NFL Nation: Edward Jones Dome
They obviously were not happy with the Convention and Visitors Commission publicly challenging the Rams' plans to play three home games in London over the next three seasons.
"We think that playing in London is great for the Rams and great for St. Louis," the team said. "We are in talks with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which is also the region's chief marketing group, about how to make the most of this opportunity. As the CVC said today, this will 'elevate an awareness of St. Louis on the global stage.' We look forward to having amicable and meaningful dialogue with the CVC on many issues and believe those conversations should remain between the parties."
Please shut up, in other words.
There was nothing particularly amicable about the CVC's statement or the Rams' response, or about Rams owner Stan Kroenke previously going out of his way to take a noncommittal stance amid questions about the team's future in St. Louis. The Rams hold the upper hand in the long term because they control the team ultimately. In the meantime, both parties have grasped for leverage when it was available.
The move also appeared consistent with efforts to leverage stadium improvements from the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, which oversees the Edward Jones Dome.
The commission's efforts to stop the Rams from playing one game in London annually for the next three years raise two questions. Would playing in London violate the Rams' lease? And, what recourse would the CVC have to stop the Rams if the team decided to play in London anyway?
In the bigger picture, both sides are trying to leverage the situation.
The CVC knows the Rams will likely be able to terminate their lease following the 2014 season under a clause requiring the Edward Jones Dome to rank among the best facilities in the league. The Rams know playing games in London puts pressure on the CVC to meet the team's demands, whether or not such leverage is a primary reason for playing games there. The CVC has until Wednesday to outline plans for upgrading the Edward Jones Dome.
Playing in London offers financial advantages for the team.
"NFL teams that have played in London have been guaranteed ticket revenue equivalent to a sellout, plus expenses," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes.
These are the sorts of squabbles that turn off fans. They also come with the territory when large sums of cash are at stake. I have a hard time believing the NFL would schedule the Rams for London without knowing lease provisions would allow the team to fulfill its commitment.
Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 31-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
What it means: I’d like to say there’s no shame in losing to a St. Louis team that came into the game winless. But I can’t. I’d like to say there’s even less shame because the Rams were using future Hall of Famer A.J. Feeley at quarterback instead of the injured Sam Bradford. But I can’t. I’d also like to say there’s no shame in not scoring an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter when you’ve got Drew Brees and a world of offensive talent going against a defense that hadn’t been stopping anybody this season. But I can’t. Quite simply, the Saints can’t afford to lose a game like this if they want to go to the Super Bowl. But they did. They could have been waltzing away with the NFC South race. Now, they’ve opened the door for Atlanta and Tampa Bay. There’s no other word to describe this one besides shameful. Well, unless you want to go with “embarrassing.’’ Take your pick.
Stat of the day: The Saints were held scoreless in the first half. That’s the first time that’s happened to them since a 2007 game against Tampa Bay.
The streak lives on: It didn't come until the final seconds, but Brees extended his streak of games with at least one touchdown pass to 35. That's the third longest streak in NFL history. Brett Favre is No. 2 at 36 games and Jonny Unitas (47) is No. 1.
Prediction time: I’ll just about guarantee you Zach Strief will be back in the starting lineup at right tackle the next time the Saints take to the field. Strief’s been out with a knee injury, but was back at practice last week. The Saints might have been playing it a little cautious on Strief and they continued to start Charles Brown in his place. Brown had been doing pretty well, but not against the Rams. I saw Brown give up at least two sacks.
Mystery of the day: Yeah, I know the Saints fell behind and it’s common to abandon the running game when that happens. But the Saints never really used the running game before things got out of hand. They barely ran the trio of Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas against a St. Louis defense that had been having lots of problems stopping the run. And the Saints can’t use Mark Ingram’s absence (due to a bruised heel) as an excuse. Ivory was their leading rusher last season and Sproles and Thomas had been running well this season.
What’s next: The Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome. The Bucs beat the Saints in Tampa in early October and I’m sure there is some residual anger among the New Orleans players and coaches. Throw in the natural anger of the embarrassing loss to St. Louis and the Saints should be very motivated for the Bucs. If they’re not, they’ve got real problems.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Arizona Cardinals (University of Phoenix Stadium, capacity 63,400)
|AP Photo/Paul Connors|
|University of Phoenix Stadium can boast having the country's first retractable grass field.|
The Cardinals got it right when they finally put the scorching hot metal bleachers of Sun Devil Stadium behind them. They found a way to build a domed stadium -- essential given the desert heat -- without giving up natural grass or natural light.
America's first retractable grass field sets apart University of Phoenix Stadium. While the roof also opens, natural light shines through even when it's closed. The stadium arguably looks a bit like a giant spaceship from the outside, but Business Week magazine ranked it one of the world's 10 most impressive sports facilities.
Wow factor: 4 wows (out of 5)
St. Louis Rams (Edward Jones Dome, capacity 66,965)
The $30 million in offseason upgrades to the nearly 15-year-old facility do not change the bottom line. The place lacks distinct flavor. It's a big building with seats. Nothing about it screams St. Louis.
The Rams' lease agreement compels the stadium to remain a "top-tier" facility by 2015, meaning it must rank among the eight best in the league. Not going to happen. Two-thirds of the league has built new stadiums since the Rams' facility opened in 1995. Sorry, Ed, but this dome simply cannot measure up by NFL standards.
Wow factor: 0 wows
San Francisco 49ers (Candlestick Park, capacity 70,207)
The place is a dump by rising NFL standards, right down to the faded puke-orange seats. But the 'Stick has history on its side and there's a charm to the place, even while navigating the cramped concourses and craning to see the field from Section 19.
It helps knowing Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice called Candlestick home, but there's a reason the 49ers are pushing hard to build a new stadium in Santa Clara. It's time to move on.
Wow factor: 2 wows
Seattle Seahawks (Qwest Field, capacity 67,000)
This architecturally spectacular stadium fits nicely into downtown Seattle while providing skyline views, massive concourses and no real shortcomings.
Designers achieved an outdoor feel while still protecting 70 percent of seats from rain. The NFL's first field-level luxury suites give the end zones a distinct feel and there isn't a louder stadium in the NFL (most false starts since 2005).
Wow factor: 4 wows
Bit of an unusual weekend here at the Black and Blue. We'll be heading down to New Orleans in a few hours for the big Monday night affair between Green Bay and the Saints. As a result, we won't be at a Sunday game.
The division's three other teams all have 1 p.m. ET kickoffs, so check back here Sunday evening for a few thoughts on each of the games. (If you have some thoughts, send 'em here.)
For now, let's take a Sunday stroll around the division:
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune takes a look at each position in the Tampa-2 defense to find out how they mesh with the Bears' personnel.
- The Bears should run right at St. Louis rookie defensive end Chris Long on Sunday, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Sunday's game at the Edward Jones Dome features two teams whose expertise -- defense for Bears, offense for the Rams -- has been tarnished, writes Nick Hut of the Northwest Herald.
- Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune looks for reasons why Minnesota has only six interceptions this season, including two on the road. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier suggests opponents aren't throwing downfield as much because of the Vikings' improved pass rush.
- Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune examines the mentality that inspires players to stay on the field with painful injuries. "If you're 50-50, you can go," offensive lineman Artis Hicks said. "That's the mindset that you have to have."
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press gets the last word on the Mike Tice-Brad Childress story line: "Tice did more with less while Childress has done less with more."
- Beating Tampa Bay last season was special for ex-Buccaneers assistant Rod Marinelli, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
- After getting fired as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach after the 1999 season, Mike McCarthy spent multiple nights at a Kinko's in Green Bay working on a plan to be the next offensive coordinator in New Orleans. He got the job, an important turn in his career, writes Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal.
- The Packers changed their in-season weight-training regimen from circuit to basic training after a bye-week self-scouting exercise, according to Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Rams' youth movement at receiver. Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton and Derek Stanley will join Torry Holt among the top four wideouts against Dallas.
Also from Thomas: Orlando Pace probably will not play against the Cowboys, a surprise to me and a problem for the Rams as they try to block Demarcus Ware.
More from Thomas: a look at which team has the edge in various matchups between the Rams and Cowboys.
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat expects Cowboys fans to make themselves heard in the Edward Jones Dome.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the next two games could determine Mike Nolan's fate as 49ers coach.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes, who says the team lacks the needed attention to detail.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers are 1-9 under Nolan in games played in the Eastern time zone.
Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says fans spend less money on sports during tough economic times, even if attendance remains strong.
Also from FitzGerald: Neither the 49ers nor Raiders have sold naming rights for their stadiums.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle tries to make sense of the Giants' upset loss to the Browns in Week 6. What does it mean for the 49ers?
Also from Crumpacker: a matchup box saying now would be a good time for Nolan to enjoy a "statement" game.
Michael Steffes of Seahawks Addicts revisits (and debunks) the idea that Seattle's defense is somehow undersized by NFL standards. I have touched on this at length, and Steffes is right. The Seahawks are slightly heavier, on average, than other 4-3 defenses.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune doesn't expect the Seahawks' tough season to affect Mike Holmgren's plans for 2009.
Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says circumstances prevent the Seahawks from dismissing the "doom-and-gloomers" predicting more struggles.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune revisits Jon Gruden's early days under Holmgren.
Jose Romero of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks face long odds against the Bucs even though they've won all four road games against Tampa Bay.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune takes a look at Kurt Warner's mindset as the Cardinals quarterback spends the bye week with family.