XFL 2.0

XFL 2.0 launched over the weekend.  There are some positives and some negatives attached to that statement, and I want to go over some of them.  Of the 4 games on the air, I watched about 9 quarters of the 16 available; here are some observations:

  • Plus:  Attendance looked reasonable for two of the games.  The DC/Seattle game played in a stadium that seats 20,000 looked virtually full. [Announced attendance was 17,125.]  The NY/Tampa game played in the Meadowlands had a similar announced attendance, but the crowd looked bigger than that on TV.
  • Minus:  The TV commentators need to focus on the games in front of them and maybe an interesting storyline or two.  The constant references to “novelty” and “revolutionary” got very old.
  • Plus: The games demonstrated competence for players and coaches.  This was not helter-skelter sandlot football.  At the same time, this is definitely minor-league pro football and not something that is a hair’s breadth away from the NFL product.
  • Minus:  There are FAR TOO MANY on-field interviews with players and coaches and just about anyone involved with the game on the sidelines.  And with players mic-ed up, the folks manning the “dump button” need to be far more alert in the future.
  • Plus:  PJ Walker is the QB for the Houston Roughnecks.  He was running around out there looking like DeShaun Watson of the Houston Texans.  I suspect he will be a fan favorite there.
  • Minus:  A couple of the TV commentators got a bit loose with their language and required the use of the “dump button”.  I am certainly no prude, but that is totally unnecessary.
  • Plus:  Some of the innovative rules for XFL 2.0 are good ones.  I like the league’s PAT options; I really like the transparency of the booth reviews; the pace of the game is better than the NFL or college football.

If you are interested, here is a link to a report at CBSSports.com that will explain many of the rule differences between XFL 2.0 and the NFL – or college football.

To some degree, the long-term viability of XFL 2.0 will depend on its acceptance by bettors.  Notwithstanding the impurity brought to the game by low-life gamblers, the fact is that a large measure of the NFL’s dominance of US sports is due to the widespread use of the games as a vehicle for wagering.  I don’t know how bettors will view XFL 2.0, but if it turns out to be a big deal, then the league has an avenue toward “growth” over and above “survival”.

Dwight Perry acknowledged the importance of gambling to the new football league obliquely in the Seattle Times last weekend:

“Sure sign you might have a gambling problem: You missed Super Bowl LIV because you were at your XFL fantasy-league draft.”

Professor Perry is not all that far off.  One of the banner ads on an Internet sports site over the weekend invited me to sign up for Daily Fantasy contests involving XFL 2.0.  Seriously…

Allow me to interrupt this rant with an important notice:

  • Memo to Iowa:  The Chiefs beat the Niners in the Super Bowl by a score of 31-20.  Thought you would like to know the final result …

Regarding the MLB sign-stealing scandal, Henry Aaron last week said that everyone involved in the cheating should be banned from baseball for life.  That is a harsh position to take but it is not an outrageous one.  The underlying principle of MLB’s ironclad rule about betting on games is the defense of “the integrity of the game”.  Well, “integrity” also takes a significant blow when teams – or players or managers or whomever – find ways to cheat to affect the outcomes.  The “integrity of the games” need not be tied solely to the winners or losers of wagers; the “integrity of the game” has a fundamental tie to the statistical outcomes of those games.  I am not convinced that Henry Aaron’s call for a lifetime ban from baseball is appropriate here, but I am sure of two things:

  1. Even though the Commish promised immunity for players who provided information in MLB’s investigation, there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea that those players who actively participated in the cheating – and benefited from it – are immune from any and all punishment.
  2. The person making the call for a lifetime ban is Henry “Bleeping” Aaron.  This man has been in and around baseball for about 70 years; he is an ambassador for the game; his opinion(s) command attention simply because they are his opinion(s).

In terms of stature regarding baseball, I was trying to think of the half-dozen or so people who might be on the same level of “authority” as Henry Aaron.  Here is my list; if these folks also believe that a lifetime ban is appropriate, then I would have to reassess my position.

  • Bob Gibson
  • Derek Jeter
  • Sandy Koufax
  • Willie Mays
  • Cal Ripken
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Carl Yastrzemski

Finally, as I mentioned last week, people will use the storyline related to where Tom Brady will play football next year as filler until such time as he signs a contract for next year.  Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel expressed his opinion for the line of thinking that has Brady playing for the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2020:

“Not to be mean, but putting Tom Brady on the Bucs would be like putting the Mona Lisa in Room 217 of the Red Roof Inn.”

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



Football Tidbits Today

#2 son provided me with the following tidbit.  Kyle Shanahan was on the sidelines for two of the biggest 4th quarter comebacks in Super Bowl history – – but he was on the “wrong sideline”.  He was the offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Falcons when the Pats rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win the game in OT; this year, he was the head coach for the Niners who led by 10 points in the middle of the 4th quarter and lost by 10 points in regulation.  Combining those games, here is a stunning statistic:

  • In those two Super Bowl contests, from the time when there were 10 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter until the game was over (the Pats game went to OT), the teams with Kyle Shanahan calling the plays were outscored 46-0.

That is a head-shaker to be sure.  Shanahan deserves plenty of blame for his failure to run the ball and eat up some clock in the Pats game, but I am not so sure his play calling was seriously in question last weekend.  That stat is a serious indictment on the defensive coordinator and the defensive players in those two games.  The Falcons’ defense was simply gassed at the end of their game and the Niners’ defense gave up all of the big plays it would surrender for the day in the final minutes.  Amazing statistic…

Speaking of NFL defenses and defensive coordinators, the Raiders fired their defensive coordinator, Brenston Buckner, and hired Rod Marinelli to take that job.  The basis for that hiring and firing decision is simple; Marinelli was with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay as the Bucs’ defensive line coach when the Bucs won the Super Bowl there in January 2003.  Putting that aside for just a moment, here is why this move is surprising:

  • Marinelli is 70 years old.  I doubt that anyone sees him as any sort of “innovator” on defense.
  • Buckner became the Raiders’ defensive coordinator in 2019.  He inherited a defense that was last in the NFL in sacks (13) and put a defense on the field last year that recorded 32 sacks.  That may not be an eye-popping total, but it is a 146% increase year-over-year.
  • Marinelli’s most recent stint in the NFL has been as the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys – and no one would point to the Cowboys’ defense over the past two seasons as a model for all other teams to try to emulate.

Buckner was not “at loose ends” for long.  He must be held in some level of esteem around the league because he was hired by the Cardinals to be their defensive line coach in about 24 hours.

Division 1-A college football is a significant step down from the NFL and when you get to the bottom levels of Division 1-A college football one may need a parachute to get from the NFL to that level.  The UConn football program has been a low-level bottom feeder for several years now – and it just might be getting worse. Here is how bad it was in 2018:

  • UConn gave up 50.4 points per game and 617.4 yards per game.

In 2019, UConn was 2-10 with those wins coming against Division 1-AA Wagner College and bottom-feeder-supremo, UMass.  Channeling the guy on the infomercials who hawks Oxi-Clean:

But wait!  There’s more…

Now that the NCAA has introduced the “transfer portal” to facilitate the processes by which a student-athlete can move from one school to another, there is an easy way to keep tabs on how many players may or may not be “on the move”.  A recent report at NBCSports.com said that 23 players on the UConn roster had entered the transfer portal.  A look at the 2019 UConn roster yields some interesting information:

  • If I counted correctly there were 100 players on the roster for 2019.
  • There were only 10 seniors on the team; not a lot of folks hung in there for 4 years of Husky football.
  • Now according to the report, 23 other players have entered the transfer portal.  Assuming they successfully find a way out of Storrs, CT, that means 33% of last year’s team will not be there next year.
  • If you are a player in the transfer portal who was not a starter or a player who got significant time last year, how might that player be viewed by other Division 1-A schools?  I would not be busting my butt to take on players who were starters from that team let alone bench jockeys.

UConn is leaving the AAC to join the non-football Big East Conference.  So, in addition to having a questionable roster for football, it is going to have to feel its way through the thicket of being an independent football team at the Division 1-A level – – or downgrade to Division 1-AA.  Here are the seven Division 1-A football independents for 2020:

  1. Army
  2. BYU
  3. Liberty
  4. New Mexico St.
  5. Notre Dame
  6. UConn
  7. UMass

New Mexico State, UConn and UMass bring no glory at all to that list…

Randy Edsall is the head coach at UConn and is in his second stint there.  He took over in 2017 after a 6-year hiatus from the school.  In those 3 seasons since his return, the Huskies cumulative record has been 6-30.  I would say things are looking bleak inside the football program at UConn.

Finally, Bob Molinaro had this comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot this week.  Given the amount of commentary surrounding this topic, I find myself in complete agreement with him:

Brief rant: I guess something’s wrong with me. Otherwise, I’d have a stronger reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show put on by two middle-aged women. But I don’t. For me, it was neither great nor controversial, perhaps because I was barely paying attention. But so many things media and people find spectacular or objectionable just aren’t. It’s tiresome.”

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



Scheduling …

The Super Bowl is over; the KC Chiefs have already held their championship parade; the 2019 season is history.  That does not mean, however, that the NFL has entered a dark zone in terms of sports news.  Two issues related to scheduling are simmering this morning demonstrating that the NFL is never “out-of-season”.  The first issue deals with reports that the NFL and the NFLPA are still wrestling with the idea of a 17-game season as part of the new CBA they will have to forge before the end of next season.

Some players – such as Richard Sherman – do not like the 17-game season idea at all and Sherman says it is merely a cover for the league because the owners really want an 18-game schedule but they know they can’t sell that idea in this round of bargaining.  The basis for the players’ objection is fundamental:

  • NFL games effect significant wear and tear on the bodies of the participants.

The competing argument is purely monetary:

  • An added week of games puts more product on the airwaves meaning an increase in league revenues which are then applied to the salary cap calculation meaning total player compensation goes up.

I think the league is being a tad disingenuous as it tries to frame this issue in this way because I think there is another wrinkle to this scheme that goes beyond “more money in exchange for morel wear and tear on players’ bodies”.  Maybe I am “seeing ghosts” here – as did Sam Darnold earlier this season.  I think the owners see a way to increase the value of their franchises which is a boon to them and of no value to the players.  And it is rooted in the unassailable fact that “17” is an odd number of games.  Hear me out…

There is a home field advantage for teams.  Last year, home teams were 132-123-1; that is not an overwhelming edge, but it is a small edge.  When the season has an even number of games, each team has the same number of home games as they do away games; that cannot happen with an odd number of games.  Therefore, the league had to come up with a way to balance the schedule if they wanted to pursue a 17-game season and here is the solution:

  • Each team would play 8 home games and 8 away games and 1 game at a neutral site.

That “neutral site game” is not a plus for the players; in fact, from their perspective, a neutral site game is an away game where they are away from home and family. However, the “neutral site game” has value for the owners:

  • Attendance is likely to be strong if only for the novelty of the spectacle.
  • Strong attendance MIGHT lead to local efforts to try to acquire a franchise by offering a new stadium at taxpayer expense with an attractive lease offer.
  • Creating demand for franchises outside the geographical limits of the current footprint would increase franchise value.

I have exactly no evidence that this sort of thought process is in motion inside those CBA negotiations, but I’d be surprised if none of the billionaires who own the NFL teams hasn’t had that concept float through his/her mind.

Tangentially related to that scheduling issue is a league announcement yesterday that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be playing two home games on consecutive weeks at Wembley stadium in London.  That would be the first time that any NFL team has played two games – of any designation – outside the “lower 48” in a single season.  But it is more than that; these are two of the Jags’ home games that will take place in London.

It is not a secret that the Jags do not draw huge crowds at home; last year, the Jags ranked 22nd in the league in home attendance.  Now before someone points out that the Jags were not a good team in 2019 and that could explain the relatively poor attendance, consider that three of the top five teams in home attendance had less than sterling records in 2019:

  • Jets – – 2nd in home attendance (78,523 per game) – – record was 7-9
  • Broncos – – 4th in home attendance (75,937 peer game) – – record was 7-9
  • Giants – – 5th in home attendance (74,664 per game) – – record was 4-12
  • Jaguars – – 22nd in home attendance (63,085 per game) – – record was 6-10

The Jags’ owners proclaim loudly that they are committed to keeping the team In Jax and have no intention of moving the team anywhere – – let alone London.  The fact that the Jags’ owner also owns the Fulham Football Club that plays in the English Championship League (one level below the Premier League and currently in position for promotion to the Premier League next year) has to make some fans in Jax “slightly on edge”.  Petitions to protest this scheduling decision have already begun – not that they are going to change any already made-up minds – and I think that poses a danger to the league.  Jax may not have tons of fans or the most passionate fans in the league, but this decision is a slap in the face to the fanbase that the team does enjoy.

Recall what I said above regarding games played on neutral sites – such as London Games.  They are actually “away games” for players on both teams.  In 2020, the Jags will play 6 real home games and 10 real away games including a two-week road trip where the team does not come home for family time during the intervening week.  Does that sound like a great selling point for free agents?

Finally, after Ben Simmons criticized the team as “soft” after a recent loss, this is the headline on the story in The Onion:

“Embarrassed Ben Simmons Retracts Criticism Of Sixers After Remembering He On Team”

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



Three Big Things …

No need to go to the clipboard today to find something to rant about; plenty of stuff went down overnight that commands comment.  At the top of that list must be the apparent decision by the folks who run the Boston Red Sox to bag the 2020 season.  In a trade announced yesterday:

  • The Red Sox give up Mookie Betts and David Price – and send an undisclosed but supposedly “significant” amount of cash away with Price to pay a portion of his salary for the next several years.
  • The Red Sox get, in return, Alex Verdugo, and Brusdar Graterol.

Mookie Betts is only 27 years old; he was the AL MVP in 2018; he is a 4-time All-Star and has won 4 Gold Gloves.  Let’s just say that Alex Verdugo’s career to date does not quite reach those heights.

David Price is 34 years old; there is wear and tear on his tires.  The upcoming season will be his 13th in MLB; back in 2012 – ancient history, I know – Price won the AL Cy Young award.  Graterol is much younger than Price – and far less accomplished.

The apparent motive here is that the Red Sox want to get under the “luxury tax threshold” for roster salary in 2020 which is set at $208M.  It is not unusual for “small market teams” to have player decisions forced upon them by economics but the Red Sox are one of the “revenue monsters” in MLB.  I am sure the Red Sox will assert that this is a move to “get younger” and will point to Graterol in his 20’s as opposed to Price at age 34.  The more they say that; the more convinced I will become that this was a “money decision”.

Oh, by the way, pitchers and catchers will be reporting in about two weeks and the Red Sox don’t have a manager as of this morning.  Now that the Front Office in Boston has rid itself of sufficient payroll to get under the luxury tax line, maybe they will find a moment to hire someone who can show up every day and pretend that the Re Sox are serious contenders in 2020.  The Red Sox won’t finish last in the AL East simply because the Orioles are in that division and will be fielding a AAA roster for most of 2020, but the Red Sox will not be threatening the Yankees this year.

This was a 3-way swap; but the key beneficiary here would be the LA Dodgers who acquire both Betts and Price in exchange for Kent Maeda (to the Twins) and Verdugo (to the Red Sox).  The Dodgers have to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NL West for the 8th straight year.  They will have 3 former MVPs on the roster including last year’s NL MVP and Mookie Betts who own the AL MVP two seasons ago.  [The third former MVP is Clayton Kershaw from 2014.]  The only serious threat that the Dodgers face is their habit of coming up short in the playoffs or the World Series.

The next big thing that happened yesterday was the New Your Knickerbockers firing team president, Steve Mills.  Let me paint a landscape of his time in NY here:

  • Mills has been part of the Knicks organization since 2013.
  • In that time, the Knicks have had 6 different coaches.  Also, the Knicks hired – and subsequently fired – Phil Jackson leaving the team presidency open for Mills to occupy.
  • Mills and his cohort GM Scott Perry made the Kristaps Porzingis trade saying it was motivated by their uncertainty that Porzingis would be a star player after his rehab from a serious injury.  That may be true, but what they got in return was bupkes.
  • Mills and Perry also hatched the “strategy” of tanking for a shot at Zion Williamson along with having a ton of cap space that would attract Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency last summer.  None of that happened…

Mills already played the “fire the coach card” earlier this year sending David Fizdale home.  Nonetheless, the Knicks record so far is 15-36 and they are no threat to make the playoffs starting in a couple of months.  Knicks’ fans ought to be accustomed to that situation by now:

  • The Knicks have missed the playoffs for the last 6 years.
  • Since 2001/02, the Knicks have been in the playoffs only 4 times and have lost in the first round 3 of those 4 times.

The franchise is a mess simply because the combination of “stability” and “competency” does not reside in the decision-makers.  Fans in New York chant “Sell The Team” which clearly infuriates owner James Dolan – – but seems only to get him to double down on his refusal to do just that.  However, it is Dolan who made the decision to hire Phil Jackson in the first place and then to fire him and replace him with Steve Mills who had never held a “basketball position” prior to becoming team president.  Mills entire career had been as a “business-side guy”.

The Knicks are a hot mess – – and yet I think there would be plenty of competent execs who would want to take the job.  The Knicks are hugely valuable so the team president could command a fat contract; more importantly, if the new guy on the block could convince the owner to lower his profile just a tad and then put a team on the floor that made the playoffs sometime in the next two years, that new guy on the block would rise to god-like status among the Garden faithful.  It would be worth the risk for a basketball guy; after all, failing as an exec for the Knicks with James Dolan at the top of the pyramid is not exactly seen as an indictment of one’s career.

The third big thing that went down yesterday is the retirement of Mark Dantonio from the position of head football coach at Michigan State.  He has been with the Spartans for 13 years in that job and he is now the winningest coach in history at the school.  Dantonio is 63 and he said that his retirement was motivated by the fact that he never got time off to just “come up for air”.

Clouding the issue here is the fact that Dantonio is the target of a lawsuit filed by a former school employee alleging that the employee’s contract was breeched when the school was investigating sexual misconduct claims against four former football players.  Dantonio said the suit had “zero” to do with his retirement decision but the timing is problematic here.  Moreover, he leaves the job just as “signing day” arrives which cannot be a plus for whatever recruiting class Michigan State attracts in 2020.

Finally, to put a punctuation mark on the NFL playoffs this year, consider this item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“Comedian Argus Hamilton, via Twitter, on the 49ers jumping to a 27-0 halftime lead over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game: ‘If Aaron Rodgers were covered by Allstate instead of State Farm, he would be protected from mayhem like this.’”

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



Rest In Peace, Willie Wood

Willie Wood died yesterday.  Wood was a Hall of Fame defensive back for the “Vince Lombardi” Packers in the ‘60s.  In Super Bowl I his interception of a Len Dawson pass changed the momentum of the game and set the Packers up for a 35-10 win.  Willie Wood was an undrafted free agent who played QB in college – demonstrating once again that the NFL Draft is not nearly a science.

Rest in peace, Willie Wood…

Allow me a few more comments about Sunday’s Super Bowl game and telecast.  First, I thought that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman gave us an excellent account of the game.  They have no control over the whoop-di-do that accompanies a Super Bowl game presentation, but I thought they did a good job ignoring it/minimizing it and making a sensible call for the game.  I know there are folks who just don’t like Joe Buck and/or Troy Aikman for whatever reason(s), but I thought they did a really fine job on Sunday.  I was particularly pleased to see that Aikman offered criticism as well as praise during the game.  Often in a Super Bowl game, there is an over-abundance of praise emanating from the TV speakers.

I mentioned yesterday that my long-suffering wife and I watched the game in Philadelphia with a standard cadre of friends.  As you might expect, we do one of those Super Bowl pools where one answers questions such as:

  • Coin toss, heads of tails?
  • National anthem, over or under 2 minutes?
  • Will both QBs complete their first pass attempt, yes or no?
  • Will the first ad be for a vehicle, beverage or something else?
  • Will Patrick Mahomes throw for 350 yards, over or under?
  • You get the drift…

Sunday, I finished dead last in that pool.  My long-suffering wife had a better pool entry than I did.  I experienced the feeling of one amid a “walk of shame” …

Two members of the winning Chiefs’ team had reason to be doubly happy for the Super Bowl ring they will ultimately receive:

  1. Austin Reiter:  He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Skins who had no use for him other than a slot on the practice squad.  In 2016, he signed on with the Browns as part of their active roster and was with the Browns for the 2016 and 2017 seasons which saw the Browns amass a record of 1-31-0.  The Browns cut him just before the start of the 2018 season and he signed on with the Chiefs the day after he was cut.  Austin Reiter escaped two of the most dysfunctional franchises in US sports and now has a Super Bowl ring.
  2. Terrell Suggs:  He has been in the NFL since he was drafted by the Ravens in 2003.  He was a defensive mainstay for the Ravens and left that team to sign a one-year contract with the Cardinals just prior to the 2019 season.  In mid-December, the Cardinals simply released Suggs and there were reports that he did not “fit in” with what the Cardinals were trying to accomplish.  A few days later, he signed on with the Chiefs.  Terrell Suggs may not have “fit in” with whatever it is that the Cardinals were doing, but he fit in sufficiently with the Chiefs to be part of the defense that helped win him a second Super Bowl ring.

The WNBA and the WNBPA have reached a labor agreement that should assure labor peace through the 2027 season.  Some have called this agreement a turning point for the WNBA as a sporting entity and others have called this agreement a gamble.  WNBA Commissioner, Cathy Englebert seems to have embraced both descriptions calling the new CBA a “big bet on women” by the league.  Here are a few of the key element of the new deal:

  • Total salary for the players will rise more than 50% over previous levels.
  • “Landmark benefits for motherhood and family planning” are included.  [Aside: I have searched for specifics here but have not found them.]
  • Better travel conditions.  [Aside: Presumably this will avoid a team pulling a no-show for a scheduled game due to travel snafus as happened with a WNBA game in the past.]

One of the concessions made by the players is an assurance that the players will show up for WNBA training camps from the opening of those camps.  That could mean that some top players will need to amend their lucrative overseas contracts to report to training camp “on time”.  I find that an interesting concession because players’ unions normally do not agree to conditions that might be deleterious to the interests of its top-shelf members.  Whatever…

To me, the statement by Ms. Englebert that this CBA is a “big bet on women” by the WNBA reflects the fact that WNBA teams lose money under the current economic constraints and the new CBA calls for team expenditures to rise significantly.  When a business is losing money, one might expect it to try to find ways to reduce costs as it simultaneously seeks to expand revenues.  That is not what this new CBA does.

In the major men’s sports in the US, the Commissioner’s main job is to grow revenues for the league as a whole while maintaining labor peace.  Commissioner Englebert seems to have accomplished the second part of that job meaning she needs to get to work on expanding league revenues.  Getting more fans to games is one obvious way to increase revenue – but that is a small piece of the action needed here.  The big drivers for increased revenue for the WNBA will come from better TV contracts and from corporate sponsorships.

Finally, since I mentioned my shame above, let me provide you with the definition of shame form The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Shame:  The realization that nobody else thinks the thing you were caught doing was as wholesome as you thought it was.”

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



The Chiefs Are The Champs

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs – this year’s Super Bowl Champions.  The Niners ran off 17unanswered points between the late 2nd quarter and the start of the 4th quarter to take a 20-10 lead.  The Chiefs “had them right where they wanted them” and did the patented Chiefs’ “rally from behind thing” to post 3 TDs in the late stages of the game to win going away 31-20.  The Chiefs won 3 playoff games this year; they trailed by double digits in all three of those games and came back to win them all.

Demonstrating that QBs get more credit for success than may be deserved and more blame for defeat than may be deserved, consider the reaction to the performances of the two QBs here.

  • Patrick Mahomes threw 3 TD passes and amassed more than 300 yards through the air and was the MVP for the game.  However, he also threw 2 ugly INTs and many of his passes were less than ideally placed for the first 3 quarters of the game.  But he did lead that comeback; the Chiefs did win; he is the MVP and the player bathed in glory.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo threw only 1 ugly INT – it looked to me on the replay as if his eyes were closed as he let fly on that pass – and was far more accurate with his throws for the first 3 quarters of the game.  But he did not “get it done” in the final 8 minutes of the game and he is considered in some quarters as the “goat” as opposed to the “GOAT”.

Damien Williams scored 2 TDs in the game – and he was an undrafted free agent.  Kyle Juszczyk is a Harvard grad and also scored a TD in the game.  Come April when folks are obsessed with who gets taken where in the first round of the Draft, please recall that Juszczyk was a 4th round pick from an Ivy League school and Williams was passed over by every team in the league in every round despite playing at Oklahoma. Oh, and he has been bouncing around the pro football world since being ignored in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Just saying…

I am not ready just yet to get caught up in the euphoria that has afflicted some commentators declaring that last night’s victory announces the arrival of a new dynasty in the NFL.  I prefer to wait at least another 3 or 4 years before I get into “dynasty proclamations” but I will admit that some demographic data points to possible long-term success for the Chiefs:

  • WR Mecole Hardman is 21 years old
  • QB Patrick Mahomes is 24 years old
  • WR Tyreek Hill is 25 years old
  • WR Sammy Watkins is 26 years old
  • RB Damien Williams is 27 years old
  • TE Travis Kelce is – antiquated by these standards – 30 years old.

I know.  Those are just the skill players on the offensive side of the ball and football is a team game that requires balance.  Nonetheless, that is a pretty good offensive base to start with; the Chiefs are not likely to be losing many 10-3 football games any time soon.

I watched the game in Philadelphia with a group of friends who always convene for this event.  There was an interesting split in thinking there.  One school was rooting for Andy Reid to win his first Super Bowl because of his ties to the Philadelphia Eagles in times past.  The other point of view was to root for any team playing the Chiefs because those folks did not want Andy Reid ever to win a Super Bowl because he did not do so in his time with the Eagles.  I mentioned last Friday that many thought that Reid needed a Super Bowl win to “qualify” for the Pro Football Hall of Fame; I did not share that view, but that narrative was out there.

Now that he has the Super Bowl win, here are the stats to tell you why he should be in the Hall of Fame as a coach:

  • Currently, there are 18 coaches in the Hall of Fame; 2 more will be inducted in August bringing the total to 20.
  • Andy Reid has 207 regular season wins as a head coach in his career and 222 wins in all counting the playoffs.  He has more wins than 15 of the 20 coaches who will be in the Hall of Fame as next season kicks off.
  • Andy Reid’s winning percentage is .618.  That win percentage is higher than 8 of the current and imminent Hall of Fame inductees.  Four of the coaches with a lower winning percentage in the Hall of Fame include Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Hank Stram and Chuck Noll; I doubt anyone would object to the inclusion of any of those 4 men.
  • And now, Andy Reid has his “Super Bowl credential” …

It was sometime during the early part of the 4th quarter where we were going through another series of Super Bowl ads that I said the commercials this year were really lame.  To demonstrate my point, I said that the two political ads – bought by the Trump campaign and by Michael Bloomberg – were among the best ones I had seen to that point.  Ten years ago, Super Bowl ads were creative and entertaining.  Yesterday they were abstruse bordering on unfathomable.  If this is the harbinger of a trend related to advertisements on sporting events for 2020, I shall not lack for material when it comes time for my annual “Bad Ads” rant in late December.

One ad featured Bill Murray and a groundhog recalling that movie from about 25 years ago.  I have long thought it would be great if the producers of that movie announced that they were making Groundhog Day 2”; and then when it was time for the premiere, they just re-released the original Groundhog Day film from the past.  Sounds like a hoot to me…

Finally, Brad Dickson had an interesting observation in a Tweet once yesterday’s game was over:

“Now comes the hard part – carrying Andy Reid off the field.”

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