Nfl 2015

How will your team fare next year? Is Seattle an automatic shoe-in for next year’s Super Bowl in SF? (Apparently they are odds favorite at the moment.) Will the Patriots get knocked for deflategate? Will Manziel drink more or less after getting out of rehab? Thinking about the draft yet?

— Alan

No, but I’m still going to laugh when The 49’ers don’t make it to their own yard.

Washington will continue to be irrelevant.

I’m confident the Lions will find a way to disappoint. Why ruin a good long streak?

The way the 49ers’ offseason has gone, they won’t make it to .400. The Yorks have proven that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile, only to throw it away because it looks like a rock.

The St. Louis stadium deal will fall through because a public vote will be forced and no city anywhere in the U.S. wants to subsidize NFL billionaires. So the lame-duck Rams will play out the string in St. Louis and go 6-10 because they don’t have a quarterback, and then slip away in the night to LA. I will become a casual NFL fan unless I want to adopt a new team. It won’t be KC or Chicago, but it could be Indy which is only four hours away. Andrew Luck will be fun to cheer for for the next decade.

If you have seen their schedule for next season you would be even more confident! If they make the playoffs this season, they will have earned it.

I’m a Saints fan and I have no idea what next season will bring, but it’s hard not to think the window is closing really quickly.

I don’t think Seattle’s a shoe-in, but I’d say the team has a pretty good shot of making it in again.

The biggest factor is whether they get raided for talent by other coach-needy teams.

Seattle has some serious FA issues in 2016, so that means they may have to pay a lot to sign some of those players this off-season. Wilson, Lynch, Okung, Wagner, Mebane, and Irvin, to name a few. Carpenter, their OG, is a FA this year. That’s a lot of guys to sign. Some of them they will probably not sign.

There was a report before the Super Bowl that the Seahawks had made Lynch an offer to keep him in Seattle long term, and they are expected to re-negotiate Wilson’s deal as well (next year is the last year he is under contract). If both of those hold true they won’t have any cap space to speak of…but they can hold most of their starters for next year. I think their biggest problem is overcoming what happened on the goal line. You don’t generally see a team openly questioning play calling the way they did after the game.

I think the Colts will be in the running out of the AFC and you can never count the Patriots out. What happens with Manning and Denver is interesting. There were some reports that the Texans were his first choice for the 2012 season, but that Kubiak did not want him…who is now the HC in Denver…

FWIW, Dan Patrick predicted Seahawks over Broncos before the start of the 2013 season and had Patriots over the Packers before the start of the 2014 season. So he correctly predicted back to back Super Bowl winners before the start of their respective seasons, and was very close to picking the 4 Super Bowl teams correctly. Pretty impressive. I will definitely be listening for his 2015 forecast.

With the complete overhaul and surprisingly good hires at GM and head coach and coaching staff, the Bears will not be an embarrassment this year. Yes, our bar is low.

Patriots repeat if they can keep their roster together.

The Rams will be moving to Los Angeles, but it’ll have nothing to do with the proposed stadium deal in St. Louis coming up for a vote, because any such vote is at least a calendar year away anyway, and ESK will have put in his plan to move the team at some point following game 17 of 2015. The stadium thing in St. Louis will fall apart because there won’t be a team to build it for.

The league now desperately wants a team there, and is working hard to make the Inglewood stadium happen, and what the NFL wants, it still has enough clout to get. They’ll cluck their tongues at St. Louis, but ultimately it won’t matter and the Rams will play 2016 in LA.

Give the Vikings another good draft and another year for Zimmer’s staff to work with the players – and maybe an offensive line that’s less offensive – and they can be the second-best team in the division with a decent shot at the wild card. Either way, I’m just glad the team is worth cheering for again. Teddy B looks legit, and the defense is for real.

Going out on a limb here: This will be the 50th Super Bowl without the Cleveland Browns.

I think it’s likely the Rams stay in STL. There are two key issues:

  • Will the stadium plans move forward?
  • Will the NFL force the Rams to stay, if the stadium project passes certain milestones?

The only difficult issue for the stadium plans is the funding, specifically the extension of the bonds on the current stadium. These are mostly taxes on tourists (e.g., a surcharge on rental cars). They’re not taxes on residents. Governor Nixon’s office has been hinting that this extension will not require a public vote. The more prominent local journalists who cover the Rams (Bernie Miklasz, Randy Karraker) are being fed information that a vote can probably be avoided.

The NFL has made public statements and dropped private hints to STL that amount to the following: If you get everything sorted out for the new stadium such that actual construction can begin before Jan 2016 (specifically, the next Super Bowl), the team will likely stay. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s likely. If the stadium does not proceed at that pace, the team is guaranteed to be gone. Note that, after Jerry Jones came out a few weeks ago and said, “Stan can move if he wants to,” both the Maras and the Rooneys came out with different versions of “Not so fast.”

It’s difficult to sort out the facts, as almost every story is leaked with an agenda. There are some high stakes negotiations ahead. But I don’t think this is done yet. Hopefully, this post doesn’t turn out to be, “Looks like Peacock’s the choice. Smart move by McCai… er, Nixon.”

I wish I shared your optimism, but I’m afraid I can’t.

A big piece of the new stadium proposal in both St. Louis and Inglewood involves the NFL’s matching funds program. They’ll match an owner’s contribution to a new stadium up to about $200m. Both St. Louis and Inglewood require Kroenke kicking in $200-250m of his own money, matched to $400-450m by the league. Kroenke is going to kick that money in for St. Louis over his own dead body. For the league’s part, if they’re going to spend $200m on a new stadium, there’s one place they want it to go: Los Angeles. With a team playing in that DMA, they’ll recoup the $200m in a single season.

Right now Kroenke owns every piece of land where the stadium in Inglewood will sit. If he wants to put up some money right now, they can be breaking ground next week. Right now, St. Louis doesn’t even OWN a good chunk of the land where their proposed stadium will go. They’ve got to to a tricky kung fu of arranging to buy it all on a contingency, and then can’t really move forward without the owner and league committing to the stadium there…and then they need to push those bonds forward. I just can’t see them lining up all those ducks, especially when the key duck wants nothing to do with this.

At this point, the Rams are the NFL equivalent of a TV show like Constantine. They’ve been cancelled, but the PR guys have to do their PR Jedi Mind Tricks to help a league owner sell tickets for a lame duck season next year, as much as that’s possible. I’m afraid, however, that the ship’s sailed already.

I don’t even want to worry about the Rams in St. Louis at this point. What happens, happens. If they go I’ll adjust and not watch as much football, which I don’t watch as much anymore anyway besides the Rams games. It’s just a game. I know the NFL doesn’t care about my loyalty, but I don’t care that much about the NFL once I don’t have a team to root for. It’s an even trade.