Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, March 20, 2021

changing guards
The NFL has labor peace into the next decade, but it won’t have Paul Tagliabue as commissioner for much longer. Tags is retiring from the top spot as of July, citing in part the strain he endured during the recently-complete CBA negotiations.

The legacy of Pete Rozelle’s successor will be volleyed around for the next few months. In the early going, Len Pasquarelli pegs it well:

One has to wonder what might have transpired had the late Jim Finks, the man who was supposed to have succeeded Rozelle, been elected commissioner. A media darling, Finks might have returned every phone call from every newspaper reporter from Anaheim to Zanzibar. But what the NFL actually needed in moving forward from Rozelle, and in advancing beyond the mentality of a mom-and-pop operation, was someone to not only mind the store but also expand it.

In that regard, Tagliabue, it seems, was the right man at the right time. It’s part of any sport that people cling to the old ways and eschew progress because we prefer lore. Tagliabue brought progress while remaining a man who championed the history of the game. If he wasn’t always a lovable figure, there was never any doubting his love for or devotion to the game.

In my own background dealing with business-to-business transactions, I’ve seen that different players excel in different phases of organizational development. A lot of businesspeople are great at starting up companies — they get their energy from the process of fleshing out the business plan, lining up the financing, selecting the management team and personnel, etc. But once that’s been accomplished, and the show is running, they’re done — they have no interest in actually stewarding their creation from that point on. That often calls for a different personality type: One that can take over the reigns and grow the business from there.

These are the roles that Rozelle and Tagliabue, respectively, played for the NFL. While the league was already a going concern by the time Rozelle ascended to his commissionership, he effectively rebuilt what was a second-class sports circuit into the powerhouse it is today. Tagliabue picked up where Rozelle left off, and further cashed in on the promise of the NFL as the nation’s top sport. Pro football couldn’t have been luckier.

We’ll see if Tagliabue’s replacement can keep things going as smoothly. It’s a tough act to follow.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/20/2006 11:58:33 PM
Category: Business, Football
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While walking down West 57th Street today, I passed by the edifice of the Sony Corporation. Every few feet, I heard a digitized voice that told me to “TURN LEFT NOW”.

Turns out there was a row of video monitors flashing promo imagery for Sony navu, a Global Positioning System device for the pocket (as opposed to the usual GPS locale, the car). The audio aided the effort.

I guess the pitch worked, because it grabbed the attention of this urban walker. Maybe too much so, because I kept thinking, “Stop telling me to turn left, damnit!”

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/20/2006 11:32:26 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Tech
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This month’s issue of Forbes features a look at greatest residential real estate appreciations and depreciations neighborhoods, by ZIP code.

Sounds like a stat-cruncher’s dream: Import the data (probably provided by the Federal government and/or the appropriate real estate association) into Excel, sort away, and then target the Top 20s in both positive and negative movement.

One particular depreciator stood out to me. Philadelphia’s Kensington/North Central neighborhood, in ZIP Code 19133 , clocks in with a 2005 median sale price of $34,500. I’m not particularly familiar with Philly’s geographic makeup, but that’s ridiculously low for in-city living. I’m sure the houses are both tiny and dilapidated, but at that price, it’s worth buying a lot or two, and then renovating/rebuilding as necessary. Stacked against the national average, a buyer still comes out way ahead.

There are some comparably rock-bottom pricetags in Dallas and Baltimore, but Philly’s got them both beat. I’d expect to hear of some sort of neighborhood renaissance out of Kensington/North Central within the next year (probably of the gentrified variety).

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/20/2006 11:16:40 PM
Category: Business, Society
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I’ve been living in New York for close to two months now, and I’m chagrined to say that I’ve still not settled on a daily newspaper to call my own.

Since people in other metros don’t even have a choice in their major daily (and, regardless, opt to not read a newspaper if they can help it), it’s something of an embarrassment of riches to have a selection here. But it’s not easy picking one rag that delivers all the news content that I’ve grown accustomed to with St. Pete’s paper of record.

The New York Times is the natural choice, in terms of journalistic chops and depth of coverage. I was regularly reading that while in Florida; I even had a weekend subscription to it for a while. The Sunday edition has, indeed, become a welcomed way to kick off the week. The main problem: Their steadfast refusal to run comic strips, or much else in the way of syndicated material. Yes, these omissions might seem trivial; but I’m used to having these as components in a daily newspaper. There’s little chance the Times will ever take on comics; they’ve held out for so many years now that a reversal will instantly be interpreted as an attempt to lure readership amid industry-wide circulation drops.

That leaves the Daily News and the Post. Normally the News wins hands down, as it’s actually got readable content and a decent mix of soft and hard news. The Post is, at best, a guilty pleasure, with only its Sports section resembling a real newspaper (although who am I to argue with the masses — the Post is on the verge of becoming No. 1 in this town, to the consternation of News owner Mort Zuckerman).

And yet… It’s just taking a long while to get used to the peculiarities of the News. I don’t mind the tabloid physical format (versus the tabloid genre, which it dips into every so often just to mirror the Post). It just doesn’t seem as substantial as the Times. I guess it’s not supposed to be, but I’d like to see it come a little bit closer.

I haven’t mentioned Newsday, the Sun, the Observer, or any of the other second-tier entries. That’s because they are, well, second-tier. I enjoy peeking at them about once a week each; I’m particularly fond of the Observer’s cultural beat. But none of them are really equipped to do the job as my daily paper.

None of this has changed my complete day-to-day news intake. I still get infochunks off the Web throughout the day. TV and radio news is as useless here as in Florida, and so I don’t bother with those channels. But I’ve grown accustomed to having a daily print newspaper as a personal news hub, from which I can casually absorb a range of stories. The ability to follow up further with those stories online (ideally through the newspaper’s website, making it extra handy for eventual blogging) is an optional extension of this intake.

I suppose I’ll eventually settle into the News, warts and all. It’s not like I can get the St. Pete paper Fed Exed to me in the meantime.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/20/2006 11:06:52 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Publishing
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