In this week's edition of "The Sunday Five" we take a look at the new blackout rule, the league trying to enhance in-game experiences for fans, a birthday salute for Joshua Cribbs, the hype that Jordan Cameron is receiving, and the thought of stating up a mailbag feature on Dawgs By Nature.
It will be interesting to see how much the new blackout rule helps a team like the Cincinnati Bengals this coming season. The new stipulation is that teams must sell at least a minimum of 85% of tickets, with teams being able to set a higher minimum on a team-by-team basis. For the 2011 season, the Bengals only sold 75.2% of their tickets, which was the worst in the NFL. Maybe the 85% mark makes it more reasonable for someone to "buy out" enough tickets to make the games available on public television. The next four teams with the lowest stadium capacity filled include Miami (81%), Washington (83.9%), Buffalo (84.8%), and St. Louis (85.4%). The Cleveland Browns only filled 89.8% of their capacity last season, which ranked them 26th in the NFL. You also have to consider the fact that Cleveland's capacity (73,300) is higher than many stadiums, including Paul Brown Stadium (65,515). My guess is that we won't see a blackout-free season in 2012, but that Cleveland will be fine again.
In the same Wall Street Journal article, it is explained that the league wants to try to improve the in-game experience for fans. Some of the ideas the league has proposed? No. 1: Having wireless Internet access in every stadium. That's a good idea, considering the amount of people who tweet or want to catch up on fantasy updates. No. 2: Have a smartphone app that lets fans listen to players wearing microphones on the field. This is a cool idea, but it's not something I imagine people coming to the stadium for. Also, couldn't one pull up the same app from home while watching on TV? No. 3: Making sure NFL Red Zone is available in every stadium for fans to see. No. 4: Allowing fans in the stadium to see the same instant replays that officials are looking at, and even letting fans listen to referees conversations. The article admits that the second part of No. 4 (listening to conversations) is a long way off, but it makes sense for people to know which replays the referees are looking at.
I'm not sure if anyone has seen the video of hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly talking with kick returner Joshua Cribbs and cornerback Joe Haden; if you haven't, then here you go. In the video, Cribbs talks about the passionate fans of Cleveland. He says they are hard-working people, and they really have a high appreciation for athletes or public figures who they see working hard for them. MGK was giving Cribbs a personal birthday salute during one of his concerts in Cleveland.
A lot of people are praising tight end Jordan Cameron, saying they expect his role to increase this season. That is understandable, considering he was a fourth-round draft pick who barely played a year ago. But, to what extent will his role increase -- who is he going to take playing time away from? Does that mean less of veteran Benjamin Watson? I would think Watson, who is the oldest (but still capable) player on offense, would be good for first-year quarterback Brandon Weeden to have. Tight end Evan Moore still has his little cult following and a lot of potential in my opinion. I think the idea is that Cameron eventually molds into a guy who overtakes Watson, but is that going to be this season? It's a tough situation.
I found this question to be pretty amusing; it was something that a user wrote in to Tony Grossi in his weekly mailbag feature at ESPN:
Congratulations on getting back your H.O.F voting privileges that were well deserved. I have a question that I am sure many of your readers might have. You started the "Hey Tony" column many years ago while with the Plain Dealer, and now you have carried it over to ESPN and are doing an equally outstanding job with it. Your previous employer has also kept their version of the column in "Hey Mary Kay", which is not bad, but shorter and less informative than yours. Is there a copyright on the actual column or can you guys both co-exist in harmony?
...as if Grossi was the one person in the world who began that format of a column. Grossi responded with, "You sound like a lawyer. I think both columns can co-exist. The Internet is a vast place."
I have thought about doing a DBN mailbag session that would take place either on a Saturday, or some time mid-week. Even though SB Nation is built on having interaction between users, there's just something unique about responding to questions in a mailbag format. It also serves as motivation for me to stop and do more research on certain questions, even if the answers are obvious to some. If people are interested in a mailbag feature starting on DBN, let us know in the comments section below.