A few months ago, Deion Sanders and the NFL Network parted ways. Reports said that it was a combination of things that led to the divorce:
- The network did not offer Sanders a raise when his contract was up as the network was in a belt-tightening mode
- Sanders had suggested that he wanted to move on and try his hand at coaching a football team.
Sanders quietly took a job as the offensive coordinator for Trinity Christian High School in Texas where – coincidentally – his son is the quarterback for the team. The team has played 5 games so far this season and has a 3-2 record, but the offense has been plenty effective scoring a total of 211 points in 5 games. That coaching résumé along with Deion Sanders’ presence in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame landed him the job of head coach for Jackson State. That announcement came on Sanders’ podcast over the weekend.
Jackson State is a Division 1-AA program and plays in the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC). That is the conference that has Grambling State and Southern University and Mississippi Valley State along with other HBCUs. In the last 20 years, Jackson State has been the SWAC champion 1 time and the runner-up 4 times; however, since 2013, Jackson State has never had a winning season.
The SWAC is not playing football this Fall but the plan is to play a shortened schedule next spring starting in late February. All the SWAC football schools are in the vicinity of the Gulf Coast so blizzard conditions are not likely even though it will still be winter when the games begin.
Up at the NFL level of football, the league was not happy after Week 1 with lots of TV images showing coaches on the sidelines without their masks on. Of course, they need to lower the masks to yell instructions to players, but many coaches were just waking the whole time on the sideline with the mask down around their necks. In addition to that being a violation of the health and safety protocols, it is not the kind of optic that the league seeks to project since it will be playing most of its games with no fans allowed in the stands.
The league sent a memo to all the teams saying that coaches could be fined if they did not wear their masks. If that is the case, the NFL bank account that holds the funds paid in by player and coaches fine should be well endowed at the end of this week. I watched all or part of 5 NFL games from Thursday through Sunday night and even if I limited my citation of “coaches not wearing masks” to the ones who were blatantly in violation of that edict, there would be at least a dozen coaches and assistants sending checks to the NFL this week.
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had an idea for bringing this situation under control:
“The NFL sent out a memo threatening to punish coaches who don’t wear face coverings at all times on the sideline during games.
“An even better deterrent: automatic 15-yard facemask penalties!”
That might work even better than fining coaches…
MLB has announced the venues for the league playoffs and the World Series for 2020. Basically, this is a “Double-Bubble” arrangement. The teams involved in the AL division round and ALCS will stay in Southern California and play games in Petco Park and/or Dodger Stadium. The teams involved in the NL division round and the NLCS will stay in Texas and play games in Minute Maid Park and/or Globe Life Field. The World Series will be held at Globe Life Field.
The underlying idea here is to have the teams travel as little as possible; community exposure increases the potential for infection from the coronavirus and MLB – along with the MLBPA – would prefer to avoid that situation. This year, there will be a round of playoffs before the division round and that round will be a 3-game series with all three games in the home field of the team with the higher winning percentage.
MLB is hard-over to have as many playoff games as possible to provide as much revenue as possible to the teams. Hence, the expanded playoff rounds. If you look at the MLB standings as of this morning, I think you will see why I hope – against hope – that this expanded playoff format is a one-off for the oddball 2020 season.
If the playoffs started today, here are the bottom 3 teams in the AL who would qualify and what might be their record extrapolated to a full 162 game season:
- Cleveland – – 89 – 73 (respectable)
- Houston – – 82-80 (shameful)
- Toronto – – 82-80 (shameful)
The National League has 4 teams contending for the final 2 playoff slots, but the situation is worse than the one in the AL:
- Philadelphia – – 82-80 (shameful)
- Cincinnati – – 81-81 (seriously?)
- Milwaukee – – 81-81 (seriously?)
- San Francisco – – 81-81 (seriously?)
Finally, here is another observation from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler had to be scratched from a start after he tore the nail of his right middle finger while putting on his pants.
“As any good Philadelphian knows, what good is a guy if he can’t use his middle finger?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………