The ESPN headline indicates that only cheese tops Aaron Rodgers in a public opinion survey of Wisconsin residents. Cheese gets an 80 percent approval rating, while the Packers QB is just below it at 79 percent.
That’s all well and good, but here on this blog, we have been known to cheapen things from time to time. So we’re taking information from the top of the story and the very bottom to cobble together the real headline: Rodgers’ approval rating has dropped 10 percent in the last four years.
Yes, in 2011 — after Rodgers led the Packers to a Super Bowl title — his approval was at 89 percent in the same poll.
Since then, he’s won two MVP awards … but a return trip to the Super Bowl, let alone a victory in the big game, has eluded his grasp. If you delve into the comments section of Packers game stories, you will find fans hyper-critical of Rodgers (which is crazy because he’s thrown 226 career TDs and just 57 INTs).
So whereby it used to be roughly 9 of every 10 Packers fans who approved of their QB, now it’s not even 8 of 10. Tough crowd. He’s barely ahead of Bo Ryan (76 percent) and Barry Alvarez (71 percent). Everyone is crushing Bret Bielema (17 percent) and Gary Andersen (15 percent), recent defectors from Badger-land.
President Obama, who is listed at 6-foot-1 but in fact might be taller, has almost exactly the same approval rating in March of 2015 that he had in March of 2011.
The NFLPA announced today that veteran Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has won the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, given to the NFL player who best “serves his team, community and country.”
Greenway, who has spent his entire career with the Vikings, founded his Lead the Way Foundation in 2008. The foundation, which serves families in Minnesota and his home state of South Dakota, provides resources and opportunities to chronically and critically ill children and their families.
Greenway, the team’s Man of the Year for 2014, is involved in other charitable endeavors, too.
Greenway was nominated by his teammates and edged out four other finalists — Dustin Colquitt, Malcolm Jenkins, Jameel McClain and Charles Tillman — to win the award, along with a $100,000 donation from the NFLPA to his Lead the Way Foundation.
“I can’t tell you what an honor this is. There are so many good guys in this league, and it is such an honor to be part of this group of men,” Greenway said today while receiving the award in Maui. “This foundation is something that my wife Jenni and I wanted to do as an example for our children, to use this platform of the NFL to do better and do more.”
Greenway is the second Vikings player to win the award since it was established in 1967. Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter also won it back in 1999.
I wrote in today’s Star Tribune about “cutting the cord” — a trendy term given to those who give up satellite or cable TV — and the options/challenges that face sports fans who attempt to go this route.
The changing ways in which we consume sports has fascinated me for a while, and the story attempted to answer some of the questions about which I had been wondering. The conclusions in the piece were that a lot of people are fed up with pay TV because of the cost or excess of channels they don’t watch, but that for sports fans — particularly those who want to watch local teams — it is difficult to give it up.
In the comments section — sometimes a dangerous place to tread but in this case a place for a good discussion and some witty commentary — BallFour sums up the frustration pretty well: There aren’t more than a dozen or so worthwhile TV networks available, yet people pay for them all. If you had to buy 19 bundles of kale to get a half-gallon of ice cream at a grocer, you’d quit eating ice cream.
Another good point from teamtepley: Cut the cord years ago and will never go back. My kids hardly know what commercials are.. And, since our local sports teams I care about have been mostly unwatchable anyway I really haven’t missed a thing. Watching sports on tv is like anything else once you get over it you just find something else to do.
Indeed. Some of you might remember this from previous posts a while back, but I went nearly three years of my adult life not only without cable, but without a TV. These were three years that I worked at the Star Tribune, roughly late 2004 through mid-2007. I was living with my soon-to-be-wife at the time, and I followed sports like a lot of you said you do when I queried you for the story: read a lot of stories online, went to quite a few games in person (both as a fan and for work) and, if there was a game I really wanted to watch, went to a friend’s house or a bar to watch it.
I don’t remember exactly what it was like because it was a while ago, but I do remember not terribly missing it even though sports were such a big part of my job. What both of us missed most was not being able to just sit down and watch a movie or a TV show (we had a tiny portable DVD player that we would watch, which is pretty much how I viewed the entire catalog of Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm).
So as a wedding present to ourselves in 2007, we got a flat screen TV — nothing fancy, just a 32-incher, but by far the nicest TV either of us had ever owned. The local cable company was offering a package of Internet where it was basically cheaper to get basic cable (networks and a few other channels, though no sports channels) than just Internet alone, so we got that along with it.
Slowly, I started watching a few things other than movies … and slowly I became frustrated with how little there was to watch … until one day I announced to my wife that I really wanted to upgrade what we had. She consented, we got DirecTV, and we’ve had 80 billion channels (including more sports than one could have ever thought was imaginable) ever since.
Now, if I’m not paying attention, I will reflexively turn the TV on when I get home from work or if I know there is a (fill in the blank: Wild, Wolves, Twins, Gophers) game on at night. It became even more pronounced once my wife became pregnant and even more so now that we have a soon-to-be-1-year-old because we’re home at night a lot more than we used to be.
Noticing that, I’ve tried to be more conscious of what I watch. It’s not that TV is “evil” or anything like that. It’s that there is so much else to do, and the games kind of blur together after a while. There’s just no need to watch every … single … one — even for someone who writes about sports for a living.
Doing this story made me wonder if our household could give up cable/satellite again. Our household literally watches five channels about 90 percent of the time the TV is on (ESPN, FSN, BTN, HGTV and the Food Network), yet we get hundreds more and pay roughly $150 a month for TV and internet combined. Almost all of the shows/movies we watch come from Netflix streaming.
If I was just a casual sports fan, I would ditch it in a second and get Sling TV — the new service launched by Dish that gives you 16 channels, including ESPN, HGTV and the Food Network, for $20 a month, contract-free. Sling and internet would be about half the price we’re paying now — cutting $75 a month from our budget — but it’s those regional sports networks, and giving up local teams, that is the sticking point for me and so many others.
True a la carte pricing, where we could pick and choose the channels we really want, would be ideal — as it would be for a lot of people — but that is what the cable/satellite companies and networks fear. So I don’t know if we will ever truly get that — and even if we do, the pricing on individual channels might be high enough that, when adding up all the ones you want, the cost is comparable to having everything.
So really, like a lot of others, I’m stuck either waiting for a shift in the way TV is offered that might never arrive … or trying to make a decision about what I can live without (and how I want to live).
I don’t think I’m there yet when it comes to cutting the cord, but I’m thinking about it more and more.
It has been all free agency, all the time at Access Vikings the past couple of weeks. But I figured no one would mind if I took a break to look ahead to the draft, which is a little over a month away.
The first installment of this “Off the Board” series was published three weeks ago, right after the combine. In case you missed that one or need a refresher, the purpose of this series is to examine how the Vikings might proceed with their 11th overall pick based on what unfolds in front of them.
Last time, we looked at what the Vikings might do if the top three wide receivers were gone before they were on the clock on April 30. Since that post, the Vikings addressed the position by trading for Mike Wallace. But will the addition of Wallace preclude them from taking a wide receiver early?
In this installment of the series, let’s look at what the Vikings, who still have a big hole at left guard, might do if there is a run on offensive linemen before they are on the clock. Will they pounce on a wide receiver who falls to them or tackle another need, such as cornerback or defensive end?
1. Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. We haven’t heard much lately about Winston, other than reports he won’t attend the draft in person. The silence is probably a good thing for Winston, the overwhelming favorite to go first overall to the quarterback-needy Buccaneers.
2. Titans: Leonard Williams, DE, USC. The Titans focused on defense in free agency, keeping edge rusher Derrick Morgan, adding another in Brian Orakpo and signing safety Da’Norris Searcy. Throw in Williams to play in their 3-4 scheme and the Titans have the makings of an improved unit.
3. Jaguars: Dante Fowler, DE/OLB, Florida. The Jaguars spent for age-appropriate veterans such as tight end Julius Thomas and cornerback Davon House to complement their young core. They are still looking for an elite pass rusher, though, and Fowler has the potential to be that in the pros.
4. Raiders: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. They tried to add weapons, such as wide receiver Randall Cobb, for quarterback Derek Carr but no one would take their money. So they seem likely to use this pick on one of the top pass-catchers in the draft. White might have the most upside.
5. Redskins: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska. They are in need of another edge rusher after losing Orakpo in free agency. Which do they prefer? I don’t know. But let’s slot Gregory here.
6. Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. The Jets traded for wide-out Brandon Marshall and signed about half of the cornerbacks available in free agency. They still need that quarterback, though.
7. Bears: Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri. The Bears need play-makers for their new 3-4 defense. It’s probably too early to take nose tackle Danny Shelton, so Ray makes a lot of sense at this spot.
8. Falcons: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa. The first offensive lineman comes off the board. They took Jake Matthews sixth last year. Now they double down with Scherff to play right tackle or guard.
9. Giants: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford. The Giants have invested some high picks into their line, but it remains a problem. So we could see them take a tackle, too. We’ll give them Peat in this scenario.
10. Rams: La’El Collins, OT, LSU. Like the Falcons, the Rams took a lineman, Greg Robinson, early last year. But plenty of work is left to be done here, too. Collins can play tackle or guard for them.
11. Vikings: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama. The run on linemen might force the Vikings to make a difficult decision, although this would be a good problem to have. Sure, they could have interest in someone like Scherff to solidify the left guard spot. But in this scenario, the Vikings get to choose from Cooper, Michigan State corner Trae Waynes, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley and others. I don’t think coach Mike Zimmer would mind adding a talent like Waynes or Beasley to his defense. But Cooper is a polished prospect who could end up being the best receiver in this class. Yes, they just added Wallace, but help is still needed and nothing is guaranteed for Wallace beyond 2015.
OK, your turn. Leave a comment to tell me who you would want the Vikings to pick in this scenario.