fame. Like I said, that position, to be dominant like he was just doesn’t happen very often. He was just dominant every time he played. There were never ups and downs with Cortez. What you saw is what you got, every week."

Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona asks whether Kevin Kolb's concussion issues make him susceptible to suffering more of them in the future. A neurosurgeon he quotes put it this way: "There is substantial evidence that if someone is concussed, they have a higher likelihood of being concussed again. We don't know whether they are made more susceptible through their injuries or whether they're genetically predisposed to concussions because of the way their head is structured or the cushion around their brain, but the evidence is certainly there." Noted: Kolb suffered a concussion when opening the 2010 season as the Philadelphia Eagles' starter. He suffered another one early during a home game against San Francisco this season.

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