Is football too important in our society?

Screen Shot 2023 01 06 at 1.55.19 PM
Screen Shot 2023 01 06 at 1.55.19 PM
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Mike Rosenfeld of Web Connection joins Nestor to discuss business and risks of NFL and how its leadership handled a life or death situation in Cincinnati with Damar Hamlin.


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Nestor Aparicio  00:01

wn S T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively into the new year. I’ll be giving away ravens and holiday cash drops. Graduates have a handful left. I feel like Santa Claus. We’re going to be a CI and a Coney Island hot dog in a White Marsh. No longer an island down. I was gonna say right on Eastern Avenue right near Columbus, then and I and he went out to the County last year, we tried to put together a little crab cake tour back in the summer, it didn’t work out. Things will be much calmer next Thursday. I’m gonna call it a hot dog and crab cakes were presented by our friends at Goodwill, as well as our friends at window nation. 866 90 nation I would wear the funny bucket hat but Microsoft fell would laugh at me and I will get my feelings hurt on the internet. Happy New Year to you, man. How are things? How’s our web traffic? My Google doctor wants to know,

Mike Rosenfeld  00:49

oh, talk all good. Okay, continuing the trend up. Working hard. So so keep up the good work.

Nestor Aparicio  00:58

I’m trying I’m trying. Many weird start to the year right. I mean, like we’re into this in the middle of the week, we still and by the time we listen, we’ll know what time the Ravens play and what the outcome of bills mangles but you and I get together. We talk sports, we talk tech, we talk business. You’re a CEO, you’re my chief digital officer, you’re making a website saying and saying making even better than it’s ever been the last four months. And then we cover football and I’m locked down blah, blah, blah, blah. We had a flight to Cincinnati this week. But man, we watch that game on Monday night. And then this is tragedy happens right in my CEO hat when all my Commissioner hat went on the first five minutes. I’m like, what are they going to do? Did they? Did they even have a fire drill? GamePlan for something that could have been more tragic than it’s been so far, although pretty tragic, but we’re never gonna witness anything like what happened Monday night again? And next time we do they better have a better plan than that. ESPN two.

Mike Rosenfeld  01:55

Yeah, I mean, it’s tough to plan I would imagine for every possible contingency, especially something that’s never really happened before. I would say that, you know, I’m thinking about, I thought about a bunch of things. I thought about the Super Bowl that I’m sure both you and I were at in New Orleans when the power goes out, and having to fill time when like something unprecedent unprecedented happened. And that’s when true professionals rise up. And, you know, I was watching Adam Schefter and, and the team in the studio and you know, they were lost for words like most people and you know, trying to do their best to just talk through it. I think as time goes by, we’ll start to hear what the NFL is knee jerk reaction was, I’m starting to think I’m hearing that they wanted the show to go on. And

Nestor Aparicio  02:53

here’s the problem. The problem is, there’s people like Chad Steele involved in this, that are given the spin to spin it. And then there are less people like Nestor Aparicio, who have sources and resources and people on the field that would say, that’s not what really happened. They’re lying to you. They’re lying to you to make themselves look good, because that’s what the National Football League does. And the notion that they want to play football in five minutes. Of course, they want to play football and five minutes, they got media time there, they put television on, the show must go on. Like that’s what they’ve always thought, but they’ve never had anybody almost die or die on the field. Right. So they clearly hadn’t thought about what to do in that circumstance. Because the commissioner who makes $50 million a year and has for a decade hadn’t really thought that through that it would take them a whole hour. And they would need to coaches, real leaders, real leaders of men, men with emotional empathy and emotional intelligence, based intelligence to walk out and say, let’s take a time out here. It’s just a game.

Mike Rosenfeld  04:01

Right? Well, there’s there’s a, it’s conjecture, but the scene that I’m thinking about is in the tunnel, with both coaches, passing the cell phone around to the female executive of the NFL, whose name I don’t know.

Nestor Aparicio  04:22

Go ahead. Yes. Okay. And I know a lot about the league, even though it’s Nick, I’m not a journalist.

Mike Rosenfeld  04:29

Right, right. That would lead me to believe that they were, they were asking for the temperature from both coaches have their appetite to continue. Rather than telling them this is what’s going to be you don’t ask for input or you don’t and put them on the phone. If you’ve made a decision that this is what we’re going to do. And you don’t have to explain it to them. You explain to the referee you explain it to what turning Dawn was not a

Nestor Aparicio  04:57

policy by the way. I’m looking around, you know, what are we your vocation in life is like literally. She was the New York Jets accountant for 18 years. Her background she went to Delaware by the way, go blue hands. She is she’s an accountant by trade. She then manage the jet salary cap became their manager football administration then became a senior director of football administration, which I believe in in the Oregon ravens organization mean she managed the scouts, you know, mate mate, like made their did their travel schedule, their budgets, probably all of that right. She then became the vice president of labor and finance for the NFL in the aughts. She then became the vice president of football administration for the browns, which is not a ringing endorsement, jets, browns and dolphins. She worked for the dolphins as Senior VP of football operations, executive vice football president of football administration, from 12 to 16. She has been the chief administrator of football operations since 17. But she’s an accountant by trade just so we know what her background is. So you know, touchy and feely and like all of that, probably, you know, these are numbers, people, their ops people up there, put the show on, put the lights on, get to the end. That’s what, that’s what the NFL is theirs. Did you see how they treated me? All I ever did was they promoted

Mike Rosenfeld  06:31

it if you want, and I’m not suggesting we do. If you want to give the NFL the benefit of the doubt. The people on the phone were in New York, they weren’t in the building. They didn’t feel the hush, the vibe, all that stuff. To know that even considering continuing the game was not an option. That’s if you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt. If you’re like most people are like they’re heartless. It’s all about money and the show had to go on despite the tragedy so you find

Nestor Aparicio  07:00

him with Goodell I would say to him, did you see the effing ambulance? Right? You see the players? It’s over dude, it’s 9:24pm it’s over send the people home. We’re not playing football in an hour or half an hour. Send the people home we’ll come up with another option. You’re going on television it’s 924 be ready to go on at 940 to address the fans. as much information as you can get over the next 16 minutes and front face your little camera in your $50 billion Greenwich Village Greenwich house up in Connecticut and and put your cocoa and get get your slippers that you had at the draft and front face like the president united states you make $50 million a year more than Joe Biden does. So what why front face the people on the network you come on don’t have Adam Schefter and Booker MacFarlane and I mean, don’t go to Van Pelt in an hour. But come on and make an address and just say we’ve had a tragedy. This is obviously unprecedented. We’re suspending everything right now. I will be back in an hour with Scott Van Pelt. And I’ll be with Rich Eisen on on NFL Network in an hour. We’ll have more information this is moment the moment we’re on the commissioner on front facing on this night I’m on the cell phone with Donna Pandey. I mean, why they didn’t take that inside and locker room with for executives to owners, and let Adam Schefter dance for another eight, nine. I mean, they’ll be studying this for a long time. meaning they’ll be studying Lisa Salters work and Ryan Clark’s work and Scott Vamp for for a long time. Right? It’s a real damn rather moment as they would say, right?

Mike Rosenfeld  08:41

That’s what I’m saying you the people rise up in the moment at some choke and some rise up and and those rise up become like their, their their work, which is memorialized becomes iconic. And I guess you’d become iconic too if you chosen. I will tell you that I was texting with my my two sons. While this was going on trying to predict what was going to happen and what the next steps are and and like many people I played armchair Commissioner about, you know what I would do moving forward? I’m sure it’s ridiculous but but the first thing I said is happening, which is the game isn’t being played. And next week they’re going to play though the week 19. Schedule, then the question becomes, well what happens after that? And is there a scenario which I can’t imagine that there is that there’s a combination of wins and losses that makes that game and seeding not roll relevant. So

Nestor Aparicio  09:51

it was a stakeholder for the for the buy right like buffalo in order to earn the buy you needed to beat Cincinnati now We’re on to the football fan. I have not talked about this at all. By the way, I really thought about it a lot, I guess, in the aftermath on Tuesday, the league didn’t want anybody to think about it. And they want to be I mean, the rains didn’t mean what time to play it, right? So there will be a plan at some point, but there but from a football aspect, it’d be one thing if the chiefs were the one seed right now. And all they had to do was win Saturday, and boom, they’re in and they make this easy. Whoever the two or the three is they fight that out, they flip a coin, whatever they need to do this wasn’t that right, because of where buffalo sat. And we’re Cincinnati sits. The game has scheduled relevance. So you know, like, aside from that schedule relevance, yes.

Mike Rosenfeld  10:40

Right. But I’m wondering, like, let’s just say the Ravens somehow beat Cincinnati buffalo wins their next game, they outcome of that game, the game between the two of them may not have a difference in the seating. So therefore, doesn’t need to be played is the scenario if it does need to be played. I can foresee a scenario where instead of having the two week break, between the last playoff game and the Super Bowl, and there was a couple of years there where they canceled that two weeks, and it was just a one week break, that they just push everything back. He did that in the Atlanta

Nestor Aparicio  11:17

Super Bowl was done that way. It was a one week back 22 years ago, they hated it. And like it, yeah, I’m

Mike Rosenfeld  11:24

sure these are perfect scenarios. But one scenario is you if that game matters, you play it after week 19. That’s the only game that’s played, then you push back the playoffs, and you cut the week to two weeks between the Super Bowl and the last playoffs to one week. So you keep the Super Bowl where it’s currently scheduled, because I know they’re not going to move that. But that was my prediction. But who am I? I’m just a Chief Digital Officer. What do I know?

Nestor Aparicio  11:54

Well, we are fans, and we do love the game and we love the game. And then one of these tragedies happens. And you know I’ve told the story here all week about being on the air when Dale Earnhardt went into the wall. I was on a nationally syndicated show at that time. I mean, I remember seeing Jonathan Carter off in Atlanta many years ago, Ray Lewis was medivac down back in the 90s. A lot of people don’t realize he took a really nasty hit by a guy named Kenny cotton on the practice field got a stinger. You know, that was breaking news before there was an internet all of that the violence of the game and the reality of the game and and then we tried to send your talk about them losing to the Steelers, which feels like was about a month ago now. Right. Like literally, on the back end of this tomorrow Hanlon situation to sit here and talk about will Lamar play and Lamar has money or, you know, is he getting a contract? Or have we seen the end of Lamar? You know, it feels like you can talk about that for a day or

Mike Rosenfeld  12:47

two for sure. Right?

Nestor Aparicio  12:50

After they’re gonna play football Sunday, Saturday,

Mike Rosenfeld  12:53

or be branded insensitive? You know, for them to catch I don’t is. I mean, it’s just the other than I mean, lightning strikes and weather and pushing the game back because of natural disaster or hurricane. But

Nestor Aparicio  13:10

this you’ve only had the fires and they had to move the game the Chargers had to play in Arizona because San Diego was under smoke. Remember that?

Mike Rosenfeld  13:18

Right? Well, yeah, we’re just I mean, but we had a president that

Nestor Aparicio  13:22

said, if you rake the leaves, that wouldn’t happen. I just wanted to point that out as well. I just want to point that out. Just to give you a little smile, this was your New Year’s, New Year’s comedy.

Mike Rosenfeld  13:33

I feel it but but yeah, these are this is just unusual. stuff. And I did find myself taking a moment to think about this, this young. You know, he’s one year younger than my youngest son, you know, puts it in perspective. You know, her the family rushing onto the field, and, you know, and just having a seed this and, you know, Mike, my kids played lacrosse, and I always remembered it, you know, this is one of the things because I did not to be honest with you. I had walked away and did not see that the the hit and him fall to the ground. And I changed watch

Nestor Aparicio  14:13

it again. I didn’t they didn’t show it again. I didn’t watch it again. I haven’t gone to the end. And I have not seen the play just so you know,

Mike Rosenfeld  14:19

right? And I haven’t, but I saw the still shot. And my kids played lacrosse and there was always like, once every couple years where whether it was a goalie or someone was hit by a ball in the exact spot, like on the heart. Right. And, and it wasn’t the velocity of the hit. And it wasn’t the location as much as it was. It just interrupted the trajectory. Right. Right. The electrical system of the heart. And that seems to me like you know, remember Hank gathers

Nestor Aparicio  14:53

Sure. Oh, yeah, I brought that up earlier this week, too. Yeah, it was horrible. Right.

Mike Rosenfeld  14:56

But But he had a heart attack. In, you know, wasn’t a result of a collision that must have just interrupted, I don’t think this guy had a heart attack

Nestor Aparicio  15:08

and sharing the 80s that had a heart attack right before a game as well,

Mike Rosenfeld  15:12

right? I think it was more of a, the, the right angle, the right shot during the right electrical impulse of the heart, which is the same thing that happens with the people get hit with that lacrosse ball. And he just, I mean, that’s what happened. The fact that he’s not he’s still alive is a surprise, a pleasant surprise to me, because I thought these are one of those things that either they were gonna hold withholding from the team, or within hours, you would have heard that you pass. So the fact that we’re now into day three seems to be very promising. And, and and hopeful.

Nestor Aparicio  15:53

Yeah, and it was such a big game, right? It wasn’t like a game that was just a Monday night game you might have been watching, like everybody was looking forward to it, you know, such energy around the game. I mean, the fact that it was an appointment kind of game, as well. I think for all of us, everyone sort of saw it and will have a memory of that night in a way that makes us all you know, appreciate what these guys do to get their money and Lamar Jackson and injuries and getting on the field and how hard it is to be healthy in the game itself. And then it comes back to the Ravens trying to be a playoff team here. They’re gonna be they’re gonna be in the playoffs next week. I don’t know what that means. I’ve I’ve never felt less energy around the playoff team. And then there’s the whole drama with Lamar Jackson on the field off the field contract. Is he healthy? They thought he’d be back two weeks ago. This doesn’t have good fields from the Ravens fan perspective.

Mike Rosenfeld  16:50

No, I’m one of them. I mean, look. I don’t hate anyone the Bengals in our in our division, but and I think I’m a handful guy. But I don’t feel I feel like the Bengals are at a different level than we are. If I’m being honest. I also think that their owner is going to blow it. You know, salary cap numbers, and you can’t keep everyone and and so the you know, the Bengals are on the run. And they’re gonna start losing Grilli, good players, like every good team does. And I don’t know that they’re going to be able to sustain what they have now. But there’s a different feeling. And like I was saying, we were in a position with a backup quarterback to potentially be 11. And five, tell me the last time you had an 11 and five team that you felt going into a playoff, that you really didn’t have much of a chance. At least that’s all I really saw. That’s how I feel about they

Nestor Aparicio  17:48

don’t have a healthy Lamar, they have no chance. And then the question is, is he healthy? And does he believe he has a chance because there’s plenty of people that don’t like the talent around Lamar and are ready to say, no matter what the outcome in two weeks when they don’t win three, whatever it is, when they don’t win, you’ll look at them and say, well, they weren’t. They weren’t well comprised. I mean, they didn’t have skilled position players, their running backs were hurt, their quarterback got hurt. They’re, you know, their quarterbacks not as good as Joe burrow or Ebina. Wise, honest, but he can’t get on the field December. I mean, and then they would say, Well, he was good enough to be eight and three last year, it ain’t for this year with all of these guys. So like, there is something to the fact that they were good enough with him. This is why you want to give him $250 million. The negotiation and the offseason dance with Lamar Jackson is going to be something everybody in the sport is watching and how this turns out the next couple of weeks for the Ravens. And most of us don’t think it’s going to end with a parade that’s going to end with a hurt feelings on a Saturday night or Sunday, sometime very soon. That if it ends that way. You know, Lamar will say I didn’t have the players and that they would say well, Lamar wasn’t healthy. And the players we had the players we have to Bayman we had these they got hurt. So I think there’s built in excuses for everybody but Greg Roman.

Mike Rosenfeld  19:12

Yeah. Yeah, he’s he’s a polarizing figure here. That’s for sure. I you know, I was thinking when we got Lamar and he ran the ball the way he did, there was a lot of discussion about most quarterbacks get injured in the pocket, not running the ball. And if I’m not incorrect, I know this year he was sacked, or he was behind the line of scrimmage when he left the field, and I think the same thing happened last year. So the hypothesis that, you know, the running quarterback like he was going to run 20 yards and that’s when he was gonna get hurt. Didn’t happen in either of these two years.

Nestor Aparicio  19:55

But he’s amazingly elusive, right. I mean, we’ve seen Tyler Huntley. I take more kill shots in two weeks than we’ve seen Lamar taken five years. It’s It’s uncanny, isn’t it?

Mike Rosenfeld  20:09

Yeah. And and you’re right. I mean, if you look at it, try to look at it objectively. He’s a generational talent, he plays the game differently than anyone ever has. There’s little bits of him in other paths, players. But you cannot be in put your team in a position two years in a row, where you’re five wins above 500. And then he’s hurt, and then you rattle off losses, and then you limp into the playoffs. And that’s, that’s just frustrating. And, and I mean, I know he bulked up this year in hopes of potentially not getting injured and all that, but, but it’s a business decision. And when he has as his own agent, his eyes on a, a contract of Deshaun Watson given to him by a dysfunctional franchise, you can’t get it out of its own way. I can’t blame a management and an ownership team is like, I can’t, I can’t do that. I can’t sink to the level I can’t do what the Browns have tried to do to the rest of the league by following their footsteps. It’s just a tough situation. You know, my sons and I have talked about as much as we love him, do we trade him for multiple number one picks, you know, and revamp the offense in a more 2023? Not RPO type offense because that’s where what everyone else is doing, and try to get. And I said, you know, the two Super Bowls we had, we had game manager quarterbacks, and we had really strong defenses. So these are the debates that I know everyone’s having at every local bar and the end

Nestor Aparicio  21:53

of the bar at the end of the bar, Mike Rosenfeld’s at the end of the bar. At the end of my bar here is our Chief Digital Officer at wn St. and Baltimore. If you find him out of web connection as an outsourced Chief Digital Officer, I’ve gone through Donna Ponce’s background as well as Roger Goodell’s. Mike, what is web connection? And how does it help people? What the heck is an outsourced Chief Digital Officer? And 2023?

Mike Rosenfeld  22:19

Oh, sure. I’m glad you asked. Because most people have no idea. I guess the best way to do it is to just do a case study. If you’re a owner of a business, you see your competitors, killing it online, whether it’s on social media, whether it’s where they come up in Google their websites killer, they seem to have all their their, their, their house in order, and you want to compete. But you can’t justify hiring a full time visionary and leader. That’s what we do. So we basically work with small to midsize businesses who want to compete at a high level online, but don’t have internally the leadership. They may have a well intentioned VP of marketing, but it’s unfair to ask a VP of marketing to understand all the intricacies that are associated with digital strategies and digital marketing. So we come in, we learn the business, we create a plan and we execute against the plan. But we do it on a fractional basis that’s affordable. For most small to midsize businesses,

Nestor Aparicio  23:25

small to mid size local businesses just like mine, Mike, I appreciate you coming on as always talking to football here. I know you had some some tech stuff in the AI space. And I just want you to get give a little snapshot because next time we get together a couple of weeks from now, ravens may still be involved. We’ll talk some ravens but going into the new year. First off, you know, I got thrown off Twitter a couple of weeks ago since this maniac took over Twitter. Who knows you know, like I’m a journalist. Okay, fair enough. I’ll I’ll live with that. And I I started otter out on our website we use this conversation will be transcribed and available. I’d like to even ramp that up and find something more newfangled. But I am blown away by the technology of all of this starting with Zoom three years ago, this crazy device years ago, I’m trying to understand the metaverse and what that entails. But even like, web nerd from birth guy like you total WEBO nerd, you’ve been a web nerd. As long as I’ve known you 30 years like that, that even you are blown away by the ish that sometimes comes to your desk, right?

Mike Rosenfeld  24:35

Yeah, I mean, it’s gets some of it and we’ve talked about this. You in the beginning you’re like this is the coolest thing ever. And this is going to possibly change the world and then like I thought the CD and then you find out that you know, the people are manipulating the technology for bad purposes. And, and I know that what we’re about to talk about is one of those things But it’s what I’m looking at right now is open AI. It is a artificial intelligence bot app that allows you to put in commands, and it will give you output. And the example that I heard initially is write a 2000 word, essay form, in that a 11th grader may write about Little Women, Enter. And as soon as you put enter, you start on paper, it a term paper, right?

Nestor Aparicio  25:48

And then you can resist when I was at UVI,

Mike Rosenfeld  25:51

right? For sure. Right. So in preparation for today, but we’ll do this another time. I just put it in there because I thought it’d be relevant, just randomly popped up, compare and contrast. Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth, in 1000 words, and you hit enter, and literally after you see it, hit enter, you see it writing, and it takes maybe 10 seconds to finish. And then you got this item. So it can be used for blogs, you know, one of the biggest problems my clients have is coming up with content. So you can actually answer

Nestor Aparicio  26:27

that problem too. I’m terrible at content, can you help me? It’s tough,

Mike Rosenfeld  26:31

and I’m in the business. And I’m like the cobblers kids. I mean, I take care of all my clients. But I’m gonna write content for my own company as often as I should. Now, of course, it’s not your own stuff. But but you can do that. And then what I did is, I am we’ll do this the next time and we’ll for those people actually view this on your YouTube channel. I’ll share my screen. But what after I did the Barry Bonds, contrast or comparison with Babe Ruth, I then added to the end of it in the form of a nursery rhyme. And I hit enter and that all sudden, it just it’s you know, bakery dickory.

Nestor Aparicio  27:08

Dock? Yeah. Yeah, like, Okay, I got my like,

Mike Rosenfeld  27:14

you know, so it’s just crazy. You know, like that, because you

Nestor Aparicio  27:18

listen to Andrew Dice Clay You got

Mike Rosenfeld  27:22

I was wondering where you were gonna stop? Yeah, that’s right. You know, Mark Cuban, some of the some people much smarter than me are talking about this and how scary they’re using the word scary. So you know, you have to put it as cool as it sounds, you have to think about okay, no offense to everyone from Russia, but Russian people in Russia using this tool for to create, to create misinformation, and to just, you know, just how they’re going to leverage this tide into social media. It’s going to happen, you know, for every for every good thing that these things are well intensive. There’s people who use it for bad, the people

Nestor Aparicio  28:14

2016 and stuff I was seeing shared on my social media thread that was obviously written by Eastern Europeans. It’s cadence in its word and its terminology that were on these conservative Patriot flying a flag that was getting shared throughout my family, all my like, it was gross. And no, obviously, a scam that people might

Mike Rosenfeld  28:39

imagine, Paste, Paste, copying and pasting, let’s just do it the reverse if we wanted to mess with Russia, a perfect English exactly what you wanted to say. And then you tell this chatbot to convert it to Russian in the form of casual speaking, okay, and it will take what you’ve done, and it will convert it in a way that doesn’t sound like jumbled, like you just talked about, because the bot has been programmed over time and time again, what conversational Russian is like, and it doesn’t give you that choppiness. So just scary, scary stuff. Of course, I’m using it for Nursery Rhymes of Babe Ruth. And which we’ll call it because that’s how my brain works. But, but we, you know, we’ll keep an eye on it. So we’ll talk about that next time. I’m just rolling up my sleeves starting to mess with it. And we’ll talk about real life examples of how this can be used for good because that’s how I’m skewed

Nestor Aparicio  29:38

or positive. That’s all just tell me what it means for me. Here are some photos here. He will tell you what it means for you web connection. You can find them out. He’s an outsource, Chief Digital Officer. I’m gonna have some friends and sponsors and people of high influence in my world. Join me for the new year. Next Thursday we’re going to be GNA Coney Island hot dog. I have some holiday Castro I’ve had a handful and I do mean a handful of ravens scratch offs left. We’re gonna be there from one to four next Thursday. Make sure I get the date right on that because I’ve read the ad right? Thursday the 12th of that will be pre playoff weekend. So on Thursday from one to four big in a Coney Island hot dog, and Whitemarsh with my buddy Andy, it’s all brought to you by our friends at WIN donation as well as the Maryland lottery and goodwill IMST if you need like you can find him at a web connection. You find them out the front of Baltimore as well where I bring everyone together under the umbrella of these wise conversations. It is a football week. I am Nestor we are wn st am 5070, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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