What people were talking about last week: Referees, Part 2

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Last week I took a look at how the NFL® referee kerfuffle affected ticket sales at TN.com up to that point in the season. I found the data a little inconclusive, as the sales trend from this season closely matched that of last season up until last week, suggesting that the controversial call made the Monday before last affected sales in a negative way. However, I hypothesized that the trend might just be a season difference.

So what does the data tell us now that the real referees are back and previous disappointments have had a week to turn to delight? Well, as you can see below, there was a definite improvement for a while. The day after the refs returned, orders at TN.com spiked again, and generally did so for a few days afterward. So it can be argued that the return of the refs improved things a bit from last week.

TN.com NFL sales for 11 days on and following the Monday Night Football controversy. Data is normalized.
NFL® tickets sold at TN.com for 11 days on and after the MNF controversy, and for a similar period in 2011. Data is normalized.
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What people are talking about this week: Referees

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you know that the NFL® has been embroiled in criticism over its hiring of temporary referees to officiate at games, due to a lockout of the regular refs due to contract negotiations. The situation came to a tipping point on Monday night when a controversial call handed the Seahawks/Packers game to the Seahawks. Two days later, the regular refs were back, and so the controversy has ended. Of course, as some have noted, there will inevitably still be arguments over calls. That's just how things roll, I guess.

At TN.com, we have been wondering how this referee kerfuffle has affected ticket sales. Did the call make fans who otherwise would be clamoring for tickets leery of buying, lest they have their time at the stadium marred by bad calls? Or did it have no effect?

Sales for the first 23 days of the 2012 and 2011 NFL seasons. Normalized.
NFL® tickets sold at TN.com for the first 23 days of the season. Data is normalized.
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Dallas Cowboys tickets a hot commodity on TicketNetwork.com

The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL on the field in recent years, but off the field, they remain one of the biggest draws in the game.

So far in 2012, the Cowboys have had the second-highest number of orders on TicketNetwork.com, only bested by their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants. Of course, the caveat in all that is that nearly 25% of the Giants orders came from their home opener against, you guessed it, the Dallas Cowboys.

The most popular game on Dallas' 2012 home schedule has been their Week 15 match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The game has sold nearly 50% more tickets than any other Dallas home game and has the highest average price per ticket sold at $293. The least expensive game on the schedule is this week's home opener in Arlington against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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NFL Week 1 Recap: Peyton Manning debuts and RGIII dominates

The first week of the NFL season is now in the books and it did not disappoint. Teams like the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens proved they were worthy of all the off-season hype that surrounded their teams, while others like the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions stumbled, but won, in their opening games. With that being said, there were a few moments that stood out above all else in the opening week of the 2012 NFL Season:

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Peyton Manning's stellar debut in Denver

When Peyton Manning decided to sign with Denver in the offseason, speculation began about whether or not Manning was fully recovered from his neck injury that cost him all of last season. Well, the future Hall-of-Famer silenced all of his doubters. Manning threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, helping Denver to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-19 on Sunday night. The Broncos now head to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Monday Night Football.

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This is awesome: David Akers makes 63-yard field goal

I'm not normally a football fan, but this is ridiculously impressive even for me. In case you missed it, in yesterday's game vs. the Packers, the San Francisco 49ers' David Akers made a record-tying 63-yard field goal. Only three other players in history have accomplished the feat, including two who made the goal in very thin air at Denver's Mile High Stadium and one who was using a controversial modified shoe. So this is a big deal.

Click the link above to see the video of the shot. My favorite moments in the video:
1. 11 seconds: the thud when the football hits the goal post, and most of the Green Bay fans think they've managed to avoid the 49ers' point gain.
2. 14 seconds: the moment when the crowd quiets down, because they realize that the point gain has, in fact, happened.
3. 37 seconds: the field goal is ALMOST blocked by a Packer, due to the very long distance and the very low trajectory of the punt.
4. 43 seconds: Akers' face when he realizes what he has just done. It's almost like he can't believe it himself.

What do you think? Was there a better moment in football yesterday? Let us know in the comments.