Sporting News’ Q&A with Shonn Greene

July 13, 2009

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene talks with the Sporting News’ Bill Eichenberger about the upcoming season, his duties and comparing Iowa with the NFL.

The New York Jets drafted Greene with the first pick in the third round.

Here’s the link: Q&A … with Shonn Greene

NFL Network vs. Big Ten Network in the dead zone

July 3, 2009

Slow doesn’t begin to describe this time of year for college athletics and the NFL. Having covered both for a significant period of time, I can tell you everyone associated with the NFL is on vacation during the July 4 holiday. Likewise, college officials usually are as far from campus as possible.

It’s only reasonable to expect two networks exclusively televising pro football or college athletics to struggle for relevant programming this time of year. To examine this, I went through the entire television schedule of both the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network beginning with Sunday, June 28 and ending on July 4. Here are my observations.

Both networks repeat programming the same way Clear Channel recycles songs and news stories on the radio. The Big Ten Network repeated programming 45 times during this week. That includes four telecasts of “Big Ten Legends: Lloyd Carr” and four airings of the 2009 Big Ten men’s tennis tournament. The NFL Network is much, much worse. It replayed its programming 90 times during the seven-day period.

The Big Ten Network is required to show campus programming, and this is the perfect time of year to do so. There were three airings of Purdue’s “Boiler Bytes,” and Northwestern’s “Student Concerto Competition.” Iowa varied its campus programming with shows on vitality, sustainability and “Getting Ready for the Boom.” I presume that’s a euphemism for the alarm clock to wake us from that programming, but I digress.

The Big Ten Network has done a good job of trying to shake up its replays by instituting campus-specific programming on different days. There have been (and will be again on July 12) Iowa days when the network airs past games in which Iowa was victorious.

During this sample week, the Big Ten Network devoted a day for Wisconsin. The programming included a 1999 Rose Bowl victory, a big basketball win against Maryland in 2000 and the annual hockey grudge match against Minnesota. There also was campus programming on the common cold (aahh-chew), international relations (is this the fishing zone between the U.S. and Canada?) and the mind of a psychopath (Wisconsin’s own Jeffrey Dahmer?).

On July 4, the BTN will air the league’s greatest football games of 2008, plus other football-related programming. Good move. Overall, it was a decent week for the network, which slowly is building its resume as one of the better sports networks on television.

The NFL Network is the reigning repeat champion. No other network outside of Headline News repeats its programming more than the NFL Network. It’s a shame because the NFL Network has so much potential.

During the June 28-July 4 sample week, the NFL Network was fairly predictable, based on past years. Sundays are filled with 90-minute replays from four games during a 2008 weekend From noon Sunday through 6 p.m. Monday, those replays ran 16 times.

The NFL Network’s daily trademark, “Total Access,” is a one-hour news/feature show that airs every weeknight at 6 p.m. Unfortunately, it re-airs and re-airs and re-airs some more. The Monday version aired 10 times. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday versions aired 12 times each. That’s way too much programming time to dedicate to one 60-minute show.

The network also re-airs other programming at an alarming rate. Tuesday night, the network showed two 30-minute and one 60-minute episodes of “NFL Game of the Week.” Those shows then re-aired nine more times.

On Monday nights (and usually on the following Saturday), the NFL Network airs a “Classic Game” with its original broadcasters. Unfortunately, many of the classics go back to 2008 or 2007. Since the 1970 merger, there have been 9,061 games NFL games played — 8,680 regular season, 381 postseason.

The NFL Network did schedule a weekend dedicated to its Emmy-winning documentary series “America’s Game.” Beginning at 5 a.m. on July 4, the network will air each episode of its Super Bowl champion series, followed by its “Missing Rings” series. That’s a tremendous idea, but the network should have started it earlier in the week to expose those fans who have yet to see it.

What the NFL Network does, it does well. It just doesn’t do it enough and it is much too repetitive. When Brett Favre returns again expect nothing the network to destroy all of its programming to show his first Packers’ game, the Monday night game following his dad’s death, the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI win and last year’s Jets-Patriots Thursday night game on NFL Network.  The network did it when he retired, when he un-retired and then when he retired again.

Iwebema ‘confident’ after growth removal

July 1, 2009

Former Iowa and current Arizona Cardinals defensive end Kenny Iwebema said he’s fine after a growth was removed from his chest. Here’s a blog by Arizona Cardinals beat writer Darren Urban on Iwebema.

Vikings QB Sage Rosenfels addresses Brett Favre speculation

June 25, 2009
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels works with young football players at Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High on Thursday, June 25, 2009, in Iowa City.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels works with young football players at Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High on Thursday, June 25, 2009, in Iowa City.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels almost seems resigned that his team eventually will sign longtime quarterback Brett Favre.

“Well, it hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t know how I’m going to feel at the time,” Rosenfels said Thursday morning at the annual Tim Dwight Football Camp at Iowa City High.

There’s nothing I can do about it. (The Favre speculation is) not helping me get better for the season, so it’s something I try not to pay attention to. It’s not going to help me throw any touchdown passes this year, by me reading the paper every day or being on the Internet every day. I’m just focused on getting myself ready the best I can for the season.”

Minnesota traded a fourth-round pick to Houston this year for Rosenfels, who was expected to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the Vikings’ starting quarterback position. Speculation has swirled this offseason that Minnesota will sign Favre, which would shift Rosenfels back to reserve status.

 “Tavaris and I — as of right now — are competing for the starting job, and I’m excited for that,” Rosenfels said. “Obviously, I feel like I’m capable of meeting that challenge.”

Rosenfels, a Maquoketa native and former Iowa State quarterback, said Vikings coaches briefly addressed the Favre rumors with the team’s quarterbacks this offseason.

“Just a small discussion that Coach (Brad) Childress discussed with all four quarterbacks,” Rosenfels said. ” But it lasted about a minute and nothing significant.

“There’s only so many things I can control, and I can’t control what coaches and GMs are always doing. All I can really control is how I perform when I’m out there, and how the group around me performs when they’re out there. So that’s my focus is and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Rosenfels, who’s entering his ninth NFL season, has started five games in each of the last two seasons for Houston. Last year he threw for 1,431 yards, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He lost two fumbles as well. In 2007, he played in nine games throwing for 1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has started 12 games in his career and thrown for 4,156 yards, 30 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. The Vikings are his fourth NFL team.

Rosenfels often travels between Minneapolis and Houston, where he’s selling his home, and Iowa. It’s kept him busy this offsesason.

“I’ve been back and forth to Iowa a lot and flying back to Houston to see my family a lot,” he said. “It doesn’t give you much time to sit around and mess around online all afternoon. That’s actually a good thing. Keeping busy has been a good thing for me.”


New York Jets ink Shonn Greene

June 15, 2009
Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene signed a contract today with the New York Jets, the team announced today. The Jets drafted Greene with the first pick in the third round in April’s NFL draft.

Terms were not disclosed. Here’s the story from the Jets’ Web site:

Ex-ISU linebacker begins comeback

June 4, 2009

Former Cyclone star Alvin Bowen hurt his knee in his rookie season last year with the Buffalo Bills. He’s now attempting a comeback. Here’s his story:

Ex-Hawk Aaron Kampman keeps quiet about position switch

May 29, 2009

Per the Green Bay Press-Gazette, it appears former defensive end and current outside linebacker Aaron Kampman is unhappy with the move. Here’s the article:

Delany: Big Ten faces geographic disadvantage in bowls

May 18, 2009
Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss (94) forces a fumble against Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) in the BCS title game at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss (94) forces a fumble against Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) in the BCS title game at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Big Ten has lost its last six Bowl Championship Series games by an average score of 17.3 points.

The Big Ten is 6-16 in bowl games over the same three-year period. The league won only one bowl last year in Iowa’s 31-10 thrashing of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has not shied from controversy, especially when it relates to his conference’s bowl record. After a 2-5 bowl showing following the 2006 season, Delany took exception to a story that discussed the league’s lack of talent. He even wrote a letter on the league’s Web site that touted the Big Ten’s strengths against the Southeastern Conference.

When discussing the league’s potential for changing its bowl lineup, Delany said the league is almost at a disadvantage when playing bowl games from a geographic perspective.

“I know that from time to time people say you haven’t won enough bowl games,” he said. “Well, not everybody is playing Pac-10 champ in Pasadena. Not everybody is playing the SEC in Orlando and Orlando (Capital One and Champs) and formerly in Nashville (Music City). Not everybody is playing the Southwest Conference (former Big 12 teams) in Texas and Arizona. So it’s been part of our brand to play the best, and just let the chips fall where they may.”

Delany also said competition remains the key factor, not the final result, in picking bowl locations.

“I think opponents are almost one, and location two,” he said. “While these are away competitive locations, they’re not away in terms of where our alums have chosen to retire. They’re not away in terms of where recruiting advantages lie. They’re not away with regard to where our fans like to spend four or five days. But they are away competitively.

“Our teams are built for September and October and December, but they’re also built for late October and November. I think our teams have very good speed, whether or not they have the best speed that you might see in places where the game is always played in good weather.

“I think that if you look at NFL rosters, half of the NFL is played in cold weather, while the bowl games are not. There’s certainly a case to be made by anybody who’s playing for the Cleveland Browns, the Giants, the Patriots, the Packers, etc., on the value of playing in both weather climates.”

Big Ten officials will discuss the league’s bowl lineup this week in their annual meetings. Five of the league’s bowl contracts expire after the season. Those include the Capital One,  Outback, Champs, Alamo and Motor City bowls. The league has four years remaining on contracts with the Rose and Insight bowls.

Ex-Hawk Greenway enters Favre debate

May 12, 2009
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) celebrates after the Vikings stopped the Chicago Bears on four downs from the 1-yard line during the second quarter Nov. 30, 2008, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) celebrates after the Vikings stopped the Chicago Bears on four downs from the 1-yard line during the second quarter Nov. 30, 2008, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

Former Iowa All-American and current Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway told the Star-Tribune that he wonders about the loyalties of “retired” quarterback Brett Favre.

“[Favre has] retired a couple of times, so you wonder where his loyalties lie,” Greenway told the newspaper. “For us, it’s about we’re moving forward with what we’ve got here. We have a team that can obviously win at a high level and we have a team that, moving forward, we think can really compete for an NFC North title again and get to the championship game and hopefully further. As good as something may sound, we have a great team to play with right now, and there is no sense in looking outside of what we have within our 53 [-man roster].”

Here’s a link to the article: Greenway

King has ‘chip on his shoulder'; Bruggeman happy in Tampa Bay

May 5, 2009

Former Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King is fighting mad after not getting selected in the 2009 NFL draft.

According to The Tennessean, King rejected multiple offers from other teams and instead joined the Titans because of defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

King, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 280 pounds, told the newspaper he thinks he wasn’t drafted because he’s too “short.” King, 22, was the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year last year.

“That’s probably why I wasn’t drafted,” he said. “But it makes me have a little bit bigger chip on my shoulder.”

King’s agent, Richard Rosa, told me last week that the interest was “overwhelming.”

“We weren’t dealing with scouts,” Rosa said. “We were dealing with coaches, general managers … at least two team presidents called him personally and said, ‘That’s a guy we have to have.’ There was tremendous interest for him.”

“I can’t deny that there were teams lining up. He had an unbelievable amount of interest from teams. Ultimately, Mitch got to pick the spot.”

Former Iowa center Rob Bruggeman was targeted as a seventh-round pick by Tampa Bay, but signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent. Bruggeman, a Cedar Rapids native, was a second-team all-Big Ten center last fall.

“I really like the system and the people down here,” Bruggeman told The Pewter Report. “Maybe that’s my Iowa roots coming through, but I just felt really comfortable with these people down here.”


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