I assume that many of you found the time to watch some of the Redskins/Eagles game as the “debut game” for MNF this year. As you might imagine, the sports media here in the DC area has reacted in its typical “hyper-sense” to the Redskins’ debacle. Yes, there are a few folks wearing burgundy-and-gold colored glasses through which to view the world but the local media is far more populated with doomsayers and critics. For folks on either side of that spectrum, the Redskins’ loss on Monday night was only one game out of the entire season. If you take only the first weekend’s worth of data as some kind of infallible predictor of the entire season, consider that no one in the AFC North Division has a better record than the Cleveland Browns as of this morning. I feel confident that situation will not obtain on the evening of December 29, 2013 when this regular season comes to an end.
Because the Washington media over-reacts to just about everything, one small item in the post-mortem of Monday’s loss just slipped onto Page 8 of this morning’s sports section of the Washington Post. It drew no comment; it was just “out there”. The Redskins Insider feature today has a sub-headline that reads:
Defense was prepared.
That caught my eye because if there was one conclusion I might draw from Monday night’s game it was that the Redskins’ defense was caught flatfooted. Here are the first two paragraphs from what appears under that headline above:
“Coach Mike Shanahan said the Redskins were not unprepared on defense for what they saw from the Eagles’ offense during the season-opening defeat.”
‘There was only one play that we saw that we hadn’t practiced against,’ Shanahan said. ‘From that standpoint, I felt pretty good about that. There was only one play they ran offensively that was a surprise to me that I hadn’t seen before on tape.’ “
The Insider then goes on to mention a missed assignment here or there and quotes a player saying the team had a good plan. Really?
Anyone who watched the game saw that in the first half the Eagles marched up and down the field at will. The score was 26-7 – and the points scored by the Redskins came on a deflected lateral pass returned for a TD after the Eagles had driven almost the length of the field. The Eagles had 53 offensive plays in the first half, along with 21 first downs, 322 yards of total offense and more than 20 minutes time of possession.
Those data say one of two things to me:
1. The Redskins’ defense had no idea what was coming at them for the first 30 minutes of the game. The fact that the Eagles had offensive players running free on about a third of their offensive snaps might suggest this is the case.
2. The Redskins’ defenders were/are inept. If they were “prepared” and never saw anything that they had not practiced against, how in Hell could they give up those kinds of stats in only 30 minutes of football? Some teams did not accumulate those kinds of stats in full games last weekend.
You will not see that kind of reporting in the Washington Post or on any of the local sports radio/TV programs because reporters need to maintain access to the Redskins and the last thing one might want to do is to get crosswise with either Mike Shanahan or Danny Boy Snyder – both of whom would contend for Gold Medals if the Olympics were to include Megalomania as a new sport.
Switching gears, are you aware that the WNBA has not yet started its playoffs? It seems like an eon ago that I tuned in to see a game with Brittney Griner and a couple of days later tuned in to see a game with Elena Delle Donna. I watched about half of each game and saw that these two young ladies deserved the hype that accompanied them during their college careers and then moved on. The only WNBA basketball I have seen since then has been the accidental stop when grazing through the sports channel section on my cable TV. Until my eyes fell on a box score this morning on the agate page, I thought the WNBA season was over and that someday I might need to go and look up who won the league championship.
Last weekend, Greg Cote had two items in his column in the Miami Herald each of which summarizes a set of events related to the sports world in 50 words or less such that you really do not need a lot more information:
“Dennis Rodman reportedly has met yet again with the leader of North Korea. That man is crazy. But then, again, so is Kim Jong-un.”
“Parting thought: A man claiming to be Lamar Odom’s drug dealer said in an interview that he gave cocaine to Odom. Friends, do not do drugs. But if you must, avoid dealers who give interviews.”
When you read about player salaries and team revenues or any sort of monetary exchange information, you need something to put perspective on the datum. For example if I told you that a person had a monthly bill on his American Express Card of $750,000 you might be shocked. If I were the person with that kind of balance on my card, it would be more than a tragic situation for my financial well-being; if Donald Trump were the person with that kind of balance on his card, he might have someone check the entries on the bill to see if those charges from last week made it onto this month’s bill or will carry over to next month’s balance. It is all perspective… I mention this because of an item in a recent column by Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. Here is perspective for you…
“The $131.7 million transfer fee paid by Real Madrid for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is more than the combined payroll of every Major League Soccer team. That figure: $94.9 million.“
MLS has indeed grown from its meager beginnings 20 years ago. The average player salary is about $160K and franchises are stable if not licenses to print money. Nonetheless, compared to the kind of money that flows in the international soccer world – at the elite levels – MLS still has plenty of room to grow.
Finally, here is a comment from Conan O’Brien regarding the NFL “crackdown” on excessive celebrations this year:
“NFL players are being told not to show off too much after a touchdown, a sack or a murder.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………