Here And There Today …

The Miami Dolphins like to live in the past and remind everyone of their perfect season.  I wonder how the organization will recognize the latest franchise first-and-only:

  • When the Dolphins got their doors blown off by the Panthers this Monday night, they became the first and only NFL team to lose three consecutive “prime time games” in three consecutive weeks.  A week and a half ago, they lost on Thursday night to the Ravens; a week ago on Sunday night, they lost to the Raiders; and now the Panthers.
  • Celebrate it…

The three UCLA basketball players who were arrested and who had been detained in China for shoplifting have been released and are home.  Now come the reactions to a teachable moment:

  1. We will never know what Lavar Ball says to LiAngelo Ball about any of this and what LiAngelo may have done to the “Ball Brand”.  Too bad; that would give us more than a little insight into the “Ball Brand”.
  2. UCLA as an institution of higher learning had better use this “teachable moment” to do some teaching.  UCLA has its “brand” stamped all over an international incident involving shoplifting that required the involvement of the President of the United States and the US Department of State to make things right.  If these three players are reinstated to the basketball team immediately with nothing more than a severe talking-to, then UCLA as a school is nothing but an adjunct to its Athletic Department.
  3. Even if UCLA allows these three players to play immediately, I would hope that Steve Alford learned some lessons about right versus wrong in his time with bob Knight at Indiana.  If the school says they are eligible tomorrow and I am the UCLA coach, none of them see a practice session or a uniform until at least New Year’s Day.

Greg Cote had this comment on the UCLA/Chinese shoplifting incident in the Miami Herald:

“Lonzo Ball’s younger brother was among UCLA players arrested for shoplifting in China. Does the Bruins defense get statistical credit for those steals? “

After a slew of Seahawks’ players sustained injuries in last Thursday’s game, Richard Sherman – one of the injured players – renewed his statements about the absurdity of playing Thursday night games on short rest.  His teammate Doug Baldwin went rhetorically even further and said that Thursday night games “should be illegal”.  Baldwin is an intelligent and rational man; I am certain he used that phraseology as hyperbole and I do not believe that he was calling on legislatures at any level of government to pass laws to make it a crime to play NFL games on Thursday nights.

Let me analyze this situation from the pragmatist point of view:

  • A couple of years ago, CBS and NBC bid to get a shared contract with the NFL to simulcast Thursday Night Football along with the NFL Network.  That contract put a reported $900M in the revenue stream for the NFL.
  • The current CBA is complicated, but it seems to me that the salary cap is based on about 47% of total revenue and 50% of TV revenue that accrues to the league.  If I am correct in that interpretation, then canceling Thursday Night Football will remove $900M from the revenue stream which means that about $450M will be removed from the salary cap calculations.
  • So, the real question boils down to something rather simple.  If the players had to vote on a single issue – by secret ballot – to cancel Thursday Night Football and knowingly forego that extra salary cap room, would they as a body choose to do so?  I do not know the answer here and I suspect that the NFLPA does not know either and that the NFLPA would prefer not to know…

I have said this before and will bore you to death by saying it again.  This “Thursday Night Football conundrum” is really not that hard to resolve.  In fact, my proposed solution here will kill two birds with one stone:

  1. Almost everyone agrees that there are too many damned Exhibition Games.  So as part of the solution to the “Thursday Night Problem”, cancel the 4th Exhibition Game.
  2. Then, start the season a week earlier than now and make the season 18 weeks long instead of 17 weeks long.  Do NOT add a 17th regular season game.  Instead, use the added week of the season to build a schedule where each team gets two BYE Weeks.
  3. Now, here is the scheduling mandate.  Whenever a team is scheduled to play on a Thursday night, that team will get one of its BYE Weeks on the weekend before that game.
  4. Voila!  Do this and the NFL can rid itself of a meaningless Exhibition Game and it can keep the revenue from Thursday Night Football and the players in Thursday Night games can have extra time to heal before playing and …

You want to know what is sad about this simple solution that gets most people what they want at little to no cost?  If the NFL were to propose it, the NFLPA would immediately oppose it; if the NFLPA were to propose it, the NFL would immediately oppose it.  Both sides would rather bitch and moan at each other than sit down and find a path to solving the problem.

Finally, Dwight Perry had this comment in the Seattle Times regarding a “wardrobe malfunction” unrelated to Super Bowl halftime shows:

“PGA golfer Jason Dufner’s pants split in the seat when he bent over during the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship.

“Or as golfers prefer to call it, a bad slice.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………