A while back, there were rumors circulating that Chris Berman was going to leave ESPN at the end of his contract at the end of this NFL season. Those rumors were denied and things quieted down quickly. Well, now there are also rumors that Tom Jackson will be leaving ESPN at the end of this NFL season. My only response to all of this is:
Holy Housecleaning, Batman!
The Sunday night ESPN program, NFL Primetime, was a pioneer in its field and it remained a top-shelf program from the time it started sometime in the late 80s until it morphed into The Blitz about 10 years ago. If I recall correctly, Berman, Jackson and the late Pete Axthelm were the hosts when NFL Primetime made its debut. If these rumors turn out to be true, all of them will be gone at the end of the 2015/16 NFL season. I would not want to be the studio host(s) who got the assignment to step in and make that program continue on its high level of acceptance; those are indeed big shoes to fill.
I guess I sort of knew this but had never focused on it directly until I had a recent conversation with a Cleveland native who is a long-term fan of the Browns. We were talking about the Browns inability to find a solid QB ever since returning to the league in 1999 and he said that in 3 different drafts, the Browns had or acquired the #22 pick in the first round and used all 3 of those picks to take bad QBs. I went back and checked and it appears that is the case.
2007: Brady Quinn
2012: Brandon Weeden
2014 Johnny Manziel
Let me put as polite a face on those picks as possible and say that none of them worked out nearly as well as the Browns might have hoped for. In fact, Joe Btfsplk had better luck than the Browns had with the overall #22 pick and good ol’ Joe did not have enough luck to have any vowels in his name. [Google is your friend…]
Of the three, Brandon Weeden has the most starts as a QB with 25. His teams’ record in those 25 starts is 6-19. Quinn has started 20 games and his teams’ record in those starts is 4-16. If Manziel does not sober up and never plays another NFL game, his record will show 8 starts and a 2-6 record.
As the dust begins to settle on NBA free-agency, there are three teams whose moves bear scrutiny for next year:
The Chicago Bulls signed Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo and they still have Jimmy Butler. Assuming they get 65-70 games from all three of these guys, that gives them a solid rotation at the guard position. However, there are two question marks:
1. What about the other positions?
2. Can those three players co-exist?
The Atlanta Hawks welcomed back native son, Dwight Howard after Al Horford took his talents to Boston. Dwight Howard has not been a happy camper for a long time now. He wanted out of Orlando; he wanted out of LA after clashing with Kobe; he wanted out of Houston saying that Harden would give him the ball enough. The question here is simple enough; how long will Dwight Howard stay happy with his teammates in Atlanta and how long will the home crowd be welcoming to the return of their native son?
The Miami Heat hoped to sign Kevin Durant; they did not get that done. They expected to resign Dwayne Wade; that did not happen either. Perhaps Chris Bosh can still play in Miami, but given his medical condition, he runs the risk of collapsing on the court at almost any moment. I do not think that the Heat have a lot going for them for the 2016/17 season except this:
They should get a nice high draft pick and they will have a ton of cap room available to them to sign some free agents next summer.
Ryan Fitzpatrick remains unsigned by any NFL team. After posting the best year of his career with the Jets last year, he and the team have not been able to close a deal. Supposedly, the Jets’ offer on the table is for 3 years and $24M with $10M of that guaranteed. That seems a tad on the low side to me not because I think Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be a late bloomer and start to chase Tom Brady for QB honors in the AFC. Rather I think it a tad on the low side because of what the Jets have at QB other than Ryan Fitzpatrick:
Geno Smith: At least he never suffered a butt-fumble
Bryce Petty: Has yet to see the field on a Sunday
Christian Hackenberg: Has yet to see the field in an Exhibition Game.
Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“RB Karlos Williams showed up overweight for the Bills’ offseason workouts, saying he packed on some sympathy pounds due to his wife’s pregnancy.
“But Karlos, to his credit, vows to be in game shape by the season’s first trimester.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………