Before I do the typical early-week rundown of last weekend’s on-field football happenings, I need to say a few things about Jerry Richardson’s decision to sell the Carolina Panthers after this season is over. Last week, ESPN and Sports Illustrated reported that there were allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Panthers’ organization and that Richardson was the tone-setter/perpetrator. In another report, SI said that several former employees of the Panthers had been paid off regarding the resolution of prior complaints. There are also racial overtones to the complaints within the organization with Richardson once again central to the problematic actions. You can read some of the SI reporting here and here.
Over the weekend, Richardson announced that he will sell the Panthers and that he has relinquished any day-to-day management of the organization. As the NBA learned a couple of years ago, a “bad owner” can put a stain on the league and the way the NBA sought to cauterize that wound was to force that owner to sell his franchise. If Richardson made the decision to sell on his own, he probably did the NFL one final service; if he was nudged to that decision from behind closed doors, the NFL had best hope that similar accusations do not spring up in other franchises. That would put the NFL into crisis management mode and the NFL has shown that it is less than competent when in crisis management mode.
Forbes estimated that the Panthers are worth $2.3B in September 2017 and estimated that their operating income for 2016 at $102M.
I wonder if this story is over yet…
Let me just do a bunch of short comments on last weekend’s NFL action:
- The Lions beat the Bears in a game that gave new meaning to the word “tedious”. The two QBs combined to throw 5 INTs.
- The Chiefs have seemingly come back to life in the last two games; they dominated the Chargers with a powerful running game and intercepted Phillip Rivers 3 times.
- Aaron Rodgers had some rust on him after 8 weeks on the sidelines; he threw 3 INTs in the Packers’ loss to the Panthers.
- The Dolphins reverted to mediocrity with Jay Cutler also throwing 3 INTs in a loss to the Bills.
- The Jags locked up a playoff spot smashing the Texans. TJ Yates versus the NFL’s #1 defense was a mismatch.
- The Skins beat the Cards making them 4-0 against the NFC West and 2-8 against the rest of the league.
- The Bengals just mailed it in against the Vikes.
- The Eagles beat the Giants playing their third consecutive road game – the first two being on the West Coast – and they did it with their backup QB. That is not easy to do.
- The Rams RAN for 244 yards and sacked Russell Wilson 7 times. That is the basis of the 42-7 score beating the Seahawks in Seattle. Losing by 5 TDs at home is worst home loss for Seattle since 1997 when they lost at home to the Jets 41-3.
- The Jets played the Saints closer than 31-19 final score might look. Score was 24-19 in the middle of the 4th quarter. Bryce Petty threw for 170 yards and he threw 2 INTs. Can the Jets ever find a real QB?
- The Raiders lost to the Cowboys despite the Cowboys committing 14 penalties and converting only 2 of 10 third-down attempts. It was an ugly game all around.
- The Niners beat the Titans with a field goal as the clock ran out. The “Jimmy G Era” has begun in SF with 3 straight wins. Remember, Jimmy G won his first two starts with the Pats too.
- The Browns lost – again – to the Ravens. The Browns’ passing stats were 20 for 37 with 0 TDs and 2 INTs for 136 yards. No wonder they are 0-14.
- The Pats/Steelers game had a final four minutes that had to be seen to be believed. Even if you saw it and even if you watch it again on your DVR, you might come away shaking your head wondering what happened and how.
- The Falcons eked out a win over the Bucs keeping them in the last wildcard slot in the NFC playoffs. However, it was not a convincing win over a mediocre-at-best Bucs’ squad.
There is an adage that says predictions are hard – – especially when they pertain to the future. Nonetheless, Bob Molinaro made a prediction in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot prior to the Heisman Trophy presentation show a week ago – – and he was spot on:
“If form holds, Saturday night’s ESPN Heisman Trophy presentation will be a molasses-paced ceremony that makes the presentation of the Masters green jacket look like a Bruce Springsteen concert.”
Finally, there has been a lot of attention paid to the “conversation” between LeBron James and Lonzo Ball after a Cavs/Lakers game. The two met on the court and spoke to each other with their mouths obscured so there would be no lip reading. There were various reports about what was said and there is supposedly a “hot mic” recording of the interchange. Frankly, I prefer Dwight Perry’s pure speculation in the Seattle Times about what was said to whatever the reality is:
“One guess on what LeBron James whispered to Lonzo Ball after their first NBA meeting: ‘Why’d they take their talents to Lithuania?’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………