About BTiell Sports Reports

Dr. Bonnie Tiell writes a monthly column for the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune Sports Department (http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/). This blog archives each column and dates back to the 2008 Olympic Academic Experience in Beijing, China. Check out the Blog Archives to read more. Check out info about the TU Olympic Academic Experience at http://www.tuolympics.blogspot.com/ and contact Dr. Tiell at btiell@tiffin.edu

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Between the Macy’s Parade and turkey leftovers, the NFL has offered up three Thanksgiving Day games to keep America’s habit of remaining sedentary in front of the television set the primary holiday tradition for yet another year. The NBA, thankfully, only has two games to offer – and neither features the guy who needed to “clarify” his playing time for the Miami Heat. On the college scene, only the state of Texas is featuring a Turkey-Day game, but Black Friday will feature a horn-of-plenty in top 25 match-ups and Saturday will highlight “The Game” when Ohio State attempts to continue beating the stuffing out of Michigan.

Cyber Monday will probably be a great day to search for Tim Tebow’s #15 Bronco’s jersey, the hottest selling pro jersey on the market. The Gator’s poster-boy is on fire as a fresh face for retail marketers. Ben Roethlisberger used to have a hot selling jersey, but in comparison to squeaky clean Tebow, image may have dictated where the cash goes for adorning NFL apparel.

A few years ago, there may have been a #23 Troy Vincent Philadelphia Eagles jersey around, but the perennial all-pro player who visited Tiffin University’s campus last week has retired his shoulder pads and helmet in favor of a brief case. After fifteen successful seasons in uniform, Vincent was selected as President of the NFL Player’s Union and eventually earned the appointment as NFL Vice President for Player Development. His couple of days in Tiffin allowed a glimpse into the personality of a former professional athlete turned business executive…a former Bart “Starr” and Walter Payton “Man of the Year.”

If anyone closed their eyes while Troy spoke, they might have thought they were in the presence of Denzel Washington. Troy’s subtle style and professional demeanor provided genuine insight into the business of the NFL – from the perspective of the players, whom he vehemently protects, to the league’s biggest bosses, whom he is careful to revere.

He articulated both sides of the proposed 18-game schedule which is a just one point of contention in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. Troy made it known that only once in his fifteen year career does he remember entering the post-season in full health [seven documented concussions stand on record]. The physical demands of an 18-game season are grueling, yet he understands that he owners are tired of no-one in the stands to watch pre-season games with coaches keeping their marquee players on the sidelines to avoid injuries. Even by adding a bye week, canceling two pre-season games, and adding roster players, the thought of two extra regular season games does not favor the players who already have a limited career in the NFL which barely spans over three years.

Mr. Vincent’s prepared remarks were carefully delivered, but occasionally, he spoke off the cuff to answer question after question. When the camera wasn’t rolling in front of 500+ student-athletes in St. Mary’s gym, Troy jokingly poked fun at the long list of prima-donna players that adorn their bodies with ugly “tats” down their arms, up their necks, and even on their fingers. He reminded his audience that “Catch-Up is for Hotdogs” because being goal-oriented and focusing on a mapped-out plan always gets you further than back pedaling to make up for overlooked details.

Troy was able to develop an instant rapport with the many individuals he met over his brief time in Tiffin. He was professional, yet personable whether he was discussing rookie salary caps, classes he was taking in the Tiffin University MBA program, life with his wife Tommie and their five children, or the news he learned while relaxing in Tiffin’s Carmella Hospitality Suite that a grand jury had been convened to investigate violations of federal labor laws in a wrongful termination case [he denies any wrong doing]. Of more interest were his candid comments on the relationships he had with personalities such as Deion Sanders, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Donavan McNabb, Ricky Williams, Gene Upshaw, and Roger Goodel.

Despite the pesky and controversial labor investigation, Troy was upbeat and warmly welcomed by the Tiffin community who seemed to appreciate the visit from an NFL hero. He was extremely bashful about entering Calvert High School un-announced and waited in the office while permission was sought after for a handful of football players to meet him. Students in Tiffin University’s Gillmor lobby were almost surprised as he shook their hands and asked what major they were studying. His astute management skills were apparent when he revealed in private conversations that he had negotiated every one of his professional contracts without the use of an agent and, in fact, he was the only rookie in the 1992 draft who didn’t have an agent. Vincent is on record as the seventh overall draft selection courtesy of the Miami Dolphins and Drew Rosenhaus was briefly listed as his agent in his final playing season for the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins no longer have Troy Vincent on the sidelines, but the franchise does currently have the highest NFL home attendance record averaging almost 90,000 per game. On the low end, Oakland and Tampa average fewer than 50,000 fans per game, but with ticket prices averaging over $71, even the franchises who succumb to occasional media black outs aren’t exactly crying poverty.

Speaking of tickets, five former University of Kansas athletic employees may be headed towards the poverty line after a grand jury indicted them for allegedly conspiring to steal millions of dollars worth of tickets by running an elaborate scalping scheme for personal gains. Surely it was a scam involving more Jayhawk basketball tickets than football, but the ethical lesson should ring loud and clear for those who work in athletic ticket offices around the country. The commodity of soaring ticket prices and scarcity of seats for high profile events such as the NCAA Final Four and BCS Championship Games are examples of how economics drive college sports as an insanely big business in America and why ethics training for athletics employees is desirable.

Unfortunately, there are no more high school football tickets to buy in support of the Columbian Tornado’s state-play-off race after last week’s loss to Bishop Watterson in Ohio Wesleyan’s stadium. It was a nice run for the local guys and the Tiffin community should be proud. Stay tune next month for more interesting and entertaining sport stories from our small community in northwest Ohio to around the globe.

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