Football

The NFL Draft is Complete and Utter Bullshit

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If I really wanted to go further into this subject, I would tell you two things.

One, ESPN laid off a bunch of people today because no one likes their product. People are cutting the cord, they're abandoning televised sports, and they're not interested in whatever ESPN is selling. If you have a product, and demand for that product drops, it probably means that people just don't like your shit.

Two, ESPN is desperately trying to make fetch a thing. No, sorry, that's wrong. ESPN is desperately trying to make the NFL Draft a thing. It is not a thing. The NFL draft is an attempt, by the National Football League, to find a handful of college players who can survive playing professional football. Every year, teams fail to find good football players. Instead, they make minor celebrities out of players who go to pieces mentally, fall apart physically, or fail to take advantage of an opportunity to play professional football. This all unfolds at these things called training camps, which aren't a thing, either. This is the behind the scenes developmental stuff that most people don't care about. 

Do you know who cares about this stuff? Zealous superfans, degenerate gamblers, and the family members who think they're going to get paid. That's more sad than happy, I'm afraid.

Here's a question for the NFL. Do you have a football game to play in September? Then go play it. Here's one for ESPN. Do you not get that people are losing interest? It's called voting with your remote crontrol. There are fewer and fewer people who are interested football, and televised sports as a whole. Are you going to front load your programming here in the off season with bullshit for months and months and make something out of nothing? I gotta tell you, I'm even less interested now.

ESPN, you suck. The NFL Draft is not a thing. Go back to what you're good at, which is putting on things people want to watch. Big hint for you--everything you're doing right now is NOT working.

This is Stupid, and, Of Course, It Involves Guns

I refuse to believe that people in Arkansas are this stupid:

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill regarding a person’s ability to carry a concealed handgun into various buildings at a public university or college into state law. However, House Bill 1249 will not allow all legal gun owners to carry a gun to a football game in the state of Arkansas.

Football games will be considered a “sensitive area,” which require enhanced training in order to be allowed to carry a gun into a football stadium. The law supposedly trumps any provisions already in place to prevent guns from being allowed on the premises.

“The enhanced level of training is very important, and I am convinced the public will be more safe,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This bill, in my view, reflects the view of the general assembly.”

The view of the general assembly is, "beer plus college football plus shenanigans is enhanced by the presence of guns as long as you have enhanced training."

What the hell is that, by the way? Well, to me, it's something that the police chief's kid gets in order to wave around in front of people. It's what people with a lot of money and influence get when they want something from the local sheriff. It's kind of a no-brainer. If you are smart enough to pass "enhanced level of gun training" class, shouldn't you also be smart enough to know that a football stadium is exactly where you don't take your gun?

What happened to common sense? Do you know where you need to carry your gun? Not at a college football game, that's where.

So Long, Raiders

Is this really going to make anyone happy?

The Raiders will file relocation papers to move from Oakland to Las Vegas, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Funding has already been approved for the Raiders' new $1.9 billion NFL stadium. The money approved by Nevada law makers includes private and public money. The initial plans showed the Raiders would contribute $500 million and casino owner Sheldon Adelson would contribute $650 million. Hotel tax funding may contribute another $750 million.

The move would have to be approved by 24 of the NFL owners at their upcoming meeting in March.

There used to be an understanding that, because of legalized gambling, no professional sports team would move to Las Vegas, Nevada. I think that, give we're about to see an NHL expansion team start up there, those days are gone. It's hard to come up with $2 billion for a stadium, but if the Raiders were, indeed, looking to move, why not another major city in the United States? It seems like a temporary fix to me. Why not go to St. Louis, San Antonio, or Louisville? Why not find a city that wants an NFL franchise? Oklahoma City wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Notice I did not say Des Moines.

 

 

Jeff Fisher

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Jeff Fisher was fired yesterday, and everyone seems to think they know why:

Jeff Fisher, whose job security became baffling as he led the Rams through years of mediocrity, was fired today as the team’s head coach. The team announced the move this afternoon.

Fisher was fired after perhaps the single ugliest loss of his coaching tenure, a brutal blowout at the hands of the Falcons on Sunday that ensured he would have his fifth consecutive losing record at the helm of the team.

Fisher's record was awful, but there are plenty of teams with losing records this season. There are plenty of teams in the NFL right now that are under-performing. Fisher wasn't fired because he was losing. Fisher was fired because the front office of the Los Angeles Rams is in complete and utter disarray. They extended his contract and then they fired him? That's dysfunction at the franchise level. What did the recent franchise relocation have to do with this? Who knows? 

Were it not for the close loss in Super Bowl 34 to the Rams, Fisher (then coaching the Tennessee Titans) probably would have ended up a more obscure figure. I believe his finishes this stage of his career with as many regular season losses as Dan Reeves, but don't give up hope. Fisher will probably come back as a coach in some capacity.  Guys like him end up being someone's coordinator for offense or defense almost immediately.

1971

The first known case of Jerry Sandusky abusing children happened in 1971, just two years after he was hired as a coach by Joe Paterno:

Penn State's legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky's accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday in providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.

The disclosure came as Penn State president Eric Barron decried newly revealed allegations that former football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 that Sandusky had sexually abused a child and that two assistant coaches witnessed either inappropriate or sexual contact in the late 1980s. Paterno, who died in 2012, said that the first time he received a complaint against Sandusky was in 2001.

Barron said the accusations were unsubstantiated and suggested that the university is being subjected unfairly to what he called rumor and innuendo.

Responding to questions about the president's statement and claims against the school, university spokesman Lawrence Lokman told The Associated Press and ESPN's Josh Moyer that he could confirm that the earliest year of alleged abuse covered in Penn State's settlements is 1971.

ESPN goes to great lengths to push that date--1971. Good God, forty years of being able to abuse human beings and no remorse, nothing out of these people. Why is that important? That date changes the narrative. It makes things that went away come back with a vengeance.  It opens up the whole process again because it was widely believed that Sandusky did not abuse children until the 1990s. There's a whole other aspect to this that has to be addressed, and that is the institutional indifference to human suffering.

In 1971, Paterno could and should have been fired if he had covered up Sandusky's crime. As a coach, Paterno was not a legend by any stretch of the imagination. He was definitely a winning coach--two Orange Bowls and two perfect seasons in the late 1960s will give you some power at a university, but he didn't win a National Championship until 1982. After that, he would have been untouchable. In 1971, he would have been a difficult man to fire, but it could have happened if the scandal had blown up that year and if he had played a role in covering it up.

Is the NCAA going to do anything? I sure hope so. This is unfinished business that should have informed how the school was punished initially. This new revelation makes it seem like they got off light, doesn't it?

What the University President and everyone else seems to miss is that you need to stop blaming the victims. You need to put that strategy to rest because there has been a conviction. There are no allegations anymore--they've been proven in a court of law. I think what they fear are millions more in settlements and more sanctions for the football program. I think that they have to purge college football of Paterno's records and they have to make damned sure they have institutional control over the athletic department.

We're left with what might have happened if they had dealt with Sandusky when they knew about him. There is a remote possibility that he might have gone to jail--unlikely given the times. He might have been dealt with as a problem if he had been fired but that would have simply displaced the tragedy. Instead, he rode Paterno's coattails all the way to local prominence and his own victim grooming farm, also known as his Second Mile charity.

Just when you thought the whole thing couldn't get any sicker, everything turns. Is there any way to hold Penn State University accountable? If not, then we're all part of the problem.

Do-Rags Inhibit Student Athlete Achievement

I mean, look at what a dismal failure this man was at Maryland:

Maryland's lackluster performance under Edsall created rumblings among many of the alumni and boosters who are being counted on to help fund a new indoor football facility that will cost a projected $155 million to build.

After becoming the 34th coach in Maryland football history, Edsall immediately instituted a strict regimen of rules at the school -- including the banning of ball caps, do-rags and earrings in the football house. He also ordered that names be removed from the back of game-day jerseys.

He backed off after a difficult first season in which Maryland lost its final eight games and went 1-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Although the Terrapins have struggled on the field under Edsall, their performance in the classroom improved dramatically. The football program's Athletic Progress Rate reached an all-time high in 2013-14, and 21 players earned a place on the All-Big Ten Academic Team last year.

He got rid of do-rags! But wait--not everyone who ever wore a do-rag was a thug or a poor academic achiever. That's why I have a photo of David Foster Wallace ready at all times.

Edsall was not a failure if you consider that Maryland's move to the Big Ten was ridiculous and ill-considered. That wasn't his fault--he was crushed by changes that had nothing to do with football per se and everything to do with unrealistic expectations for a school that has no business playing regular season games against Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa or Illinois.

Yes, you can make a joke about the do-rags. But he also improved the overall academic achievement in his program as well as had 21 guys end up on the All-Big Ten Academic Team. Of course you have to fire a guy like that.

Roger Goodell is Doomed

If you consider that the NFL, as a business, has no time for failure, what to make of Roger Goodell?

Today, a Federal judge reinstated Tom Brady because the due process he was supposed to get from Goodell turned out to be a laughable excuse for jacking off in public. The man in charge of the NFL is a serial incompetent.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the recent failures of Goodell’s tenure as commissioner:

  • He suspended Ray Rice just two games after Rice knocked his fianceé out in an elevator, then suspended Rice indefinitely after video tape of the incident turned the original, paltry suspension into a PR nightmare for the league. A judge later overturned that second suspension because Rice was essentially being punished twice for the same crime, and because the NFL had no real evidence that Rice had lied during the league’s investigation into the incident.

  • He hit the New Orleans Saints with sweeping and severe penalties after determining that the team had instituted a bounty program. Those suspensions were later overturned by ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the grounds that Goodell had overstepped his bounds and reached his decision based on faulty evidence.

  • He eagerly exploited the Adrian Peterson child abuse case as a way to restore his authority and brand as a stern, tough-minded disciplinarian. That suspension was later overturned by a federal judge because Goodell had retroactively and unfairly applied the league’s new domestic violence policy to Peterson’s case.

And now this. This particular defeat feels more meaningful than the previous ones, though, in part because of how truly benign the original “crime” was. Those other suspensions being vacated were big victories for the NFLPA, but Goodell’s flanks were still protected by the fact that he was facing off with a child abuser, a wife-beater, and a football team that purposely tried to hurt people. No matter how slapdash and wrongheaded Goodell’s ersatz judicial processes were revealed to be, he was always able to position himself as a good guy, just trying to get tough on bad people and do the right thing. He was able to point to his failures as evidence that all he needed to Get Things Right in the future was more power.

How much longer with the ownership of the NFL tolerate this kind of thing? Goodell no longer has a friend in Robert Kraft. When you lose friends like that, you're done. Why not dump him before the season opener?

They'd never allow it, but do you know who'd be a great NFL commissioner? Anybody but Goodell, that's who.

If I had to pick a name, I would say Condoleeza Rice. The league needs an image overhaul, and it needs to have a new public face. The sooner, the better. Barring that, Mitt Romney needs a job. If Romneyshambles can run an Olympics, he can run the NFL. He's great with rich people.

And, by the way, Brady was guilty as hell. His due process was violated, but the fact that he's the face of the franchise and he was grabassing with the clowns in charge of keeping the balls inflated should have made this an open and shut case. Jim McNally was Rosencrantz and John Jastremski was Guildenstern and I'm not sure who Brady was because he just doesn't sound moody enough to pull off Hamlet. Brady's culpability was wiped out as a factual matter because Roger Goodell couldn't use due process to prove a ham sandwich is made with bread and ham. I think Brady should have been given the chance to be a gentleman of the sport. He should have been given the chance to defend himself and he should have been asked to apologize to the Indianapolis Colts. I didn't agree with the four game suspension but I sure as hell think someone who plays sports for a living should have the maturity to apologize when caught cheating.

Where Was Warren Sapp's Fall Guy When He Was Beating Up Prostitutes?

The utter lawlessness of the National Football League continues unabated:

While wearing his Hall of Fame jacket, Carter told them:

“Y’all not gonna all do the right stuff. I gotta teach yall how to get around all this stuff too. If you gonna have a crew, one of them fools got to know he going to jail.”

In an interview with ESPN, Chris Borland, who retired because of concussions, mentioned that a veteran player told them to get a fall guy so they could skirt legal trouble. It appears that player was Carter, with Warren Sapp by his side. Sapp is probably not who the NFL wants modeling behavior for rookies, since he was recently charged with domestic violence.

Cris Carter had to have had a fall guy when he played in Minnesota all those years ago. It was likely third lackey from the right when he entourage entered the strip clubs of downtown Minneapolis. I'll see if I can dig up any of those photos.

Doesn't anyone think before they speak at these things? Who was the clown who didn't speak up when Cris Carter boasted (because Cris Carter not boasting is a thing that I cannot imagine not happening) about teaching the rooks about the whole legal fall guy strategy for dealing with the people who are going to focus on the NFL player who is throwing money around in the club?

Here's what they're never going to say to the rookies--go get a house. Not a condo, not an apartment--get a house. When you own a house, mow your own lawn and rake up your own leaves. Spread some fertilizer around. Everyone will see you doing this. When you want to be up in the club with your boys, go home and work in your yard instead. There is no possible way you can get into any kind of legal trouble when you are on your own property taking care of how it looks. You will quickly develop a reputation as a player who plays the game the right way and as someone who is a leader in the community. Sports writers eat that shit up left and right. And if you take all the money you would have wasted in the club and put it into a good riding lawn mower, you'll never have a problem in the NFL again.

Don't go to the club, rookie. Get your ass to a John Deere dealership. Get the one with the leaf picker upper, especially if you buy a house with oak trees.

Oh, but I forgot. Warren Sapp was actually chosen to speak to the rookies? What was he doing there in anything other than his jumpsuit?

Here's a man who beats women and goes bankrupt and loses his only lucrative post-NFL gig, all within a few years of retiring. I think he was the one Cris Carter was talking to, not the rookies. How passive aggressive can you get? 

Hey, don't do what he did, rookies. Here's Sapp to tell you how to make some better life choices. I think the effect of being led onto the stage by his probation officer would have had more of an impact, but oh well.

Tom Brady is a Handsome Fellow

Personally, I think criticizing the work of a courtroom sketch artist is like going after a fifth grade orchestra for muffing their third piece of music for the day. Tom Brady is guilty as sin and the NFL is obviously in collusion with the courtroom sketch artist to make him look like a Bulgarian sex offender.

Somehow, they gave him the most subtle fu manchu in Patriots history.