A Mish-Mash Monday …

A few days ago, I noted that the LA Rams had won two games this year without scoring a TD in either game.  I suggested that this sort of thing may have happened for frequently “in the 30s and 40s” but that I could not recall it happening recently.  Even though I should have, I did not expect an e-mail response from the reader in Houston who is the repository for sports history and stats.  Here is what he provided;

“In the 1920’s, there were 77 games in which a team won without scoring a TD. There were also a load of 0-0 and 3-3 ties and some 6-6 games that no TD was scored during that period. Please note that in the 20s, the average number of games per year was less than 80.

“In the 1930’s, there were 37 such games won without scoring a TD and there were still ties, but not as many as the previous decades. Please note that in the 30s, the average number of games per year was less than 55.

“In the 1940’s, there were only 4 such games and that includes both the NFL and the four years of the AAFC.

“More recently, there were no NFL games from 2013 to 2015 in which the winning team scored fewer than 10 points, but there have been two this season: the two mentioned above. LA is the first team since the 1997 Bills to win two games in one season in which it scored fewer than 10 points. Buffalo did that in Marv Levy’s final season as its head coach, with victories against Indy and Miami, each by a 9-6 score on all field goals.”

A tip of the hat in the compass direction aimed at Houston, TX for that information…

There was a minor tempest in a teacup a few weeks ago when Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, pulled the press credentials from two ESPN reporters because ESPN made a decision he did not like.  Evidently, ESPN decided that one of the two reporters would not cover the Mavs exclusively this year but would also cover the NBA “in general”.  Cuban took exception and refused to give the reporters press credentials which kept them away from the team and the locker rooms.

Since Cuban owns the team, he has every right to hand out press credentials however he sees fit.  Some people immediately screamed that this was a “First Amendment issue” which it most certainly is not.  Later as it became advantageous for both Cuban and ESPN to modify their positions without appearing to give in to the other side, the basis for Cuban’s actions somehow became associated with “robot reporting” of sports stories as a new trend in that field.  Both sides here could agree that “robo-reporting” was “bad”; ESPN could wave the banner of “quality in journalism” while Cuban could stake out a position as a “defender of jobs for journalists”.  In any event, everyone kissed and made up…

However, when I look at the NBA standings this morning, I note that the Dallas Mavericks’ record is 3-13 and that record is the worst in the NBA at the moment.  Indeed, the Mavs are trailing both the Sixers and the Nets in the standings – albeit not by much – as of this morning.  Perhaps, the Mavericks would be treated more kindly by a “robo-reporter” than a “quality journalist” given the product on the floor.  Just a thought…

Last week, the NCAA announced that Notre Dame would have to vacate its football victories from 2012 and 2013 because a student-trainer did academic work for some of the players on those teams which is a violation of NCAA rules and thereby made those players ineligible.  Ergo …

That sounds pretty cut and dried but when you look just a bit closer, you begin to see frayed edges on the fabric of this decision.  Consider:

  1. Notre Dame discovered this on its own and suspended multiple players for academic violations on its own. The NCAA super-sleuths and the NCAA Committee on Infractions had no idea this was going on until Notre Dame informed them of the problem.
  2. The “punishment” is feckless to the Nth degree. In 2012, Notre Dame played Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.  Vacating all the wins prior to that game does not take them out of that game and put a different team in there to play Alabama.  Is anyone to believe that the 12 teams that lost to Notre Dame prior to the BCS Championship game actually won those games?
  3. More on the feckless punishment … From this point forward, Notre Dame will suffer exactly nothing for something that the Committee on Infractions thought was sufficiently heinous that it had to issue a punishment 4 years after the fact.  There is no loss of scholarships – nor should there be; there is no ban from post-season play – nor should there be.  The football program will proceed apace from here on save for the silliness of “vacated wins” in the past.
  4. Hold on, here comes “the hammer” from the NCAA mavens … In addition to vacating those wins, Notre Dame must pay a fine of $5K and the school had to take the public reprimand from the NCAA.  To which I say:


Finally, in the aftermath of Thanksgiving week, here is a comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald regarding something we may not have realized we should be thankful for:

“Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks that none of the three NFL games featured the Cleveland Browns.”

But don’t get me wrong, love sports………


2 thoughts on “A Mish-Mash Monday …”

  1. I don’t get the punishment of ND either. To be effective, it has to be timely and something of clear value must be taken away and neither of those situations occurred here. Another aspect of this is that self-reporting by the institutions is likely to be reduced, which means the NCAA’s Keystone Kops will need to dig deeper and harder. The consequences can be seen by the destruction of UNC’s academic reputation from their peccadillos and should be prevented since these are (allegedly in some cases) supposed to be academic institutions.

    The problem is how to get the records (e.g. the proof of malfeasance0 if they are being obscured, and that is where the federal law FERPA comes in. In short, students have the right to prevent access to their educational records (even from their parents who might be paying for the education) for many legitimate reasons which would make it very hard for the NCAA bloodhounds to sniff around without waivers. We get trained on this regularly, and as a rule it is why exam results are no longer posted with identifying marks in public places.

    1. rugger9:

      Timely was never a possible characteristic of the ND punishment event because the NCAA did not hear about it until Notre Dame told them about it. I think the punishment here is so minimal that it will not throw cold water on schools’ self-reporting of things that are not potentially humongous violations – e.g. the UNC mess or the SMU problems from the mid-80s.

      FERPA was a well-intentioned initiative. You know what they say about good intentions, right?

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