Bonne Chance, Brent Musburger

As I continue my quest to ignore any focus at all on the upcoming Falcons/Patriots game 10 days hence, there are indeed issues worthy of commentary.  For example, Brent Musburger announced yesterday that he will be retiring – at age 77 – from ESPN/ABC Sports at the end of January this year.  His last on-air game will be Georgia versus Kentucky at Rupp Arena on 31 January.  I remember Musburger from his days as the studio host for NFL Today on CBS back in the 70s and I have always enjoyed his game calls.  Here is a sentence from the AP report on his retirement:

“Musburger, who is 77, said he’s leaving active sportscasting to help his family get a sports handicapping business started and to use some of the millions of airline miles he’s earned for some fun travel.”

As you can probably surmise, I fully get why he would choose to retire.  I think “fun travel” is a great idea at any age and would only chide Messr. Musburger for not doing a lot of that all along the way; no reason to put it off until you are 77.  I can also relate to the idea of helping family members to start a sports handicapping company.  If the various states prevail in court to overturn PASPA and are allowed to host sports betting in places like New Jersey and Michigan and New York, there will be a growing market for “sports consultants” and this company may indeed be getting on the ground floor.

Bonne chance, Brent Musburger…

Speaking obliquely about wagering on sporting matters, one of the Internet sportsbooks has posted odds on where Tony Romo will play in the 2017 NFL season.  As of this morning, here is a sampling of the odds:

  • Houston Texans  3 to 1  (the lowest odds on the board)
  • Denver Broncos  4.75 to 1
  • Buffalo Bills  5 to 1
  • NY Jets  7.5 to 1
  • Dallas Cowboys  10 to 1
  • “Retired”  20 to 1.

If Romo winds up playing somewhere other than Dallas next year, it will have to involve at least one of these circumstances:

  1. The Cowboys release him; Romo becomes a free agent and signs on in the place that most appeals to him.
  2. The Cowboys trade Romo to a team with a ton of cap room this year – and for the next several years.

Absent one or both of those situations, the ‘new team” must fit Romo’s contract into their salary cap structure and it may not be easy.  Romo has 3 years left on a 6-year/$108M restructuring of his contract and the three late years are back-loaded.  If my calculations are correct, he will earn $72M in the next 3 years.

Something to keep in mind here is that the Cowboys can – if they want – keep Romo as their backup QB even at his sky-high price for the simple reason that they are paying Dak Prescott on a slotted rookie contract which means that their “total cap commitment” to the QB position is about what it would be with Romo as the starter and Prescott as the clipboard holder.  If my reading of Prescott’s contract situation is correct, he got a $400K signing bonus last year and then made $450K for the 2016 season.  This year, his base salary goes up to $540K and then increases by $90K each year until the 2019 season whereupon he can be a free agent.

There is still a lot of time and opportunity to speculate on what the Cowboys will do here and what other teams may try to do to pry Romo loose from Dallas etc.  In the end, this all comes down to money – cap money for the team and cash money in Tony Romo’s bank account.

Now, speaking of money in amounts that I have difficulty relating to as I peruse my bank accounts, I read a report saying that the NFL is going to extort $650M from the Chargers’ owners as a relocation fee.  That means that the Chargers will pay $650M to move the team to a town that does not want them very much and to become second-level tenants in a new stadium playpen being built by the owner of the other team that just moved to LA.  So, riddle me this:


If the Chargers’ owners have $650M laying around – or have access to $650M without moving Heaven and Earth – why can’t they take that money and get some money from the NFL’s “slush funds” and perhaps take on a partner who would buy in for say 15% of the team and pool all of that money?


My guess is that total would be north of $1B and that would allow the Chargers to build – and own – their own new stadium in San Diego where fans have supported the team for more than 50 years.

The fact that this makes sense to me and seems not to make any sense to the Chargers’ owners and/or the NFL financial mavens tells you why I never would have had a shot at making it in the world of high finance…

Finally, since I started today with a comment about a retirement, let me close with this item from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:

“A 75-year-old man reportedly punched a 92-year-old man in the face over seating in a Nebraska nursing home cafeteria.

“So that settles it. Neither Evander Holyfield nor George Foreman has retired.”

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



9 thoughts on “Bonne Chance, Brent Musburger”

  1. I suspect time will tell that you have a much better grasp on high finance than you give yourself credit for… and a MUCH better sense all-around than Messr. Spanos….

    1. Pete:

      My baseline understanding of high finance is that any deal involving high finance is way beyond my reach. Then I build on that foundation …

  2. It also begs the question about what the 650 million would actually be used for in a way that benefits the overall league brand as opposed to merely lining owners’ pockets. Aren’t there laws about extortion?

    There is also the question of financing, such as the problem faced by my beloved Bears in Berkeley as well as the Washington Huskies when they upgraded their respective stadiums, and both athletic departments are running more than 15 million dollars in the red, due (in Cal’s case) to the enormous debt service (more than 17 mil if I remember correctly) that was intended to be financed by seat license sales that simply was a non-starter (especially in Berkeley). One would think the lessons from the Raider move back to Oakland would be heeded a 25 or so minute BART ride from the Coliseum. In the case of Memorial Stadium (it’s much nicer than before and needed seismic upgrades, btw) there are severe restrictions gleefully enforced by entrenched neighbors preventing use of the stadium for large events outside of the football season, so concerts and tractor pulls are out as revenue options.

    At some point (like our housing market here in the Bay Area) the prices reach a point where watching on TV is preferable.

    1. Tenacious P:

      It is possible but highly unlikely for several reasons.

        1. I don’t think the Cowboys covet Matt McGloin.
        2. I don’t think Tony Romo would start over Derek Carr.
        3. I don’t think Tony Romo would be a happy camper on a new team where he is the backup


      Other than that …

        1. Rich:

          I do not know the Southpoint Hotel and Casino. Is that one of the places in the old downtown area?

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