With the NFL and former players settling the concussion lawsuit for $765M, there have been a lot of stories purporting to analyze why each side chose to accept a settlement since:
a. The players originally asked for $2B in the lawsuit
b. Some “analysts” thought the award might be as high as $5B
c. Other analysts thought the case was about to be dismissed from the court and sent to arbitration
Obviously, I am not going to pretend to understand the motivation(s) to move to a settlement in the case. However, in one of the things I was reading about this whole matter, I ran across a statement that the attorney fees for all of this would probably come to $100M. It was not clear if that was the total for both sides or if that was just the fees for the lawyers representing the players. In either case, that seems like an awfully high number…
Staying with NFL “events” for a moment, there was a report over the weekend that Ray Lewis – the new studio analyst for ESPN – told NFL Films that the electrical blackout in last year’s Super Bowl was not an accident but was done to slow down the Ravens’ momentum as the Ravens were on the verge of blowing out the Niners. If he truly believes this, ESPN needs to put him on a 10-second delay. The essence of that conspiracy theory is that
a. The NFL had a stake in the Niners winning the game and acted to try to make that happen. [Translation: The fix was in…]
b. The network acted to keep the game close in order to keep the audience level up. [Translation: The network was not “reporting on the event” it was “creating the event”.]
c. Or both… Who is to say that these two business behemoths did not conspire together to foist this on the viewing public?
If I were the head of ESPN this morning, I would be having a very direct and serious discussion with Ray Lewis about airing these views while he is an employee of ESPN.
The NFL is going to play two “London Games” this year – Jags/Niners and Steelers/Vikes. It sure seems to me that the NFL wants to put a franchise in London sometime before the glaciers come again but before they do that they want to see if the fan enthusiasm shown for the annual “London Game” can extend to more than one game a year. After all, if there were a London team, it would play eight home games per season and not just one. It is one thing for a Brit – and other Europeans also – to circle a weekend date on the calendar once a year and schedule a visit to Wembley Stadium to see an NFL game. As an annual event, the game has been a good draw; but will those fans want to do that more than once a year? I believe that the two “London Games” this year is a first step by the NFL to test the durability of that fan interest.
There is no question that London is big enough and sufficiently economically robust to host an NFL team. Nonetheless, putting a team there would inconvenience eight other teams per year that would have to cross the ocean to play a game in London. The NFL surely does not want to crate that inconvenience and have to put tarps over seats in Wembley Stadium to hide the fact that fan interest there is less than hoped for.
Gregg Drinnan found this item and included it in his column last weekend in the Kamloops Daily News. I have expressed this same sentiment over the years but not nearly so eloquently:
“One more from [Mark] Whicker [OC Register]: ‘How do you feel about energy conservation in Lichtenstein? Good. That’s how I feel about your fantasy football team.’ ”
Moving to the bizarre side of sporting occurrences, UEFA – the Union of European Football Associations – had to warn a Khazak soccer team about one of its pre-game activities. Shakhter-Karagandy played Celtic (a Scottish team) and won the first game of the pair 2-0 at home. Prior to that game Shakhter-Karagandy ceremoniously sacrificed a sheep on the pitch. As you might imagine, animal rights folks went into orbit over that news. The Scottish authorities would not permit such a ritual prior to the second-leg of this meeting in Glasgow. Interestingly, Celtic won the rematch by a score of 3-0 and thus won the match on the basis of total goals.
Given the obvious “power” associated with sheep sacrifice as demonstrated here, I wonder if any Chicago Cubs’ fans might be thinking…
Moving on to baseball in the US, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA affiliate of the Phillies) gave away a free funeral to a fan a couple of weeks ago. Entrants in a contest had to write an essay describing their ideal funeral and why they should be selected to get a free one. The winner was a 64-year old man who had a recent diagnosis of ALS. I have to admit that I have never heard of anything close to a giveaway of this kind.
There were reports over the weekend that Lamar Odom had been arrested and charged with DUI. That report came on the heels of previous reports that friends and associates had done an intervention with Odom to get him into rehab. I have exactly no idea if there was such an intervention or if the DUI charge has any validity. However, I would observe that Lamar Odom married into the Kardashian family. That alone might explain why one might choose to turn to mind-altering substances…
Finally, in light of Tim Tebow’s release by the Patriots, here is a comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald a couple weeks ago:
“Tim Tebow’s mom spoke in Omaha on Saturday. A lot of her mannerisms and opinions are similar to Tim’s, with the major difference being she has a better throwing motion and higher completion percentage.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………