On Stafford’s dollars, Dogs in the Dome and other stuff

  About  Matthew Stafford’s contract:   As you might have heard, it calls for more guaranteed money ($41.7 million) than any contract in NFL history — more than any contract signed by Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, among others. If you find that incredulous, no argument here.  In the next round of collective bargaining, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and some owners plan to push for economic reform that would redirect money from unproven draft picks to proven veterans and establish some form of rookie wage scale.  Stafford’s contract will become the league’s Exhibit A in that battle, supplanting Matt Ryan’s deal ($34.75 million guaranteed) with the Falcons last year.  Of course, it  must be noted that the owners — the same folks demanding new restraints — are the ones giving the runaway rookie contracts.


  About Mark Richt’s mention to the Augusta Bulldog Club of a remotely possible 2010 UGA non-conference game in the Georgia Dome:  That stirred a lot of fun speculation on radio and the Internet yesterday, mostly centered around hypothetical matchups against the likes of UCLA (which earlier was interested in playing Auburn in Atlanta) or Texas (basis unclear). Anyway, here’s the difficulty to which Richt alluded: Georgia already has six games scheduled away from Athens in 2010 — four SEC road games; the Florida game in Jacksonville, technically Georgia’s “home” game that year; and a game at Colorado.  Georgia has been steadfastly opposed over the past few decades to playing fewer than six games per season in Athens, and I don’t see that changing under any circumstances.  In fact, the last time Georgia played fewer than six games in Athens in a season was . . . 1971!  So to play a 2010 non-conference game in Atlanta and keep six games in Athens seemingly could happen only if  the Colorado game were dropped or delayed.  And that game is part of a contract that repays Colorado for playing in Athens in 2006. Like Richt said, complicated.


  Around Bulldog Nation:  On their continuing tour of Bulldog Clubs, Richt and Mark Fox are in Rome tonight  (Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m. social, 7 p.m. program, free admission). . . . Impressive numbers put up this past season by Homestead, Fla., point guard Vincent Williams, the first recruit to verbally commit to Fox’s UGA program:  26 points and 6.2 assists per game as a senior at South Dade High. . . . Georgia’s baseball team starts a seven-game homestand today with a 5 p.m. game at Foley Field vs. Jacksonville State.  Georgia lost to Jax State on the road last week, then dropped two of three at Ole Miss, to drop from No. 1 to No. 6 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll. . . . UGA first baseman Rich Poythress is tied with Texas State’s Paul Goldschmidt for the NCAA lead in RBIs with 70. . . .  Lots of tennis coming up at the Dan Magill Complex May 8-10, when UGA hosts first- and second-round matches in the NCAA men’s and women’s Championships. Georgia is the No. 2 seed on the women’s side and No. 4 on the men’s. The Georgia men are the two-time defending national champs.

66 comments Add your comment


April 29th, 2009
6:41 am

Tim: I appreciate the hard work you put in on this blog, especially enjoying the early time you put it up on the page each morning. You’re a must-read each day and I’ve enjoyed your work since the late ’80s.

I do not want to give up that extra home game. Find another way to do this Dome game.

I working Joe who has to support GSEF

April 29th, 2009
7:51 am

As a non retired, supporter of UGA football plus their manditory contribution to the GSEF to get my “preferred tickets” in Athens, why would I want to support another game played anywhere but in Athens? The suite holders who entertain business clients, how do they get access to a dome suite that is already under contract? And last but certainly not lease, if you plan on tailgating prior to kick off, you better bring the Georgia National Guard for security.
Other than these minor inconveniences, it would be great to hold a Georgia football game where there are less people in the stands and less opportunities for the working Joes who support UGA day in and day out every year.

My 2 cents

April 29th, 2009
8:19 am

If UGA really wants to expand its recruiting exposure, why not offer to play USC or Texas at the place of their choosing? And, please, no more discussion of UCLA as a top tier program that would be an “exciting” matchup.

Tim Tucker

April 29th, 2009
8:23 am

TommyP: Thanks for reading all these years.


April 29th, 2009
8:29 am

Hey Tim: I’ve enjoyed your work for a long time, too. Since your high-school coverage days. However, if all of your fans are named Tommy, you’re grossly under-appreciated.

Tim Tucker

April 29th, 2009
8:39 am

TommyL: I appreciate all the Tommys. Thank you.

Pago Flyer

April 29th, 2009
8:39 am

$41 million is an insult to Stafford. But it doesn’t matter, the idiot owners and fans will pay and pay. Pretty funny….


April 29th, 2009
9:02 am

I’d like a rookie salary cap of $250,000 for the first 2 years. Period. After the first years, they can be paid what they have proven to be worth. This would do 2 things that are good for football: 1. It would allow teams to distribute the money to proven players and even the playing field a bit 2. It would defer the temptation of millions to leave school early–giving more guys a shot at a degree and at getting bigger/stronger/faster.


April 29th, 2009
9:11 am

jferg……………………..great idea…….probably needs to be a 400-500k for first rounder down to say 100,000 for bottom rounds……….41 mil is just crazy and I’m a Dawg fan.


April 29th, 2009
9:14 am

Tim, Saw a report today that Ben Jones had surgery on a thumb. Any truth to it, and if so, how long will he be out. We’ll need him for summer camp to help anchor our offensive line!!


April 29th, 2009
9:16 am

Last but not lease??? How did you ever make enough money to even consider making a donation to the Hartman Fund??? Peanut farmer perhaps?


April 29th, 2009
9:50 am

We complain about the money, but the truth is the number of term years has gone up. What this does is put the player in the free agency market around 28-29 when most positions start to decline. There is no “other big contract” for most of these players. They may want to go with the NBA with 2 or 3 year contracts allowing them to hit free agency in full stride. Think Clinton Portis.

2010 may be too early for a dome game, but I would be on board doing a game against and OU or Texas in Dallas and in Atlanta or something like that. The truth is: any big team worth playing is a venue I would love to go to. e.g Big House; Horseshoe; and Notre Dame.

I would be very upset if the Colorado game was delayed because I am looking forward to it so much.


April 29th, 2009
9:59 am

I think the money is important, but some kids leave early to begin pursuing their lifelong dream. Some kids love college; others get tired of lecherous boosters and school work that doesn’t interest them. I was proud to play a club sport and represent UGA until I graduated, but I wasn’t good enough to be a pro athelete.

The system is still better than baseball which grabs most of them out of high school.

Lastly, a lot of the players that “turned their back” on the institution by leaving early come back to practice and spring games. To me, your commitment to UGA is what you do once you leave. I will take a 3-year player that keeps coming back and supporting the university over those who exhausted their eligibility and never looked back.


April 29th, 2009
10:11 am

But would the owners be willing to cut ticket prices if they get a rookie salary cap? Greed is on both sides of the ball.


April 29th, 2009
10:27 am

Stafford is worth what they were willing to pay him. The NFL is the most successful pro sports entity, and they say the system is broken, well, let the owners fix it. No one is forcing them to pay big bucks.

Big deal on the dome. UGA has played at least 4-5 times in the last 8 years. 3 of those times actually meant something. Home/Home series with BCS OOC is the way to go. \

Or we could play GT in the Dome for GT’s home game. :)

Right On Time

April 29th, 2009
10:29 am

The $$$ is NUTS!!!! But, hey, more power to them all.

On the subject of the schedule:

…the Jax game continues to limit big game opportunities and it has gotten old. We went 20K+ strong to the desert because we are STARVING for big time games. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE someone correct this. (I, of course, am aware that Damon Evans probobly does not read this blog). But MAN I am SICK of this “neutral” game continuing to limit games that can be played. Very few get it: it is NOT about the recent losing streak or recruting, it IS about BIG games, excitement and entertainment.

Jeff Greissinger

April 29th, 2009
10:56 am

As far as a rookie wage scale, maybe those players that stay in college for their 4 year eligibility get paid more than underclassman declaring early?


April 29th, 2009
11:30 am

In it’s history, the AJC has had some of the best sportswriters ever. I’m 46 and have been reading the AJC more than 30 years. Tim Tucker is the best I’ve read during that time.


April 29th, 2009
11:45 am

Tim was my favorite writer back in the late ’80s when his column was full of “rapid fire” type information. (or was that the Gwinnett Daily News? memory is failing me)


April 29th, 2009
12:15 pm

All I can say about the NFL, is they deserve everything they get. The good , the bad and the ugly. Whether anyone likes Stafford or not, the kid has done pretty good for himself and his family.

My son, who is a junior at UGA, thought the idea of moving a home game to the dome was absolutely ludicrous. Why would students want to drive 70 miles for a home game when they can walk out their back door and go to the game. I am sure that there are probably 30,000 to 35,000 students who feel the same way about football Saturdays in Athens.

I live in PTC and I would rather drive to Athens, tailgate with my friends like I have done for 30+ years, and go to a beautiful stadium for a game, than drive downtown and watch a game indoors.

Why isn’t GT trying to get a game in the dome? They could possibly get 40,000 for a home game.

Bama HC

April 29th, 2009
12:39 pm

Saban here…

Why don’t we play another “BlacKout” game.

I love a good funeral.


Gonna Be Tough

April 29th, 2009
12:42 pm

Stafford is gonna need all the luck he can wish for.

If you want to see the REAL Detroit, just go to youtube and search: “Tour of Detroit.” Boy, Chuck Oliver on 680 had it right.

Holy Sh**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


April 29th, 2009
1:07 pm

Right On Time…The GA/FL game will most likely always be a neutral site game whether it stays in Jacksonville or moves to the dome on an every other year basis. The reason is simply ticket allocation. The schools both split the tix, and both get around 30-35K each minus corporate tix. If we move to a home and home with FL then every other year the away school would have to tell over 10K season ticket holders that there is not a ticket for them, and many of those fans would be high dollar donors who have been used to attending the games for years. It would be a PR nightmare for both schools. I will say this, just from some of the rumblings here in Jacksonville, don’t be surprised if the next time the GA/FL contract comes up for renewal (2010 or 2011 I think) if the game does in fact go to the Dome on UGA’s home years and back in Jacksonville on Florida’s.

Sanford Drive

April 29th, 2009
1:11 pm

Bama HC,

New material please.


April 29th, 2009
1:17 pm

Screw the dome idea. Doesn’t Sanford hold approximately 25,000 more people anyway?

wisconsin phil

April 29th, 2009
1:24 pm

hope stufford and knowshow do something they never accomplished at georgia…when a championship of any kind!!

bank walker

April 29th, 2009
1:31 pm

wisconsin phillis, being from the cheese state, what do you know about a championship! Bwwwwaaahhhhaaa!!

Tim Tucker

April 29th, 2009
1:45 pm

Dawg4Life: Ben Jones had thumb surgery last week but is expected to fully participate in summer workouts.
Mac: Thank you. That’s very kind of you.

Wisconsin is constipated

April 29th, 2009
1:59 pm

from eating all that cheese so go easy on ‘em.

Gummy Bears...Bouncing here and there and everywhere....THEY ARE THE GUMMY BEARS!!!!

April 29th, 2009
2:01 pm

Oh great, so can we schedule Devry or the University of Phoenix for 2011?

I love UGA but I hate our cupcake games against the likes of GA Southern, Troy, Western KY, or Arkansas State. Can we play some real teams like we did with Arizona State?


April 29th, 2009
2:06 pm

Don’t care about playing in the dome , but give me a break on the safety thing. I guess that is from the people that think Cobb county has less crime that ATL? Not sure…regarldess, I have had a blast tail gating at every SECC and the Chik-fil-a so, grow up.

Not saying, I’d send my wife out crusing the area by herself on foot at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, but I wouldn’t do that in Athens either.


April 29th, 2009
2:21 pm

About the schedule and the Dome. There is a perfect solution, and I am amazed the Atlanta Sports Council hasn’t thought of it. In odd numbered years play the Georgia-Georgia Tech game in the Dome instead of that itsy bitsy rundown stadium on North Ave where only 50,000 can cram in. The Dome seats 72,000, therefore an additional 22,000 tickets would be available and at the price GT’s Ath Dept charged Georgia season ticket holders for our allotment for this year’s game ($75 each) that would be an additional $1,650,000. Who can turn down that kind of revenue when your Ath Dept is in the red?

Come on Atlanta Sports Council, begin the process immediately of bringing the Georgia- Georgia Tech game to the Dome on odd numbered years, it’s a natural, it makes sense, it would be a Thanksgiving weekend sell out.

Right On Time

April 29th, 2009
2:22 pm


Your points are well taken. I understand the fact that Alltell (gator bowl) is filled with fans that would not be able to get the ticket to the opposing teams site. However, the flip side of that is the number of fans that could go see the game in a home/home situation on their own campus. There would be 50K more UGA fans that could see that game when it was in Athens and the same goes for fla fans when it was in gainesville. Also, I think any PR issue would be or should be fixed with a big time game on a home/home basis.

For instance, in 2011 the Dawgs would have to travel to gainesville but could play Texas at home. In 2012 the gators go to Athens but they welcome USC to gainesville. This is about entertainment. For some reason many fans are willing to sacrafice good, exciting, meaningful games with BIG time opponents just to keep this game in Jax every year. Lets at least see a rotation…

You are mostly correct about the PR though, evidently lots of fans are content to keep watching fla vs. Citadel and UGA vs. Eastern Michigan as long as they can “get their drunk on” at St.Simons ever year.

Rebel Rouser

April 29th, 2009
2:42 pm

Hey Bama HC….There’s already a black out game scheduled on Sept. 5th that Bama will be playing in….but Va. Tech wants to rename it Alabama Beat Down…cause thats what the Hokies are going to do to the Tide…Beat Bama Down! I’ll bet that you won’t even show up on this blog the day after the game without at least 3 or 4 excuses as to why Bama lost the game….get ready… cause Bama’s in for at least 3-4 losses this season. To bad your not playing La. Monroe again this year maybe you could win that game…..OH that’s right they already beat you down….how about Utah?


April 29th, 2009
2:44 pm

The only way Georgia would ever play that game is if it was replacing a road game. Forget the number of home games in a given year, there is the small matter of the 20,000 people who fit into Sanford that would not in the Ga Dome. Im an old fart who has had season tix since my feshman yr 1975, but I admit w/o the students and younger ST holders, the crowd would be dead. And that is exactly who would get the shaft if tix had to be reduced. This is almost as bad an idea as playing the Fla game there.


April 29th, 2009
2:57 pm

I would enjoy seeing UGA add Clemson back on the schedule. It is a natural rivalry as they are approx 80 miles away and they bring loads of fans when they come to Athens.

I also think scheduling Florida State and North Carolina would be good moves. They both have a lot of alumni in Atlanta and would fill Sanford Stadium.

If you added and/or rotated through those teams, Sanford Stadium could be expanded to >100,000 and the games would be sold out.

I do understand the desire to play quality teams outside the South for the uniqueness that they bring to the schedule. If we could do home and away against Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma, Southern Cal then that would be great.

However, I am old school enough to hold to the opinion that the purpose of a university is to educate and train students, not to entertain the public.

And I also appreciate the educational purposes of college sports teams; to teach students how to handle both winning and losing in life, how to use teamwork to attain your goals, the need to be willing to pay the price for success, etc.

I think this aspect of education via sports is lost on many fans today, especially the fair weather – bandwagon type. And they are the ones to mouth off the most when we lose and boast the most when we win.


April 29th, 2009
3:17 pm

Has anyone figured out where the extra 8800 fans are going to sit in the Georgia Dome if it’s a home and home from Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville?

Right On Time

April 29th, 2009
3:31 pm


Good stuff, especially the end of your post. I agree that the purpose of a university is to educate and not entertain. However, the athletic dept serves in a different capacity under the universities umbrella. The AD is charged with fielding competetive, entertaining teams. If that is not the case, all schools should go the route of Vandy. Also, a winning, entertaining football team will do more for school growth and potential than anual Rhodes Scholars. For proof, look at Valdosta Stae vs. Ga Southern before Erk and now. The football team was a major factor in the growth and earlier University status of GSU.


April 29th, 2009
4:11 pm

The only time I want UGA playing in the dome is when they’re playing for the SEC championship.


April 29th, 2009
4:15 pm

Gummy, do you want UGA to play top 10 teams every week? Everyone has a couple of cupcakes on their schedule so we should too.


April 29th, 2009
4:16 pm

Unless you’re ohio state. They get about 10 cupcakes a year.


April 29th, 2009
4:51 pm

PitBull > You’re living in fantasy land! Big-time college sports has nothing at all to do with educating the student athletes or the student body. It’s about treating the student athletes like indentured servants (i.e., no spending money, restricted activities) so alumni can pay big bucks to see the sport. For current students, it’s an opportunity to party and have a good time.

I don’t blame any college student athlete for bolting to the professional level as soon as they can. Our society values athletic ability just as much as abilities in the sciences or other high-value careers, so why penalize a potential student athlete by making him attend college? Geez, actors get paid millions but they’re not forced to endure college just to make it to the pros.


April 29th, 2009
4:55 pm

Move the florida game to Athens every other year, then schedule a big time game in the dome in those years, making even more millions for UGA! Florida has a big advantage playing in jacksonville, since UGA has to travel hours to get to the game and UF has a short bus ride to the game. That’s the main reason that UGA is losing all these years. In Athens, UGA will start beating the gators like a rented mule—mark it down! Damon evans needs to get it going ASAP!


April 29th, 2009
5:44 pm

DawgMan, I’m a big time Dawg fan too but we can’t use the Jax site as an excuse for losing so much to UF. We’ve been playing them there for many years now and we used to own them like they own us now. Who knows why they’ve had our number so often the past 17 or so years now but there are just as many Dawg fans there as gator fans. We should have a LONG running schedule change to give us the bye week prior to that game like they’ve enjoyed for most of their run. That’s the biggest reason I can seriously come up with.


April 29th, 2009
7:00 pm

Well guys, What do you think about the Oklahoma State game this year? It seems the home and home two game series was worked out years ago and UGA is receiving a whopping 5,000 tickets. Compare that to the 20,000 who went to the Arizona State game last year. It sounds like there will be a lot of refunds issued for tickets ordered


April 29th, 2009
8:49 pm

The pay scale in the NFL is crazy. If the owners would all just get together and say, “no, we’re only going to pay x amount for this player,” then everything would be fine. Of course that’s called collusion, and i’ve been told that’s a bad thing. I just haven’t figured out why yet?

Surfer Joe

April 29th, 2009
8:53 pm

I believe “incredulous” means unable to believe, and should be applied to a person or a living thing, not a contract. I think the word you were looking for is “incredible”- i.e., not believable.

One can be incredulous of the contract, but the contract itself cannot be incredulous any more than it can be skeptical, amused, vexed, or flummoxed.

Go Dawgs!


April 29th, 2009
9:59 pm

We should play a game in the Dome every year. It’s called the SEC Championship!

GA/FL should stay in Jax — there’s nothing like SSI on GA/FL weekend!


April 29th, 2009
10:51 pm

I have been looking forward to the Boulder trip for years…much like I had been looking forward to making the trip to UCLA exactly 25 years ago, which Dooley cancelled…and wrote a check for $250,000. I am going to be pissed if we bail on Colorado.


April 29th, 2009
11:19 pm

UGA should only be allowed to play in the Dome if they earn it. The same goes for any of the SEC teams. Playing in the Dome in the SEC means that you made it to the championship game, not that you are opening the season against anyone. Let Clemson play Texas Tech in the Dome or rekindle the Miami WVU games in the Dome. Make it out of intraconference, geographically neutral games…but leave the SEC and especially UGA out of it. Sanford Stadium gets its 6 games worth of $$ and UGA doesen’t have to treat a home game in the dome like a road game.