5 Big Storylines in the NFL This Week
Week 2 is now complete, so let’s review some of the biggest storylines around the NFL.
James D. Smith via AP
Zeke Gets Another Favorable Court Ruling, But Still Not Totally in the Clear
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys, and fantasy football players are awaiting another court ruling that could come down this week regarding Zeke’s playing status moving forward through the 2017 season.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant rejected the NFL’s motion to reinstate Elliott’s 6 game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. That means Zeke can keep playing. However, the NFL has now filed a legal briefing with the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. If the 5th Circuit Court rules in favor of the NFL, Zeke could serve his suspension starting this week. The legal wrangling between the NFL and Zeke/NFL Players Association continues; this isn’t over yet. But the last couple of rulings have gone in Zeke’s favor. For now, he’ll keep practicing and preparing alongside teammates for the Cowboys’ upcoming road trip to Arizona in Week 3.
Julio Cortez via AP
NFC East Update – 3-Way Tie at the Top, Giants in the Basement
The Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins have identical 1-1 records entering Week 3. But the Giants remain winless at 0-2, last place in the division, following Monday night’s debacle of an offensive performance. The Giants lost at home to the Lions, 24-10 on Monday Night football. The Giants offense has scored only 1 touchdown in its first two games combined. They can’t run the ball, and the offensive line can’t protect QB Eli Manning who was sacked 5 times. Even when Manning had time to throw, his receivers dropped passes. That includes Odell Beckham Jr. who played Monday after missing game 1 versus the Cowboys because of an ankle injury. The Giants’ offensive woes date back to last season…they haven’t topped 20 points in eight consecutive games. The Giants fans are restless, and they mercilessly booed the offense. It’s a bad start to the season for the G-Men who, along with the Cowboys, were favorites to contend for the division title.
Embarrassing Turnout in Los Angeles
There was a football game in L.A. this past weekend that drew a sell-out crowd…but it was a college showdown between two traditional powerhouse programs, not an NFL game.
Ryan Kang via AP
The USC Trojans hosted the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night at the L.A. Coliseum. A crowd of 84,714 witnessed USC’s thrilling overtime victory. The next day at the Rams’ home game versus the Redskins at the LA Coliseum, only 56,612 fans showed up. Down the road at the Chargers new home (Stub Hub Center), only 25,381 fans attended the Dolphins-Chargers game. The combined crowds of the two NFL teams in Los Angeles was 81,993. That’s less than the Longhorns-Trojans game on Saturday night. The attendance figures are an embarrassment. What’s even worse for the Chargers is the fact that San Diego State drew a crowd of 43,000+ on Saturday in the Chargers’ old stadium in San Diego. Both the Rams and Chargers lost their games on Sunday. They better start winning – and fast – or the crowds will continue to dwindle.
Gene J. Puskar via AP
Cowboys Once Again Rated as World’s Most Valuable Sports Franchise by Forbes
Each year Forbes ranks the estimated value of sports franchises and Monday they released their list of values for NFL franchises in 2017. The Cowboys once again are far-and-away the NFL’s most valuable team with an estimated franchise worth of $4.8 billion. That’s a 14% increase over their 2016 estimate. It’s also more than a billion dollars more than the #2 ranked NFL franchise, the Patriots at $3.7 billion.
Overall, Forbes reports that the average value of NFL franchises is $2.5 billion, an 8% increase over the previous year. The biggest leap in value in 2017 is the Falcons who jumped 16% thanks to the opening of their new stadium and subsequent sponsorships. The Falcons are now estimated at $2.475 billion.
Here’s the list of the Top 5 Most Valuable NFL Franchises in 2017 as estimated by Forbes (in billions): Cowboys ($4.8), Patriots ($3.7), Giants ($3.3), Redskins ($3.1), and 49ers ($3.05). Note that three of the top 5 franchises are within the NFC East (Cowboys, Giants, Redskins…the other NFC East team, the Eagles, are ranked #10 at $2.65 billion). If you’re asking yourself, ‘Who are the Bottom 5?’, the answer is: Buccaneers ($1.975 billion), Browns ($1.9), Bengals ($1.8), Lions ($1.7), and Bills ($1.6).
Kudos to a Cleveland Brown Iron Man
Okay, Cleveland is not only one of the least valuable franchises in the financial ledgers, they’re also challenged when it comes to Wins-and-Losses. There’s not much positive news about the Browns and they hardly ever merit a mention in our weekly list of Top 5 stories.
But one of their players accomplished something remarkable in Sunday’s game, another loss for the Browns. The team is bad, but their starting left tackle is one of the finest, most respected players in the league. His name is Joe Thomas and Sunday, his 162nd consecutive game, he played his 10,000th consecutive snap. Thomas has never missed an offensive play in 11 seasons. Not a single snap. By the end of the game, his consecutive snap streak reached 10,062. That’s a remarkable feat for any player, but especially one who plays the demanding position of left tackle. Wow!