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Former NFL WR Chad Johnson part of “Million Dollar” match race challenge

Florida Football Insiders



Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL star receiver Chad Johnson (yes he’s no longer “Ochocinco”) is back doing what he does best besides touchdown dances: promoting himself and his own endeavors. And, Johnson’s latest one involves a million-dollar 40 yard dash challenge that will have current NFL players and be held in South Florida on Saturday night.

The former Bengals star, who also played with the Dolphins among other NFL stops, is hosting and co-promoting the event called “40 Yards of Gold.” The concept is head-to-head 40-yard dash races between 16 individuals with the ultimate winner receiving $1 million.

Johnson will not be participating himself, however, he helped recruit numerous current NFL stars to be part of this track experiment that will be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Current NFL players like Saints running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Ted Ginn will be joined by 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, Redskins Corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Panthers corner Donte Jackson and Jets receiver Robby Anderson.

The 16 runners are in two eight man brackets and will race side by side, “NFL 40-yard dash combine style” until the field is paired down to two final runners racing for the $1 million.

Johnson told the Fort Lauderdale sun-sentinel that he was all too happy to join in on the promotion and involvement with the event:

“The opportunity came to me. It presented itself. So I jumped on board right away. This is something that I’ve been doing – what – my entire life since I was 4 years old? Running. At some point in life, it became competitive.”

Again, it’s important to point out, Johnson won’t be doing any of the running himself.

As for the other particulars, it’s unclear on the “40 yards of Gold” website, as to whether or not runners who make the semi-finals (for example) or whoever places second in the event, will receive anything financially?

Further, the event is being offered on pay-per-view, but it’s hard to believe that a lot of the buying public on a Saturday night will pay $39.95 for a series of 40 yard dash match races. Good luck getting actual numbers on that.

Tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster with the best seats in the lower level going for $400 face value. There are tickets for as little as $20 in the upper levels of the arena where the Florida Panthers play NHL hockey.

A source in South Florida media told us that while the event is being promoted heavily on radio and through digital billboards, Etc., it’s not believed that more than a couple of thousand people will be in attendance Saturday night.

That is unless, Johnson and the other promoters have given away significant tickets in recent days to” pad the attendance” and look better for the pay-per-view television broadcast.

Interestingly for Ginn, he publicly threw out a $10,000 hundred yard dash race challenge back in May and had a Texas high school state 100m champion track star, Matthew Boling, publicly accept his challenge.

However, there is no word as to whether Ginn, a former Fins first round pick- who’s looking to win the $1 million Saturday, ever actually followed through, “put his money where his mouth is” and accepted that challenge.

Boling of Houston is not involved in the Saturday match race tournament on PPV. He is slated to go to the University of Georgia on a track scholarship, and it’s unclear as to how a match race with Ginn, or if he tried to participate in this event in South Florida, would affect his eligibility.


Time for concern after XFL TV ratings declined again last week?

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive week, the XFL televison ratings continued to slide in the wrong direction. And, the troubling part is that if the trend continues, the XFL will have no leverage for sponsors and revenue to keep it going long term.

First, here are the specifics on the bad viewership news: According to all four XFL broadcasts last Saturday and Sunday afternoon had lower ratings in their slot than the previous week.

That includes the Tampa Bay Vipers home debut against Houston, which was the early game on ABC Saturday. And, while that window had 400,000 less viewers than week 2, the bigger concern is ABC has lost almost 40% of the audience from the 3.3 million average that watched their Week one debut game on Saturday afternoon.

The ratings downward trend is following the same pattern as last Spring’s Alliance of American Football, where the ratings dwindled to under a million fans for broadcasts by week five and eventually the league shut down after just eight weeks. This was in part because of concerns on how the AAF could make any revenue, through television in specific, if they had very little audience for the end of year one and to sell off of for year two.

Now, WWE owner Vince McMahon, who folded the XFL the first time in 2001 in large part because the television audience plummeted over the course of the first month or so of its existence and never recovered, has the same issue in 2020.

And, as we wrote previously, this audience decline while negative is far less McMahon’s original XFL and it’s first season of 2001.  That’s when, it debuted on its first Saturday night on NBC with a massive 10.1 rating, which translated 18 years ago to more than 9.5 viewers on network TV. A Smashing success.

However, the XFL’s ratings plummeted starting the following week and had fewer than 25% of that opening night audience just a month later with the games still being shown on a Saturday night coveted slot on NBC. It doomed the league from a P.R. and sponsor standpoint and McMahon pulled the plug.

Now, in 2020, McMahon reportedly has money to burn and is apparently prepared to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in year one. So, even if the XFL TV ratings continue come down significantly, it will not spell the end of the XFL (like it did nearly 20 years ago) after just a single season.

At least, that’s what we think.

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Vipers better but drop third straight game in home opener

Florida Football Insiders



Mary Holt- USA Today Sports

Although their play was improved offensively, in the end it wasn’t enough for the Tampa Bay Vipers after they dropped their third straight XFL game to start the season 34 – 27 to Houston Saturday afternoon in Tampa.

Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, as Houston scored early in the fourth quarter to go up by seven and held off the Viper the rest of the way.

The Vipers offense came to life after they had failed to score in the offensive touchdown in either of their first two games. Both of which were losses on the road. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius, subbing for starter Aaron Murray who missed his second straight game with an injured foot, once again had modest numbers 16-31 for 193 yards 1 TD, 1 INT.

However, he did pull the game even at 18 – 18 at the half after scoring on a one yard QB sneak and Tampa Bay got the two-point conversion.

Still, the former Oklahoma State quarterbacks day was inconsistent and the home crowd at Raymond James Stadium began to chant the name “Flowers, Flowers” for former USF Star Quarterback Quinton Flowers, who played sparingly for the third straight game in a reserve role.

Flowers got Tampa Bay’s first offensive TD on the young season with a seven yard run in the first quarter, but only played QB sparingly in the game, again. He was just 4-6 for 57 yards passing with 29 yards on six attempts on the ground.

Meanwhile, the former Temple star Walker found receiver Cam Phillips for the third of their three touchdown hookups from 17 yards out to give Houston a 34 – 27 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Phillips devastated Jerry Glanville’s Vipers defense for 194 yards receiving on eight catches with the three TDs.

The Vipers look like they were going to have a chance to re-tie the game when Cornelius (above) completed a pass to his top target on the day, Jaylen Tolliver, at the two-yard line. However just like a week ago in Seattle when a critical fourth quarter drive stalled and Tampa Bay came away with no points in a 17 – 9 lost the Dragons, the Vipers got no points after Cornelius threw incomplete on second, third and fourth downs.

Many in the crowd and observers in the media were curious, as to why coach Marc Trestman didn’t go to Flowers as the dual threat running QB to at least try something different on one of those plays? Flowers even questioned why he did not play more after the game to the media.

The Vipers got the ball one final time, but Cornelius was picked off near midfield with just over a minute left to seal the defeat.

The Vipers played the first spring professional football game in Tampa, since the closing of the USFL 1985 season. That’s when Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandits were a popular item at Old Tampa Stadium. Saturday’s home opener drew and announced crowd of 18,117.

However it’s little consolation for former Bears and CFL coach Trestman and his team, as they remain winless on the season. The L.A. Wildcats playing Sunday are the other 0-2 team in the league, currently.

And, you have to wonder whether Trestman will be forced to go to Flowers for the start when they host the D.C. Defenders next week.

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