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March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Foo

The WWE Network debuted on Monday and my wife immediately began filling out divorce papers.

I try to limit my classic wrestling viewing to the television in our room before bed or my iPad if I have a free minute or two in the living room. With WWE Network, I can now literally watch old (and new) wrestling whenever I want. On my phone, in the car, at church, during family dinners, or waiting to check out at the grocery story. Thousands of hours of wrestling footage is at my fingertips.

There is no way my wife is going to be able to deal with me watching wrestling when we’re supposed to be having a serious conversation about buying a new house or finding a good school for our kid.

While I’m reliving classic moments like this, my wife will be packing up her things and relocating as far away from me as possible.

I wonder if the NFL would ever give something like the WWE Network a try? On the surface, it makes sense that they would. But if you really think about it, you realize how silly the league would be to abandon the golden goose it currently has with its traditional television package.

In 2013, the WWE made about $168 million from its television deal. That’s a great deal for the networks that air WWE programming like Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, and not all that great of a deal for WWE.

Ninety-percent of WWE viewers watch shows like Raw and SmackDown live or less than a day after airing. That’s on par with professional sports like football or basketball. The majority of WWE viewership is also under 34 years old and ethnically diverse, two key components that prominent advertisers are looking for. Networks are also looking for more “DVR-proof” programming, or shows that are watched live instead of recorded and watched days or weeks later.

So why doesn’t the WWE have a more lucrative TV deal? Because it’s professional wrestling, duh! Nobody — especially fancy schmancy television executives and big corporate advertisers — has ever taken professional wrestling seriously. Sure, they might back-handedly acknowledge its solid track record of reliable TV ratings and a dedicated and loyal fanbase, but they’re not going to back it up with dollars.

It’s just dumb wrestling. You know, men in their underwear pretending to beat each other up. In the eyes of the big-wigs, only idiots watch wrestling; not people who are well off and might be interested in buying nice cars, shopping at decent stores or enhancing a respected brand.

Vince McMahon and the higher-ups at WWE likely realized that they’re never going to get the giant TV deal they feel they’re worth. So, McMahon — the man who invented Wrestlemania and put wrestling on the mainstream’s national radar — figured he might as well see if creating his own Netflix-style mobile network could boost revenues to where he wants them to be.

The NFL doesn’t need to take such risks. Its TV deal literally prints money.

The NFL currently has a TV deal that runs through 2022 and totals $27 billion. Football makes more in about a month with its TV deal than WWE made in all of 2013. Give up a good portion of that just to create their own network and deal with pricing, marketing, customer service, infrastructure and who knows what else? It ain’t happening.

I could maybe see something similar to the WWE Network happening with the NFL’s out-of-market Sunday Ticket package. Right now, DirecTV holds exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket, but that agreement ends in 2014. Perhaps the NFL could opt for some type of multi-platform delivery system that allows fans to access out-of-market games whether they have DirecTV or not.

But even that could open up several cans of worms: Will the NFL build its own “network” to stream games? What would the networks who are paying $27 billion to the NFL think of this? Isn’t it just plain easier for the NFL to collect a giant check from DirecTV and let them worry about delivering the package and everything else that comes with it?

In a perfect world, NFL fans would have it just as good as wrestling fans currently have it with the WWE Network. What NFL fan wouldn’t want the ability to access any game he wanted from any device for a reasonable price? But unless the market forces the NFL to adopt something similar to the WWE Network, it’s never going to happen. No matter how happy it might make us fans.

Packers news, notes and links

  • No surprise here: It sounds like Sam Shields will hit the open market. Now before you start panicking, remember that Shields is not yet a dominant corner and he’s missed games with various injuries every season of his young career. The Packers also still have Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde, and a returning Casey Hayward. It’s not the end of the world if Shields bolts of Green Bay. Don’t get me wrong, I hope the Packers re-sign Shields — they should re-sign Shields — but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t.
  • The NFL salary cap is officially set at $133 million and the Packer have about $34.7 million in cap space. Prepare for the free-agent spending spree, right? I doubt it. I’m guessing a good chunk of that cap space goes toward news deals for Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and to re-sign Sam Shields and a few of the other 17 free agent Packers. I could see Ted Thompson signing a few free agents during the second or third wave of free agency, but I’ll be shocked if he breaks the bank for anyone in that first tier.
  • We finally know what was up with Johnny Jolly’s neck at the end of the season. Turns out, he had a neck fusion procedure similar to what safety Sean Richardson underwent early last year. Neck fusion surgery ended Nick Collins’ career and may end Jermichael Finley’s career. Richardson returned, however, and it sounds like Jolly has a good chance to resume playing as well. Will the Packers want to bring back a defensive lineman on the wrong side of 30 who is coming off a major surgery? We’ll see.
  • Washington State safety Deone Bucannon could wind up with the Packers if both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are off the board by the time the Packers pick at No. 21 in the NFL draft. Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV goes in-depth on Bucannon in this excellent post.
  • It sounds like the Packers want to bring back LB Jamari Lattimore, but not for the $1.389 million price tag of a restricted free-agent tender. Lattimore could wind up back on the Packers roster the same way Robert Francois did last offseason: by re-signing for slightly more than the minimum once free agency opens. I’d like to have Lattimore back. He’s good on special teams and capable of filling in at inside linebacker for short stretches.
  • The Packers re-signed safety Chris Banjo and signed running back Michael Hill this week.
  • This Darren Sharper thing keeps getting uglier and uglier.
  • Need something to keep you entertained while you’re shoveling snow or cleaning off the roof? Check out the latest round of podcasts from the crew at the Packers Talk Radio Network.

Non-Packers links and other nonsense

  • Holy crap I don’t ever want to go to prison.
  • Breaking news from the world of fast food and expanding waistlines: Taco Bell will soon start serving breakfast and McDonald’s might serve its breakfast menu all day.
  • The Packers have been plagued by injuries the last four seasons, but thankfully, no Packers player has come down with this injury…yet.
  • Hannibal Buress is one of the best (and most underrated) stand-up comedians around and he absolutely killed on the Tonight Show this week.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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11 Responses to “Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived”

  1. Rossoneri83 says:

    I’d be really disappointed if the Packers don’t re-sign Sam Shields. They’ve been enjoying him on the cheap for years, he just turned 26 in December and when he was challenged in a contract year, he delivered. Sure, he’s not Aeneas Williams, but he’s the guy the Packers trust to cover Megatron, AJ Green and Brandon Marshall. Tramon Williams will probably be a free agent casualty in 2015 and there is no guarantee that Casey Heyward’s hamstring issues will end.

    In a year where the Packers have plenty of money to spend, I’d hope they’d at least be willing to pay up to $8 million for Shields. Assuming his salary demands are somewhat reasonable, I think it’d be a horrible mistake to let Shields walk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Dobber says:

      I can’t help but wonder if the slow progress on Shields was more a function of who is agent is or of TT not really knowing what Shields is worth.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      • Slim11 says:

        The only problem I have with Sam Shields is Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus was Javon Walker’s agent, and IIRC, Mike McKenzie’s and Najeh Davenport’s agent. All left Green Bay.

        Rosenhaus has been a thorn in GB’s side for a long time. On another thread I read something about complaints filed against Rosenhaus by former players. His NFLPA certification may be in question. We can only hope the NFLPA pulls Rosenhaus’ certification.

        I hope Shields does return to GB. Letting him go creates another hole in the GB defense. We have too many holes as it is.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

        • Rossoneri83 says:

          Thank you. I was dumbfounded by comments on a Journal-Sentinel article, which was a chorus of people saying Shields was “old” (don’t know where that came from) and “not worth it.” Ridiculous! I hate Rosenhaus too, but doubt his certification will revoked anytime soon. Like you said, we have way too many holes already and can’t afford to lose him.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. SchenySchen says:

    Who is agent is. That is my guess. GoPack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. GBPDAN says:

    The problem with losing Shields is that Hayward and Hyde are good slot CBs , their skills tapper off on the outside. So we have Williams and House on the outside. Hopefully House is ready to take the next step. GB needs another good outside CB, and I hope that CB is Shields

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      Firmly believe that if Shields was to get away, the Packers could use his money to sign an adequate replacement on the open market and still have money to spare to use elsewhere.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. Archie says:

    Losing Shields – another TT blunder! Could have locked him up long term at $4 to $5MM/yr prior to 2013 season but no, Mr. Tightwad had to screw Shields one more year because he could. Well, now Shields has the hammer and he will use it. Packer fans want to blame his agent rather than their blundering GM. What is wrong with you people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  5. big o says:

    Man don’t talk to me about the WWE where’s my NFL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0