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And, in the end...

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 21, 2011 12:44 PM
As has become widely known, This Blog is closing at this address and moving to a new location along the docks of Blogistan. However, it wouldn't want to shuffle off this pixelled coil without raising a glass -- figuratively, unless it finds out where the boss hides the good stuff -- to the extended family of noisy bastids that has sprung up in this most unlikely of saloons. Y'all have been a delight, and, if This Blog has any legacy as the Globe moves head-first into Whatever Comes Next, it belongs to you lot.

So, yes, you're going to have to figure out what's going on with the Red Sox on your own the rest of the way. Drop by the new joint from time to time, too, OK? And, as a salute, This Blog is proud to present to you the worst song in the history of musical theater.

Be well. A chara.


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"I think I'll miss you most of all..."

Panic at the disco

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 17, 2011 11:02 AM
Stuck in traffic on 93 South yesterday while riding in The Car Without Satellite Radio, This Blog was favored on the radio with the smooth broadcast stylings of Mr. Baseball (pace Sean McAdam), who was quite clear that, because Marco Scutaro failed to field the ball the other night while ducking bat shrapnel, the Red Sox therefore did not have It -- or That Thing, which are apparently interchangeable -- and therefore were not A Championship Team. Oddly, Mr. Baseball kept insisting that "the second-baseman" had It -- or, That Thing -- which led This Blog to ponder how the Red Sox in toto could lack It - or That Thing -- if the second-baseman had It --or That Thing -- even if the shortstop were somehow lacking in It, or That Thing. But then This Blog decided that there is a good living to be made measuring teams by intangible metrics only you can calculate -- this was once called Talking Out Of Your Keister, but that was before talk-shows were invented -- and that America is indeed a great country because of it.

Moving on, This Blog believes he saw more than a little of It -- or That Thing -- last night, when Josh Beckett pitched an ace's start for himself, and when Terry Francona showed no fear in running the struggling Daniel Bard out there with a one-run lead, and was rewarded when Bard overpowered the three batters he faced. (Mr. Baseball had pointed out that Francona was a "soft manager" earlier that afternoon, he'd also banged on his little tin drum regarding Beckett's fragility.) The problems with the Red Sox have nothing to do with It -- or That Thing -- or somebody's subjective Freud For Dummies interpretation of sports-as-testosterone count. The problems are that they were supposed to have four competent starting pitchers this year and they're down to two, and that their All Star third-baseman has broken down alarmingly, and that Carl Crawford is having a terrible year. Oh, and that Curtis Granderson is your AL MVP. And America is still a great country.

Boise will be Boise

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 16, 2011 04:42 PM
In case you missed it, cure little Boise State really hit the big-time. They got slapped with a three-year NCAA probation. (The NCAA must be really mad at Miami.) A couple of observations:

1) Guys, don't get caught because you were cheating for your tennis team. Really, now, have some pride.

2) This Blog's new Most Favorite Human is university president Bob Kustra. Why? Because of this, from the ESPN piece linked above.

"Boise State president Bob Kustra said Boise State's rapid growth over the last decade, from an upstart Division II program into a perennial Top 25 team, likely outstripped the school's capacity to keep tabs on compliance with NCAA rules.

In other words, "We were cheating so well that we didn't have time to notice we were breaking the rules."

Beautiful. Just freaking beautiful.


Fallout

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 15, 2011 04:18 PM
An earlier post touted Taylor Branch's landmark piece in The Atlantic that fairly well dismantles the entire raison d'etre for how college sports are organized in this country. By far, this is the most interesting passage in it:

William Friday, the former North Carolina president, recalls being yanked from one Knight Commission meeting and sworn to secrecy about what might happen if a certain team made the NCAA championship basketball game. “They were going to dress and go out on the floor,” Friday told me, “but refuse to play,” in a wildcat student strike. Skeptics doubted such a diabolical plot. These were college kids—unlikely to second-guess their coaches, let alone forfeit the dream of a championship. Still, it was unnerving to contemplate what hung on the consent of a few young volunteers: several hundred million dollars in television revenue, countless livelihoods, the NCAA budget, and subsidies for sports at more than 1,000 schools. Friday’s informants exhaled when the suspect team lost before the finals.

This Blog spent a lot of years hanging around college basketball, and it can say with complete assurance that the events that Friday recounts for Branch here almost certainly happened the way he says they did. In fact, the events in question have been an open secret at the Final Four for over 20 years. (Not only that, but the rumor that one or both of the teams is going to refuse to jump for the ball on championship night is now as reliable a staple of the Final Four as sweatsuits and buffet lines.) Let us speculate for a moment on when it might have occurred.

In 1991, the UNLV Running Rebels were in a preposterous position. They were the defending NCAA champions, and they came into the tournament undefeated. They also came into the tournament knowing that a thousand-pound dunghammer was being held over their heads by the NCAA, which nonetheless allowed the Rebels to play out the season and that year's tournament. (Which, in itself, pretty much proves a lot of what Branch says about the legitimacy of the NCAA as a governing body.) Among their players was Greg Anthony, an extremely popular and outspoken point guard who'd already been knuckled by the NCAA when it cracked down on him for a T-shirt venture  Anthony had launched. (Anthony is now an college-basketball analyst for CBS, where it is very unlikely he ever will be asked about this.) If ever a team was likely to feel fed up enough with the NCAA to do something like this, it was that UNLV team.

In addition, Branch says that Friday learned of the possible job action while a member of the Knight Commission, which issued its first report in 1991. In addition, UNLV indeed did "lose before the final," being eliminated by Duke in the semifinals in a game featuring a whole bunch of curiosities in its final few minutes.

Just sayin'

Ordure in the court

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 15, 2011 03:36 PM
While This Blog was off, as Natalie Portman's Marty puts it in Ted Demme's criminally underrated Beautiful Girls, being a dude in flux, the world's dumbest lawsuit ended with a whimper.

This is a good thing because stupid sports owners are (I think) the banes of our existence, and because it gives This Blog an excuse to make (yet again) the following comment on the American legal system.


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Hanging Chad

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 15, 2011 02:15 PM
A while back, various Patriot loyalists and house-organ media watchdogs were steadfast in their notion that "The Patriot Way" was largely a myth propagated by those scurvy media wretches who pray outside the camp as regards to the team and its head coach. This usually was mustered in defense of the team's signing people like Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. (Note -- This Blog was in favor of both those signings.) Some media types noticed that the team had overtly and covertly trafficked in the notion of its inherent moral athletic superiority over the past decade and that these signing were rather, well, dissonant with that tradition. Defenders of the team then fired back that the whole Patriot Way thing was a media concoction in the first place. Unfortunately for the latter, this is becoming a harder and harder proposition to defend, especially since Tedy Bruschi started working this side of the street.

This Blog thinks Tedy Bruschi should dunk his head in some cool water and chill the heck out. Really, now, you're going to rip the guy for tweeting how much he was impressed by Tom Brady's performance on Monday night? Seriously? This Blog has heard for years about players who had not "earned the right" to be critical of their teams because their play didn't measure up, as though you could measure IQ by an ERA. But this is new, unexplored ground -- a player has to earn the right to be complimentary about a teammate?  It's against The Patriot Way -- a concept which we all know doesn't really exist -- for somebody who spent their entire career in Cincinnati to express public admiration for the way Tom Brady played against Miami? This is about eight bulbs short of an chandelier.

Look, This Blog doesn't know if Chad Ochocinco ever will catch on to what the Patriots are trying to do offensively. He might not. If he doesn't, there's very little lost here. But to turn him into a punching bag because he's active in the social media, and because he went out of his way to express admiration for what was literally a historic passing performance, is to engage in mindless pot-stirring and kabuki contrarianism. Period.


History drops like a bomb

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 14, 2011 03:04 PM
Among American historians, Taylor Branch occupies a rarefied space above those lacquer-coiffed PBS talking-head historians, as well as the well-remunerated members of the Founder-Of-The-Month club. His multi-volume history of the civil rights movement is enough to move him out of their class. And, among fans of vintage political potboilers, he holds an honored place if -- as is often rumored -- he was the ghost behind Drew Pearson's novels, The Senator and The President, which feature a good-hearted, force-of-nature, wheeler-dealer named Benjamin Bow Hannaford.

(And the house record for consecutive hyphenated descriptives falls at last.)

Now, though, he has brought his formidable skills to bear on the entertainment-industrial complex that is college sports. Branch sees the economic system under which college athletes labor as both inimical to education, and as a civil-rights issue. He especially focuses on a series of lawsuits now in the courts that may bring the entire system to the point of collapse, as well as eviscerating the legal defenses mounted by the NCAA.

As someone who's been applying his head to this particular wall for more than 30 years, This Blog is happy to have someone with the intellectual clout of Mr. Branch joining the argument. This Blog has a feeling that we're coming fast to a tipping point on college sports. Even some of the most hidebound defenders of the indefensible current system are starting to talk about stipends. If you offer athletes stipends, then you're into pay-for-play and that's the ballgame. People should realize that, and they should realize that amateurism never has been a sustainable model for a sports-entertainment industry. It wasn't in tennis. It wasn't in the Olympics. And it's not in bigtime college sports. There's already a briskly humming underground economy in operation to which not even the worst of the "scandals" has brought so much as a hiccup. (And those Miami football revelations are about as bad as it gets.) The present system will collapse and, as Bill Veeck vainly warned his fellow owners about the reserve clause, all the people running things can do about that is to take steps that the collapse is as controlled and equitable as possible. Otherwise, they're in for a couple of decades of chaos.

As the kidz on the Intertoobz say, read the whole thing.

We're still standing

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 13, 2011 01:32 PM
For a while, anyway.

The thing This Blog was really, really dreading about the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities was the inevitable, militaristic, tribal hoorah that it knew was coming from the National Football League, which occasionally is treated as though it is the fifth branch of the US military by its acolytes, its courtier press, and itself. Things ran pretty much as This Blog feared on Sunday, except for one thing.

Where was Pat Tillman?

This Blog is open to anyone who saw a tribute to him, or even heard his name mentioned, in the flood of tinny banalities coming from the various broadcast crews. It didn't, and it was listening hard.

Oops, it appears the ever-essential Dave Zirin got there first on this one. The weaselly comments from the NFL spokescritter are telling. This Blog guarantees you that, had Pat Tillman come back from Afghanistan hale and hearty and brimming with the old America-hell-yeah, he'd have been on both networks, and and yukking it up with Boomer and TJ on ESPN on Sunday. If he had been killed in a conventional manner, we'd have had soft focus and piano music telling his tale. But, he was a guy who was killed by his own side, and whose death was shamefully covered up by an administration itching to fight another war, one of which he disapproved, in a conspiracy that reached to the top levels of the military and civilian leadership, including the shameful Donald Rumsfeld, who actually was on TV last weekend. And, of course, the Tillman family had the bad form to be publicly outraged about the way the fraudulent narrative of his death was exploited by lesser men.

What Pat Tillman did remains an extraordinary act of sacrifice. He remains so much better than the people who used him. And television should be ashamed that it did not reckon him as such.

Oh, and if gooey banality were oil, we'd have invaded Jim Nantz's head.

Rogered

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 6, 2011 03:44 PM
Can one of his sycophants in the NFL courtier press please explain to This Blog specifically how Roger Goodell has the right as the commissioner of the National Football League unilaterally to punish Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel for violating NCAA regulations. I mean, why don't they just give him a helmet and some mirrored glasses and let him work for the Alabama Highway Patrol to see if any of this year's Crimson Tide squad is violating local traffic ordinances? Let him work the underage-drinkers beat in Madison, or the dope-smoker beat in Ann Arbor. Give him a pair of horn-rims and a nice frock and let him work the Overdue desk at the campus library in State College.

This Blog firmly believes that, without gambling and the wish for authoritarian solutions to all of life's problems, the NFL would have been out of business 30 years ago.

Shake down the thunder

Posted by Charles P. Pierce September 6, 2011 03:28 PM
Sooner or later, it has to dawn on the geniuses who program our television sports that the University of Notre Dame now fields itself a second-rate major-college football team that nobody cares about any more. Be assured. Some poor sod on the Outback Bowl selection committee already has a room booked in South Bend for at least three weekends this fall.

That is the first impression This Blog had of the first weekend of college football, which is a preposterously expensive, morally bankrupt, and ludicrously inappropriate exercise for any insitution of higher learning to call its own. And This Blog is SO glad it's back. And, now, it appears, the ND coach has been caught out using language unsuited to Holy Mother Church. However, This Blog would like to state that it will align itself always with anyone who is attacked by both the National Catholic Reporter and the National Review, and that the whole kerfuffle forces it to bring out, again, Aunt Pittypat Hamilton and her fainting couch:

pittypat.jpg



Thank you.

Elsewhere, the state of Utah came dangerously close to locking up the SEC championship, what with BYU stealing one at Ole Miss and Utah State nearly beating Auburn, which played as though it were laden with exotic herbicides. (Too soon?) And LSU is just too dang good.

As always, this is for amusement only, and your mileage on all this may vary.

Aw. dammit, anyway

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 24, 2011 10:57 PM
The news about Pat Summitt is sad beyond words, especially for This Blog, who has a particularly nasty dog in this particular fight. Its father and all four of his siblings succumbed to Alzheimer's -- which you can read about here, if you like -- so it knows quite well the extraordinarily tough row Ms. Summitt and those close to her have to hoe.

(And, believe me, when it comes to collateral damage -- physical, psychological, and emotional -- Alzheimer's is a genuine sonuvabitch that way.) 

This Blog only spoke to her once, and it was by way of hello-how-are-you? at a coaches deal,  but there seems to be little question that she's got more than a little iron to her. There's some speculation now about whether or not she should try to continue to coach. This Blog can't tell you how happy it is that she's going to try. One of the great changes wrought by the increased public awareness of Alzheimer's -- and thank you, Nancy Reagan, you wonderful tough old dame, you -- is that people in the early stages of the disease are now speaking out while they still have the capacity to do so. For too many years, families with Alzheimer's patients hid them away -- See the above assigned reading for details -- and the guilt and shame became a symptom of the disease, Alzheimer's patients suffering from it most of all. 

How far have we come? In 1985, while on an errand a half-mile from his house, my father disappeared for three days and wound up in a drunk tank in Montpelier. The state cops told my wife that, maybe, he'd run off with his secretary. Today, it is unimaginable that, given the same situation, the police wouldn't immediately snap to Alzheimer's as a possible solution. My father stopped talking completely three years before he died. There were no drugs at that point for him to take. His sister, who died several years later, was put on Aricept -- which, apparently, Ms. Summitt is taking -- and was able to carry on an amiable, if somewhat limited, conversation right up until the day she died.

This is not a fight you win. That is the saddest thing about it. This is a fight you make because the fight is worth making. As a survivor of an Alzheimer's family, I am proud that Pat Summitt is staying on the job. Root like crazy for the Lady Vols, people. You'll never do a better thing in your sports fan's lives. Oh, and send the Alzheimer's Association some money, too.

In the criminal justice system...

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 20, 2011 10:53 AM
And they say federal prosecutors have no sense of humor.

Apparently, we are now asked to believe that, in the highest profile case pending in the highest profile sports "scandal" since the Black Sox, our dedicated public servants accidentally did what the judge already had told them was precisely the thing that would occasion a mistrial. Yes, and This Blog is the Tsar of all the Russias.

Sorry, fellas. You're as full of stuffing as the Christmas goose. Either deliberately, or because you're the biggest courtroom bunglers since the Stooges sought the moiderer of Kirk Robin, you did something you were specifically ordered not to do. In either case, there is no reason for the court -- let alone the defense -- to trust that you'll ever act in good faith in regards to Roger Clemens ever again. And, in doing so, you violated Clemens' Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.  If This Blog is the judge, you don't get a do-over on something like that.

Move along, lads. There are Wall Street crooks for you to chase.




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"When did we turn this office over to the Marx brothers?"

Think big

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 19, 2011 07:07 PM
We will stipulate for the purposes of this post that neither Vince Wilfork, nor any of his Miami teammates, knew exactly how Nevin Shapiro made all the money he was handing out to them in cash and, ahem, trade. (Hubba-hubba!). It even took the Feds a while to figure that out. The various 'Canes that benefitted from his largesse probably thought he was just another rich booster -- of whom, This Blog has learned exclusively, there are several in and around our nation's major college football programs. Maybe they thought he was a drug dealer. Of course, it turns out that he was something much, much worse than that.

OK, however, now we know.

It looks like the people defrauded by this human piece of dryer lint may try to claw back from the athletes some of (their) money that Shapiro passed along. Here's my advice to Wilfork, Jonathan Vilma, all the athletes caught up in this, and, for that matter, all the athletes from The U who want to salvage the microscopic remains of their university's dignity before Shapiro's inevitable book appears.

Give it back. All of it. And more. Do it now, before a court makes you do it.

Call a press conference. Say you're sorry to have taken money that you now know was the result of the swindling of widows and orphans. (You can even apologize for breaking NCAA regulations, but This Blog never would advise anyone to do that.) Moreover -- and this is where all the rest of you come in, and This Blog means you Michael Irvin and Jimmie Johnson -- announce the formation of the Hurricane Give Back Trust Fund. You all contribute (heavily) to a fund benefitting the victims of Shapiro's crimes. If an elderly couple he swindled is losing their home, the fund pays their mortgage. If a kid can't go to college because mom and dad got taken, the fund foots the bill. Behind on your medical insurance because you got fleeced by this crook, old timer? Vince Wilfork and his pals will be happy to pay. Give, give, until it hurts.

This Blog is not lawyer enough even on the Intertoobz to know whether or not this kind of thing is legal, or whether it will prevent the folks from clawing back what they need to claw back from the slug at the bottom of this sordid tale, but that's what This Blog would do.

Be a big man, Vince.
And the rest of you clowns, too.

Greetings from Planet Slacker

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 17, 2011 09:31 AM
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Those days of soda, and pretzels, and NOT BLOGGING!

Sorry, This Blog's been dark for a while. Thought I'd drop in for an August lagniappe -- which generally comes before an actual nap -- and, instead of dealing with anything serious, like the University of Miami's four-year road production of Caligula, or the  Barstool Sports Guy's The-First-Amendment-Was-Made-For-Bottom-Feeding-Slugs-Too Tour of the Americas, This Blog thought it might bring you perhaps the most pointless discussion in the history of American sports journalism. Dersh 'n Doris means only that somebody found an old rolodex that Charlie Rose threw away. But, really, now. Bill Donohue? This Bill Donohue, the world's sweatiest homunculus, and the worst thing that has happened to Holy Mother Church since we ran into the Saracens?

And they say August is a slow news period.
Yeesh.

...or a thug for J.H. Blair...

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 8, 2011 03:21 PM

 

This Blog is impressed -- No, really, it is. -- by the speed with which Commissioner David Stern has resorted to the my-way-or-the-highway tactics in the ongoing NBA labor dispute. Colleague Gary Washburn had an admirable survey of the state of play in Sunday's Globe. This Blog is not a lawyer. It just plays one on the Intertoobz. But it also sees Stern's attempt to have the decertification of the union declared an unfair labor practice the same kind of through-the-looking-glass redefinition of terms that came upon the country's labor-management dialogue 30 years ago, when Ronald Reagan broke PATCO and changed the rules so that government lined itself up on the latter side of the argument.

(And This Blog does not intend to take the league's poor-mouthing about its financial condition -- Twenty-two teams losing money? -- seriously. Not until Stern tells the Chinese the same things he's telling ESPN.)

The guy quoted directly in Gary's piece to the effect that the players should just simply accept managment's inherent right simply to declare a new economic universe and cave now, before the plutocrats really get tough, is one Jay Krupin, whose career in "labor law" has pretty much been from the management side of things. (In the link, you will see him arguing in favor of giving management more time to pressure employees prior to union elections. The euphemism, if you're scoring at home, is "making informed decisions.")  His firm -- Epstein Becker Green -- has a fairly lengthy track record in busting unions -- or, as the firm itself boasts, "maintaining a union-free workplace." If Stern has his union-busting buddies floating quotes on his behalf, he means truly business.

Overclubbed

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 8, 2011 03:11 PM

After about 12 hours of careful reflection, This Blog has decided that, on the list of all the things it doesn't care a monkey's about, right at the tippiest toppermost of the poppermost is how Tiger Woods's thuggish ex-caddy is getting along these days.

Honestly, what did the greenskeeper think of Adam Scott's win yesterday? The valet-parking guy? The lady who drives the beer cart? I mean, if the nation's sporty punditariat is going to go trolling the servant classes for comment, why not stick with the people who do honest work and not a guy who's spent the last decade-and-a-half treating everybody else as though they were there to inconvenience him?

And, even if you're an I'm-glad-Tiger's-getting-his-comeuppance person, you can't root for Steve Williams. The guy gives dance-hall goons a bad name.

Roger and out

Posted by Charles P. Pierce August 3, 2011 02:42 PM
Now that all of our professional footballers have recommitted themselves to heatstroke once again, let's ponder for a moment Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, and universally recognized by its kept courtier press as a genius who wields his power with only The Best Interest Of The Game at heart.

(To believe that, you must have a undiagnosed head injury of the type that Roger only recently has become concerned about, but we continue anyway...)

Our pals over at Deadspin have been admirably dogging the wholly frivolous lawsuit brought against the Washington City Paper by Dan Snyder, the Kellogg's Variety-Pak of Stupid who owns the Washington Redskins, once a very important NFL franchise. The paper hurt Snyder's fee-fee some time in the dim past and he has responded by taking the little publication to court. Now we have this latest development in what would be the greatest insult ever to American jurisprudence if Clarence Thomas weren't still reporting to work every day. Here's what This Blog thinks -- if Roger Goodell were half the commissioner that his acolytes in the media think he is, then he would have taken Dan Snyder in hand months ago, informed him that this lawsuit was making the entire NFL look idiotic, and that it should go away, like, yesterday. And, if Snyder refused, he would be suspended from appearing at any NFL function, including his own games, until the suit was dropped.

This isn't something that will ever happen.

Shake down the thunder

Posted by Charles P. Pierce July 29, 2011 12:50 AM
This Blog long has made happy sport of the university it likes to call Our Lady Of The Has-Beens, a lovely little spot off the Indiana toll road that once played successful football back in the days shortly after Holy Mother Church got done wrasslin' with the Saracens. Anyway, a former player at this college has become a congresscritter from Pennsylvania, and he apparently drew on his gridiron career there -- and on some language of which Our Lady likely would not approve -- to put some iron in the spines of his fellow Republicans last night when they decided not to do anything, at least not immediately.

I mean, is that adorable or what?
And then the whole GOP caucus went out and lost the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.


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Some day, I wanna go 7-4 as a congressman, coach.

Wild Billy's circus story

Posted by Charles P. Pierce July 28, 2011 09:45 PM
This guy?

And this guy?

On the same day?

Say what you will about the Belichick Era, it's not dull any more. Foxboro couldn't be more intriguing a place if they put in a water slide at the Bass Pro Shop and opened a tactical nuclear weapons counter.

(Yes, yes. Don't give them ideas.)

To This Blog anyway, Haynesworth is by far the most interesting of the two gambles. (For all his off-field goofballery, Ocho Cinco answers the bell like a 15-round fighter every week.) If Haynesworth has anything left at all, then the whole pass-rush problem could be solved simply by having him gum up the middle on passing downs, opening lanes for all those linebackers that Belichick loves to play with.

These are the chances you take. This is the business you have chosen.
But, still, wowser.


Peace in our time

Posted by Charles P. Pierce July 25, 2011 04:21 PM
It appears as though we all have to get ready in a hurry now to talk about dime packages and two-gaps for the next five-and-a-half months, and the legions of unsheared sheep who inexplicably throng to training camps in order to watch guys sweat and fall on each other -- Bob Guccione did the same thing with Caligula and got excoriated for his trouble -- are warming up the ol' RV's. And Albert Breer gets to ice his head for a month.

The NFL is back.

If we're looking for winners in this whole interminable exercise, we might as well accept the fact that management "won" this thing at the start simply by kicking the previous CBA to the curb and locking the players out. It looks as though they've clawed back as big a percentage of the revenues as they reasonably could have expected to get. As for the players, they managed to fend off the idiocy of the 18-game season and won a change in free agency, which isn't bad considering they were playing the whole hand with a low pair.

This Blog is a little distressed by the ease with which the NFLPA threw future rookies overboard, not that every players association with a chance to do so hasn't done so for the past 10 years. The NFL is different. There's no guaranteed money in any contracts. (There should be, but that's a whole 'nother argument.) The shelf-life of a player is comparatively very short. The unavoidable physical damage inherent to the sport is massive and self-evident. Given all that, for many players, their rookie deal was the only real chance they had for a big payday. Now, they're going to have to wait until their fifth year in the league to cash in, and then only at a "tender offer," whatever that may be. Too many NFL careers don't last that long. This Blog wishes that both sides could have taken into account even more than they did how different an NFL player's career is from that of almost every other professional athlete.

And This Blog is going to be very interested in seeing what the league and the reconstituted NFLPA comes up with as regards worker safety rules.


But NFL football is back. Give This Blog a call when they start playing games that count.

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