The idea of changing the PAT in the NFL to make it a bit less automatic has generated a bunch of ideas here. I got one via e-mail yesterday that suggested taking all the players off the field except for the kicker – and possibly a holder – and the kicker can put the ball anywhere on the field from the 10-yardline or further out. However, the point would only be good if he could hit the crossbar or one of the uprights. Now that is a radical idea and it would make the PAT too difficult. I think the Competition Committee needs to find a way to make it more difficult for teams to get that “bonus point” after a TD, but it should not be a highlight play on SportsCenter every time a kicker makes one.
If you want comedy, equip the crossbars with a windmill blade and start it spinning for all the PATs so that the try adds the flavor of miniature golf. As soon as I put the period on that last sentence, someone on the Competition Committee felt a sharp pain in their neck and has no idea where it came from…
I saw a report that 44.2 million people tuned in to watch the Oscars on TV last weekend. The estimate for the US population in 2013 courtesy of the Census Bureau is 313 million people. I find it consoling that 268.8 million folks found something better to do with their lives for that period of time.
According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there has been a franchise casualty in World Team Tennis. The Sacramento Capitals planned to move their home to Las Vegas and to compete as the Las Vegas Neon this season. However, the owner of the team had his assets frozen by a federal judge and one report said the charges brought against the owner include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. [Somewhere, Bernie Madoff smiles and nods…] The league chose to dissolve the franchise and will go ahead this year with only 7 teams instead of 8. I can actually name 3 of the 7 remaining teams. No peeking now, how many can you name?
The NFL will play three games in England next year but it will play zero games in Canada. The Buffalo Bills have a deal with Rogers Media that extends through 2017 wherein the Bills would play one of their home games in Toronto but according to a statement from the Bills’ Front Office, the game – and hence the agreement – for 2014 has been “postponed”. Here is the official story:
“The Buffalo Bills and Rogers are committed to delivering a first-class NFL experience to Canadians. As such, we have postponed for one year the scheduled 2014 regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto, and that game will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium. We will use this time to collectively evaluate opportunities and build on the foundation to enhance future games. We are committed to continuing our partnership and have secured a robust sponsorship agreement for the 2014 season that will bring Canadian NFL fans visibility and access to the Bills.”
That is high order management-speak; if it were to go on for three more sentences, my eyes would be glazed over for at least an hour. I have no idea what “the problems” are here except to say that in recent years when the Bills played in Toronto the stadium was not sold out – or particularly close to sold out. I do not plan to follow this closely because it just is not that important for the Buffalo Bills to play one game a year in Toronto – a city about 50 miles away as the crow flies. Nevertheless, I will offer the folks in the Bills’ Front Office and the NFL suits one observation:
If the Bills – and the NFL by extension – are truly “committed to delivering a first-class NFL experience to Canadians”, maybe the best thing would be to have a good team host the game there. The “Toronto Series” has been going on since 2008; during that time the Bills cumulative record is 35 – 61. There just is no way to gussie that up to make it into a “first-class NFL experience”.
Bob Molinaro had this comment recently in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot relative to the NFL Combine:
“Much ado: It’s probably heresy to say this, but I’m always left with the impression that the primary purpose of the NFL combine is to give the media something to talk about between the Super Bowl and draft. A lot that emerges after players are weighed, measured and worked out in shorts should only confirm what any well-prepared scout already knew.”
I do not think that is heresy at all; I truly believe that the folks who run the NFL consciously try to keep the league in the news and they create “events” in order to do so. Frankly, if I were in their position, I would try to do that too. Having said that, there was actually a bit of “breaking news” coming out of this year’s Combine. Not surprisingly, since Professor Molinaro is exactly correct that the scouts already knew virtually everything they were purported to have learned there, the “breaking story” had nothing to do with the players and the workouts. What came to light was the set of discussions – or the minimal verbal exchange depending on which side is spinning it – regarding the Cleveland Browns trading to get Jim Harbaugh as their coach.
That story has legs. After the initial report in the SF Chronicle, there have been follow-ups, clarifications, assignment of motivations and remote amateur psychoanalyses at least every other day. Harbaugh signed with the Niners in 2011; the contract then was characterized as 5-years and $25M. That means Harbaugh is signed through the 2015 season as the coach of the Niners. I fervently hope that the football media will let this issue go and proceed to focus on something more important – like the value of players flossing during halftime. I do not want to hear about this thrice a week for the next two years. Ka-beesh…?
Finally, Greg Cote had this South Florida news in the Miami Herald previously:
“Parting thought: FIU’s baseball team had a registered sex offender throw out the first pitch at its home opener. Evidently none if its other invitees could make bail.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………