It had been 2 years since I was able to watch the NCAA basketball tournament – – the event that I believe is the single best annual sporting event in the US. The fact that what I had access to last evening were the play-in games was suboptimal, but it was still the win-or-go-home basketball tournament environment and I was in front of my TV set from tip off until the end of the overtime in the fourth game of the evening. Let me make a couple of general observations:
- The officials in the UCLA/Michigan St. game may have been auditioning for jobs in the NBA. They certainly ignored enough traveling violations last night to demonstrate to the NBA mavens that they have that part of their officiating duties down pat.
- Appalachian St. is the Sun Belt Conference Champion and Norfolk St. is the MEAC Champion. If those are really the BEST teams in those conferences, then maybe the NCAA needs to re-examine the concept of “automatic bids” to the tournament.
- Notwithstanding the fact that two of the four games yesterday were 1-point games and another went to OT, there was not a lot of quality basketball on display. The fundamental reason it was good television is that the games were close and they had tournament finality attached to them.
Earlier this week, a report on The Dan Patrick Show, said that the Chicago Bears had offered the Seattle Seahawks three first round draft picks plus a third-round draft pick plus two starters (The individuals were not identified.) in exchange for Russell Wilson. The Seahawks dismissed that offer. Let us assume for a moment that report to be 100% accurate:
- That offer – and its rejection – sets the market for a Top-tier franchise QB in the NFL. Wilson still has years of productive play in him to a degree that a couple of other Top-tier franchise QBs cannot project. The message sent by the Seahawks here is that it will take some sort of offer on a galactic scale for them to consider trading away Russell Wilson.
- There have been reports that Wilson is “miffed” with the Seahawks’ organization and he indicated that he wanted to be traded to either the Bears, Cowboys Raiders or Saints. Of those 4, three have resolved their QB situation for next year in free agency; the Raiders might seek to upgrade from Derek Carr to Russell Wilson – – but the Raiders now know the sort of price tag such an upgrade will carry.
- Russell Wilson is under contract to the Seahawks through the end of the 2023 season; at that time, he will be 35 years old. He will earn a total of $70M – plus possible incentives – over the course of his existing contract. Theoretically, he can be a free agent going into the 2024 season absent the Seahawks placing a franchise tag on him. What that tells me is that he and the Seahawks’ organization need to find a détente sometime soon because they are going to be in a co-existence paradigm for quite a while.
Two other NFL QB “situations” moved to completion in the last week that might be interesting. Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the WTFs and seems to be the leader in the competition for the starting QB job there. This will be Fitzpatrick’s 9th NFL team; that made me wonder if any other player had been with more NFL teams. They have:
- JT O’Sullivan and Josh McCown have both suited up for 12 different NFL teams.
- Fitzpatrick will turn 39 in mid-season this year, so it is not impossible for him to perambulate around the league to 3 other teams before hanging up the jockstrap for good…
[Aside: Kevin Glenn has been a QB in the CFL since 2001. He holds the distinction of having been on every team in the CFL during that time. In fact, he has been on the Saskatchewan Roughriders three times and on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for two different stints. If Kevin Glenn has not yet been named Man of the Year by Royal Canadian Van Lines, he certainly should be.]
The other NFL QB situation that seems to have resolved itself last week was the signing of Cam Newton by the Patriots. The first reports said that the deal was for 1-year and $12M which seemed outrageous to me. As more details of the contract were reported, that $12M figure is attached to a load of team and personal incentives; should they all be achieved, the Pats would be happy to deposit $12M in Newton’s bank account. It seems that about $5M of that $12M is what is guaranteed.
My surprise here is that it never appeared to me in watching the Patriots last year that Cam Newton’s strengths as a QB fit into the offense that the Pats like to run. Frankly, I thought the Pats would make a run at Ryan Fitzpatrick if they were in the market for a QB on a 1-year deal or for Andy Dalton if they wanted to sign a veteran who could play a couple more years. Maybe this means the Patriots are going to change their offensive “philosophy”? We shall see…
Finally, consider this NFL-related observation by Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“Technology? They don’t need no stinking technology.
“’Thanks to GPS, they can identify the location of your phone within one inch of anywhere on the planet,” noted comedy writer Alex Kaseberg. ‘But the NFL still measures first downs with two sticks and a chain.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..