Open letter to Mr. Peyton Manning

Mr. Manning (Peyton? Not sure if I should call you that?)

We have not met in person, but I am a big fan from Northern Indiana. I have fond memories of your leadership in Tennessee and with the Colts. I have incredible respect for your abilities. You have incredible values, are a role model for millions and have a wonderful personality (love those commercials and humor!) 🙂 It was a very sad day when you left Indiana. We lost more than a football player… it was like the final episode of Friends. Miss you!

So… Last night was a really amazing night for you. Seven touchdowns! Congratulations! I think you tied some record or something. Anyway, I noticed that you decided to do an awful lot of passing, even when you were up by quite a margin. Well, I was thinking that your performance (really huge fan btw) was a little bit lopsided. I mean, the Broncos only had like 65 yards rushing or something close to that. So again, really inspired by your passion, I would respectfully suggest you and your coaches hand the ball off a few more times to your backs. NOT second guessing you at all (big fan :D).

Another suggestion? Well, if you feel the need to pass, how about Decker and Welker as your main guys? Really, really cool that Julius had a great first night. Inspiring. But, between us, you would not want that to go to his head right? Make him work and earn those looks! That is part of the good leadership you have exhibited in the past!

Oh, in fairness and openness, I happen to play in this fantasy football league. It really is not that big of deal and does not consume 40+ hours a week of my life. Here is the funny thing, you had all the analysts fooled. Who knew? We would not want them to feel poorly about themselves would we? They make their living doing the projections.  With your high value structure, I cannot believe that you would want to be a part of putting guys like Eisenberg out of work. But hey, that is just between us.

I really feel like this conversation is going well so let me show you where I stand at the moment in one league:

Really? Ouch?

Pretty crazy huh? Three players and 112 points. Wow. So, I was thinking that there may also be similar situations with other fantasy players across the country. Oh sure, those that have you and your receivers are doing a happy dance. I really want them to be happy and enjoy this win (yea!) Good team spirit and “its just a game” mentality… learned those from you! But here’s the thing. There could be a huge downside to this lopsided victory. I mean, the owners that have you may get some “unrealistic expectations” or even resort to hurtful trash talking and name calling to those they have played. That would not be good. We both agree on that I am sure…

So here is my solution. There is a game in November, the 19th, against New England. I was thinking that *maybe* you could run and kick more that game? I play Orange Crush again that week, and Mr. Manning, you would not want it to be unfair between us. I would even be willing to give you a free newspaper subscription to my hometown newspaper, The Elkhart Truth or, wait for it, be willing to host you at a Notre Dame tailgate and game of your choosing! USC is around the corner! And we have a pretty good QB in Tommy Rees… you could get a few pointers I am sure. Just a suggestion.

So again, great game! Keep it up! Remember to spread the love to your backs and kicker, and remember our “agreement” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) coming up in November.

Your biggest fan! Go Irish! Errrr, I mean Broncos! 🙂


2013 NEFFFL Draft Results

So draft day is over. Not quite sure how I feel about the end result. I had the 11th pick in our PPR league and no shortage of opinions from Fantasy bloggers, friends and opponents telling me the correct draft strategy. There was also no shortage of trash talk from owners in the league. Many emails were sent containing misinformation and insults. Of particular note is an email sent by Chuckers containing his first round draft predictions. This led to this horrific comment by the 2012 Champion:

Burnham obviously is lying with his draft order. I think he wants Doug Martin with his pick. Just my guess.

And then this terrible indictment:

U should be in the Big Brother house Adam. U would do well on that show. LOL.

Tiring of this childish banter, I retired to my hammock to get down to work.

Beautiful day on the hammock, enduring the trash talk of friends on FB
Beautiful day on the hammock, enduring the trash talk of friends on FB
Screenshot from Facebook of the comments that kept me from my research on draft day.
Screenshot from Facebook of the comments that kept me from my research on draft day.

After all the prep and research on my hammock with my trusty phablet and iPad, I decided that I would go after Brees or Rodgers if they were available with my first pick and then go with a top RB on pick 14 (yes I KNOW this is a PPR league Jon!) The emails and comments on social media continued.

Misinformation came next, clearly exemplified in this quote and picture received just 29 minutes before the draft was to start:

Thank goodness for twitter to see all of the recent injury announcements.

Beer, Whiskey and Milk
Beer, Whiskey and Milk

So I setup my workspace, grabbed a beverage, and entered the draft room. In our particular league, the owners are scattered across the country, so we have a conference call. I was ready. My strategy, computer, iPad, phablet and second monitor all ready to go!

My setup in the "Bran-Cave"
My setup in the “Bran-Cave”

So the draft began, and the first 10 picks went like this:

  1. Adrian Peterson (RB)
  2. Doug Martin (RB)
  3. Payton Manning (QB)  *gasp*
  4. Jamaal Charles (RB)
  5. Calvin Johnson (WR)
  6. Ray Rice (RB)
  7. LeSean McCoy (RB)
  8. Drew Brees (QB)  *no surprise- see here*
  9. C.J. Spiller (RB)
  10. Marshawn Lynch (RB)

And then I was “on the clock.”

Rodgers was available. And just like that, I abandoned all of my hard work on the hammock, and selected Trent Richardson (RB) and then Arian Foster (RB) in the second round. An hour and thirty minutes later, it was over. My fate sealed.

During the call, there was a recurring knocking (three knocks in rapid succession). It was annoying and driving many of the owners crazy. References were made to the cause, yet it continued round after round.

That sound came from my phabet as I received texts. I hope that my fellow owners remember that sound, because just like the knocking did during the draft, my team will annoy and drive my opponents crazy. Keep looking over your shoulder and try not to end up like my good friend Poss seen here:

Fail. You lose Poss!
Fail. You lose Poss!

Game on!

2012 NEFFL Fantasy Football in Pictures

Today is draft day for the 2013 NEFFFL Fantasy Football season!

This is my second year in a highly competitive league made up of some of the biggest trash talkers around. Somehow, I made it into the the final game against Nancy Lane. See her blog here with her highly offensive photos and aloof commentary. She beat me easily.

Strongly considering a name change. I guess I am no longer a Newb. 🙂

I am looking forward to another year and hopefully another trophy run. Until then, here are a few memories of the 2012 season in picture form.







News 2.0 – Is there a need for an editor anymore?

**Published originally on my work blog here.

Last week I attended the Social+Mobile, Show Me the Money Conference, put on by Borrell Associates, Local Media Association and Local Search Association in Chicago. (Twitter feed: #somoconf and also check here and here for coverage). There were some amazing, and frightening, statistics presented by comScore, Facebook, Google and other speakers including this eye-opening video shown by Mark Preston of Hubbard Radio.

The way we consume news and information is changing at a pace that is impossible to catch. Believe me, I know. I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by family, friends and complete strangers in my local community offering their condolences about being a newspaper publisher. Fortunately, our influence and reach continues to grow each and every day through our use of social media and our coverage of the life of those in the Elkhart area. We reach more people than we ever have before. But let’s save that topic for another blog. What I want to discuss is whether there is a need for an editor. That is, someone to tell you what is important and to prioritize the news.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know.

“People don’t trust advertising, at least not as much as they trust recommendations from friends and consumer opinions expressed online.”

So, back in the day, a newspaper with your morning coffee, drive-time in the car (radio) and watching local TV before heading to bed was pretty much the way to get the news. The local newsrooms were the editors who fed you information that was “important” and provided the topics to discuss around the water cooler or dinner table.

Times have changed dramatically. I look at how technology has impacted my life and interactions. I have a cell phone that keeps me connected 24/7. I really no longer need a desk, or the company phone that sits on it, a home telephone, or in many cases, even a computer. My children and I communicate via text messages throughout the day. I look to apps from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flipboard and Pinterest to gather information and communicate with family, friends and peers. I keep my files in the cloud so they are available from anywhere. I even stream entertainment from Chromecast, YouTube, Pandora and Google Music.  But more often than not, I click on links that my friends “share” or “promote” and attach relevance to those before I go to other more traditional sources. I rely on their influence to guide me to what I need to know.

Unfortunately, there is a dark and dangerous side to this system. Many of the links take me to a source that is politically motivated or just plain incorrect. Our access to this breadth of information on the internet does not make any of it true. Frankly, it is difficult sorting through all the “tabloid” stories, blogs and even websites created by marketers or persons with agendas. How does one decipher what is real and what one can trust? Google makes its living off of search, and providing relevant results. But no matter what logic is programmed into the code, it cannot filter this stream of information and provide only the truth. Is there still value in investing in a trained journalist who adheres to a code of ethics?

Make no mistake, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media services desperately want to be your editor, the position held by local media just a few short years ago. In fact, at the conference last week, I saw this slide:

A slide from a presentation at the Social+Mobile Conference 2013 by Matty de Castro of Facebook

A slide from a presentation at the Social+Mobile Conference 2013 by Matty de Castro of Facebook

Facebook indeed is personal, relevant and useful (based on your friends and likes). In this new world, you get to pick and choose what is important. All of social media gives you this choice, and I find myself quickly scanning through hundreds of posts, multiple times a day, stopping to click on a few that are of interest to me. Google and others are watching and recording my movements, and they serve up more and more content that an algorithm chooses based on my interests. In my case, I end up seeing more information about technology and fantasy football. It is like always eating dessert. The editor is just a self-serving computer script. And that is what worries me the most. What are you missing in your newsfeed? There are still veggies on the plate that we need to consume to be healthy.

The role of an editor is great in scope and growing with all of the additional ways we push information today. Assigning journalists to write stories, editing and deciding how information is “played” are some of the primary functions. They are vested and passionate about the areas in which they cover. They have an ego and make strong judgments on what is really important for the community to know. They should be like mom and espouse our local values. (If you can stomach having Marshall King as mom that is…) In reality, an editor takes the firehouse of information and filters it to a manageable stream that is prioritized and consumable. If you trust the brand for whom the editor works, you buy in to that particular set of importance. Trust is paramount.

Not one internet giant or social media company truly cares about my hometown here in Elkhart. In this new age, there is a need for balance. Social media is a great thing and has changed our lives for the better. But it does not replace the need for watchdog journalism. Someone that is monitoring the actions of local government officials, school boards and police. Someone that makes sure the community is up to speed on issues like taxes, budgets, crime, education, high school sports, etc. Someone who provides a voice to those that have none. We need to solve our problems on a local level, celebrate our successes and work through our unique challenges as a community. We can use social media as a tool to engage and communicate. In the end, I believe that an editor helps us see and prioritize those local issues most important to the health of our community.

So what do you think? Is it important to have an editor providing that front page story?