Terrell Suggs said in a television interview that he – like Ray Lewis – believes that Roger Goodell orchestrated the Super Bowl blackout last year because he could not stand to see the Ravens crush the Niners in the game. Ignoring the illogic of the idea that a break in the action would necessarily help the Niners at the expense of the Ravens, one might ask why Goodell would have such a preference for a Niners’ victory. Suggs provided an answer to that by harkening back to the Ravens Broncos playoff game – the OT thriller that sent the Ravens on their merry way to the Super Bowl game. According to Suggs, he knew something was up then because as he came out of the tunnel to warm up, Goodell was on the sidelines talking to John Elway.
According to Suggs, the Commish should not be talking to someone associated with one of the teams before the game. The fact that Elway is in charge of the organization that was hosting that game and the fact that Elway is merely a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is certainly not sufficient justification for such a blatant show of favoritism – which naturally carried over to the Niners in the Super Bowl about a month later.
If you do not follow Suggs’ logic here, consider yourself fortunate. I do not know what conclusion to draw from Suggs and Ray Lewis before him making such an accusation:
A. We need to break out the tinfoil hats not to protect ourselves from government-sponsored mind control but from NFL-sponsored mind control.
B. There is something strange in the Baltimore water supply.
C. There really are some folks in Baltimore that deserve to be called “Baltimorons”.
Josh Freeman – released by the Tampa Bay Bucs last week – signed on with the Vikings. With regard to the story that Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN about Freeman being in the NFL drug program and Freeman’s explanation that he once took Ritalin for his ADHD mistakenly and that is what landed him there, the NFLPA announced that it was going to look into how that private medical information was leaked. Naturally, a prime suspect would be Greg Schiano or one of the coaches on his staff since the relationship between Freeman and Schiano was hardly warm and fuzzy. Nonetheless, I think the NFLPA made a mistake in announcing their intention here.
Suppose the actual leaker turns out to be one of the other players on the Bucs. Maybe Joe Flabeetz had his own beef with Freeman and Flabeetz is the one who put Mortensen onto the story. [Note, I did not say this is what happened; I said, “Suppose…"] In that case, the NFLPA would be in a delicate situation where one member “ratted out” another member. That would not be nearly as neat and clean as if Schiano or one of his cohorts was “the rat”.
I think the NFLPA would have been better served by doing its investigation very quietly and only making a public announcement after the fact and after they knew that the announcement would not put them in a delicate position. Too late now…
By the way, I wonder if the NFLPA investigators will be more efficient and effective than the NCAA investigators who look into nefarious happenings in college football. Time will tell…
The Atlanta Braves did not put Dan Uggla on their post-season roster this year despite the fact that he is the highest paid player on the team. Uggla was not happy with that decision at all. Nevertheless, when you look at his stats for the year, you do not see a player who was worth his salary nor do you see someone that you want on your post-season roster. Uggla batted .179 for the season in 448 at-bats. He struck out 171 times, which is more than twice the number of hits he had for the season (80). His OPS was a rather anemic .671. He is hardly a great defensive second baseman so it is not entirely shocking that he was not on the roster for the series with the Dodgers.
Gregg Easterbrook writes the Tuesday Morning Quarterback feature for espn.com. He is a much more accomplished author and essayist than that; his résumé includes works ranging from politics to religion to the space program. Easterbrook has an article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic titled
How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers
In this report, Easterbrook lays out how the NFL works hard to get taxpayers to foot the bills for stadiums and then negotiates sweetheart lease deals allowing the owners to keep most of the revenue generated by those facilities. Moreover, he points out that the NFL perpetuates the myth that development around the stadiums will grow the local economy and thereby help to pay off the cost of the stadium – which rarely happens. His research is thorough and if any of you think that I am a “hard-liner” in my opposition to publicly funded sports facilities, you need to read this piece and you will consider me a softie.
Easterbrook notes that there has been Congressional collusion with this kind of public fleecing since the mid-60s when Congress granted the NFL and the AFL anti-trust immunity when they wanted to merge and that the Congress inserted language in the definition of 501(c)(6) organizations to include “professional football leagues” as tax exempt business entities. However, Easterbrook has an interesting solution to the problem – one that would put a lot more money in the public coffers.
The NFL needs copyright protection for its telecasts in order to be able to pull in the billions of dollars that they get from networks every year. Now, if Congress would change the copyright laws such that one could not obtain such protection if the games originated in venues that had more than a small percentage of their costs derived from public funding, the NFL would be scurrying around to renegotiate those sweetheart leases and to reimburse a large portion of the stadium construction/maintenance costs.
Finally, a word from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“The Minnesota Lynx-Atlanta Dream WNBA Finals start Sunday night. You just try to keep me from watching!”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………