How the NFL saved St. Louis…by leaving.

@DerekKingSports

So, I grew up just outside of St. Louis during the 80’s when baseball was king. Whiteyball was in full swing and the Big Red football Cardinals were an after thought.

Terrible football and St. Louis go hand in hand, kind of like coffee and gooey butter cake. The football Cardinals had suffered from long tenures of losing with brief glimpses of success. Yet we showed up to games, we supported a sub-par product being shuffled out onto the field from time to time was rightfully embarrassing to all the fans who were still supporting it.

William “Bill” Bidwell, owner of the St. Louis Football Cardinals had long been dissatisfied with playing second fiddle to the baseball Cardinals, although the latter had very little to no success during the 70’s when the Big Red were at the heights of success winning 2 division titles and 3 playoff births in 27 years in St. Louis.

Mr. Bidwell petitioned the city of St. Louis for a new publicly funded stadium to where he no longer had to share facilities with the baseball Cardinals. The city balked on the idea of a perennially bad football team pushing for millions of public money for a new stadium in St. Louis. The city had issues of their own to address during that time besides giving a millionaire millions more to build a stadium for a bad football team. It was egos at work at its finest.

Instead of negotiating with Bidwell over terms of a new facility and lease terms, the city, in all their infinite wisdom decided to not negotiate with ownership and force Bidwell to find other avenues. City administrators thinking the whole time he’d never go. Much to their chagrin, he did.

Phoenix, Arizona

I was devastated to say the least. Even as a child football was everything to me. It felt like as I had lost my best friend. I became jilted and eventually got over the loss by rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, at the time they had just landed Joe Montana and were a very successful team. Only problem was, they weren’t my team. My team left me for a desert, A DAMN DESERT! How could they do that?!

So you see my dilemma, I had no team. I had in all terms and purpose, became a free agent. During this entire search for my football soul there were talks between the NFL and St. Louis about the NFL returning to the city. Officials passed a bill to build a new stadium in downtown that would be christened the Trans World Dome at America’s Center.

This new expansion team would be called the St. Louis Stallions. It was a done deal, at least we thought. My father worked for Paramount Headwear and Apparel at the time and they were running hats and shirts for the Stallions. They couldn’t talk about it, take pictures of it, wear it or otherwise let the product see the light of day. They had an entire setup at the headquarters in St. Louis, they even had a Stallions cake, this is how close it was.

In the 11th hour due to potential franchise owner issues with Chuck Knight, Stephen Brauer, Charles Cella, Sam Fox, Fred Kummer, and Andrew Taylor, as well as the late John Connelly from Pittsburgh, the city introduced none other than Stanley Enos Kroenke as another financial backer, but the play was much too late and the NFL chose Carolina and Jacksonville over St. Louis for expansion. We all know what happened next, so let’s fast forward to 2018. St. Louis has an identity crisis at hand. A county city divide, dilapidated city infrastructure that is in desperate need of repair, dwindling city population, businesses disappearing from downtown faster than a pair of expensive sunglasses. We know this, Stan didn’t have to make such a scathing report on the matter. Fact is now the city can focus on these glaring issues, as long as they stay out of their own way, but that’s always been the issue hasn’t it? St. Louis city officials are more worried about getting their hands greased then doing what’s best for their constituency. Not to get onto a political stump, but this is how things need to get done. Stop fighting over who getting paid and do what’s best for the region. The city is getting there, everyone just has to hold those responsible accountable for their stewardship. Politicians don’t own the city and county, you do. All that being said, would I like to see another NFL team in St. Louis? Without a doubt! Only time will tell. The only thing everyone in St. Louis can do is work together to make their city, the best city they can.

Thank you for reading.

Derek King

N The Zone Network contributor

Current Social Media Followings of All 32 NFL Teams

Shane Gray (@RealShaneGray)

With NFL training camps opening across the country, it seemed a perfect time to check the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followings of the league’s 32 franchises. We will update these following Super Bowl LII next February to check trends. As it stands now, these numbers stand out:

-The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots ranked first or second on each of the three aforementioned social media sites.

-The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only other club to rank in the top 5 on all three platforms.

-The San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks were the only other teams to rank in the top 10 on all three outlets.

-The Jacksonville Jaguars were the only organization to rank last on multiple hubs (Twitter and Facebook).

-The Los Angeles Rams were easily the largest market to rank in the bottom 10 (No. 31, 31 and 27) on all three platforms.

-In the battle for New York, the Giants go three-for-three against the Jets.-

-The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans are the only franchises to rank in the bottom three for all three outlets.-

-The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only other organization to rank in the bottom five for all three platforms.

With that, here are the complete results — ranked for each site — of all 32 NFL teams:

Twitter
1. Patriots: 3.4 M
2. Cowboys: 3 M
3. Steelers: 2.4 M
4. Broncos: 2.2 M
4. Panthers: 2.2 M
6. Eagles: 2.1M
7. Seahawks: 1.9 M
8. Packers: 1.8 M
8. Falcons: 1.8 M
10. 49ers: 1.6 M
11. Texans: 1.5 M
11. Giants: 1.5 M
13. Bears: 1.4 M
14. Jets: 1.1 M
14. Ravens: 1.1 M
14. Saints: 1.1 M
14. Lions: 1.1 M
18. Raiders: 1 M
18. Redskins: 1M
20. Chiefs: 906K
21. Browns: 888 K
22. Vikings: 875 K
23. Colts: 868 K
24. Dolphins: 843 K
25. Cardinals: 777 K
26. Bills: 749 K
27. Bengals: 741 K
28. Chargers: 665 K
29. Buccaneers: 670 K
30. Titans: 583 K
31. Rams: 502 K
32. Jaguars: 464 K

Facebook
1. Cowboys: 8.746 M
2. Patriots: 7.011 M
3. Steelers: 6.510 M
4. Packers: 5.439 M
5. Broncos: 4.437 M
6. 49ers: 4.2 M
7. Bears: 4.102 M
8. Seahawks: 4.071 M
9. Saints: 4.047 M
10. Giants: 3.968 M
11. Raiders: 3.431 M
12. Eagles: 3.016 M
13. Panthers: 2.386 M
14. Ravens: 2.351 M
15. Colts: 2.270 M
16. Dolphins: 2.256 M
17. Texans: 2.201 M
18. Vikings: 2.105 M
19. Falcons: 2.041 M
20. Jets: 1.97 M
21. Redskins: 1.982 M
22. Lions: 1.915 M
23. Chargers: 1.593M
24. Chiefs: 1.551 M
25. Cardinals: 1.453 M
26. Browns: 1.269 M
27. Bengals: 1.193 M
28. Buccaneers: 944 K
29. Titans: 930 K
30. Bills: 860 K
31. Rams: 790 K
32. Jaguars: 594 K

Instagram
1. Patriots: 2.6 M
2. Cowboys: 2.4 M
3. Seahawks: 2M
4. Steelers: 1.5 M
4. Giants: 1.5 M
6. Panthers: 1.4 M
6. Packers: 1.4 M
8. 49ers: 1.3 M
9. Broncos: 1.1 M
9. Raiders: 1.1 M
11. Eagles: 981 K
12. Texans: 934K
13. Ravens: 733 K
14. Saints: 715 K
15. Dolphins: 708 K
16. Falcons: 700 K
17. Bears: 655 K
18. Redskins: 588 K
19. Cardinals: 559 K
20. Chiefs: 547 K
21. Vikings: 530 K
22. Lions: 521 K
23. Jets: 517 K
24. Colts: 494 K
25. Chargers: 464 K
25. Browns: 464 K
27. Rams: 393 K
28. Bills: 381 K
29. Bengals: 341 K
30. Jaguars: 300 K
30. Buccaneers: 300 K
32: Titans: 279 K

Social Media Numbers & Rankings For All 32 NFL Teams: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

@RealShaneGray

As you likely know, social media is a major thing in today’s world. Outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (IG) dominate the free time of many Americans.

According to statistia.com, an estimated 185 million Americans used some form of social media in 2016. Statistically, 78 percent of Americans possessed at least one account last year, up five percent from the previous year and eleven percent from 2014. When this year’s data comes in, you can bet that at least four of every five U.S. citizens will have had one or more social media profiles set up.

With such a large percentage of people in the United States utilizing social media, one can gauge how interested society at large is in various people, products and sports teams. In this case, one can track these sites to measure the popularity — or relative unpopularity — of the NFL’s 32 teams.

As the data across the platforms of Facebook, Twitter and IG vividly illustrate, regularly successful franchises like the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers attract huge followings.
While it should come as no surprise that perennial winners like the Patriots and Cowboys have amassed huge social media audiences, it is notable that recent and/or long term on-field success — not market size — drives the popularity of NFL clubs, as evidenced by the large followings for organizations in small to mid-sized markets like the Packers, Steelers and Carolina Panthers and the relatively small followings for big market clubs like the Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets.

With all that said, I have shared the most up-to-date like and follower numbers from the three largest social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for all 32 NFL franchises below.
It should be noted that the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers likely carry a significant social media following from St. Louis and San Diego, respectively, both from those who continue supporting the team as well as those who have yet to unlike or unfollow those club’s accounts.

Facebook
1. Cowboys: 8.767 M
2. Patriots: 6.968 M
3. Steelers: 6.516 M
4. Packers: 5.454 M
5. Broncos: 4.464 M
6. 49ers: 4.220 M
7. Bears: 4.118 M
8. Seahawks: 4.083 M
9. Saints: 4.064 M
10. Giants: 3.983 M
11. Raiders: 3.409 M
12. Eagles: 3.026 M
13. Panthers: 2.397 M
14. Ravens: 2.359 M
15. Colts: 2.277 M
16. Dolphins: 2.242 M
17. Texans: 2.197 M
18. Vikings: 2.108 M
19. Falcons: 2.041 M
20. Jets: 2.001 M
21. Redskins: 1.983 M
22. Lions: 1.917 M
23. Chargers: 1.607 M
24. Chiefs: 1.553 M
25. Cardinals: 1.456 M
26. Browns: 1.269 M
27. Bengals: 1.197 M
28. Buccaneers: 938 K
29. Titans: 927 K
30. Bills: 859 K
31. Rams: 759 K
32. Jaguars: 592 K

Twitter
1. Patriots: 3.2 M
2. Cowboys: 2.76 M
3. Broncos: 2.14 M
4. Panthers: 2.01 M
5. Steelers: 1.9 M
6. Seahawks: 1.8 M
7. Packers: 1.71 M
8. Eagles: 1.55 M
9. 49ers: 1.54 M
10. Falcons: 1.47 M
11. Giants: 1.45 M
12. Bears: 1.37 M
13. Texans: 1.36 M
14. Jets: 1.1 M
15. Ravens: 1.09 M
16. Saints: 1.08 M
17. Lions: 1.07 M
18. Raiders: 965 K
19. Redskins: 932 K
20. Chiefs: 828 K
21. Browns: 824 K
22. Vikings: 820 K
23. Colts: 799 K
24. Dolphins: 790 K
25. Bengals: 703 K
26. Cardinals: 695 K
27. Bills: 690 K
28. Chargers: 636 K
29. Buccaneers: 610 K
30. Titans: 540 K
31. Rams: 482 K
32. Jaguars: 434 K

Instagram
1. Patriots: 2.5 M
2. Cowboys: 2.3 M
3. Seahawks: 2 M
4. Steelers: 1.5 M
5. Panthers: 1.4 M
5. Giants: 1.4 M
7. Packers: 1.3 M
7. 49ers: 1.3 M
9. Broncos: 1.1 M
10. Raiders: 1 M
11. Eagles: 953 K
12. Texans: 898 K
13. Ravens: 721 K
14. Saints: 700 K
15. Dolphins: 679 K
16. Falcons: 663 K
17. Bears: 636 K
18. Redskins: 572 K
19. Cardinals: 542 K
20. Chiefs: 530 K
21. Vikings: 510 K
22. Jets: 509 K
23. Lions: 500 K
24. Colts: 486 K
25. Chargers: 463 K
26. Browns: 432 K
27. Rams: 385 K
28. Bills: 359 K
29. Bengals: 330 K
30. Jaguars: 283 K
31. Buccaneers: 281 K
32: Titans: 261 K

Follow me on Twitter @RealShaneGray 

N The Zone SEASON 2 (The Super Bowl Show)

nthezonelogoICYMI…check out this week’s BIG Super Bowl Show with special guests Cecelia Townes of Gladiathers.com (WITH A HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT), Danisha Rolle of SET Media, Alex Holt and Tiffany Hubert of Sistas In Sports, Tiera Dobbins of NFLFemale.com and N The Zone Ohio, Alex Washington of Real Take No Holds Barred Sports (aka N The Zone New England), Wayne Neal from N The Zone Los Angeles, Becker Alshowk of The Plugs (aka N The Zone DC), Shane Gray (aka the original first pick of N The Zone), and the Red Cups On The Sideline crew with movies and sports; and also listen to everyone except one person get the Super Bowl pick WRONG. Not to mention, a monologue from Palmer Alexander III on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and their coverage of sports media and how it’s the “same old stuff.” Good Lord. Enjoy.

EVERY SEGMENT:

Super Bowl Show: Open and The Monologue (NOTE: The following contains language that some might find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised.)

Super Bowl Show: Cecelia Townes

Super Bowl Show: Danisha Rolle

Super Bowl Show: Alex Holt and Tiffany Hubert (Sistas In Sports)

Super Bowl Show: Tiera Dobbins

Super Bowl Show: Alex Washington

Super Bowl Show: Wayne Neal

Super Bowl Show: Becker Alshowk

Super Bowl Show: Shane Gray (NOTE: The following contains language that some might find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised.)

Super Bowl Show: Mike Smith (At The Movies)

Super Bowl Show: Red Cups On The Sideline (Part 1)

Super Bowl Show: Red Cups On The Sideline (Part 2)

Follow me on Twitter here. You can also catch the show on I-Tunes and Player.FM and don’t forget to support minority-owned businesses!

Goss-Up Pastas

Take A Trip Travel

My Blooming Health

Dr. EJ’s Bootcamp

A-Train

N The Zone SEASON 2: Wade B. Olson, Nicole Powell, Wayne Neal, Jeffrey Boyd, Tiera Dobbins, Adam Little, Alex Washington

nthezonelogoALL NEW EPISODE! On this brand NEW edition of “N The Zone” (@NTheZoneShow); shenanigans ensue along with a “best of” monologue from Palmer as he discusses his time with The St. Louis American and gives a hard but effective lesson to Elsberry Elite Flyers basketball coach Britney Koch-Dowell. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

NOTE: The following contains language that some will find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised. CHE-TOA-TAH!

N The Zone SEASON 2: Open and The Monologue 01-22-17

Wade B. Olson is back again to talk about the recent political topics regarding Senators Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken and their confrontation with Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos along with the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Wade B. Olson 01-22-17

Nicole Powell of The Sportstyle talks Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, all the rumors and why Phil Jackson doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the organization. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Nicole Powell 01-22-17

Wayne Neal, our newest member of the N The Zone family w/ “N The Zone LA,” joins the show to talk the vibe in LA about the Chargers coming to town and whether it’s good to have two teams in two different conferences. He also talks the L.A. Lakers and if the organization can nab a big free agent for the future. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Wayne Neal 01-22-17

Jeffrey Boyd, STL alderman and candidate for mayor of St. Louis sits down in-studio with Palmer talking about his plans if elected and also why the St. Louis American newspaper completely disrespected him on social media and why the paper is sold on one particular candidate. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Jeffrey Boyd 01-22-17

Getting you geared for the conference championships…we have our N The Zone family entertaining you to close out the show. From NFLFemale.com and N The Zone Ohio, Tiera Dobbins. Alongside her is the guys from the Deuces Wild podcast aka N The Zone New England…Adam Little and Alex Washington. It’s Steelers-Patriots in the AFC and Packers-Falcons in the NFC. Who is going to the Super Bowl? (CLICK LINK BELOW)

NOTE: The following contains language that some might find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised. CHE-TOA-TAH!

N The Zone SEASON 2: Tiera Dobbins, Adam Little, Alex Washington 01-22-17

Don’t forget you can also catch N The Zone here:

N The Zone Show on I-Tunes

N The Zone Show Player.FM

Also follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

The Best of N The Zone: 01-15-17

img_20170115_093530Unfortunately there is no NEW episode this week due to some unfortunate circumstances in town. However, we do have a wonderful “BEST OF” show for you. In a matter of speaking this is a Rams-themed episode. Total coincidence when myself and Palmer put this show together. Seriously. I got two monologues from Palmer on the Rams; mostly William Hayes, Jeff Fisher, and former D’Marco Farr. Plus we have two “classic” interviews with former Rams QB Tony Banks and Joe Laurinitis, better known to wrestling fans as Road Warrior Animal, and also the father of former Rams linebacker…James Laurinitis.  Banks talked about being a young QB in the NFL and how hard it was to overcoming certain issues (this was around the time of the RGIII saga) and Laurinitis talked about being the best tag team EVER along with why he and the WWE aren’t the best of friends. Very intriguing interviews for sure. 

Take a listen here: The Best of N The Zone: 01-15-17

The View From Mt. Airy 07-29-16

images@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Legends of The Dome appeared to be wildly successful. Looked like a repass for a loved one who was loved by all and left here far too soon. Kudos to the many Rams all-timers who came out, mixed, mingled and reciprocated the love and adoration of the St. Louis faithful who gathered more than likely, for the final time, to express their love and respect for the “Greatest Show On Turf.”

That being said, it’s time for the Arch Angels to redirect their collective sports energies.

Once upon a time, there was a wildly successful St. Louis sports franchise. They dominated their division, owned the Lakers, and are one of the few NBA franchises that can claim a win over the dynastic Boston Celtics in an NBA Final. The St. Louis Hawks, who landed in the Gateway City in 1955 after 4 last place finishes in Milwaukee (http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nba/stlhawks/stlhawks.html) and immediately turned around their fortunes behind a young Bob Pettit, who in the Hawks first season would win the 1st NBA MVP Trophy and lead them to the NBA Finals with a 33-39 regular season finish followed by an upset of the Lakers in the Western Division finals which was one of the most remarkable playoffs ever. The Hawks won Game 1 by a  single point. Lost Game 2 by 58 points, and won the decisive Game 3 by a single point. Total aggregate of -56 points but they moved on. The early Hawks would win consistently and would leave St.Louis for Atlanta in 1968 after winning the division with a 56-26 record under coach Richie Guerin and an imposing roster led by Paul Silas, Sweet Lou Hudson, Lenny Wilkens, Jumping Joe Caldwell and the Pride of Prairie View, Zelmo Beaty. For years I heard the story of failed attendance as the reason for their departure but upon further review that doesn’t resonate as truth. The Hawks didn’t break records, averaging just 6800 paid per game, but the ENTIRE league avg. in the Hawks final season was just 6,749 paid including the champion Celtics, whose paid attendance average was just 8,670 per game. Look it up. The New York Knickerbockers were the only team over 10k in average attendance in the ’67-68 season and I still can’t figure out the move to Atlanta, especially when you factor in that in the Hawks first season in Georgia, they would average just 4,427 per game and wouldn’t crack 6,000 per until their 6th season in the south. Why this walk down memory lane? Why this opening of a nearly 50-year old wound? Because if I’m a St. Louis sports fan, I’d be thinking its time we got our focus off the traitorous, despicable Rams and their carpetbagging owners who will soon find that not only is the grass NOT greener in the City Of Angels, but the bank account isn’t either. There is a reason why the Rams and Raiders left, and yes I know that TV pays the bills in today’s NFL, but empty seats resonate still. Goodbye.

Beat the NBA drum. Remind them of the storied tradition of the St. Louis Hawks. Show Adam Silver the St. Louis Blues history of drawing huge crowds in a market where everyone assumed the NHL had lost their collective minds expanding into, despite having never won a Stanley Cup. The Blues now have nearly half of a century of selling out the St. Louis Arena (CheckerDome), Kiel, oops I mean, Scottrade Center.

The infrastructure is there. Beautiful NBA ready arena. Lustful fanbase that has been simmering for years in the shadow of the Chicago Bull dynasty, and now looking over their shoulders and seeing the sold out crowds partying in OKC. It’s time St. Louis. Gather your elbows and begin to beat your NBA drum. The league will expand in the next the next four years under the billions and access to every market guaranteed by their historically wealthy 24 billion dollar, 9-year deal. The league wants always to expand by two, maintaining an even number of teams that makes scheduling and conferences sure numerically. Seattle gets the first franchise. Write it down. Until Kevin Johnson rode to the rescue of the city of Sacramento, the Kings were headed to the Emerald City 2 seasons ago. The city had broken ground on a new arena and the league was prepared to welcome back am amazing an supportive fanbase that had nothing to do with the Sonics departure to Oklahoma City in the first place. The city of Seattle still owns the rights to the colors, name, all trophies and records of the original franchise under the settlement allowing the ownership under Clay Bennett to jump ship in 2008. They are a lock to be the first city in any future NBA expansion.

That leaves St. Louis. The natural geographic location for the second team. What other choices are there. Adam Silver and the NBA don’t need Vegas in the way that the NHL does. NBA history has been littered with hints and instances of manipulation. I don’t think they want their product across the street from a sports book as a playoff Game 7 takes a left due to a referee’s whistle.

I’ve gotta believe the NFL thirsty  citizens would grab 10,000 NBA season tickets on day 1, even with the knowledge that the expansion product in year one would most likely be an assembly line of end of the benchers (think Nik Stauskas) and problem contracts and everybody’s NBA knuckleheads (think Nick Young). Sounds like fun to me.

St. Louis, from over here in the land of Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and the emergent Philadelphia 76ers, we’d welcome you back. Turn the page. Raise a collective middle finger to the pirates who stole your NFL team. Bury ’em. You had a great sendoff with the legends game.
Finally, you’ve got an owner in waiting. The two brothers Ozzie and Daniel Silva, who have made $800 million since signing away their rights to the St. Louis Spirits in the ABA contraction and merger which netted them $2 million and an NBA TV share in perpetuity (the best business deal ever made anywhere) that still reaps major benefits. Bring ’em to the table.
Times yours St. Louis. Can’t you hear the Scottrade Center in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals? Surely you can feel opening day. This one’s a natural. How about this? The St. Louis Sounds. Stop the NFL nightmares and begin the NBA dreams. Goodnight.

http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/01/09/nba-settles-perpetuity-deal-with-former-owners-of-aba-spirits/