NFL News Items…

The NFL has suspended Cardinals’ DB, Josh Shaw, through the 2020 regular season for betting on NFL games.  According to reports, Shaw placed the bets legally in licensed and regulated sportsbooks and made no attempt to conceal his identity or to assume a false identity.  Notwithstanding the fact that it surely appears as if he did nothing that could run him afoul of the law, there is an unanswered question here:

  • What the Hell were you thinking?

It has been about 18 months since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA as unconstitutional opening the door for individual States to license and regulate sportsbooks.  In that 18 months, Josh Shaw was a player in the NFL; he has been on IR with the Cardinals since the beginning of the 2019 regular season.  It is inconceivable to me that he never heard or read about Roger Goodell’s public angst over how this proliferation of gambling opportunities might eat at the “integrity of the game”.  Somehow, Josh Shaw never heard that stuff.

Compounding the naiveté here, Shaw allegedly bet against his team – the Cardinals – as part of a three-team parlay.  Commissioner Roger Goodell stated the obvious when he was announcing Shaw’s suspension:

“If you work in the NFL in any capacity, you may not bet on NFL football.”

Josh Shaw will appeal his suspension.  If you want an example of a long shot, consider his chances of getting the Commish to change his mind on this one.

There is a gray area in the NFL gambling policy – despite the seemingly no-nonsense tone set by Roger Goodell above.  NFL players play fantasy football; fantasy football is a form of gambling; fantasy football results do not depend on the outcomes of NFL games but do rely on the statistics from NFL games to determine winners and losers.  In fact, the NFL has a financial partnership with DraftKings as the league’s Official Daily Fantasy Partner.

I have no interest in debating whether fantasy football participation by NFL players should or should not be allowed.  However, I think the juxtaposition of one being allowed while the other is clearly not allowed is interesting to observe.

Another NFL event involves a totally different form of “gambling”.  The Carolina Panthers fired coach Ron Rivera yesterday; the team has lost 4 games in a row and last week’s loss at home to the Skins – after leading in the game 14-0 – was probably the final nail in the icing – – to use a mixed metaphor.  Rivera had been with the Panthers for almost ten seasons; his teams had been in the playoffs 4 times and the Panthers went to the Super Bowl once.  Rivera’s cumulative record in Carolina was 76-63-1

In the announcement of the change, Panthers’ owner, David Tepper, said that it was time for him to put his stamp on the team.  Well, he just did that, and the figurative roulette wheel is in motion.

David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers from Jerry Richardson in May 2018 for a reported $2.2B.  Tepper made his money as a hedge fund manager and his net worth is reported to be in the neighborhood of $11.5 – 12B.  Tepper is an avid sports fan and was a partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to buying the Panthers.

David Tepper is about to hire a new coach; he can afford to hire anyone in the business; he will put his stamp on the team by selecting the next head coach after owning the team for less than 2 years.  His reputation is that he is loud and brash.  He has made a boatload of money by being in charge.

Other than a significant difference in age, that is close to the profile of Danny Boy Snyder when Snyder bought the Skins in 1999.  About 18 months after taking over, Snyder fired the Skins’ head coach and started a process that saw 6 full time head coaches come and go in 20 years.

David Tepper could learn something about that situation because the head coach that Snyder fired was Norv Turner – – who was the offensive coordinator for the Panthers and will now be the assistant head coach for the rest of the 2019 regular season.  Norv Turner should not be hard to find for David Tepper…

A couple of weeks ago, I thought the AFC South race would come down to the Colts and the Texans – but the Titans have been on fire for the last month.  This morning, the AFC South race looks like this:

  • Texans:  8-4
  • Titans:  7-5
  • Colts:  6-6
  • Jags:  Doesn’t matter

The Titans and the Texans will play each other twice in the remaining regular season (at Tennessee on 15 December and at Houston on 29 December).  The Texans’ other two games (Broncos and Bucs) are much easier than the Titans’ other two (Saints and Raiders), but the division title could rest with the outcome of those two head-to-head matches.

Meanwhile, the Colts have one tough game (Saints) still to go and three other winnable games (Bucs, Panthers, Jags).  The AFC South race could well be decided on 29 December – the last day of the regular season.

Finally, since everything today has to do with NFL stuff, let me close with two very interesting questions posed by Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle:

“If the Raiders win the Super Bowl, will they have a parade? If so, won’t it be in Las Vegas? The typical championship parade scenario is the city and the team split the costs. Oakland is not likely to spend a dime on a Raiders parade, and the Raiders will be saving all their money for the clubs and tables in Vegas.”

And …

“If the 49ers win the Super Bowl, where will their parade be? Judging from TV shots during nationally-televised games, won’t it be across the Golden Gate Bridge and into downtown Santa Clara?”

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