Categories
Sports Strength

Why the Cincinnati Bengals Nailed the Ja’Marr Chase Draft Pick

After the 2021 NFL Draft, the draftnik Twitterati sneered at the Cincinnati Bengals for choosing JaMarr Chase (a mere wide receiver) with the fifth overall pick over Penei Sewell (a righteous and strong offensive lineman). Nevermind that Chase was widely considered to be one of the best receiver prospects in recent history or that Chase and Joe Burrow (the Bengals franchise quarterback) were former college roommates—by passing on Sewell, the Bengals had condemned their franchise quarterback Joe Burrow to a career of punishment and pressure behind a deeply permissive offensive line. 

This year, Chase is proving that sometimes, it turns out, memes are wrong. Through the first seven games of his career, Chase is on pace to become the greatest rookie receiver ever—no receiver has ever been more prolific than Chase through the first seven games of their career. And beyond the scope of history, Chase has also been one of the most best pass-catchers in the NFL this season: he has the second-most receiving yards (754) and yards per catch (21.5 yards), the fourth-most touchdowns (six) and the fifth-most yards after the catch (267).

In addition to his individual productivity, Chase has provided kindling for a suddenly explosive offense. Whether it be causation or correlation, the Bengals’ offense has surged this year with Chase, averaging 27.0 points per game, up from 21.3 points per contest in the 10 games that Burrow started last season; with a 5-2 record, the Bengals have already won more games than they did in either 2020 or 2019.  

The most startling thing about Chase, though, isn’t just his immediate greatness; it’s how naturally his greatness has manifested itself. There’s nothing revelatory about his game—he’s a fast, but hardly a burner like Tyreek Hill; he runs crisp routes, but lacks the hummingbird twitchiness of Davante Adams; he has strong, sure hands (in the regular season, at least), but not DeAndre Hopkins’s magnetic grip. Instead, Chase succeeds by simply being better than the guy guarding him; it’s hard to identify a single reason for his unstoppableness besides the fact that nobody can stop him. 

As such, Chase represents the crest of the new wave of wide receivers that has crashed upon the league in recent years. Within the last decade, football coaches at all levels have ditched the old customs and empowered players like Chase as offensive spread and air raid principles have been mainstreamed and, in turn, passing attacks have grown increasingly high-wattage. Viewed from a macro lens, the emergence of Chase—or a Chase-level rookie receiver—is inevitable; in this sense, Chase’s most special and singular accomplishment isn’t simply setting any record, but rather creating an expanded realm of the possible so that the next person can one day break it. 

Categories
Sports Strength

Mid-Season Heisman Favorites for 2021

Here we are midway through the college football season and the rumblings have begun: Who’s the favorite to take home the most illustrious College Football award? Will this be the second consecutive year where a non-Quarterback wins the Heisman? Who are the dark horse candidates?

Alabama Quarterback, Bryce Young

Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young is looking to become the third Heisman Trophy winner out of Bama since 2015 (Derrick Henry 2015, Devonta Smith 2021). Young has played nothing short of incredible thus far. Through six games, Young has passed for over 2,000 yards, a staggering 24 touchdown passes to only three interceptions. Additionally, Young ranks top ten in completions (10th), completion percentage(8th), passing yards (7th), passing touchdowns (3rd), and passing efficiency (4th). Most important, Young’s impact goes deeper than the stat-sheet. He commands the offense, doesn’t put the ball in harm’s way, and capitalizes on opponents’ mistakes. On top of that, the Crimson Tide are #3 in the AP Poll with a 5-1 record. Bryce Young is undoubtedly the Heisman favorite right now.

Pittsburgh Quarterback Kenny Pickett

rrow. In 2021, it’s Kenny Pickett. Pickett has been absolutely ridiculous through the first six games. In 2020 he played nine games and finished with 13 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and 2,408 yards. Through six games in 2021, Pickett has 1,934 yards, 21 touchdowns and only one interception. A complete 180. This isn’t a ‘most improved player’ award, but what Pickett has done cannot be ignored. Pittsburg is 5-1 and atop the ACC Coastal division. With Clemson, Miami, Virginia and UNC still on the schedule, Pickett will have more than enough opportunities to up his stock for the award.

Ole Miss Quarterback Matt Coral

Coming into the season, Ole Miss Quarterback Matt Coral appeared on quite a few Heisman shortlists due to his magical finish to the 2020-2021 season. Thus far, he’s not disappointed and should without a doubt considered a Heisman favorite. Coral showcases elite arm strength and ball placement. To add to that, Coral posseses dual-threat traits. Coral’s 450 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground give him a different dynamic and add to his Heisman case. Through the air, he’s accumulated 1,728 yards, 14 touchdowns to only one interception. With games against two legitimate teams in Texas A&M and Auburn, Coral has plenty of more time to add to his case for the Heisman.

Bijan Robinson RB University of Texas

Bijan Robinson has proven to be the most productive running back in college football. Robinson’s unique abilities to run the ball, and catch the ball out the backfield adds more value to his case. Robinson ranks third in the nation in rushing touchdowns and third in rushing yards with 924 yards having only 146 carries (6.3 yards per carry). Additionally, he’s added 14 catches for 207 yards and three touchdowns. He’s over 1,100 all-purpose yards and has been impressive overall throughout the first seven games. Robinson has every right to be on every Heisman shortlist.

Kenneth Walker RB Michigan State

Kenneth Walker has appeared to be the best running back this season. Walker’s smooth running style has been a joy to watch. Walker’s 997 rushing yards leads the entire nation, while his 6.56 yards per carry ranks 13th. Additionally, he’s tied for fourth in touchdowns with nine. Walker transferred from Wake Forest last season and its clearly paid off, because he’s playing for a better team and records matter when it comes to the Heisman. Michigan State currently sits atop the Big10 East. With games against a host of ranked Big10 teams, Walker definitely has his work cut out for him as he makes a late push at the Heisman.

With five games left before teams conference championships and bowl season, each guy on this list has a chance to make a legitimate case at the Heisman. Will it be a quarterback per usual? Will it be the second consecutive season where a non-quarterback takes it home? Only time will tell.

Categories
Sports Strength

Why Lamar Jackson Should Win MVP, Again

The reports of Lamar Jackson’s death are greatly exaggerated. After a summer of unnamed NFL execs crowing this, finally, will be the year that Lamar Jackson gets “figured out,” it’s obvious that Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are unsolvable. Through the first six weeks of the season, Jackson’s 8.7 yards per passing attempt rank fifth in the league and his 6.1 rushing yards per attempt are tops in the NFL. At the risk of being reductive, Lamar Jackson is a more efficient passer than Tom Brady and a more dynamic runner than Derrick Henry.

But because Lamar Jackson does so much, he’s unfairly knocked for not doing everything—he can’t win from the pocket and he can’t lead a comeback and he’s a system quarterback, his critics bleat. Conversely, nobody cares that Derrick Henry doesn’t throw for 3000 yards a year or that Tom Brady can’t run the inverted veer. 

This year, though, Jackson has been methodically putting old canards to rest—he’s led three comeback wins and his 1686 air yards are the second most in the league. Most impressively, he’s acted as the suture that’s held a battered Baltimore Ravens team together during their 5-1 start. Even without Ronnie Stanley (their All-Pro left tackle) or their top three running backs, the Ravens’ offense is the NFL’s seventh highest scoring unit. 

In this sense, Jackson functions as almost a gridiron version of James Harden, a one-man offensive system that can thrive regardless of the surrounding personnel. Just as Harden wills points into existence through optimized shot selection and sheer resolve, Jackson cripplingly destabilizes defenses with his running ability. His offensive linemen get more push at the line of scrimmage against defenses unaccustomed to the Ravens’ unorthodox ground game; his backs have an inherent numbers advantage in the run game because teams must commit defenders to spying on Jackson; his receivers enjoy free releases since defenses are so concerned with stopping the run. Even when Jackson isn’t at his sharpest, the Ravens offense succeeds because of the conditions that Jackson creates. During Sunday’s rout of the Chargers, Jackson had his worst passing and rushing game of the year and the offense still racked up 34 points. Jackson isn’t a system quarterback—he is the system.

Additionally, Jackson places so much stress on defense at all three levels that teams are inherently handcuffed against him. They can’t play man coverage, lest they risk turning their back on Jackson. They can’t line up in dime, lest they get mauled by the Ravens’ larger personnel groupings. They can’t blitz or else Jackson will simply outrun any pressure. Accordingly, Jackson dictates the terms of engagement to his opponents—he doesn’t need the pre-snap clairvoyance of Tom Brady because he robs defenses of their complexity. 

As such, the concern-trolling about Jackson’s pure passing ability has always been misguided: Jackson isn’t a pure passer, but he’s still the NFL’s best and most valuable player.

He’s great because he’s good enough.

Categories
Sports Strength

Which NFL Team Has The Most Super Bowl Wins?

If you’re an avid football fan, you might have asked yourself at some point: which NFL team has the most Super Bowl wins? After all, some teams have had more success on the gridiron than others; and championship runs can be hard to come by. When it comes to most Super Bowl wins, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for the most in history, each hoisting the Lombardi Trophy six times.

Point to the classic single-elimination format of the playoffs as a reason why so many different teams have won NFL Super Bowls, thus, why we haven’t seen dynasties the rate at which we’ve seen in the likes of the NBA or NHL.

After the Super Bowl era started in 1966, we’ve seen a total of 20 different teams win the big game; combined with endless chip-and-dip get-togethers. I had the pleasure of listing the 10 teams with the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history.

New England Patriots: 6 Super Bowl Wins
(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady embraces Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft (R) after winning 03 Super Bowl XXXVI 03 February, 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17.

Over the last two decades, the New England Patriots have been incredibly dominant and vastly hated by opposing fans. At the start of 2002 though, the Patriots had zero Super Bowl championships and were underdogs, even with head coach Bill Belichick and a young Tom Brady.

That year, however, the Patriots shocked the world in defeating the heavily favored St. Louis Rams, aka, “The Greatest Show of Turf” in Super Bowl XXXVI. Their victory against Kurt Warner and Co. would spark the greatest dynasty run that the NFL has ever seen. They managed a combined record of 28-4 during the seasons they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004, while going 17 straight seasons with ten wins or more from 2003 to 2019. Even though they lost the 2007 Super Bowl to the New York Giants, they steamrolled the league en route to a 16-0 record in the regular season.

Their latest Super Bowl triumph came in 2018 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but their most impressive Super Bowl win has to be that 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 Super Bowl Wins
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 01: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Mike Tomlin and Dan Rooney look on after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 27-23.

As the 7th oldest franchise in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most historic teams in not just football, but in professional sports. Steelers fans had to wait 42 years until the team won their first Super Bowl in 1975.

After that, however, they were able to win four Super Bowls during the next six seasons while putting together arguably the best football team that has ever been assembled. The team was coached by Chuck Noll and featured numerous Hall of Famers including quarterback Terry Bradshaw, cornerback Mel Blount, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert, and defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene.

Their most recent Super Bowl victory came at the expense of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009 and was capped off by a game-winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. 

San Francisco 49ers: 5 Super Bowl Wins
Getty Images
29 JAN 1995: SAN FRANCISCO LINEBACKER KEN NORTON JR. CELEBRATES AFTER THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS VERSUS SAN DIEGO CHARGERS IN SUPER BOWL XXIX AT JOE ROBBIE STADIUM IN MIAMI, FLORIDA. THE 49ERS DEFEATED THE CHARGERS 49-26

The San Francisco 49ers have featured some of the most legendary players to play in the National Football league. Cornerback Ronnie Lott, quarterbacks Steve Young and Joe Montana, and wide receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens are some of the greatest Niners of all-time. The pinnacle of their success as a franchise started in 1981 when they won their first Super Bowl, and their latest Super Bowl win came in 1994.

Head coach George Seifert won 98 games and led the franchise to two SuperBowls between 1989 and 1996, while Bill Walsh won 92 games and three Super Bowls between 1979 and 1988. For me, their most memorable championship was Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Montana threw a game-winning back touchdown pass to receiver John Taylor in that game and is one of the most memorable plays in NFL history.

Dallas Cowboys: 5 Super Bowl wins
Stephen Dunn / Allsport
30 Jan 1994: Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen Leon Lett (right) and Jimmie Jones celebrate after Super Bowl XXVIII against the Buffalo Bills at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Cowboys won the game, 30-13.

Famously known around the NFL as “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl in 1972 against the Miami Dolphins. Bob Lily’s sack on Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese is one of the greatest plays in Cowboys history and helped clinch Dallas’ first-ever Super Bowl championship.

Their latest Super Bowl win came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996 and capped off Dallas winning three Super Bowls in four seasons during the ’90s. Quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman anchored all of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl triumphs. Other notable Cowboys include Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Jason Witten, and of course their famous president, general manager, and owner since 1989, Jerry Jones. Wade Phillips, Bill Parcells, and Jimmy Johnson are a few notable coaches in Dallas Cowboys history as well.

Green Bay Packers: 4 Super Bowls
Brian Bahr /Allsport
26 Jan 1997: Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Packers won the game, 35-21

In terms of Super Bowl victories, the Green Bay Packers have four to their name.

However, they’ve won nine pre-Super Bowl NFL titles, more than any other team, that included two runs of three straight NFL titles during the early 1930s and mid-1960s. Hall of fame head coaches Earl Lambeau and Vince Lombardi were the two men at the helm during those eras in helping the Pack win 11 NFL championships. The Packers won the first official Super Bowl during the 1966-1967 season, and then again in 1967. Quarterback Bart Starr was the MVP in both of those victories.

Soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and current Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre spearheaded the Packers’ next two Super Bowl runs in 1997, and 2011. Rodgers ended up being Favre’s successor and will likely be considered the best quarterback in franchise history when it’s all said and done. Sorry Brett that’s my hot take.

New York Giants: 4 Super Bowl Wins
Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes /Allsport
25 Jan 1987: Wide receiver Phil McConkey of the New York Giants celebrates making a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during Superbowl XXI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Giants won the game 39-20.

If the New England Patriots were Superman, then the New York Giants were its kryptonite. The Giants famously beat the 16-0 Patriots in 2008 to win their franchise’s third Super Bowl, a game that quarterback Eli Manning would win MVP. Four years later, not only would the same teams meet again, but the Giants would win by the same margin, and Eli would once more win the MVP. Those Giants teams were also led by Michael Strahan, Antonio Pierce, Justin Tuck, Plaxico Burress, and Jeremey Shockey. Wide receiver David Tyree is responsible for the famous helmet catch during the 4th quarter of Super Bowl XLII that extended the Giant’s game-winning drive.

The Giants’ first Super Bowl win came during 1987 in a victory over the Denver Broncos. The team was led by Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells, and quarterback Phill Simms, who won the MVP award.

Denver Broncos: 3 Super Bowl Wins
Getty Images
31 Jan 1988: Denver Broncos wide receivers Ricky Nattiel, Mark Jackson, and Vance Johnson (l to r) celebrate during Super Bowl XXII against the Washington Redskins at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. The Redskins won the game, 42-10.

The Denver Broncos are next on the list with three Super Bowl wins during the Super Bowl era, including back-to-back triumphs in 1998 and 1999. Those Broncos teams were absolutely loaded with Hall of Fame talent that including quarterback John Elway, running back Terrell Davis, wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, and tight-end Shannon Sharpe.

In 2016, the Broncos would be on top of the pro football mountain once more after they’d defeated the Carolina Panthers for their franchise’s third Super Bowl. The Broncos were led by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning, and Linebacker Von Miller, who won MVP of Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

Washington Football team: 3 Super Bowl Wins
Getty Images
26 Jan 1992: Quarterback Mark Rypien of the Washington Redskins celebrates during Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Reskins won the game, 37-24. Rypien was named the game”s MVP.

The Washington Football Team were crowned the Super Bowl champions in 1983, 1988, and 1992. Head coach Joe Gibbs coached those squads and has won more games than any other coach in the Washington Football team’s history.

Oddly enough, each of those teams was led by different quarterbacks: Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien. Other notable players include running back John Riggins, cornerback Darrell Green, and wide-receiver Art Monk.

Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders: 3 Super Bowl Wins
Getty Images
22 Jan 1984: The Los Angeles Raiders celebrate after Super Bowl XVIII against the Washington Redskins at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Raiders won the game, 38-9.

During the Super Bowl era, the Raiders reigned supreme in the NFL for the first time in 1977. That team had an all-world front office in coaching staff led by General manager Al Davis and Head Coach John Madden. Wide Receiver Fred Biletnikoff won Super Bowl MVP and highlighted a team that was also led by offensive linemen Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, and quarterback Ken Stabler.

Their latest Super Bowl success would happen in 1984. While the franchise would be under the same ownership in Al Davis, Tom Flores took over the head coaching helm from John Madden. Those teams had a mean defense anchored by defensive ends Howie Long and Greg Townsend who would combine for 23.5 sacks during that season.

Indianapolis Colts: 2 Super Bowl Wins
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 04: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates winning the Super Bowl XLI qith a score of 29-17 over the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Rounding out this list are the Indianapolis Colts, having won two Super Bowls in franchise history, as well as two pre-Super Bowl era NFL championships. The first came in a three-point victory over the Dallas Cowboys in 1971, while their latest Super Bowl win would come 36 years later in a 12-point victory over the Chicago Bears. Known as the Baltimore Colts in 1971, the Colts were a team that was led by linebacker Chuck Howley, tight-end John Mackey, and quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Quarterback Peyton Manning led his Colts to a 29-17 Super Bowl win over the Bears in 2007, while winning the game’s MVP award as well. He was helped by wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, tight-end Dallas Clark, offensive lineman Jeff Saturday, and head coach Tony Dungy.

Categories
NFT Sports

NFL Legend Tim Brown Releases Official NFT Collection

NFL legend Tim Brown is one of the greatest players to ever grace the football field. A supremely talented wide receiver who played seventeen seasons (majority of whom were spent with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders), eventually joining the elite H2H in 2015 when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (only nine other players in NFL history have a won the coveted Heisman and been inducted into the Hall). With NFTs taking over the game, many prominent figures have decided to throw their names into the hats with personalized collections, and Brown is one of the latest.

Getty Images
Tim Brown

Joining forces with Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company, H2H, and content studio and marketing company Dolphin Entertainment, Brown is now set to release his first official collection, Brown is now set to release his first official collection. Ahead of the announcement, we spoke with Brown about his jump into the NFT space, if this is something he could have seen himself doing five years ago, and the development process behind building this collection.

ONE37pm: NFT’s have been around for a while, but we have really seen the NFT game explode over these past couple of months. What made you decide to start your own collection?

Brown: No—I probably found out about NFTs around the same time you guys did! Obviously when Patrick Mahomes and Gronk released theirs it got a lot of attention, and it looked like a good opportunity to showcase your memorabilia. You know you can only go to so many autograph sessions, so I looked at it as something that may be different than normal, but you can finally have something to offer—this could follow an art collection.

ONE37pm: What has the process been like for you in terms of preparation?

Brown: You know it’s kind of funny, you hear the word process, and it’s sort of synonymous with work, and it hasn’t been that. I’ve been having different conversations with the artist, but it’s been simple! It’s not like you have to spend two months of your life working on it, and I think when more athletes realize how easy it is, they’ll get it on it too.

Getty Images
Tim Brown

ONE37pm: Was there a learning curve for you as far as NFTs go?

Brown: Well, I haven’t seen anyone else’s NFTs. I’ve been working on mine, and it’s been great, but if it’s somebody else’s, it may be more difficult to understand. With mine, I’m pretty happy with it!

ONE37pm: Obviously, you are an NFL Legend and one of the GOATs. Your NFT collection is a reflection of your storied career. Is this something that you could have ever imagined maybe five years ago? 

Brown: I’m sort of ‘out there’ when it comes to my thinking. You know sometimes with opportunities things can become a bit stale and boring. So if someone had told me this five years ago, I definitely would have had my hand raised because I would have been open to hearing about something new.

Getty Images
Tim Brown

ONE37pm: We’ve sort of mentioned it, but what can fans expect from the collection? They have a chance to have a special one-on-one phone call with you right?

Brown: Oh yeah! It’s going to be the Zoom call of a lifetime without a doubt! You know I’ve gotten really good at this Zoom thing over the last year! We’re going to walk through the house, take a look at some memorabilia—it’s going to be fun! You know this, I would imagine it’s not going to be a one-time deal with whoever buys it. We’ll have a connection because the buyer is going to be a huge Tim Brown fan, so I’m looking forward to it.

ONE37pm: Is the NFT space something you envision yourself operating in the long term?

Brown: Without a doubt. Obviously I don’t know what this is going to look like years down the road—I don’t think anyone knows. We are happy with the collection, and if it can be updated in the future, we’ll make it happen!

ONE37pm: Last but not least, do you have a favorite item in your collection?

Brown: The Heisman and the Gold Jacket. Those two things are special, and there are only nine other players who can say they have both of those, so it’s definitely special.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

What’s Going On In The Football Card Market?

One of the most fascinating things about the modern sports card era is observing the cycles of supply and demand relative to the schedule of a season. When I first returned to the hobby, I got plenty of advice from my local sports card shop owner, but one that stuck out to me was to be smart about when I buy cards for particular sports. 

The idea is simple: during the off-season, without much media coverage, you can typically buy cards for less money. Whether it’s a PC (Personal Collection) item or a stash to flip and fund bigger cards, those of us who are disciplined usually yield the most benefits. 

Football is a particularly fun sport to follow these cycles because it’s the most-watched sport in the United States. The first round of the 2021 NFL draft brought in over 12 million viewers and 40 million people play Fantasy Football. There’s no shortage of excitement, media coverage and content as the season draws closer. 

Out of the three major sports–basketball, baseball and football–the latter has the longest off-season (March – July) and it opens the door to more buying opportunities for those looking to get ahead of the cycles. 

We’ll dive into what’s been happening in the football market, when we should expect it to ramp up again, and we’ll cap off why football is still one of the most exciting niches in the hobby for collectors and the risks that come with it.  

Note: I am not a Financial Advisor and this is not intended to be financial advice. 

Who Are Football’s Biggest Off-Season Gainers?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The football market is a mixed bag right now – there have been record sales and upward trends as well as downward trends. At the top of the market, Tom Brady’s Contenders Championship Rookie Auto set a new record with a $2.25 million dollar sale that puts football into the same stratosphere as basketball and baseball cards. 

For football cards that are more in the reach of the average collector and investor, we have some interesting behavior this off-season. At first, it looked as though the off-season buying window was getting shorter and that the market was getting smarter and more aggressive. There were a few examples of rookie cards hitting new highs during a time when the market typically dips: 

  • Derrick Henry Prizm PSA 10 hit a record high on 2/23. 
  • Kyler Murray Select Field Level PSA 10 hit a record high on 4/7
  • Aaron Rodgers 2005 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 9 hit a record high on 4/26

Despite these record sales (which have since retreated a bit), the general market is trending downward. 

However, there are three fast-risers that have sustained their price increases this off-season: 

1. Josh Allen 2018 Prizm Silver PSA 10 ($9000)
100% Growth Since 12/22
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=YSXgfuW8LL7AKa1XFVuf
CardLadder

This is a chart for the 2018 Josh Allen Prizm Silver PSA 10 rookie card, with a population of just 25. On March 19th the card set a record price of $9,000. That’s double the price of the card from 12/22, in the midst of a promising season where he finished 2nd in MVP voting. 

Allen’s base PSA 10 Prizm rookie has a much higher population (971) and has been a little more up-and-down, but the general trajectory has been up and to the right: 

CardLadder

This is our first indication that while a certain player may be getting attention, the rarer card has commanded a more significant premium and at a higher proportional growth rate. The base card increased 49% from December 22nd to its most recent sale, where the Silver increased 100% in the same time period. 

2. 1998 Peyton Manning Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 ($29,775)
98% Growth Since 11/19
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=uZPyPTrcwsoa73H4SFoN
CardLadder

Manning was named to the Hall of Fame in February, with an ensuing induction planned for August. While his base Topps Chrome has trended a bit downard in recent months, it is still up 58.4% since December 21st. 

The refractor, with its new record sale, is up 98% since November. 

3. 2004 Larry Fitzgerald Topps Chrome Base PSA 10 ($1800)
260% Growth Since 12/26
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=A7THcAvzBRC9dvxo1uvH
CardLadder

The final card on our fast-riser list is Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and his 2004 Topps Chrome Base PSA 10 rookie.

The card is up 260% since December. The refractor version of this card hasn’t sold since December, but it’s safe to assume it would hit a new record price relative to the base increase. This also happens to be the fastest growing card on our list, relative to the initial value. 

After analyzing the data, this wasn’t quite the list I expected: the non-MVP and non-Super Bowl winning QB, a retired yet accomplished QB, and a non-QB, near-retired, future Hall of Famer. 

Football cards can be a tricky analysis, mainly because of low population. For example, the Lamar Jackson Silver Prizm Rookie PSA 10, Baker Mayfield Prizm Silver Rookie PSA 10, Aaron Rodgers Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 and many others haven’t had a recorded sale in months. It’s likely this list would have been a bit bigger if more transactions took place, but the lack of supply sets the stage for potential increases if a card is listed. 

Generally, the football card market is behaving as expected – there were some price run-ups at various times this off-season, but the market is trending downward since last season’s highs.

When Will Football Cards See Values Increase?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Downward trends are never fun unless you are a disciplined buyer, but when could we expect the football market as a whole to pick up speed?

For this section, we’re going to look at a bunch of graphs to clue us in on the answer:

4. Lamar Jackson 2018 Base Prizm PSA 10 ($899)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=WDhRr3IDNukvjOSq8Wcq
CardLadder

5. Kyler Murray 2019 Silver Prizm PSA 10 ($2247)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=BSgk35dsiQfuhm2Bt7XR
CardLadder

6. Carson Wentz 2016 Prizm PSA 10 ($545.50)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=02P3ZxAkaC4tRydIc5vq
CardLadder

7. Dak Prescott 2016 Prizm PSA 10 ($800)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=7QzkrKhB1hrFjtTqofgl
CardLadder

8. Baker Mayfield 2018 Prizm PSA 10 ($542)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=LRMlgrOyF6FHzUCN4PQX
CardLadder

9. Deandre Hopkins 2013 Base Topps Chrome PSA 10 ($203.51)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=FEwpmrgy2Z6OEzvhzGJ1
CardLadder

Initial price peak dates: 

• 8/1/2020

• 8/12/2020 

• 8/18/2020

• 9/4/2020 

• 9/18/2020

Now, let’s look at 2019 charts for a few of the same cards:

CardLadder

Initial Price Peak Dates: 

• 8/6/2019 

• 8/12/2019 

• 9/12/2019

• 9/29/2019 

Two years of data indicates that August and September are the likeliest peak times for football card prices. There are plenty of exceptions, and this doesn’t mean it will happen exactly the same way every year, but it’s reasonable to expect a similar pattern going into the fall of 2021.

How to Think About Football for Investing and Collecting
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Football cards are an exciting niche to collect in because cards don’t command the same prices as counterparts in the NBA and MLB and there’s plenty of off-season to get a good deal. If you’re a collector, premium cards can be within close reach. 

This is either a risk, or an opportunity, depending on how you look at it. 

There’s opportunity in cheaper entry, and possible low-hanging fruit, like positional players, which burst onto the scene last year: 

10. Deandre Hopkins 2013 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 ($338.33)
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=FRrfzrWHysJYR3GWphVv
CardLadder

A Deandre Hopkins Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 could have been had for $38 in early March of 2020. The card is a pop 36 of a top wide receiver. While it was before the sports card boom, as a collector, there’s nothing better than scarce, affordable cards of accomplished pros. 

On the other hand, football has its downsides. It’s not as popular globally, players wear helmets (less recognizable), there’s more of them on the field than basketball, and injuries can prevent people from betting big on these cards. 

While there’s not much recent data available, past analysis has shown that the NFL has 4-5x the injury rate of other pro sports, including the NBA, MLB and NHL. 

Not many people think about possible injury when they buy at peaks before the season, but they can have a devastating effect on card values. 

Dak Prescott’s Prizm PSA 10 rookie dropped from $767 on October 3rd to $399.50 October 13th, after he sustained a season-ending ankle injury on October 11th. After Dak’s injury, Amari Cooper, Dak’s top wide receiver, saw a drop in card values by 50%, from $80 to $40. 

Even if the player you collect doesn’t get injured, the teammates he depends on for success can impact value if they sustain an injury. 

This is likely why 2 of the 3 fastest growing off-season sports cards are from accomplished players. One retired. Another, nearly retired. This will likely flip come August, to promising 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year Quarterback and positional players who could have a big season and bring big profit. 

Football is a lot of fun because of its popularity and it’s cards are starting to rival the prices of basketball (Patrick Mahomes Prizm Rookie PSA 10 is now more valuable than the Luka Doncic Prizm Silver PSA 10), but be wary of the injury risk it carries compared to other sports. 

Categories
NFT Sports

DeVonta Smith’s NFTs Offer Unprecedented Access, According to Jack Settleman

When DeVonta Smith’s name is called during the NFL draft, history will be made. Smith plans on minting that moment of him getting drafted and selling it. It is just another addition to this incredible NFT wave. 

This will be part of a series of NFTs that Smith intends on dropping. The series includes highlights from college, digital art pieces featuring his Heisman Trophy, and digital cards capturing iconic moments of him during college.

Smith was a standout wide receiver at Alabama. Last season, he reeled in 117 catches and found the endzone on 23 different occasions. He led the NCAA in both catches and touchdowns scored.

When Alabama defeated Ohio State in the National Championship, Smith was voted MVP. In the first half alone, he had three touchdowns and 215 yards.

But Smith’s involvement in the NFT world won’t stop on draft day. The Heisman Trophy winner plans on engaging with his fans by creating “Smitty Coins.” Fans will be able to use those coins in a variety of unique ways to get exclusive access to Smith. 

Here are the things you can do with “Smitty Coins”: 

  • Play video games with Smith
  • Facetime with him 
  • Dinner
  • MNF Watch Party
  • Go to a game and meet with him on the field 
  • Signed gear and memorabilia 

Previously in these blogs, I have talked about all of the celebrities trying to capitalize on this wave. However, some of their efforts have fallen short and been clear cash grabs. With Smith, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Smith appears to understand the NFT community and wants to provide utility to any of the buyers of his products. From what we know, he is entering the space in the right way. Smith’s focus seems to be in the long-term and not as a short-term way to make a quick buck.

Hallelujah.

Categories
Sports Strength

NFL Draft Prospect Rashad Weaver Is Cool, Calm, and Confident

Rashad Weaver is one of the highest-rated prospects at his position in this year’s NFL draft, and yes, he is listed at 6’5, 270 lbs, and yes, he is in the middle of a crazy time in his life. 

He has a lot of things that you want in a draft prospect. And those things are well documented. 

But what about which Jordans he will wear on draft night? What about his favorite cheat meal spot? What do people get wrong about him? 

There are a lot of people providing voices and opinions during the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, so it was a refreshing change of pace to hear thoughts directly from the source of one of the players. 

ONE37pm, meet Rashad Weaver.

The University of Pittsburgh defensive lineman is one focused cat. Of course, the days around the NFL draft can be complex. He doesn’t know where he will live for the foreseeable future and if you put yourself in that scenario, there would be some discomfort. 

But don’t confuse that uncertainty with a lack of confidence. Because Weaver knows that he’s got game. 

Bo Templin: Have you set goals for yourself already? Or are you waiting to see where you go first? 

Rashad Weaver: I don’t know how other people go about it. For me, yeah I set goals. My goal is to be the defensive rookie of the year. Be starting on the team. You know, they are drafting me to be a top player…My goal is to meet every expectation, plus one.

And it is responses like those that make him a coveted NFL prospect. That confidence is infectious. But it isn’t a loud, boisterous confidence. It is quiet, in the shadows. When he delivers a sack or a big play, he will act accordingly. 

Templin: Are you a celebrations guy? Do you plan any out? 

Weaver: If you don’t have celebrations in mind, I feel like you’re not expecting big plays. In college, I knew what moves I would celebrate with cause I expected myself to get a couple of sacks or big plays. I think it’s all a part of the mindset.

Obviously, winning is the most important thing. It is all about winning. But if you are doing your job… celebrating can bring the team and yourself energy and people can feed off of that. 

Templin: You obviously get a player comparison question all the time. So I’m not going to ask you about ‘Jason Pierre-Paul’ or anything like that. But is there a career you would want to model yours after? Whether it be longevity, endorsements, or commercials? 

Weaver: “Yeah. First, for defensive players, it is tough to get sponsors. You gotta be the top, best of the best—defensive rookie of the year, that type of stuff. And just football in general cause we have our helmets on, we don’t have much facial recognition… I could say right from Pittsburgh; I’d say Aaron Donald. What he strung in his first 7-8 years in the league, that got him plants of endorsements. You see a lot with J.J. Watt.”

Templin: Any idea what you are going to wear on draft night? 

Weaver: Yeah, chill outfit. Jordans.

Templin: Which Jordans?

Weaver: I don’t know, we will have to see when the picture drops.

Sorry ONE37pm family, I tried.

Templin: How about a favorite cheat meal spot?

Weaver: I was super strict during my pro-day training. But during those cheat meals… fried chicken honestly. Chicken wings.

Templin: OK, but what kind of wings? Mom’s homemade or a spot?

Weaver: Anywhere. The spot, bar, restaurant… any chicken wings anywhere. Or I am big on sweets. Shakes are my thing… There are a couple of places in Pittsburgh. GetGo is a convenience store in Pittsburgh and they have a late-night menu with an oreo shake.

Weaver is destined for big things. Sure, there may be uncertainty right now.

But his success feels inevitable.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Myles Garrett Is Tackling The Global Water Crisis By Partnering With Waiakea

Myles Garrett put it simply. 

“There are people who do not know what clean water looks like. They do not know what it tastes like. There are people drinking the same water as their livestock.” 

Today is World Water Day, and the NFL Superstar wants to do his part to help address the growing crisis that affects people all over the world. 

One of the most important things to remember about athletes is that they have a life outside of the game. For Garrett, he is focused on helping others and giving back, wherever and however he can.

It is easy to get caught up in our lives. For a large majority of the United States, water is something that we take for granted. 

When I talked with Myles, I was curious about something that I myself struggle with. So many people are advised to “not care what other people think.” Yet, it is so important to be a good representation of your family, the company you work for, or any community you might be a part of. Garrett says it comes down to one thing: 

“My mom kinda said there was only one thing that mattered, kindness. She was the one who showed me the water crisis when I was a kid.”

He said that he knows what it is like to, “be under the microscope,” and to be at the center of the conversation, but he does his best to not pay that much attention.

Instead, Garrett said that he has a lot of faith “in listening to my heart and my gut.” He feels that he is in a position where he can really change the world and affect lives. 

I asked Garrett about seeing the lives he is affecting through his new partnership with Waiakea

“I went on a trip a little over a year ago to Africa and that really opened my eyes.” 

Obviously, during this pandemic, it is difficult to get around, but Garrett is, “absolutely,” going back to Africa as soon as he can. This is something that he speaks about with passion. 

“People have stomach aches and headaches from drinking unsafe water.” 

When you are a superstar in the NFL, there is no shortage of networking opportunities and Garrett wants to put the power he has and the advantages he has to the test.

“I’ve been able to get David Njoku to help out. I am trying to get Baker (Mayfield) and Christian McCaffrey next.” 

But not all of us are friends with Baker Mayfield. I wanted to know what can someone such as myself do? What can the average person do to help this cause?

“Just donate. The amount doesn’t even matter cause anything helps.”

And he’s right. 

A $5 donation can hydrate a community for a week or a farmer for a month. 

No one is asking people to break the bank. But that statistic really proves a lot. Every little bit helps.