Twelve years ago today, LeBron James went full NWO and left Cleveland for Miami. I didn’t like it at the time, but I no longer have beef with Bron over the move. Was it good? No. Was it well-executed? Heck no. But the decision to leave and do what he did is understandable given perspective (and hindsight) we have now.
That decision changed the landscape of the NBA in that moment and for the future. And it also had an impact on other American pro sports, as that transaction was a first step toward the player-empowerment movement we’re seeing now. If you squint, you can see James’ decision as a catalyst for high-profile star players leaving to team up with their buddies.
Anyway … does anyone wanna join up with Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney?
And, yes, I am willing to consider Chad Ochocinco as a possible fit after he posed for a pic with Fields and Ohio State QB prospect CJ Stroud. Chad looks like he could still go for 5-85-1 if given the opportunity.
- All right, so the Bears are definitely moving to Arlington Heights. 😏
- Or, at minimum, the team is flatly rejecting the notion of renovating Soldier Field with the idea of enticing the franchise to stick around.
- This quote from Mark Ganis, a Chicagoan who has served as a consultant for NFL teams in their quest to build stadiums, slayed me. And in the wake of all the Bears-adjacent stadium news and dome chatter, this one hits the mark (via the Sun-Times):
“I give them credit for trying to put lipstick on a pig. But putting a roof on it, adding a few more restaurants [seats and suites] doesn’t change what the building is: a small, difficult-to-get-to, publicly-owned and operated stadium that is not even close to being sufficient to host an NFL team in the third-largest market in the country for decades to come in a modern-day NFL that requires a large physical stadium with many areas to be programmed and team facilities.”
- I might go as far as to say that the lipstick on a pig comp is being too kind. Throwing out the idea of putting a dome on Soldier Field at this stage of the game would be kin to putting spinning rims on the Millennium Falcon. What are we even doing here?
- With that being said, I do have a point of contention with the nugget about the challenges of getting to the stadium. Because, while true, there isn’t going to be a stadium location that will satisfy everyone in terms of getting in and out. That is an undeniable truth that people seem to conveniently forget. Simply put, there is no easy way to get 70,000 people in and out of the same place at the same time. There will always be traffic — both in terms of people on foot and those in automobiles. And there will never be enough public transportation to satisfy everyone (even if we were able to modify, modernize, and upgrade existing systems). Even with that being said, we – as a society – should still work toward updating the infrastructure on so many levels. But that is a different conversation for another day.
- Also? I hope folks don’t have their hearts too set on a 100,000-seat behemoth stadium. Those feel like a thing of the past. The Raiders new digs sits 65,000, but can expand to around 72,000. And as one tweeter pointed out, that model followed what they built in Arizona and Indy. It is notable that So-Fi Stadium outside of Los Angeles can expand to 100,000 (even though it sits 70,000 for football games. But for the sake of our football-centric discussion, I don’t think we’re gonna have 100,000 fans for football games. Let’s be real with each other. The league has a certain number in mind for seating capacity knowing that (1) fewer seats provides the ability to charge higher prices per seat using basic supply-demand economics and (2) the game is arguably more enjoyable at home where advertisers can bombard us with advertisements (thus, making their investments worth the price they pay).
- Speaking of which, the way many fans watch the NFL will soon change:
- In an interview with CNBC, NFL Commissioner Roger said Sunday Ticket leaving DirecTV after the 2022 season and teaming up with a streaming service in 2023. Back in November, there was buzz about ESPN+ being in the mix for the NFL package. Apple and Amazon figure to be in the running, too. We’ve seen Apple dive into the baseball market, while Amazon just took over the league’s Thursday Night Football slate (and with big hires, too). Ideally, the end result of this is something more cost-efficient for NFL consumers. Let’s face it, fans have been given the short-end of the stick when it comes to the pricing of everything. Ticket prices, concessions, apparel, merch … it’s all gone up. So while I’m all for everyone getting their paper, I can’t help but hope that there’s a price break for fans at some point. Preferably soon.
- Football is coming:
- I’ll be curious see how Cody Whitehair performs this year. Whitehair, the longest-serving member of the Bears’ offensive line, has been a pillar of durability and stability during his time in Chicago. And at multiple positions along the offensive line. Last year was a downer for everyone on the line, Whitehair included. But I’m far more interested in seeing the bounce-back. After all, you can learn more about a player with how they rebound from a down year than you can from analyzing the down year in isolation.
- Bummer: Steve “Mongo” McMichael didn’t make the semifinalist cut as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 in the Seniors, Coach, and Contributor categories. You can check out who did, via the PFHOF here.
- I was starting to think nothing would come of Daniel Snyder being served a subpoena:
- Holy moly, what a night for Chicago hockey! They traded Alex DeBrincat (in a move that was as immediately unpopular with fans) and Kirby Dach (which felt like a well-timed parting of ways for two sides needing a fresh start away from each other). And after drafting defenseman Kevin Korchinski and center Frank Nazar, the Blackhawks traded back into the first round to draft defenseman Sam Rinzel in a deal that also brought in goaltender Petr Mrazek. I’d say this feels like the ground floor of a rebuild, but it definitely feels like the Hawks are still digging out from beneath the surface after the last year of ill-advised moves and problematic off-the-ice behavior.
- On the other end of the emotional spectrum, this was a welcome sight:
- Sometimes, the juice is ultimately worth the squeeze when a trade has initial reactions that aren’t too savory. We’re still a few years away from realizing if the Yu Darvish deal will bear fruit at the major league level, but one of the prized prospects from that trade provided some highlights last night: