It’s never too early to start thinking about next season, is it?
The complete schedule for the upcoming NFL season won’t be released until next month, but the NFL did announce the teams, date and time for the season opener.
The Thursday night season opener will match the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants and the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. EST on NBC on Sept. 4th. As is traditionally the case, the defending Super Bowl champs kick off the season at home. You can expect a raucous crowd to be on hand to give thanks to Eli Manning and his team, for pulling off the upset of last season by handing the heavily favored New England Patriots their first loss of the year.
At the sportsbooks, the New York Giants are listed at 16/1 odds to win the 2009 Super Bowl, while the Washington Redskins are 35/1 odds to win the 2009 Super Bowl.
The USC Trojans have been called Tailback U ever since they were churning out elite NFL players like O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen. But when it comes to breeding star quarterbacks, the Trojans have to take a back seat to the Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan’s move away from Bo Schembechler’s ground game following his 1990 retirement delivered Tom Brady, currently working his way up the food chain toward Greatest of All Time status. The Wolverines have also produced starting QBs Todd Collins, Elvis Grbac and Brian Griese. And that’s just recent history.
USC would still be on anyone’s Top 5, thanks to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Boston College will be forever linked to Doug Flutie, unless Matt Ryan steals the show, but don’t forget Matt Hasselbeck was an Eagle. Under Jeff Tedford, Cal has sent Aaron Rodgers and Kyle Boller to the bigs, and Washington (Mark Brunell, Chris Chandler) often comes up big in the pass-happy Pac-10.
Daunte Culpepper, Derek Anderson and Josh McCown are only a few of the NFL players who are either restricted or unrestricted free agents going into next season. There is also a number of great running backs (Marion Barber, Michael Turner, Julius Jones, to name a few) up for grabs, although for some of these guys I doubt they’ll be going anywhere else.
What’s interesting, too, is the thinking on how involved a team will get in the free agency. The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, for example(s), have been fairly quiet. Meanwhile, there are teams like San Francisco who have been on a buying frenzy.
According to NFL.com, the following players are free agents who can negotiate with any NFL team. The signing period for restricted free agents ends April 18, and the signing period for unrestricted free agents ends July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first training camp, whichever is later).
NFL football reigns supreme in North America as it was announced today that the inaugural season for the All American Football League has been turfed due to lack of financial backing.
The league’s chief executive officer, Marcus Katz, said economic conditions forced the decision to scrap plans for this year.
“I invested 29 million dollars in cash to roll out the operations of the league,” Katz told the station, adding he was owed “a lot more money” by a student loan company.
“When I told the board I would subsidize the league, that was before the bond market collapsed,” Katz said.
Oh well. You know the NFL season will be back without a doubt and now’s the best time to make your 2009 Super Bowl bets. The New England Patriots are the favorites at 1/3 odds to win; the Indianapolis Colts are at 7/1 odds to win; San Diego Chargers are 8/1 odds to win; the Dallas Cowboys are the 9/1 favorites to win; while the 2008 Super Bowl champions the New York Giants are the 16/1 odds to win the 2009 Super Bowl.
The new NFL logo will get its debut at the 2008 NFL Draft
A mock draft is a pre-draft of sorts; it’s an opportunity for NFL football experts and fans alike to put their heads together, do a bunch of research and basically guess which players will go where before the actual 2008 NFL Draft takes place on April 26-27 (in New York). If you’re looking for links to other sites that have mock drafts, check out this site.
Here is the official 2008 NFL Draft order. Finishing the season with one win all year, the Miami Dolphins will get the first draft pick. Up next will be th St. Louis Rams, then the Atlanta Falcons third, Oakland Raiders fourth, and the Kansas City Chiefs fifth. Atlanta won a coin toss with Oakland and Kansas City for the right to choose third. All three teams had identical 4-12 records in 2007. The New York Giants, the winners of Super Bowl XLII, are given the last selection, and the losers (the New England Patriots) will pick second to last.
Of the 253 selections, 221 are regular selections in rounds one through seven, and 32 are compensatory selections, distributed among rounds three through seven.
If you’re trawling the NFL futures market looking for value, you’ve picked a good time. Free agents are being snapped up like fresh produce, the occasional trade is on the table, and the draft has yet to come. Meanwhile, March Madness is diverting the attention of many a bettor.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (40-1 to win the Super Bowl) have already added nine players to a team that made the playoffs last season. Defense was the focus; although the Bucs had the No. 4-ranked defense in the league in terms of efficiency, their D-line was weak. Marques Douglas and Jimmy Wilkerson will shore up the run blocking.
On the trade front, it looks like the Oakland Raiders (100-1) will get cornerback DeAngelo Hall from the rebuilding Falcons for a second-rounder. The Raiders were 4-12 last year and still have some work to do, but are worth a look in single-game situations with Hall and CB Nnamdi Asomugha playing together.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a shiny eight-year, $102-million contract. It’s the biggest contract in Steelers history, and a lot of cash for someone who nearly killed himself in a motorcycle accident just two years ago.
It’s getting harder and harder for the man on the street to relate to these athletes and their gigantic salaries. But “Big Ben” is very, very good at what he does, and over 60,000 people pay to see him at Heinz Field eight times a year – plus the playoffs, where he essentially works for free. Roethlisberger does have a ring, though, to remind him about Super Bowl XL.
This is also an NFL contract we’re talking about here. Big Ben is only guaranteed to see $33.2 million. And yes, there is a clause preventing him from partaking in “hazardous activities.” There are plenty of less successful people out there making far more money that merit our scorn instead.
Former 49er, Justin Smiley and the Miami Dolphins have agreed on a five-year contract worth $25 million according to the Miami Herald. This deal includes a guarantee of $9 million.
In November Smiley dislocated his right shoulder and underwent surgery that he is still recovering from. Currently, the Dolphins have penciled Smiley in as their starting right guard and before he gets in he’ll have to pass a physical.
Its most likely Smiley will be limited in off-season minicamps. Its still not know at what stage in training Smiley will be ready but it’s easy to assume that the Dolphins have a sense he’ll be good to go early enough to make a difference.
Well, well, what do we have here? The New England Patriots are 3-1 favorites on the Super Bowl XLIII futures market, just weeks after losing Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.
So the Pats are carrying heavy Super Bowl chalk for the second year in a row. The Giants proved what a lousy investment it can be to bet on the favorite; as brilliantly as New England played for most of the 2007 campaign, it’s a difficult journey to the championship, and the Pats had their share of “luck” to go 18-0.
However, let’s credit the NFL betting public (which is getting better informed all the time – then again, so are the sharps) for not putting too much weight in how the Patriots happened to finish the season 18-1. New England could just as easily have lost to the Giants in Week 17 and beaten them in New Orleans. But whither free agent Randy Moss in 2008?