Just Hopping Around Today…

In the midst of Super Bowl hype, newspapers and Internet sports sites must come up with filler material about the upcoming game because there appears to be an unwritten rule – as exist in baseball evidently – that there must be coverage of the Super Bowl every day.  One such concocted storyline had this as its headline:

  • The Ten Best Teams To Appear In The Super Bowl

That will fill space to be sure; that is also of no consequence nor am I remotely interested in learning which teams that author felt deserved to be on the list.  Immediately, I thought it would be more interesting to suggest what were the Ten Worst Teams in Super Bowl history; however, that would require a whole lot more research that it is worth.  And so, totally off the top of my head and with only minimal research, let me list here:

  • The Three Worst Teams To Appear In The Super Bowl

I will put them in reverse chronological order because I have no interest in making a ranking within this category:

  • (January 2001) NY Giants:  The Giants lost this game to the Ravens 34-7; their only score came on a kickoff return for a TD in the third quarter.  Any momentum that may have provided evaporated about 15 seconds later when the Ravens returned the subsequent kickoff for a TD.  Giants total offense for the game was 152 yards and the Giants had to punt 11 times.
  • (January 1995) San Diego Chargers:  The Chargers lost this game to the Niners 49-26.  It was not nearly that close.  The Niners scored a TD on the third play of the game and never stopped rolling until Steve Young left the game in the 4th quarter with 6 TD passes to his credit.  The rout was not a surprise; the Vegas line for the game was Niners – 19.
  • (January 1986) New England Patriots:  The Pats lost this game to the Bears 46-10.  The Pats actually led at one point 3-0; the Bears then scored 44 straight points.  To end the scoring, the Bears recorded a safety in the 4th quarter.  The Patriots total offense in the game was 123 yards; their rushing offense consisted of 11 running plays that gained a total of 7 yards.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Skins acquisition of Alex Smith in a trade with the Chiefs.  This means the Skins will give Kirk Cousins his walking papers and I realized last evening how that speaks volumes about the team.  Back in 2012, the Skins drafted RG3 with the overall #2 pick behind Andrew Luck; then in the 4th round they took Kirk Cousins.  Now both QBs are gone from the team and both have left the team with at least a modicum of rancor associated with the process.  There are annual surveys done to determine The 100 Best Places To Work In The US or some such compilation.  It occurs to me that the Washington NFL franchise is not going to appear on that list any time soon…

The NFL and FOX have agreed that FOX will get the Thursday Night Football TV rights for the next 5 years and the deal is worth about $3B.  The deal gives FOX 11 games from Weeks 4 thru 15 every year and the games will be simulcast on NFL Network.  Thursday night games in other weeks will be produced by FOX and shown on NFL Network.  The Thanksgiving Night Game is unaffected by this deal; that continues to be the property of NBC.  I think there are a couple of things to note about this deal:

  1. Thursday Night Football is not as popular – does not get the same TV ratings – as Sunday Night Football by a wide margin.  However, if we look at the TV deal as a linear one, FOX will spend $600M to televise 11 of those games in a year (approximately $55M per game).  That is a lot of cheese considering the common narrative that the NFL has peaked in popularity and is in decline.
  2. NFL players say the hate Thursday Night Football.  This contract puts $600M per year in the NFL TV revenue column and that means the NFL players will get about half of that in terms of increased salary cap.  With 32 teams sharing equally, that is about $9.5M per team.  I await the announcement by a group of player reps that the increased salary cap money is not worth playing on Thursday night about once a year.

The telecast for this year’s Super Bowl – NBC has the game – will have a conspicuous missing piece.  Bob Costas will not host – or be part of – the studio show associated with the game.  When I read that, I naturally assumed that because NBC also has the Winter Olympics starting right after the Super Bowl game that Costas was in Korea prepping for his work there.  Not so.  Mike Tirico is going to be the studio maven for the Winter Olympics this year.  I would prefer to be wrong about this, but it appears to me as if Bob Costas is being eased to the sidelines by NBC.  If so, that would be a shame because Bob Costas is more than merely very good at his craft.

Last weekend, Tiger Woods made the cut in a real PGA event and played through 4 full rounds of tournament golf.  There was a 2-year break in Woods’ ability to do that and this is a milestone for him in his quest to pull himself back toward the top of the golf world where he once stood alone.  In this tournament, Woods tied for 23rd place shooting 3-under for the 72 holes.  That sort of performance is not eye-popping, nor does it recall the way Woods used to dominate golf courses.  However, it is a box that he needed to check for himself as a prep for the upcoming Masters in a couple of months.

Finally, let me close today with Scott Ostler’s comments in the SF Chronicle about Woods’ performance last weekend:

“If Tom Brady can be at the top of his game at 40, why not a rebuilt Tiger Woods at 42? There’s just too much accumulated golf knowledge, hunger and battle savvy packed into that bad-ass, free-safety body for Tiger to fade away. Plus, Woods never gets sacked, so to speak.

“Woods is still kind of a boring dude, though. When I write the screenplay for the movie about his late-career comeback, Tiger will be 60 pounds overweight, chain-smoking Camels as he waddles the fairways, and having a romantic fling with Tonya Harding.”

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



14 thoughts on “Just Hopping Around Today…”

  1. Woods and Harding, sittin in a tree, B-I-T-C-H-I-N-Gee …I think this rhyme works if spoken quickly…just sayin

  2. I remember a big fuss being made by the Saints players, Drew Brees in particular, about having to play Atlanta on Thursday night following the Panthers on Sunday. That gave them only two days to prepare for a top division opponent. I think this is especial bad late in the season. I know these guys are professional athletes, but bodies take time to heel. Forget the unique schemes each team employs and the prep required to compete, it is has to be a tough job getting ready for a short week.

    And $9.5 million is not chump change. The older guys might be happy to forgo their share if they could avoid the Thursday games. Some of the younger guys making nearer the minimum might think otherwise.

    1. Doug:

      I still believe there is a “have-your-dake-and-eat-it-too” solution here. Open the season a week earlier creating an 18-week season in place of a 17-week season. Give each team 2 bye weeks. Any time a team has to play on a Thursday, they get a bye week the week before – – plus they get another one somewhere in the schedule.

      That gives players time to heal. It continues Thursday Night Football and its added revenue. AND, it gives the NFL and its “TV partners” and extra week of televised NFL games that draw big audiences and ad revenues.

  3. On the Thursday games, the Curmudgeon has a nice, workable solution mentioned at least a couple of times before. In short, the bye week precedes the Thursday game.

    On Tiger, even though he’s a Stanford guy, it is good to see him getting it together. However, we already had the archetype for the chainsmoker dude, remember John Daly?

  4. Jack,

    You mention the 1986 Pats above. Were they that bad or were DA BEARCE that good?

    They had shut out both the Giants and the Rams to get to the Super Bowl.

    1. Jim:

      It was a bit of both. The Bears’ defense was outstanding; it is rightfully compared to the old Steel Curtain defenses. And the Pats’ team in that game was in the good-not-great category. That paring produced a monumental rout.

  5. don’t you recall Costas’ comments about ambivalent feelings towards football and supposedly saying it destroys peoples’ brains? Be a bit of a distraction to have him doing the game, wouldn’t it?

    1. Ed:

      He never did the game itself; he always did the studio stuff.

      Obviously, I know nothing about the thinking within NBC about Costas and his future. His absence from the Olympics in addition to his absence from the Super Bowl is enough to get my attention. If – I said IF – he were to part company with NBC any time soon, I would hope that he would wind up on MLB Network doing a studio/interview program for them very quickly.

  6. Jack,

    The ‘86 Patriots — with an overwhelmed Tony Eason at QB — were weak. But what I remember most is that near the end of the game, Mike Ditka gave The ball to Refrigerator Perry for a TD plunge, denying the great Walter Peyton a chance for a score. Bush league move on Ditka’s part.

  7. On the morning after Tiger Woods lit up the board to come in 23rd, the profundity of coverage was so complete that I thought Mr. Woods shot a 21 for 18 holes.

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