The fact that I am back at the keyboard today means that my weekend winnings in Las Vegas were not such that I wound up as the owner of one of the major casinos there. Not to worry though; as they must say in the Detroit Lions’ Front Office:
- We’ll get ‘em next year.”
Many Internet sites are commercial enterprises; they exist to make money for the person(s) who own the site and who work to keep the site relevant. In that world, it is critical to get people to visit the site regularly and frequently. It is analogous to the TV business where the ratings for programming drives revenue for the stations/networks; the essential measure is how many eyeballs are on your site or station because that is what advertisers will pay money for.
There are myriad ways to attract viewers or readers; one such way is to keep the content on the site as edgy as possible. Over the weekend, I read a report that the owner/founder of an Internet sports website criticized the fact that one of the Notre Dame leprechaun mascots this year is not a “midget looking ginger”. Indeed, one of the leprechauns is Black.
Why that is important in the sports world is not nearly clear to me. Why that is important in a current sociological sense is not clear to me either. The potential for economic benefit here is transparently clear to me and even though I am a staunch advocate for free expression and for free enterprise, I find this one just a tad on the smarmy side of the ledger. The fact that this comment about a leprechaun mascot that does not look the part might indicate that that the speaker does not realize that one of the other Notre Dame mascots this year is a female. [Evidently, there are three leprechaun mascots at Notre Dame; who knew?] I am not an expert in Irish legends and folklore, but I do not recall any stories where leprechauns were of the female persuasion.
Things are REALLY getting outrageous at Notre Dame these days …
I overheard a segment of sports radio in Las Vegas – I don’t know the station or the host(s) – but the topic of discussion was Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement from the NFL. One of the speakers contended that Luck’s decision was another sign that the “age of football” (his oft-repeated phrase) had peaked and was now starting into a slow decline. His reasoning was that the NFL will not see many players choosing to play into their 30s anymore because the players now recognize the long-term damage it does to their bodies and their brains. That recognition coupled with the escalating salary cap – at least for now – gives players the chance to make money in their 20s and then brush the game off leaving the league with a shortage of marketable stars over long and sustained careers.
In Andrew Luck’s specific situation, he made approximately $100M in his 20s – and took a physical beating while doing so. This radio host/speaker is absolutely correct to say that anyone in such a situation can choose to stop working in that field of endeavor and stop taking a beating. However, I do not think that is nearly a sign of the sure-fire demise of football in the US. Consider:
- Even with escalating salary cap numbers, there are not a lot of players who will make $100M while they are still in their 20s. The NFL has about 2000 men on their collective rosters. Even if every player who made that kind of money chose to quit the game before age 30, there would still be plenty of people to play the games.
- The fact that the opportunity to make that kind of life-changing wealth in short order may possibly attract even more players to the game. One might not choose to “take a beating for 6 or 7 years” in order to make a million or two, but for 100 million…?
Predictions based on extrapolation from small data sets is risky business indeed; extrapolation from a single datum is not extrapolation; it is guessing. This radio host/speaker may be completely correct – – but I will need more data before I agree.
I cannot make it through a rant for today without that Antonio Brown signed on with the Patriots over the weekend. My initial reaction was surprise until I recalled that the Patriots and Bill Belichick have done this before:
- Randy Moss
- Chad Ochocinco (née Johnson)
- Albert Haynesworth
- Josh Gordon (currently on the active roster)
Will Antonio Brown work out in New England? Randy Moss did; Albert Haynesworth did not. Here is the only thing I am confident about:
- If Antonio Brown continues to enhance his brand by acting the fool and by poking at his coaching staff and teammates, he will be released unceremoniously by the Patriots. Signing Brown is not a deviation from “The Patriot Way”; signing Brown is an offer to him to buy into “The Patriot Way”.
The Boston Red Sox are less than a full season removed from their World Series win last October. It appears that the Sox will not make the playoffs this year without a spectacular finish to the season and the franchise has demonstrated a belief in the credo, “What have you done for me lately?” They fired GM, Dave Dombrowski – the architect of that World Series winning team from 10 months ago.
The significant question facing the person who permanently succeeds Dombrowski in the job is very direct;
- Was 2019 an aberration for the Red Sox – – or is this roster too overpaid to allow the team any sort of flexibility to fix the most obvious flaw (the bullpen)?
- The Sox also need an overhaul/restocking of a farm system that is rated near the bottom in MLB by folks who follow that sort of thing closely.
That is a tough environment for a new GM when the team is in “What have you done for me lately?” mode…
Finally, since I mentioned Antonio Brown above, consider this comment about Messr. Brown by Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“A British man has been hospitalized for weeks with groin blisters and severe burns from leaving hair-removal cream on too long.
“On the bright side, though, he just clinched the first annual Antonio Brown Weird Injury of the Year Award.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………