NFC West: Jerry Richardson

NFC West champ should get home game

December, 21, 2010
Eight of 16 NFC West scenarios for the final two weeks of the 2010 NFL season produce a 7-9 division champion.

A team with double-digit victories visiting a 7-9 division winner in the wild-card round has already stirred debate. It's something we can expect to hear more about when NFL owners hold their annual meetings in the spring.

What to do? There's no need to overreact. Never before has a team with a losing record won a division title. If it happens one time, that's the way it goes. The current system rewards division winners, as it should.

The subject came to mind again Tuesday when I was listening to former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi with's Mike Reiss on their latest podcast. Bruschi made his case against changing the seeding system at about the 12:06 mark of the podcast:
"Should you have playoff reseeding? I don't think you should because then you are talking about records and you are staggering them by record and what happens when, say, St. Louis was a 10-victory team and then another team was an 11-victory team, but they were not the division winner? Does that mean they get a home-field playoff game over a divisional winner?

"I think you earn a home-field playoff game by winning your division. It is very difficult to do. It is the first goal of every NFL team. And if Green Bay is not good enough to beat Chicago and the Giants aren't good enough to beat Philadelphia to win those divisions, send them on the road."

Reiss agreed and pointed to a speech Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson once made to that effect at the league meetings.

By the way, Bruschi is taking the Rams to prevail in the NFC West. His take:
"I love Sam Bradford's rookie year. Man, I had doubts about him coming in when he was coming from that system where he is always looking at the sideline at Oklahoma and getting the play from the offensive coordinator and then looking back to the defense and then finally running the play. I had my doubts about him. But he has proven all doubters wrong. He is playing great football. Chris Long coming off the edge on defense, James Laurinaitis, a couple players I really like. St. Louis, I think they are going to win this division."

I feel the same way in general, but the Rams have enough issues to make them vulnerable against San Francisco. The 49ers certainly have more talent. The Rams are well-coached, I think, but some of their personnel limitations are catching up with them. That could be a problem at receiver and linebacker in particular against the 49ers.

Kroenke and L.A. stadium group

April, 16, 2010
Stan Kroenke's participation on the Los Angeles Stadium Working Group is a juicy nugget begging for context.

It appears Kroenke, currently seeking to become the Rams' majority owner, began serving on the working group in time for the 2007 league meetings.

Kroenke already owns 40 percent of the team, which moved from Los Angeles for the 1995 season.

The Rams' pending ownership change has renewed questions about the Rams' long-term future in St. Louis. Rams fans in St. Louis have reason to perk up when they hear rumors linking Kroenke or the Rams to Los Angeles. It's important for fans in St. Louis to know what Kroenke thinks on the matter, particularly amid concerns that Kroenke hasn't said anything about keeping the team put.

It appears as though Kroenke replaced Seahawks owner Paul Allen on the working group between 2006 and 2007.

A Los Angeles Times story showed Allen joining an expanded working group in 2006.
The original committee included (Paul) Tagliabue, New England's Robert Kraft, Miami's Wayne Huizenga, Carolina's Jerry Richardson, Kansas City's Lamar Hunt and Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney. The new members of the committee are Steve Tisch of the New York Giants, Pat Bowlen of Denver, Jeff Lurie of Philadelphia, Jerry Jones of Dallas and Paul Allen of Seattle.

A 2007 NFL document on committee members showed Kroenke on the working group with Jones, Bowlen, Bob McNair, Tisch, Johnson and Lurie, the chairman.

I'll provide context as I figure out more. Committees and working groups meet periodically, but often nothing happens. As the Sports Business Journal noted from the NFL's spring meetings in 2008, "Lurie, chairman of the Los Angeles Stadium Working Group, said nothing is happening on the league’s seemingly endless quest, now on 13 years, to return football to Los Angeles. No Los Angeles newspaper even sent a reporter to the meeting here."