Congratulations to the Associated Press. They did a story about Brett Favre that went beyond the “will he/won’t he play” angle and provided nuggets of actual news. Dr. James Andrews – - the surgeon who operated on Favre – - spoke to the Charlotte Touchdown Club recently. Dr. Andrews said that the surgery on Favre’s ankle went well and that Favre has to undergo a “few more weeks of rehabilitation” before he can/will decide whether to play for the Vikings in 2010. Dr. Andrews said that he had spoken to Favre the day before his speech in Charlotte. So here we have an identified source of information with more than credible expertise related to the condition of Brett Favre’s ankle. In a brief article – probably less than 400 words –, the AP gave us more actual information about “The Favre Conundrum” than we can find in a dozen columns on the subject.
Let us turn back the clock a couple of weeks. Faced with the threat of an expanding Big 10, the PAC-10 was poised to add six new teams including Texas and Oklahoma to become The West Coast Juggernaut Conference. Who knows? Had they actually done that, they might have become a West Coast Juggernaut… But that is not the way the story turned out.
The PAC-10 currently stands as the PAC-12 with the addition of Colorado and – - reportedly – - Utah. Meaning no disrespect to either school and recognizing that the whole “conference consolidation” issue focused on football and football revenues, can anyone seriously compare the football traditions at Utah and Colorado with the football traditions at Texas and Oklahoma? For the moment, the PAC-10 expansion rates as a “Ho-hum” on the Sports Shock-O-Meter; the Big 10 adding Nebraska rates as a “Hi-ho” on that same meter.
Having said that, I seriously doubt that this story will go away now. I think that football-driven conference consolidation will rise from its now dormant state either next year or the year after that one more time. The structure of four football super-conferences spreading across the country has such economic potential that it will not go away so long as Texas and Notre Dame are out there to be courted.
According to various reports, the Washington Redskins want to recover the $21M that they paid to Albert Haynesworth just a couple months ago now that “Phat Albert” has decided to skip mandatory mini-camp and has asked to be traded. On a couple of the Redskins fan-boards, the participants there were very derisive of Al Davis last month when he announced that he was going after $10M from JaMarcus Russell. The Redskins’ fanboys thought Davis was just a crotchety old fool who made a huge mistake in signing Russell and that he ought to just shut up and go away. It will be interesting to see what those same fanboys say about Phat Albert and Danny Boy going mano a mano.
Haynesworth is the last of the big-splash free agent signings from the Redskins’ era ruled by Danny Boy Snyder and Vinny “Boombatz” Cerrato. They got hosed by free agents who developed “Fat Wallet Syndrome” many times between 2000 and 2009 but no one took them for this much money and wanted out of town so fast. Had either Snyder or Cerrato done any real “due diligence” on Haynesworth, they would have recognized that in addition to his God-given athletic talents, he brought with him antisocial behaviors, ego driven behaviors, marked tendencies to play better in contract years than in other years, lack of showing up in peak condition and taking plays off. And somehow that pair of geniuses thought handing that kind of person a seven-year $100M contract with more than $40M guaranteed would correct all those “issues”.
I guess the only good news for the Redskins in this matter is that it surely appears as if the team is finally under adult supervision with Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan.
By the way, I want to use Albert Haynesworth as an example here to demonstrate the difference between a “diva” and a “pain in the ass”. I will use two simple math equations to demonstrate:
Diva = Arrogance + Ego + Talent
Pain In The Ass = Arrogance + Ego – Talent
Albert Haynesworth is a diva…
Early TV ratings for the World Cup games on ESPN here in the US are up significantly over the World Cup games in 2006. The final numbers for the first round are not in yet; but so far, it seems as if the ratings are twice as high as they were in 2006 drawing around 5 million viewers per game. The USA/England game in Round 1 of this year was the second highest rated soccer game on US TV in history trailing only the USA/Brazil match in the Round of 16 in 1994.
ESPN paid FIFA about $400M to get the rights to these games plus the tournament games in 2014 and there are reports that it will spend $300M in production costs for the 2010 games. That means they have $500M or so as sunk costs in the 2010 games. I do not know if they can recoup all of that in advertising revenue, but starting off with ratings twice as high as in 2006 cannot hurt them. There are probably more than a few suits in Bristol smiling at the moment…
I would love for those suits in Bristol to take note of something about their own telecasts. Please note that there are no celebrities dropping into the broadcast booth to chat with the announcers about an upcoming movie or some other subject that has nothing at all to do with the game. Isn’t that refreshing? Maybe the suits in Bristol could consider trying out that mode of broadcasting for their NFL games for just one season to see how fans/viewers react…
Finally, since today is the anniversary of O.J. Simpson’s journey with Al Cowling, here is a relevant comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“Controversially, Denver traded up to draft the Florida quarterback [Tim Tebow], a gamble that was the talk of the first round. I had not heard that many people talking about a white Bronco since Al Cowling was driving O.J. Simpson.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…