INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL is seeing the early signs of cracks in fan loyalty. Curley Culp Titans Jersey
. Ten weeks into the owners lockout of the players, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted Wednesday the negative effect the labour dispute is having on pro football. "Clearly it has had an impact on the fans," Goodell said as the owners completed their spring meetings. "We see it in various metrics. Theres been a noticeable change, TV ratings were down on the draft roughly 4 million people. NFL.com traffic (is down), we see that." Ticket sales also are down. "Fans want certainty," Goodell added. "We cant underestimate that the fans are going through challenges just in the general economy." That certainty isnt likely to come soon. Both sides have a date in 8th U.S. District Court on June 3 for hearings on the leagues appeal to uphold the lockout. A decision probably wont come for several weeks, and while another set of mediation sessions is scheduled to start June 7, not much is expected from those discussions while the appeal is being considered. The owners meetings included lengthy talks about the labour dispute, but no deadlines have been set -- yet -- for the opening of training camps, which usually happens in late July. That drop-dead date "obviously is coming," Goodell said, barring a collective bargaining agreement. "Weve made it clear that (revenue loss) is current and will continue to accelerate and impact on the ability of ownership to make an offer (the players) find attractive," he said. Owners were presented the full range of plans for opening weekend, from the first game on Thursday night at Lambeau Field to commemorations of the Sept. 11 attacks on the first full Sunday of games. Those dates are not in jeopardy yet, but the longer the impasse, the more in danger they would become, particularly with the leagues marketing partners, sponsors and advertisers who must commit dollars to those events well in advance. "Were not at an Armageddon date," Eric Grubman, executive vice-president of business operations for the NFL, told The Associated Press. "Were not staring that in the face this week." Several teams already have begun to consider adjusting where they hold training camp. Fifteen teams trained last summer at complexes other than their in-season facilities, and some have deadlines as early as July 1 to decide whether to return to those locales or hold a truncated training camp at home. "If it dragged on or there was a shorter camp, something like that might not be inconceivable," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. The Colts training camp is held about an hour from Indianapolis at Anderson University. One day after cancelling the rookie symposium scheduled for June 26 in Canton, Ohio -- the first NFL event victimized by the lockout -- Goodell reiterated the leagues intent to play a full schedule this season. He recognized the need not only for some sort of training camps but also for a free agency signing period once a new CBA is reached. "The uncertainty is something we have to consider in getting players ready to play, and we have talked about different concepts," he said. One of those concepts would be expanding rosters to help teams keep rookies who might not have a chance to prove their value in training camp or the preseason. A portion of these meetings was spent on adopting rules amendments for player safety. The league also announced a policy of "club accountability" for teams whose players repeatedly are fined for flagrant hits. Punishments for the teams will be financial, but also could include further discipline by Goodell, including stripping of draft picks, for repeat offenders -- something Goodell said he has "not contemplated yet." That announcement brought a strong reaction from two Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers: LaMarr Woodley and the oft-fined James Harrison. "Man, theyre getting ridiculous," Woodley told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Football is turning soft now. Too many fines. Too many penalties protecting the quarterback every single play. Defensive guys cant be defensive guys no more." Harrison tweeted: "Im absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots." Local reporters, concerned about next Februarys Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, asked several owners and Goodell whether the title game is in danger. "Youre going to have the Super Bowl here, Im confident of that," Giants owner John Mara said. "Were approaching 2011," Goodell added, "as we would any other season." Derrick Morgan Titans Jersey
. The NFL has said former Saints defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams ran an improper pay-for-performance pool, which offered bonuses for big plays as well as big hits that forced opposing players from games or left them needing help to leave the field. Brian Schwenke Titans Jersey
. Kowalczuk has spent four seasons with the Bombers. He spent most of 2013 on the reserve list but played in four games. Lucas is entering his sixth CFL season and third with the Bombers. http://www.thetitansfansclub.com/Black-Friday-Brett-Kern-Jersey/
. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga.I am very excited to start contributing to the TSN website on a regular basis with blogs and columns about the Ottawa Senators. In this space, I will be writing new and unique pieces about the team that you wont be able to find anywhere else. So naturally, in an attempt to come up with a fresh topic about the Ottawa Senators, I am going to start with a piece about their goaltending. Bet you didnt see that one coming. With Craig Anderson sidelined due to a neck injury, Robin Lehner has stepped up and seized the moment with a pair of much-needed wins for the club. Lehners performance in those two victories has many Sens fans suggesting that his time has arrived to be anointed the teams No. 1 netminder. Ottawa fans are so conditioned to not having one reliable goaltender; they almost dont seem to know what to do with two of them. But before you start thinking this situation has the potential to become a full-fledged goalie controversy, there are a few things you need to remember. The most important factor in the Ottawa crease is the contracts that both netminders have - specifically Anderson. There are 23 goaltenders in the NHL who have a bigger cap hit than Andersons $3.18 million contract, making it arguably the leagues best deal for a netminder. If he was healthy last season, Anderson would have been the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy and his performance in the playoffs against Montreal cemented his status as a legitimate No. 1 goalie. To put this in perspective, Anderson has a lower cap hit than both Devan Dubnyk and Ondrej Pavelec. When the Vancouver Canucks were in the midst of a goalie controversy last year with both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, the biggest catalyst for that storm was the latters ridiculous contract. The Canucks were spending more than $9 million in their crease and it seemed counterproductive to have one goalie making more than $5 million to be sitting at the end of the bench on a regular basis. The same thing happened in Pittsburgh last spring, when Marc-Andre Fleurys contract suddenly looked like a white elephant on the payroll during the playoffs when he lost his job to the more economical Tomas Vokoun. But in Ottawa, they are spending only $4 million combined on the position when you factor in Lehners $850,000 salary for this season. There is no financial element that would push Ottawa to a tipping point this season. Lehner is set to become a restricted free agent in July, but the club would still hold the hammer in those negotiations. When Bryan Murray signed Anderson to his four-year deal back in the spring of 2011, the consensus amongst Ottawa fans was that it was a great contract - except most of them didnt like the fourth year tacked on at the end. Ryan Succop Titans Jersey
. Ironically, that fourth year is the best thing that could have happened to the club, because now it buys them another year to figure out their long-term plan. If Andersons deal was set to expire this season, there would have been more pressure to try and either trade him or sign him to an extension. But now, Murray can let this situation breathe knowing he doesnt have to face a real pressure point until after this season at the earliest. Last season, the Ottawa general manager was forced to deal a goaltender because Ben Bishop was set to become a restricted free agent and the club knew it could no longer keep its three-headed monster in goal. That was a very real pressure point, since they did not want to lose Bishop as a restricted free agent - nor did they want to go through the exercise of signing him to a new contract only to have to turn around and trade him. That was a real pressure point for Murray and one that he doesnt have to deal with this season. Some fans are now suggesting Murray should have moved Anderson at the deadline last season and hung onto Bishop and Lehner, since he likely would have received more for the veteran netminder. But at the time Anderson was the most proven and stable goalie of the bunch and his contract was extremely reasonable for a No. 1 goaltender. And that last sentence remains true today: Of the three goaltenders, Anderson remains the most proven of that trio. The best parallel to the Anderson-Lehner situation could be the one that played out in Boston with Tim Tomas and Tuuka Rask. Those two goalies shared the crease for three full seasons and while it did get awkward at times, they did win a Stanley Cup in that situation. Thomas eventually orchestrated his own departure out of Boston, but that was after three full seasons of sharing the crease with a young prospect. Two capable netminders can share the workload for an extended period of time before something has to give. Were not anywhere near that point in Ottawa right now. The other thing to consider is that injuries can always play a factor in the goaltending equation. Its a long season ahead and both Lehner and Anderson could be heading over to Sochi to represent their countries in February. And if Sens fans have learned one thing over the years, its that when their goalie heads overseas for the Olympics, he doesnt always come back healthy. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China
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