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Nerves were on display throughout Sunday’s final 18 holes of the US Open at The Olympic Club. No one felt the pressure more than NBC Sports play-by-play man Dan Hicks. 

Webb Simpson was the clubhouse leader at +1. Standing on the 18th tee Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell were the only players who could steal the victory or force a Monday 18-hole playoff. Furyk was second to tee off and after his ball came to rest just in front of McDowell’s, Hicks started to shank his description of the events. 

Although Simpson was in the clubhouse watching the events unfold, Hicks informed viewers that Furyk’s ball had come to rest in front of Simpson’s. But that wasn’t enough, he continued with, “McDowell, Simpson, chasing him, Furyk. Both of them need a birdie to tie Webb Simpson.” 

The group of contenders Hicks referenced were correct but exactly what he was trying to describe was not. I only wish Johnny Miller would have been allowed to inform Hicks how he dealt with US Open pressure when he won the tournament in 1973. 

Filed under us open golf dan hicks nbc sports

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Herm Edwards is passionate about football. He may leave something to be desired as a coach and analyst but he does a good job of selling his character. That character was on display during the third day NFL draft coverage on ESPN.

The Washington Redskins drafted QB Kirk Cousins in the 4th round of the draft. There are many things to be said on the merits of drafting another young QB after giving up so much for the opportunity to ultimately draft Robert Griffith III. The ESPN talking heads jumped at the opportunity to address the Cousins selection.

Time will tell exactly how bad or good the selection was but there was an immediate insight gained; Herm Edwards has trouble counting to 4. An ESPN graphic showed current Redskins QBs RG3, Rex Grossman, John Beck and Cousins but Edwards referenced 5 QBs multiple times. What I’m left wondering now is whether he referred to Brett Favre as number 5, while everyone else was calling him number 4.

Filed under espn nfl nfl draft herm edwards washington redskins football

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I was able to avoid actually watching the 2012 BCS National Title game tonight. It was “easy” enough during the first half thanks to the Wolves less than stellar result against the Toronto Raptors. The second half was filled with Blu-ray episodes from season 1 of Modern Family and the Comedy Central news hour (The Daily Show & Colbert Report).

Even though my TV wasn’t tuned to the game I was able to follow what sounds like a “Smelley” one thanks to Twitter. The main takeaway seems to be the underwhelming play of LSU QB Jordan Jefferson.

At the conclusion of the game I switched over to the Mother Ship and caught some post-game coverage. Even though I avoided watching any of the game the antics behind the post-game desk gave me a glimpse of Jefferson’s play earlier in the night. Take a look at the khaki and collared shirt QB just over the shoulder of Chip Kelly. The wounded duck pass is something but it pales in comparison to the confident head nod used to direct his target.  Rumor has it Les Miles is interested in signing him to a scholarship.

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Murphy: Like it or not, Twins have money to play with

A local MPLS/STP personality/journalist/reporter/broadcaster recently laid out his support of the expected decrease in Twins payroll. Mackey:  Like it or not, scaling back payroll is right move for Twins The thesis of his argument is the payroll is still significantly higher than the pre Target Field high of $71 million in 2007. There is no denying that. After dropping during the teams final two years in Metrodome, payroll jumped to organization highs of $97 million and $112 million in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

As a private business the Pohlads are free to spend or not spend as they wish. However, the defense of such actions should not be made behind the veil of incomes stretched beyond what is available.

After moderate years of success inside Metrodome, including 5 division title and playoff appearances in an 8 year period, the Twins moved into revenue generating Target Field. Before ever playing a game or having a fan enter the stadium, the Twins were guaranteed $5 million a year over a 25 year period thanks to the naming rights deal with Target Corp.  Business Week: Target Field naming rights

Naming rights were only the beginning of new and higher revenue streams the Twins would see. From 2007 to 2011, the average Twins ticket price increased from $20 to $33. Over that same period attendance rose from 2.3 million to 3.2 million. In terms of yearly ticket sales the amount jumped over 50%, from $45 million in ‘08 to 105 million in ‘10.

All additional merchandise and concession dollars are not accounted for in of the above numbers. If you have stepped foot inside of Target Field there is no doubt fans wear more Twins merchandise and consume food and drink well beyond what happened at Metrodome. In my opinion it wouldn’t be out of the question to see a similar % increase with all other in-stadium sales.

The organization has also been the benefactor of increased broadcast revenues. The original Mackey story placed the Twins TV deal with FSN North at $29 million a year. On the radio side, David Brauer has noted the team does pay 1500 ESPN $1 million a year while controlling all advertising, and subsequent revenues. 1500 ESPN retains Twins broadcast rights through 2012.

So while payroll has increased $41 million between 2007 and 2011, the team has seen even greater gains in revenue opportunities. Over that same 5 year period, ticket sales increased by $55 million. They’ve also been the benefactor of tens of millions of dollars a year in naming and TV rights per year. Even if the team hasn’t made an additional dime through radio broadcasts or merchandise and concession sales, the amount of revenue generated exceeds the increase in payroll.

The Pohlads are free to do as they please. I just wish people wouldn’t make excuses for them.

Sources:

Star Tribune: 2011 ticket price

Jay Weinter MinnPost: 2007 ticket price

Baseball Reference: Twins attendance by year

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There’s great irony in using a song most often associated with the Oakland Raiders franchise to show highlights of the Nicollet Raiders. One is a big money NFL franchise, built on intimidation and disorder in the mind’s eye of longtime owner Al Davis. The other is a 9-man team, built on tough nosed and fair competitors set in a town of under 1,000 residents in rural Minnesota.

Minnesota has been blessed with overly fair fall weather and temperatures hovering in the 70s for most of October, including some 80 degree days. In the last few days fall weather has arrived complete with lower temps and high winds. I knew the warm days were ending when last Fri, 10/7, the wind was in full effect along the southern plains along with the rest of Minnesota.

The wind presented early problems for the Raiders and the return of quarterback Sean Murphy and their pass oriented offense. The Raiders got on the board first late in the first quarter and never looked back in winning 33-14. Battling rust and windy conditions Murphy was back on track by games end finishing the night 28-59 passing for 385 yards and five touchdowns. KEYC-TV Athlete of the Week Jamie Fischer finished the night with 12 catches for 189 yards and three touchdown.

With the passing of legendary owner Al Davis over the weekend I’m hopeful the end of one Raiders era will lead to a new championship era for the other. The run continues tonight for Nicollet on what will be a cold Friday night under the lights.

Filed under mshsl nicollet raiders football 9 man football minnesota sports

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KEYC-TV highlights of the Nicollet Raiders 33-14 win Westbrook Walnut Grove. Nicollet improved to 5-1 on the season.

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Title Town…or something like that.

For the better part of 20 years the Minnesota professional sports landscape has been what Christian Laettner would call, “Loser, loser, loser.”  Since the Twins epic 7 game series in 1991 Minnesota has endured Gary Anderson wide right, 41 - donut, Brett Favre being Brett Favre, a Sam Cassell injury & Latrell Sprewell needing to feed his family, the Twins losing 9 straight post season games and countless other miserable moments not worth noting in detail.

But last Fri night, lead by “one of us” Lindsay Whalen, the Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA championship. Sure this is a team that many fans who lived through the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves heartache had never watched until a few weeks ago and may not moving forward if said teams find their winning ways. But for a few short weeks the Lynx provided the Minnesota sports fan with a positive story in an otherwise negative wasteland.

This afternoon I found myself sneaking out for an early lunch and watching the Lynx championship parade from the corner of Hennepin and 7th St. We all love winners and not even NostraCommonis knows when the next Minnesota title will brought through the streets of Minneapolis. With iPhone in hand I documented the events of the parade.

My parade highlights, in no particular order:

- The band director with Ginger Tree on the back of his shirt

- A fan enthusiastically telling assistant coach Jim Peterson that he finally got his ring and Jim Pete awkwardly rubbing his ring finger in acknowledgement

- The street vendor trying to capitalize on the excitement by selling noise makers from his grocery cart

- The number of homeless and degenerates who line the parade route. I had no idea the Lynx had captivated these markets during their title run

- Hoop-shot guy and his kid made their way along the parade route as did Prowl, the Lynx mascot.

- Last but not least the Lynx dancers who to put it kindly aren’t going to have people forgetting the Timberwolves dance team

I’ve posted addtional photos on Flickr: Lynx Parade on Flickr

Filed under title town, lynx wnba mpls

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Prep football notebook:

October 6, 2011
By Chad Courierr: Free Press Staff Writer

Games to watch

Nicollet, which dropped to ninth in the state poll, will be looking to bounce back from their first loss last week at home against Westbrook-Walnut Grove (3-2). Quarterback Sean Murphy returns after missing two games with a sprained knee.

Full Story: Prep football notebook: Nelson, West ready for Big Nine Battle

Filed under 9 man football mshs nicollet raiders sean murphy mshsl

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By Chad Courrier 

ccourrier@mankatofreepress.com 


NICOLLET
 — Sean Murphy was running down the field in the fourth quarter, trying to help Nicollet secure a victory, when the Madelia linebacker came over to make the tackle. However, Murphy’s foot stuck in the turf as his knee buck­led, causing some panic for Nicollet’s senior quarterback.

“I was pretty scared,” Murphy said. “It hurt quite a bit.”

Turns out, Murphy is expected to miss only a couple of weeks, keeping all of his and the team’s goals in place.

“ We want to get back to state,” Murphy said. “If everything goes all right (with his recovery), we
 should be OK.”

Murphy had gotten off to a good start for the Raiders (3-0), who are ranked second in The Associated Press’ nine-man poll. He’s complet­ed 39 of 71 passes for 581 yards with 10 touchdowns and no inter­ceptions. Last season, Murphy threw 30 touchdown passes with only five interceptions.

He’s also rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns, though run­ning
 might be more difficult with a sore knee and a new brace.

“ The linemen and receivers and running backs are all good,”
 Murphy said. “ When I get back in there, I’ll have to be ready.”

Coach Tom Murphy, Sean’s dad, said that freshman Dalton Elliott will be the starting quarterback tonight at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. Last week, Elliott fin­ished the final drive for a touch­down.

“He’s played some varsity,” coach Murphy said. “He has a pretty strong arm, but he’s not the runner that Sean is. He’ll do fine.”
 

*From the Fri, Sept 23 edition of the Mankato Free Press.