All Eyes On Vince

Vince McMahon w/ WWE championship belt

@TheATrainSTL

Vince McMahon knows how to get the attention. 

The chairman of the WWE couldn’t have picked a better week to get the national attention in sports.¬†

There was RAW’s 25th anniversary show on Monday night that featured great memories and nostalgic moments. (Aside from the following Tuesday’s Smackdown and Wednesday’s NXT events) Not to mention having the anniversary show in not one, but TWO venues with the Barclays Center and the original home of “Monday Night RAW,” the Manhattan Center. The eyes were on Vince.¬†

Then on Thursday afternoon, the long-awaited announcement from Vince on the return of the XFL, or as I previously stated, “The Rebirth.” Maybe it wasn’t that long (it was made in November), but it damn sure felt that way. Again Vince had the eyes for that one because pro football is a little vulnerable right now with the fallout of politics being entered into the game. Vince gave a basic overview on what to look forward to in the new league. NO GIMMICKS, NO POLITICS, JUST FOOTBALL. Again, the eyes were on Vince.

Then last night, WWE began another weekend of action with its brand NXT and its “Takeover” in Philadelphia. 5 stellar matches including the brand’s top championship match in which the champion¬†Andrade “Cien” Almas retained against challenger Johnny Gargano. I must say that was one helluva match. It entertained from the start of the match to the end of it. I have watched a couple of these NXT pay-per-views and each time I enjoyed it. I need to start watching more of the brand. Again, eyes were on Vince.¬†

Then Sunday night, WWE capped it off in Philadelphia with the 2018 Royal Rumble with a history-in-the-making match. For the 1st time, a Rumble had 30 women compete and one of them (Asuka was the winner) will get the opportunity for a Women’s Title shot at Wrestlemania in April. Along with 8 other matches, that included the Men’s Royal Rumble match (Shinsuke Nakamura won and announced that he would fight AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania)…once again the eyes were on Vince.¬†

Ronda Rousey

NOW, I understand that the Grammys took place at the same time but that did not stop Vince from banking in on the ones that truly watch his promotion. Especially when his promotion grabbed MAJOR news headlines when UFC fighter Ronda Rousey showed up at the end of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view which then prompted “The Worldwide Leader In Sports” to announce that she had signed with Vince’s promotion and participate full-time.¬†

Vince couldn’t have planned this past week any better.¬†

 

The A-Train

 

NOTE: If you read this and notice that I have used McMahon’s first name, it’s only for the sake of this piece.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: How St. Louis Lost, Won, and suffered from the NFL ’89-’94

@DerekKingSports

Where do you want to start?

Where do you end?

It just seem that for the great people of St. Louis, it never began or ended. So lets start at the beginning, of the end (the first time).

1988, William “Bill” Bidwell wants out of St. Louis, the town he’s called home since 1960, filing for relocation with the league. On March 15th 1988 the NFL voted to allow the St. Louis Cardinals to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona putting the final coffin nail in the franchises 28 year history in St. Louis. The vote was 26-2 with the now Los Angeles Raiders¬†and¬†Miami Dolphins¬†abstaining. Both Al Davis and Joe Robbie were against the measure for their own reasons.

Davis was still engulfed in a legal battle with the NFL over his ill-advised move into the greater Los Angeles area. and due to the aforementioned legal issues with the league, Davis decided it was best to abstain from the vote, but he wasn’t all too thrilled about the matter.

Source: New York Times

¬†“It’s all a sham. They vote any way they want and allow anyone they want to move.” Al Davis

Joe Robbie was good friends with Joe Foss, former American Football League commissioner who represented a Phoenix group spent $2 million in a failed attempt to bring an expansion team to Phoenix.

The NFL as a group wasn’t enthralled about the idea of letting the Cardinals move to Phoenix either. The league would have preferred a move to Baltimore as the Phoenix area was looked at as an excellent candidate for expansion, this was all going down long after the Irsay-Rosenbloom debacle in 1972 which the Rams and Colts franchises were traded with their respective owners. That’s another story for another day.

St. Louis Expansion attempt

Jerry Clinton, Former Grey Eagle Distributors owner, who as part owner in the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Steamers indoor soccer team, Mr. Clinton, told Civic Progress members over breakfast at the Bogey Club of their plans to build a new stadium and bring a new football team to St. Louis. On Feb. 27, 1989, they formed the St. Louis NFL Partnership.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch 

 

Mr. Clinton said it had been easy to raise money to buy a team. That turned out to be an exaggeration.

The partnership mailed a prospectus to local entrepreneurs asking for $250,000 each. They got just one solid commitment.

Meanwhile, Mr. Clinton was lending his partner money. “He had no other source of income. ‚Ķ He had to have living expenses,” Mr. Clinton explained.

The two partners lobbied the Missouri Legislature to approve financing to build a stadium-convention center they said would be self-supporting.

The legislation passed but never was used for the stadium. Instead, the city, county and state are paying the tab.

Mr. Clinton lobbied the NFL for an expansion franchise. He even signed a lease for his team to play at St. Louis’ new downtown domed stadium.

As most can see it was a very convoluted series of events. the original group lead by Mr. Clinton and¬†James Busch Orthwein was stalling financially where as Orthwien couldn’t sell his team¬†New England Patriots¬†so he stepped aside allowing¬†Stanley Enos Kroenke¬†to be added to the group. Clinton made a bold move, he left the group and then teamed with a competing group lead by Fran Murray

Source: New York Times, FRANK LITSKY

Although Clinton’s group seems out of the picture, Fran Murray, an entrepreneur and a former minority owner of the Patriots, said yesterday he had taken over as majority general partner of the group. Last week, Orthwein dismissed a proposal by Murray to exchange 100 percent of the Patriots for 66 percent of a new St. Louis franchise. Murray said he would pay the $140 million fee for the St. Louis franchise.

Speaking by telephone from a plane en route to Chicago, Murray said he and three investors now controlled 54 percent of the group. He said he would appear this morning at a joint meeting of the N.F.L.’s expansion and finance committees in Chicago and identify the three investors. He said his appearance before the committees had been arranged by Jay Moyer, the league’s general counsel.

Murray said the remaining 46 percent of his group would be held by Clinton (20 percent), Orthwein (12 percent) Walter Payton (10 percent) and Tom Holley (4 percent). He would not say what share of the group he would retain himself. When asked if Clayton, Orthwein, Payton and Holley had agreed to this change, he said:

“They have not told me they would not participate. I sent them faxes and letters and have not heard that they did not want to remain part of the group.”

So, now you can see that series of events that unfolded during the process. Clinton-Orthwein, Clinton-Kroenke, Murray-Clinton-Orthwein-Payton-Holley and then Competing group; Stan Kroenke, Charles Knight, Andrew Taylor, and John Connelly.

If you are reading that trying to make sense out of what you just read, I was doing the same writing it. The process was so fluid and ever-changing I don’t even think the people involved knew what was happening. All of these things occurred between ’89-’94.

Also during this expansion process mess in St. Louis, Orthwein, bought the New England Patriots in 1992.

St. Louis had already begun construction on the soon to be Trans World Dome at America’s Center.

Orthwein was dead set on heading to St. Louis after the 1993 season. At that point, Robert Kraft, who owned the lease on Foxboro Stadium wouldn’t let Orthwein out of the lease, and due to that Orthwein sold the Patriots to Robert Kraft in 1994 and the rest is history.

I’m shaking my head even writing this stuff!

Thinking back on the entire saga of expansion one would have never thought it would have been this messy, yet it was.

At this point, the dream of having a franchise in St. Louis looked all but dead, on life support, but then, out of nowhere, there came a savior of football in St. Louis, or at least we thought.

Part 2 of this series will be coming soon, stay tuned.

Derek King

N The Zone Contributor

Sources: New York Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Tribune

 

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 

A Conversation With Maria Chappelle-Nadal (from 06-19-16)

maria-chappelle-nadalTHE A-TRAIN HERE, We want to take you back to when we had MO State Senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (@MariaChappelleN) on the show. Although her bid for Congress was not successful, it still did not stop her from doing what needs to be done to not only better St. Louis, but also the state of Missouri. So here is this four-part interview from June.

“The first of a four-part interview with Missouri State Senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal. Chappelle-Nadal plans to run for a Congress seat and we open up talking 1) Financial disadvantages on her end and how she plans to overcome; 2) how her opposition has affected the black community’s finances; 3) how she voted for MO Governor Jay Nixon and disagreed with his education issues 4) how she wants to better the STL areas that are in decay and 5) her plans while in Congress.”

Part 1: Maria Chappelle-Nadal Interview Part 1

“In Part 2 of our 4-part interview with MO Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal…the conversation heats up with the discussion on 1) How payday loan companies keep destroying black communities; 2) How to minimize homelessness 3) The safety in certain housing communities in North County 4) How opposition doesn’t live in STL to really even know what goes in community 5)How her leadership differs from the opposition 6) How the highest MO leaders turned their backs during the Ferguson unrest.”

Part 2: Maria Chappelle-Nadal Interview Part 2

“We continue with the 3rd of 4 parts with MO Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal this time discussing about if football will come back to STL and why the city and county can’t seem yo resolve their issues and work together.”

Part 3: Maria Chappelle-Nadal Interview Part 3

“The final of 4 parts with MO Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal this time discussing about why medical marijuana would benefit the state of Missouri. All about going green in this final segment.”

Part 4: Maria Chappelle-Nadal Interview Part 4