Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Red Wings and Detroit Pistons May One Day Share a Downtown Arena

The Red Wings and the Pistons together in a new state of the art downtown Detroit arena. Too good to be true, right?

While two thing have occurred that makes this once unthinkable prospect a good possibility. One is the unfortunate passing of Pistons owner Bill Davidson this past year, and the other is the Red Wings ending their current 30 year lease at Joe Louis Arena.

Davidson always had a problem with Detroit (moving them out of Cobo Arena when he bought the team) and chose to build his Pistons and Palace Entertainment empire 25 miles or so north in Auburn Hills. His wife and surviving heirs are now looking to potentially sell the franchise (confirmed), and even work some sort of partnership with the Red Wings and the Ilitch family.

Meanwhile, the Red Wings are in the process of negotiating a new lease agreement with the city of Detroit for Joe Louis and could even potentially move to the Palace for a few years as the teams together build a new arena.

I'm a big fan of a new arena and I would love to see it downtown. Given the uncertain economic situation of the Michigan area, not even too mention the NHL and NBA, it only makes sense for franchises to share the costs of building and maintaining a new arena. This is currently how it's done in 9 cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta.

As a fan who grew up on the East Side south of 8 mile, it has to be downtown. The Palace is only convenient for a small percentage of Detroit area residents and while getting there is fine for a once in a while concert it does not make a whole lot of sense for a team that plays 40 dates a year. I know there are safety, aesthetic and people with their cracker issues about a Detroit site, but all major expressways lead in and out of Detroit. If it's good enough for three of the four Detroit teams, should be good enough for all four.

While I like the atmosphere and good memories at Joe Louis, it's in a horrible location and that area could be better served by expanding Cobo Center (maybe some nice terraces along the river.) The Ilitch's also own all that land west of Woodward and I'm sure already have a pretty good idea of where it will go.

In the meantime, where do the Wings play. I thought this configuration of the Frozen Four at the Ford Field was interesting. Maybe the Wings could play there for a few years while a new arena is built.

The Detroit Free Press business writer weighed in on the news . Given the state of the economy, he doesn't expect big news (sale of the Pistons or a new arena) anytime soon.

This article from Crain's Detroit Business is 7 months old but still has the best information on the Wings lease situation at the Joe The Wings have until June 30, 2010 to work out a new lease with the city.

Friday, January 15, 2010

NFL Picks: the Divisional Round

I didn't officially make picks last week but trust me I did well. Four games, four wins. Haha. Just kidding although I had a strong feeling about the Baltimore Ravens and that will continue into this week. The only game I missed on was the Packers loss to the Cardinals. Still bummed about that one.

Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) vs Indy Colts - Going to push my luck and pick the Ravens and say that they'll make it two years in a row as the #1 seed spoiler in the AFC. History suggests the Colts don't do well with the extra week and the high seed and I think it'll be deja vu all over again.

New Orleans Saints (-7) vs Arizona Cardinals - New Orleans will win this game but the game could be close. New Orleans has been horrendous against the spread the second half of the season. The Saints actually had a decent defense before injuries and they are getting some of those players back. The cover is a bit tough but Brees can dial up scores like a good pinball player.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) vs. Dallas Cowboys
- The Cowboys are the hot team and they could very likely win this game but until they beat a good team in an important playoff game not going to be the chump who bets on them. Vikings 8-0 and average 33 points per game at home.

NY Jets (+7) vs San Diego Chargers - Everything has to go right for the Jets to win and when does that happen for the Jets in a big game. Chargers have been here before and should pull this one out. But I think 7 is a big spread so I say the Jets cover.

Last Week: 3-1 (Really, I swear)
Season: 136-120

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Mock Draft #1

So in keeping with the pathetic-ness of being a Detroit Lions fans I am already trolling the Internet for 2010 Mock Drafts. It's way early to do such a thing and find anything close to the way reality will play out with the playoffs and the Super Bowl still here for the next few weeks and the NFL scouting combine out there somewhere in March, or whenever it is. But what can can you do, if only there was a fast forward button so your NFL franchise could get better, faster, that would be awesome.

As Lions fans know, we made amazing progress this year. Whereas last year, we had zero wins and the number one pick this year we won two games and choose second. Now we have to hope the Rams do what we did last year, and that is pick a quarterback. Because you need a quarterback, everybody knows that and especially an underclassman from a program that did not win much of anything when the QB played there. (i.e. Jimmy Claussen)

So I never visited this Draft Site but they had full 7 round NFL mock draft. Talk about parlor games. Not sure how these guys make their predictions but I was loving it and here's what their crystal ball said about who the Lions will pick.

Round 1 - Gerald McCoy, DT - (Oklahoma) - Now the best player in the draft, the beast from Nebraska is Ndamukong Suh who these guys think will go to the Rams. So dare to dream that the Rams take the QB so the Lions get him. Interestingly, Suh's mother is from Jamaica and his father from Cameroon and the two met in Portland, Oregon. I'm sure we're going to hear a ton about this guy (his motor, his desire, his play making ability, how much he eats, how he doesn't care if he goes to the Lions or the Rams, that he just wants to play, etc.) But nothing about his background. Except for those of us curious and tech savvy enough to visit his Wikipedia page. But enough about him, McCoy is a fine runner up and is exactly what the Lions need.

Round 2 - Greg Hardy, DE - (Mississippi) - I love these Draft Site guys already, having the Lions sensibly choose two defensive linemen with their first two picks. (Also like these guys because they put the full 7 round mock on one web page. No clicking!) I just hope the Lions are as smart although we could also use the best player available strategy if that player is a cornerback or offensive linemen.

Round 3 - Jon Asamoah - OG (Illinois) - We do need a guard and here we mock one in the third round, really like what these guys are doing.

Round 4 - Ted Larsen - OT (North Carolina State) - Man, I want to hire these guys to be the new GM's of the Lions. They are doing what the Lions never do but need to do so badly and build in the "trenches." So four picks and we've got two beasts for the defense and two hogs for the offense. We're talking well over 1200 pounds of football players - a good value.

Round 5 - Ed Wang - OT (Virgina Tech)
- Now maybe getting a little crazy. Another linemen? We need some toys. Maybe a wide receiver, a running back or at least a cornerback.

Round 6 - Zoltan Mesko - P (Michigan) - They lost me here. A punter? Nick Harris is actually one of the better ones as long as he doesn't give the guy a chance to return the ball. I'd rather head coach Jim Schwartz make a pledge to never punt the whole season than draft a punter here. (Though we do punt a lot so maybe this does make sense.)

Round 7 - Kerry Meier - WR (Kansas) - We actually traded this pick to the Bills but we do have another selection later in the round. I'm all good here. Another guy to run under Matthew Stafford's well thrown balls. Your team should be good enough where a 7th round pick has trouble making the team.

One guy who was not in this mock draft who I'd like to learn more about is Joe Webb, QB, Alabama/Birmingham. Apparently, he was the first person in NCAA history to pass for 2K yards and rush for 1K yards in consecutive seasons. He also can play WR. Might be cool to build some wildcat offensive plays around him.

More Mockery

The Bleacher Report (in a lame slideshow format) concurs with Gerald McCoy to the Lions at number 2.

Walter Football has better news for the Lions: Ndamukong Suh in round 1. Then Jahvid Best, RB, California in the 2nd round and then Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky in the 3rd. (Actually this was the closest to what really happened. Good Job!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Lions hand off the Losing Baton to the Pistons

Ok,I'm excited because the Lions have to be at their absolute rock bottom. The full decade record is in and it's ugly: historically ugly. The Lions in the oughts were 33 wins against 111 losses which has been capped by a 3-37 record in their last forty games.

But I'm all for looking at the positive. For the first time in forever we don't have to worry about drafting or acquiring a quarterback (or sticking with the crappy one we have) this off-season. The one we drafted #1 seems to be pretty good and he's only 21.

The Lions NFL defense (just barely, ranked last the past three years) has improved with players they chose in the last draft. We even had three rookie starters that may anchor the middle for years to come (DT Sammie Hill, LB Deandre Levy and S Louis Delmas.)

Hopefully the teens bring mediocrity to the Detroit Lions. I think they have it in them.

The Wall Street Journal conducts a Misfits Bowl and the Lions win with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17.

No relief from the losing with our NBA team. The Pistons losing streak goes to 11.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wrapping up the NFL Regular Season

My first season picking all NFL games against the spread has come to an end. The final record is 136-120. That was good enough for the 97.3% percentile on ESPN's Pig Skin Pick em (4,215 of about 130,000 entrants.) Which I must say is pretty impressive but I do get the feeling a lot of people dropped out halfway through the process. The winner chose 156 of the games so I do have a ways to go although if I had only picked 1 more winner a week I would have made it close. And take away my two disastrous weeks and put me on that big board as a winner.

Thankfully the Lions season is now over. No more suffering through their ineptness. Now comes the best part of being a Lions fan. Who they will take with the second pick in the draft? Hopefully some sort of monstrous defensive lineman. So I will be checking this list often.