Monday Morning Musings…

The Australian Open will begin a week from today; it has already become a soap opera.  The world’s #1 ranked player on the men’s side of the draw, Novak Djokovic, is an avowed anti-vaxxer; notwithstanding that fact, he was granted a visa to enter Australia but when he arrived last week, the government there sought to revoke the visa over Djokovic’s unvaccinated status.  To hear his family tell it, he was held under conditions that would violate the Geneva Convention if applied to POWs; in actuality, he was “quarantined” in a hotel.  Earlier today, a judge in Australia re-instated Djokovic’s visa – – so you would think the saga has come to an end.  Cue Lee Corso:

  • Not so fast, my friend …

After the ruling, a lawyer for the Australian Government said that  the Australian Immigration Minister “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancelation.”  According to the AP that would not only keep Djokovic out of the tennis tournament next week but could also bar him from entering Australia for 3 years.  I have no idea what all of this portends or means except for this:

  • The fat lady is still in her dressing room warming up her vocal cords.

Prior to the hearing earlier today, Brad Dickson assessed Novak Djokovic’s situation this way:

“Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open because he is unvaccinated. The news isn’t all bad for Novak. He just signed to be the new backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.”

Next item…  As far as I am concerned, last night’s game between the Raiders and the Chargers puts to bed permanently all cries of anguish and outrage and all postures of victimhood by members of Raider Nation over the “Tuck Rule”.  It took a couple of decades or so, but last night the Raiders got their make-up call.  There was a pass interference call made on a play where the ball was not within 20 yards of the contact that drew the flag; the Raiders’ receiver might have been able to catch the ball if he were actually the Marvel Superhero, The Flash.  Absent that condition, that was an incomplete pass, and the contact was not germane to the play.

  1. The “Tuck Rule” call led to the elimination of the Raiders from the playoffs in 2001.
  2. Last night’s pass interference in the end zone call put the Raiders into the playoffs in 2022.
  3. The books are balanced, no more bleating from Raider Nation fanboys.

That call got me to thinking about NFL officiating again.  There has certainly been an overabundance of complaints about the NFL officiating this year and there exists plenty of video evidence that makes the league and its officiating administrators admit after the fact that a call was blown.  I know from experience that officials make mistakes; but for some reason, there seem to be more bad calls than there have been in the past save for that abominable time with the “Replacement Refs”.

So, I wonder if protocols for officials related to COVID had any effect on their preparation and/or the makeup of the crews assigned to the various games.  I have exactly no information and have not read any reports saying that league protocols have been a problem for officials and officiating crews – – but I do wonder.  Officiating is a joint endeavor just as football is a team sport.

Enough about officiating and legal entanglements – – I hope.  Tonight, is the CFP Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia; this is the pairing I wanted to see in this game about 2 months ago.  I will not pretend that I have seen multiple games involving all the good college football teams this year, but I have seen plenty of college football and these are the two best teams this year.  I hope tonight will put a punctuation mark that is appropriate for this college football season.

Here is the line for tonight’s game:

  • Georgia – 3 vs Alabama (52.5):

This game is extremely important to Georgia coach, Kirby Smart, for a variety of reasons.  One reason is that Smart got the job at Georgia six years ago because of the job he had done as the Alabama defensive coordinator under Nick Saban for ten years.  In the six years Smart has been at Georgia, he has faced Alabama 4 times – – and lost them all.  His reaction when questioned about that record is simple and straightforward:

“I ain’t the only guy losing to Saban.”

[Aside:  Nick Saban has coached against teams piloted by former assistants at Alabama 26 times.  His record in those games is 25-1.]

Georgia’s fanboys will probably go berserk if the Bulldogs lose to Alabama again tonight, but they really should not.  Kirby Smart has built a program at Georgia that will be a solid contender for the CFP every year even if the CFP never expands beyond 4 teams.  Georgia has already won the SEC East 4 times in 6 years, and this is Georgia’s second trip to the CFP Championship Game since Smart arrived.

The Georgia defense was embarrassed in the SEC Championship Game won by Alabama 41-24.  I do not think that is going to happen again and I do not think Georgia will light up the scoreboard on the Alabama defense.  I like the game to stay UNDER; there are no other games from which to create a Six-Pack; so just put that selection on my tab.

Finally, John Simon was a critic of art, drama and film for various magazines including New York and National Review.  His characterizations of actors and actresses was often blunt and unflattering as per:

“Linda Blair, not a very talented or prepossessing  youngster then, is even less interesting now, though considerably more bovine; I doubt whether a post-pubertal acting style can be made out of mere chubbiness.”

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