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News » Paul Domowitch: Wall Street woes could affect a team near you

Paul Domowitch: Wall Street woes could affect a team near you

Paul Domowitch: Wall Street woes could affect a team near you
While Wall Street's woes are making life miserable for us poor saps on Main Street, you'll be happy to know they're also causing some discomfort for the NFL's 32 teams, particularly those with new stadiums or ones still under construction.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whose $1.2 billion showplace is scheduled to open next season, is trying to borrow $350 million by the end of the month to help refinance an existing loan and pay for cost overruns on the stadium, according to Sports Business Journal.

The owners of the Giants and Jets have seen the size of their loan payments on the money they borrowed to build their $1.7 billion stadium in the Meadowlands shoot up dramatically because of what's happening with the credit market.

Even teams like the Eagles, whose 6-year-old stadium cost less than a third of the cost of Jones' new palace, are getting pinched as the adjustable rates on their stadium loans go up, up, up.

"The credit markets and credit insurance markets are causing our interest costs to go up fairly significantly," Eagles president Joe Banner said. "And there's a risk going forward that they could go up even more significantly.

"People that have loans, unless they're completely fixed, and ours are fixed within a range, as the dates come up where the banks have the right to increase the costs, everybody is going to be facing increased costs."

Those of you out there who already are convinced that Banner and owner Jeff Lurie are the cheapest SOBs this side of Ebenezer Scrooge no doubt will view this as a convenient excuse to avoid spending money on free agents or first-round draft picks next year. But it needs to be pointed out that I brought up the subject with him, not the other way around.

While the rising interest rates on their stadium loans are jacking up costs for the Eagles and other teams, it has yet to be determined what the effect of the ailing economy will be on revenues.

It almost certainly would have no impact on season-ticket sales. If any current season ticketholders become too cash-strapped to pay for their seats, there are thousands on the waiting list who would kill to replace them. Luxury suites, sponsorships and advertising and marketing deals, though, are another matter.

"At least for this year, [revenues] have not been affected," Banner said. "We've continued to close marketing deals. I don't know what will happen when we get into February and March; what the economy will look like then and what companies will be doing.

"On a fan level, I don't think we will be affected unless things get really terrible [with the economy]. There's just too much demand. On things like suites and marketing revenues, if it went on long enough, we'd take a hit like every other sports franchise. But we still have a cushion of time there. We've got a window until maybe next March to kind of see where everything's at and whether there is going to be much of an impact on the revenue side."

Around the league-- Unless the 3-6 Browns can rally down the stretch, which seems unlikely, coach Romeo Crennel will be history after the season. General manager Phil Savage also could find himself out of a job, although his exit isn't as certain yet as Crennel's. Topping the list of possible replacements for Crennel is former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who is ready to end his 2-year hiatus now that his youngest daughter's high-school basketball career is coming to a close. Cowher played for the Browns and began his coaching career in Cleveland as an assistant to Marty Schottenheimer. If Cowher takes the job, it's unlikely Savage would be retained, since his contract gives him final say over the draft and the team's 53-man roster.

-- Running back Larry Johnson will be back in uniform for the Chiefs this week after missing four games because of club and league suspensions. How much he'll touch the ball remains to be seen. The offense he's coming back to isn't the same one he left. Since Tyler Thigpen became the starting quarterback three games ago, the 1-8 Chiefs have ditched their tailback-oriented attack and gone to a spread offense.

"Our offense has changed a little bit, but [Johnson] is going to be involved in it," coach Herm Edwards said. "He's excited about being back. We're still going to try to run the ball, with him being one of the better backs in the league."

-- This very likely will be Marvin Harrison's final season with the Colts. The 36-year-old wide receiver has just 30 catches for 357 yards this season. With an '09 salary-cap cost of $13.4 million, it's hard to imagine the Colts keeping him around.

-- Former Eagles punter Dirk Johnson is with the Cardinals, but it's even money whether he still will be with the team when they play the Eagles at the Linc on Thanksgiving. Johnson is 25th in the league in both gross average (42.6) and net average (35.9). "His performance has got to improve," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

2-minute drillFrom the lip

-- "Goliath is coming to town. We'll see if we can't find a few nice-sized pebbles and load up our slingshots." ? Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, on his 4-5 team's faceoff this week against the 9-0 Titans

-- "When you are 1-7, there's no question what you do. These guys deserved to win a Football game. These guys were so beat up on defense it wouldn't have been fair to not try to go for two points. I'm not sure we could have stopped them anymore. We were running out of bodies." ? Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, explaining why he went for two points after scoring a touchdown with 23 seconds left in a 20-19 loss to San Diego

-- "It's a difficult time for us because we all thought we'd be doing better than we are. I'm impatient. I have been patient, but I'm impatient. I thought we would be doing better at this point in time and we're not and I'm disappointed about it. So then, the next question is, what are you going to do?" ? Texans owner Bob McNair, after his team's lopsided 41-13 loss to Baltimore.

-- "Season's not going well. [I'm an] older guy. Move him out of the way and get ready for next year. I guess that's the way it is. That's the way I'm taking it." ? Jaguars LB Mike Peterson, who was benched and thrown out of a team meeting for celebrating a sack against the Bengals 2 weeks ago with his team trailing by 18 points.

-- "I feel like if I'm not putting myself in harm's way, then I'm going to play. We all know some people play this game just to collect a check." ? Titans LB Keith Bulluck, who made his 106th straight start last week, playing with torn rib cartilage.

By the numbers

-- The Bengals are 29-5 under Marvin Lewis when they've won the turnover battle, and just 5-29 when they've lost it. They're 9-12 in even-turnover games.

-- Donovan McNabb has had a passer rating of 100 or better just once this season ? in Week 1 against the Rams. The last time he had just one 100-plus rating in the first nine games of the season was 2003.

-- Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco hasn't thrown an interception in the last four games. He's been sacked just seven times in those four games.

-- Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt has a 14-11 record since being hired last season. That's the best 25-game start by a Cardinals coach since Norm Barry directed the Chicago Cardinals to a 16-7-2 record in his first 25 games in the mid-1920s.

-- The Cowboys have given up 428 rushing yards in their last three games, including 180 and 200 yards in losses to the Rams and Giants.

-- The Bengals are 9-2 in their last 11 home games against NFC teams.

-- Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker leads the league in yards after the catch with 324.

Thumbs up-- To the NFL, which, citing the economic challenges facing their fans, is reducing the average price for playoff tickets this year by about 10 percent. Do these guys have a big heart or what? The average price of playoff tickets last year for wild card, divisional rounds and conference championship games was $121. The league also is cutting the price of 1,000 tickets for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa from $700 to $500. That said, 25 percent of the Super Bowl tickets will cost $1,000. Another 53,000 tickets will be going for $800. My guess is Joe the Plumber will not be attending.

Thumbs down--To the irresponsible throw-crap-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks internet rumormongers like proFootballtalk.com who were suggesting earlier this week that Bucs coach Jon Gruden was interested in the vacant University of Tennessee head-coaching job because he happens to own 3 pieces of property in the county adjacent to the one UT is located in. Uh, hello? His wife Cindy grew up in Tennessee and was a UT cheerleader. Chucky's first coaching job was as a grad assistant at UT. The Tennessee Smokey Mountains are one of the most beautiful places on earth. If I had the money, I'd buy property there. And like Gruden, I'm not interested in the UT coaching job either.

--To all of the know-it-alls who crucified 49ers coach Mike Singletary a few weeks ago when he sent tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room after he picked up a penalty for mockingly tapping the helmet of Seahawks safety Brian Russell after a 7-yard catch. They said you can't treat today's players like that; that you'll lose them. Well, did anybod y happen to see what Davis did Monday night immediately after catching an 18-yard touchdown pass in the Niners' 29-24 loss to Arizona? He went over to Singletary and embraced him.

Panther draft pick watchRecord: 7-2

Last week: beat Raiders, 17-6

This week: v. 0-9 Lions

Next week: at 6-3 Falcons

Current draft position: 30th

Rankings1. Titans . . . 9-0

2. Giants . . . 8-1

3. Panthers . . . 7-2

4. Bucs . . . 6-3

5. Steelers . . . 6-3

6. Redskins . . . 6-3

7. Cardinals . . . 6-3

8. Eagles . . . 5-4

9. Colts . . . 5-4

10. Patriots . . . 5-4

11. Cowboys . . . 5-4

12. Falcons . . . 6-3

13. Bills . . . 5-4

14. Broncos . . . 5-4

15. Ravens . . . 6-3

16. Jets . . . 6-3

17. Bears . . . 5-4

18. Vikings . . . 5-4

19. Packers . . . 4-5

20. Jaguars . . . 4-5

21. Dolphins . . . 5-4

22. Chargers . . . 4-5

23. Saints . . . 4-5

24. Browns . . . 3-6

25. Texans . . . 3-6

26. Niners . . . 2-7

27. Rams . . . 2-7

28. Seahawks . . . 2-7

29. Chiefs . . . 1-8

30. Bengals . . . 1-8

31. Raiders . . . 2-7

32. Lions . . . 0-9

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 15, 2008

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