2013 AFC Playoff Predictions

ImageLet’s just admit it, a winning team makes any PR pros job that much easier. In the spirit of paying attention to standings, here is Packing the Stand’s first ever NFL playoff predictions. Let’s start with the AFC… 

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals. The AFC North is shaping up to be the toughest division in football. They have three legitimate playoff contenders with the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers. At the end of the day, I think the Bengals will win this tight race. Cincinnati has enough talent on both sides of the ball to overcome even mediocre play from the quarterback position.    

AFC East: New England Patriots. It would be a shock if the Patriots fail to win the AFC East. Even with their tight end troubles, the Patriots are still far more talented and experienced than the other three members of the division. New England always seems to find a way to overcome adversity, and that’s how they’ve become a perennial powerhouse.    

AFC South: Houston Texans. This will probably be a two horse race (pun intended) between the Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. However, it is difficult to pick against the Texans’ stellar defense and recent playoff success. Indy should challenge for the wild card, but this team is still only two years removed from a dismal 2-14 season.   

AFC West: Denver Broncos. The Broncos may well be the largest division favorite in the entire NFL; with their only competition being the revamped, but still mediocre Kansas City Chiefs. A weak schedule and a potent offense should help the Broncos overcome Von Miller’s six-game suspension.       

AFC Wild Card: Baltimore Ravens. While they are the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Ravens lost valuable players on both sides of the ball during the offseason. However, their combination of playoff experience and ability to win on the road should guide them into January.    

AFC Wild Card: Kansas City Chiefs. A year ago, the Colts bounced back from a 2-14 season to make the playoffs. In 2013, I believe the Chiefs have the chance to turn it around and steal a playoff spot from that same Colts team. While Alex Smith is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, he’s a vast improvement over what the Chiefs have been trotting out lately. Also, a weak schedule should help the Chiefs sneak into the playoffs.  

That’s it for the AFC predictions, NFC should be up as soon as I decide on a tight wild card race. 



Bronco Fans Bucking Over Strange Banners

ImageThis week the NFL was met with a minor advertising crisis. Apparently, they decided to hang some banners around the city of Denver to promote the league’s kickoff game between the Broncos and Ravens this Thursday. So there’s nothing new about gigantic banners of players hanging on the stadium, but they’re usually not players from the opposing team. Yes, the NFL did indeed think it was a good idea to hang banners of Raven’s players in Denver. The people of Denver seemed to react like typical sports fans, by honking at the stadium and drawing in Joe Flacco’s enlarged face.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the NFL decided to purchase these banners. Why did they think putting Broncos on the banners wouldn’t be good enough, for all the Rocky Mountain Raven fans? It’s understandable that the NFL wanted to promote their big game. They want to encourage ticket sales and get fans pumped up about the season. However, they could have accomplished this without the banners. I really don’t think giant Joe Flacco is persuading anyone in Denver to buy tickets or tune in to the game (which by the way, is not on NFL Network).

This was just a strange marketing move, and to make matters worse the Broncos have a bit of a sordid history with the Ravens. Last year, the Ravens eliminated the Broncos from the playoffs with a thrilling overtime victory at Sports Authority Field before going on the win the Super Bowl. That makes these banners an even bigger blow and a reminder of Denver’s heartbreaking 2012  season.    

I think we all agree that the banners are ridiculous, but what do you think the NFL’s rationale was?

Brainstorm Like a Boss!

This is a post I wrote for KJS Event’s blog. Even though it is meant to be applied to the event planning industry, knowing how to properly brainstorm is an important part of any field! Image

Sometimes the hardest part of planning an event can be brainstorming ideas for themes, entertainment and other ways to make sure guests have a blast. It is so easy to get off track and end up going with an idea that won’t impress anybody. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your team comes up with creative and innovative ideas.

The brainstorming process takes time; waiting until the last minute can often lead to unimpressive results. It’s best to have your initial brainstorming session days, or even weeks before your deadline. This way you can have some time to sit back and evaluate your original list in more detail. Sometimes the best ideas can pop in your mind when you’re not even thinking about it.  

Also, during brainstorming sessions you should write every idea down, even the ones that seem silly at first. There are few truly bad ideas, and some seemingly bad ideas can turn out to be great with a little fine-tuning. Never write anything off immediately, take a few minutes to talk it out and see if there’s a viable way it could work. Listening to all ideas also helps build a great team. People can get easily offended if their ideas are written off for no solid reason. When critiquing other’s ideas, always think offer a strategic reason why you don’t think it works. 

Finally, once you come up with your final few ideas, take time to evaluate each one and see if it can be taken to the next level. Even if the first idea you come up seems like a winner, chances are it’s the same idea many other organizations are coming up with. You should take that idea and tweak it or expand it to make your group stand out in people’s minds.



Move to May Won’t Deflate NFL Draft

ImageFor the past eight years, the NFL has held its draft every April at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. However, due to a scheduling conflict, plans for the 2014 draft are up in the air. Roger Goddell announced at a press conference today that the draft will likely move to May next year. Now, I’ve worked as an event planner enough to know losing your venue is usually a huge blow to any event. However, this move may actually help the NFL in the long run.

The NFL is already the most popular league in the United States, and moving the draft back will only help it command even more attention. The April draft date already takes away media coverage from the other three major sports leagues. It occurs around the time of MLB’s opening day, as well as NHL and NBA playoffs. If anything, it gives sports media outlets two or three extra weeks to finalize their mock drafts and provide extra analysis.

NFL officials should also consider taking the show on the road. Finding a new location to host the draft should not be that difficult, especially since there are 31 vacant NFL stadiums sitting around the country. This would give fans outside of New York a chance to attend. I know that one reason the draft is held in New York is because if its proximity to the league offices, but if the combine can be in Indianapolis why can’t the draft be moved to a different city as well? Personally, I think that gigantic, over-priced stadium in Dallas would be an excellent venue to host a future NFL Draft.    

Do you think the NFL Draft should move out of New York? If so, what cities would you like to see it in!

Welcome to Packing the Stands

I just wanted to say hello and give everyone an introduction to the blog. In 2013, I decided to start this blog to share my thought and reflections on the sports industry and the fast-paced world of public relations. With this blog, I hope to take on a wide variety of topics affecting sports marketing, public relations and communications.