Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dirty Or Not?

Who was your favorite NFL defensive player growing up? I had a few. Here are some highlights of guys who were featured on NFL Network in the Top 10 all time of hitters in the NFL.




For some of you younger whipper snappers you might have watched this guy growing up.

:19 and :22

Oh and I have to shout out my old teammate safety John Lynch.

Didn't you enjoy those highlights? Isn't that what we have been sold for decades what defensive football is supposed to be about?

Well you may be wondering what those numbers are for under each video. Those numbers signify points in each video where the player made a helmet to helmet hit on a "defenseless" player that they likely would have earned a stiff fine for today (no numbers under Lynch's video because...pretty much the whole highlight is him hitting "defenseless" players helmet to helmet). Do you consider any of these guys, several of them Hall of Famers, "dirty"?

And that brings me to the point of this blog. What signifies a "dirty" NFL player these days? Is it the guy who stomps people, or tries to wrench helmets off, or dives at guys knees, or hits guys late, or punches opposing players? Or is it a guy who's only infractions have come between the whistles when he was going full speed and after the fact someone judged his tackles to be "illegal"?

I'm speaking of course of James Harrison.

I don't particularly care if you are a Harrison fan or a Steelers fan or an NFL fan or even a guy that hates all of the above. This is about how a guy can get labeled as "dirty" because he plays the game the way we were all brought up to play it for literally decades. And this is a guy who didn't get an easy ride into the NFL anyway. He went undrafted and had to work his ass off just to make the team. Then he had to work his ass off to graduate from playing special teams to playing regular downs. And THEN he had to work his ass off to reach a perennial Pro Bowl level.

And he has done all this without what has been traditionally deemed as "dirty" play. He doesn't hit guys well after the whistle. He isn't fighting guys on the field. He isn't kicking people or spitting on people or diving at guys' knees.

What he is doing is busting his ass every single play to try to help his team win games. And for this he gets labeled dirty?

I don't get it.

Bigger than that, I don't understand how we got here.

Go down the list of Hall of Fame linebackers and find me one that didn't hit guys helmet to helmet (after the advent of helmets). Repeatedly. And to roaring applause.

I dare you.

You can't do it. For as long as I can remember Linebackers trying to knock the hell out of offensive players were what the game was founded on and helmet to helmet hits were right in the middle of that. Now you can say that because of concerns about concussions that the foundations of what made football, football has to change and that's fine. But the simple physics involved in making a tackle, especially in the open field, suggest that you will never be able to take helmet to helmet hits out of the game completely.

And I know some people will insist that James Harrison MUST be trying to hit guys helmet to helmet. Why? Because he has been fined several times?

Ok, lets do a little math.

According to this article this was the fifth illegal hit by Harrison on a quarterback in the last 3 years.

In that same time Harrison has collected:

28.5 sacks.

231 combined tackles.

13 forced fumbles.

Now if you ask me if he is "trying" to hurt somebody and can only muster up 5 "illegal" hits on a quarterback out of all those plays he made, he really sucks at being a dirty player.

But the reason why Harrison's hits are magnified is, well, because he hits like a Mack Truck. He basically gets penalized for being better at his job than most people. But that's football.

Let me say it again, THAT'S FOOTBALL!

Look at the play which prompted this suspension.

Now before I break this video down I just want to point out the fact that Colt McCoy had already run 6 times that game for 15 yards.On the year he has rushed for over 200 yards and averages 3.5 yards a carry. So its safe to say he is a mobile quarterback and the threat of him running to try to get a first down was real.

Also its important to note that once a quarterback breaks out of the pocket the rules change as far as how you can tackle him.

Here is the relevant part of the rule book


(8) When the passer goes outside the pocket area and either continues moving with the ball (without attempting to advance the ball as a runner) or throws while on the run, he loses the protection of the one-step rule provided for in (1) above, and the protection against a low hit provided for in (5) above, but he remains covered by all the other special protections afforded to a passer in the pocket (numbers 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7), as well as the regular unnecessary-roughness rules applicable to all player positions. If the passer stops behind the line and clearly establishes a passing posture, he will then be covered by all of the special protections for passers.

Now I won't insult your intelligence by trying to make the case that Harrison's helmet didn't meet McCoy's facemask. It clearly did.

However look very closely at the play. They are running at each other full speed and at the last possible second McCoy decides to throw the ball. At that split second Harrison decides to lower his head. Now I won't pretend to know exactly was going through Harrison's mind but I will say most of the people casting aspersions because he lowered his head are full of shit.

Look at the replay again. Now ask yourself where, exactly, would Harrison have hit McCoy if he didn't lower his head?

I'll tell you where, he would have gone full face mask to face mask with McCoy and the damage would have been a lot worse. That he lowered his head, if anything, shows he was at least attempting to lower his aiming point. And in point of fact the top of his helmet only caught the bottom of McCoy's facemask.

The problem comes in with the force of the blow. But look one more time at the video for me. Harrison doesn't completely follow through on the hit and land on top of McCoy. Instead after contact is made you see him ease up and fall backwards as McCoy falls backward in the opposite direction. This isn't man on the grassy knoll conspiracy theory stuff, it's right there on the video.

But the force of the blow was great enough to give McCoy a concussion and leave him laid out on the field for a few minutes. That was very unfortunate and I never like to see a player get concussed like that. However would their be this furor to suspend Harrison over the hit had he sprang up afterwards and gone back to the huddle unscathed?

Somehow I doubt it.

It's also important to note that the Steelers were holding on to a 7-3 lead with just under 6 minutes left in the game and the Browns already at their 39 when this play occurred. Think Harrison might have had a sense of urgency to try to make a play to help his team win the game? I do.

At the end of the day the NFL has the right to change their rules and the right to punish players who they feel break those rules as they see fit. However that doesn't mean that the guy they're punishing is a "dirty" player or playing the game wrong. The truth is at some point you change enough rules and you are simply going against the laws of physics and watering down what football has meant for years and years though. That is the NFL's right but everyone doesn't have to act like they suddenly have amnesia about how the game of football has always been played.

And while I'm primarily talking about James Harrison here it applies to many other players who have been, in my view, unfairly fined essentially because they hit their opponent too hard.


Now I am sure there are those that instead of actually thinking through everything I have written will dismiss it and deem me as someone who just doesn't take concussions seriously. You couldn't be more wrong.

Let me let you in on a few things about me. I have always been considered to be someone of above average intellect. I had good grades through out high school, good ACT score, graduated from college and blew he Wonderlic out of the water. However nine years removed from having played seven years in the NFL there are days when my recall is just terrible. I have moments where I can't remember names or important numbers to save my life. And my memory is something that used to be a source of pride to me. I know that football has taken some things from me and I only pray it doesn't get much worse.

But where I differ from a lot of people is that having played the game I understand that so much about football in general, and defensive football in particular, is the physical contact. The physical intimidation that makes quarterback's throw that ball a second early when they feel the rush coming. Or makes a wide receiver think twice about making that catch going across the middle. And so no matter how many rules the NFL comes up with, these kinds of hits will always happen. And at the end of the day ex players will continue to suffer from brain trauma due to the time they spent playing football.

What would really help in my opinion, probably more than just on the field rules changes, is an overhaul of the process by which retired players have to go through to get disability benefits due to brain trauma suffered during their playing days.

Someone invoked the name of Dave Duerson earlier today on Twitter when talking down on James Harrison and I was so livid I had to log out for awhile. See so many people will bring up a guy like Duerson when trying to make a point about concussions on the field but I've seen few who will show the same focus about Duerson's time on the disability board where retired players were denied time and time again, by design, when they tried to get help while suffering from brain trauma due to football injuries. Everyone wants to bring up CTE but nobody wants to point out that the NFL has been fighting against that diagnosis and those like it for years and years in an effort to save money.

How many people actually remember this part of the NYTimes article on Duerson's death?

Duerson’s case is unique beyond the circumstances of his suicide. Since 2006, he had served on the six-member panel that considered claims for disability benefits filed by former N.F.L. players. Although individual votes are kept confidential, that board has been sparing in awarding benefits, including those for neurological damage.

Duerson himself told a Senate subcommittee in 2007 that he questioned whether players’ cognitive and emotional struggles were related to football.

However, Duerson’s legacy will almost certainly be how he apparently came to believe he had C.T.E., acted upon it and requested that his brain tissue be examined for confirmation and contribution to science

So if you want to impress me with your righteous indignation about concussions in football please take the time to speak out about the way the NFL has stacked the deck against former players to keep them from getting the disability benefits they both need and deserve. Trying to keep NFL players safe during their playing days is a noble and just cause. But taking care of those same players after they are done with the game should be as, if not more, important.

Otherwise who is really dirty in all of this?



You may be wondering what my alternative would be. Well, I'm glad you asked. First I think most helmet to helmet hits should have a standard fine based on a percentage of that week's pay. That percentage shouldn't change but it should be high enough to be punitive while low enough to be excessively so. The only time
fines should increase progressively is when there is clear intent to injure an opponent. That would include hits clearly after the whistle, dives at players knees, forearms to the head (which I personally feel are much more egregious and a lot easier to avoid in that split second before contact than helmet to helmet hits), launching on defenseless opponents and low hits initiated from behind the opponent.

My reasoning is simple, helmet to helmet is going to happen in football and its ok to punish for the act. But there is no way to "deter" something that is a matter of physics no matter how high the fines go or how many games guys get for suspensions. Also in that same vein because a guy does it repeatedly does not necessarily mean he is trying to injure his opponents. Some people will have you believe that any time a defender lowers his head he is intentionally trying to injury his opponent without every acknowledging that many times lowering your head is an attempt to lower your aiming point to avoid helmet to helmet contact.

However when there is clear intent, meaning there is no way anyone can argue that the guy wasn't trying to injure his opponent, that is behavior that can be deterred and should be.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Pass Rush Plan For The D Line

I was on 1040 AM earlier this week and I was asked if the Bucs have a shot against the Packers. I said that they do have a shot but only if the Bucs defensive line dominates the game and gets Aaron Rodgers off his game. Now I know people are highly skeptical that this could happen and honestly while I think we have enough talent to do it I'm not sure we will get it done on Sunday either. However I did say the same thing two years ago before the game down here when the Packers were coming to town. And I think most people would agree we have more talent up front now than we did then. Sure enough that Bucs defensive line went out and had their best game of the season and helped lead the team to victory. But just like two years ago I understand the skepticism so I decided to post some thoughts about what our game plan up front should be in order to dominate their offensive line again in my opinion.

First let me talk about their Offensive line. The weakest link in my opinion is the left tackle. The reason being is his set is so predictable. He is basically going to kick step twice, then turn his shoulders and try to ride the defensive end past the quarterback. That makes it hard for a speed rush to work most of the time but it also opens him up to all kinds of well timed inside moves. My preference would be our right end take three speed rush steps up field low and hard then spin back inside but we don't really have a lot of defensive ends that like to spin. That is ok though because Adrian Clayborn has a really good inside rip move and a good bull rush to inside rip move as well. His biggest priority has to be to get off the ball low and hard first though. The reason is if he doesn't sell that he is going to try to run around the left tackle then he never will turn his shoulders and really jump on the speed rush. That means he will be in a better position to block the inside rush which will make it harder for Clayborn to win.

The right tackle is a back peddle guy and I'll be honest I always hated those kinds of pass blockers. He doesn't get much width on his kick step and he rarely jumps on the right end. What he wants is just to stay directly between the right end and the quarterback almost forcing you to run into him rather than around him to get pressure. The problem for the defensive end is that although the tackle is back peddling, he is also staying low and preparing to be bull rushed. So he tried s to give you only one pass rush to use in a bull rush and he is setting to block that same bull rush. That and the fact that Rodgers doesn't take many really deep drops makes for quite the conundrum for the left end.

I think the way you attack that guy is line up tighter (closer) to his outside foot, get a great get off, and try to beat him to a spot five yards behind his outside foot on every play. I believe that Michael Bennett has the explosion off the line and the speed to beat him to that point on a regular basis but this year he has started dancing at the line off his get off a lot. It is going to be hard for that kind of move to work this week because the right tackle isn't trying to jump on any inside fakes. He will just continue to back peddle putting even more space between himself and Bennett. I know the worry for most left ends most weeks is that the go too deep around the quarterback and allow him to step up in the pocket and or escape to his right hand. Just for this week I would suspend that worry. I would tell Bennett to speed rush outside until his tongue is hanging out. Eventually as he keeps beating the offensive tackle to that spot, even if he isn't getting sacks, it will cause him to adjust his pass set. And once he starts having to either bail out and or getting more width then he will be wide open for a bull rush/inside move. But I wouldn't try that until later in the game.

As for the two guards and center they aren't anything special but they work ok as a group. In general the guards are going to set back for speed and only jump set at the line either on play action or versus a blitz. Now this gives all of our defensive tackles the option of bull rushing or making a quick inside move off the snap. And because Rodgers doesn't take a deep drop its possible to get push in his face using just those two pass rush options. I wouldn't advise any of the guys to try to make an finesse outside rush this game because Rodgers is so effective at moving around the pocket and when necessary taking off up the field when he finds a lane to run. If you are going to bull rush you commit to it and go all in on the bull rush. If you are going to make a quick inside move do it right now and don't stop until you get inside and up the field. This will not be a game where the inside rushers can afford to be indecisive or get stuck at the line.

Now if you have been paying attention you might be able to paint a picture in your mind of how these different pass rush plans will all work together to put pressure on Rodgers. You have the right end coming inside getting quick pressure and cutting off running lanes, you have the inside guys getting push and or making quick inside moves to cut off running lanes and you have the left end coming around the horn in case Rodgers feels the push coming right at him from the tackles and right end and decides to escape by dropping deeper around the rush. And this isn't a game plan just for a few 3rd and longs, this is a plan I would have the defensive line execute on almost every drop back pass until their offensive line adjusted to it.

Don't get me wrong its definitely easier said than done for it to actually work out this way. The point is if every one follows their individual game plan and is decisive with their moves then it all fits together like a puzzle to put them in the best position to get pressure while not allowing Rodgers lanes to run around in the pocket.

I also believe the Packers' offensive line is susceptible to pass rush games but I would only use two. First and foremost I would use TEX games as the lead pass rush game. The defensive tackles start in a 3 technique, come off with a rip move in the snap then try to get to the offensive tackle's back. The defensive ends, and this is REALLY important this week, get up the field low and hard for at least 3 steps and when they feel the defensive tackle get to the tackle's back they loop back inside. If the defensive ends get up the field this week and really sell the speed rush the TEX games will be very productive. Especially since Rodgers will likely see the middle open up and believe he will be able to just take off running right up the middle. He will likely never even see the defensive ends looping back inside before they hit him. But if those defensive ends don't sell the speed rush then the game will get blocked up and give option time to slice our secondary up.

A TOM game with the two inside rushers would also be a good option against the Packers. I haven't had an opportunity to watch a lot of film and break down which way the center slides obviously but assuming the Bucs have then they should know which way the center is going in certain sets. And with the Packers' center being a guy who moves decisively to the side he his supposed to block and the guards taking deeper sets it opens it up for the defensive tackle away from the slide to make an inside move, get to the center's block and penetrate while the defensive tackle to the side comes off low and hard to attract the guard and center then loops around to the opposite B Gap. Its a little risky because if its run wrong or the center blocks in the opposite direction from where they anticipate then it could part like the Red Sea and give Rodgers a wide open lane to see down the field or take off running. But still it could be a home run for them so I would sprinkle it in.

The Bucs should definitely NOT us EX games this week where the end comes inside and the defensive tackle on that side loops around outside for contain. The reason is with the guards dropping back instead of coming forward its going to be hard to penetrate that B gap. And if the end doesn't get penetration the game doesn't work. I just don't see that working out well for us.

One overlooked advantage of using pass rush games also is that in my experience it helps defensive linemen recognize screens. The guys who loop inside or outside generally get to see the offensive linemen releasing down field. Thus they have an opportunity to get involved in defending the pass. That is extremely helpful when playing a West Coast offense like Green Bay's that uses screens almost as a part of their running game.

That would be my pass rush plan for the Bucs defensive line versus the Packers. It is just one man's opinion and for sure not the only way to get it done. But I do believe if they rush Rodgers in this fashion they would have a lot of success and as we have seen this year you aren't going to beat that guy with coverage. He is simply too good and he has too many weapons. But if he is on the ground he can't complete many passes so that is where my focus would be in the game plan.

See you on Sunday!

PS: Two things.

1. Albert Haynesworth doesn't seem to like to play with his left hand down. Its a small thing but technique wise it kind of takes his first step a little wide when he is lined up on the right side. For that reason I would keep him lined up on the defense's left side as much as possible where that isn't a problem.

2. JerMichael Finley isn't a good blocker at all at tight end. I know this post is about pass rush and the Packers aren't a big time running team but when they do dare run the ball with him lined up as a tight end at the end of the line our guys should totally dominate that match up.

Mike McQueary Is Full Of Shit!

A few days ago it was reported that the Penn State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary, who was the graduate assistant in the Grand Jury Report that witnessed Jerry Sandusky raping a young boy in the showers in the locker room in 2002, sent an email out to some former teammates of his from his playing days at Penn State asserting that he had in fact intervened to stop the rape contra the Grand Jury report and subsequent news reports about the issue. I believe the exact words he used were "he made sure it stopped".

When I saw this quote come come across my Twitter timeline it really pissed me off. First and foremost I thought it was bullshit. But even if he did more than what was in the Grand Jury report he didn't literally "make sure it stopped" because the whole reason there is an investigation in the first place is because there was another child who was sexually assaulted by Jerry Sandusky starting in 2007, five years later. And so I tweeted a message out to that general effect.

Subsequently there was a report from ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that an anonymous source told him that McQueary had in fact intervened. Now I am generally suspicious of any anonymous sourcing, especially when the source was termed as someone "familiar" with the investigation rather than someone who was actually "involved" in the investigation. Someone familiar with the investigation could literally be anybody including McQueary's own lawyer. But I decided not to question the veracity of the report because I felt like if it was a lie, with as big of a story as this all is now, some other news outlet would bring it all to light.

Two reports came out today that combined with some common sense make a strong case that McQueary is in fact full of shit.

Earlier today Sarah Ganim, who has done an awesome job reporting on this story even before most of us were aware of it, tweeted out this article. In the article she makes this declaration.

Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary never mentioned that he talked to police in 2002 after witnessing an alleged sexual assault by Jerry Sandusky of a young boy, according to a hand-written statement McQueary gave to police during the recent grand jury investigation.

The Patriot-News has viewed a copy of the statement and verified it through a source close to the investigation.

The Patriot-NewsPenn State assistant football coach and Jerry Sandusky case witness Mike McQueary has hired a law firm that specializes in employment issues. He is on paid leave from the university.

In it, McQueary states that he witnessed a boy, about 10, being sodomized in a shower and hurried out of the locker room. He does not mention stopping the assault, and does not mention talking to any police officers in the following days, the statement says.

The whole incident, the statement says, lasted about a minute, and McQueary wrote that he would not recognize the boy if he saw him today

Now its true that the Grand Jury report didn't have a transcript of everything every witness said. And that fact has led to plenty of speculation that maybe McQueary had in fact testified that he stopped the rape but it just wasn't included in the report. However this news account directly contradicts that notion completely.

Another claim in McQueary's email was that he had in fact gone to police, again contra the Grand Jury Report. But several outlets including USAToday looked into that assertion and found it to be false as well.

Those last two reports obviously call into question these new assertions both from McQueary's email and Rinaldi's reporting but I admit they aren't necessarily definitive. There is still a chance that perhaps he just didn't tell the Grand Jury about intervening but he had done so and it just didn't come up. Or maybe he did tell the Grand Jury and there just isn't any evidence that he did so. But if he did intervene and stop the rape that night in 2002 I just have one question.

What happened next?

I'm not talking about the phone call he placed to his Dad, we already know about that from the Grand Jury report.

What I want to know is after he stopped Jerry Sandusky from raping this young boy, by whichever means he employed, what did he do then? You have by his description a 10 year old or so kid who has just been sexually violated and I want to know what McQueary did to calm him down? What did he do to check and see if he was injured? What did he do to find out who the child was? What did he do to make sure that child got home safe?

But lets go back to the report from Sarah Ganim that I quoted. According to McQueary he probably wouldn't recognize the boy now if he saw him. And we know that so far investigators haven't been able to find the child and don't even know his name. Now you tell me how that is possible if McQueary really did intervene?

This wasn't some mugging in a dark alley that he just happened upon, this was a rape committed at his place of business in a locker room he was very familiar with both from his playing days and then later as a coach. So just yelling out for Sandusky to "stop it" and then continuing about his business wouldn't reasonably be considered enough to constitute "stopping" the rape.

And regardless of whether he called the police or not, he witnessed this child being raped and didn't attempt to call his parents? Or failing that at the very very least call him a cab to get home? Because Sandusky obviously brought the kid to the locker room with him or at least that is the assumption I think most people would have made that night. So if McQueary stops the rape how did the kid get home?

These are all questions that should have easy answers if in fact McQueary intervened and "made sure it stopped". But it doesn't appear any easy answers will be forthcoming. More than likely because he didn't intervene and he is now just trying to cover his ass.

And as outraged as I was when I was sure he didn't intervene that almost pales in comparison to the anger I feel now knowing that he is trying to sell this fiction that he did. I understand that some will want to give him the benefit of the doubt but for me there is just no rational way that he intervened and stopped this rape and yet he couldn't recognize that child today, he doesn't know his name and he didn't do anything in the way of making sure he was transported home safely by someone other than the man who was just raping him.

He and whomever Rinaldi's anonymous source is, is full of shit and should be called out on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Joe Paterno Was Fired: The Grand Jury Findings

I wasn't going to blog about this. I felt that all of the news organizations and other bloggers would probably inundate people with so many different articles and posts that nobody would care what I had to say anyway. Besides it seems that most reasonable, after reading the Grand Jury Report in this case, all agree that Joe Paterno had to go. The only folks who didn't feel that way seemed to be people that either did not read the findings and or just have lost their moral compass blinded by loyalty to someone they have always seen as a hero. In that case its not likely I would be changing their minds anyway.

But at this point I feel a need to blog about it because some of the reactions from last night when the Penn State Board of Trustees announced Paterno was out, both in Happy Valley on on social media, have so thoroughly disgusted me that I think I need a release.

Lets start with this, we are talking about this incident today not because of Jerry Sandusky anally raping a child around the age of 10 in the showers of the locker room at the football facility and being caught by a graduate assistant, although that is what makes this story so much more morally reprehensible.

No, we are talking about this today because six years later in 2008 the mother of another child reported to her son's school that Sandusky had sexually molested him as well. Abuse that started in or around 2007, five years after that graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz, University President Graham Spanier, and Executive Director of Second Mile Dr. Jack Raykovitz all had an opportunity if not a duty to stop Sandusky's serial underage rape of underage boys that stretched back at least into the mid 1990s with just one phone call to the police.

But not a single one of them placed that phone call. And we now know that their collective inaction led to at least one more little boy being molested.

These are Penn State University officials and an Executive Director of a non profit who refused to do what officials from a high school had the good sense and courage to do almost immediately in 2008, report the crime to the police.

Side note: I've seen some on social media repeating the lie that Paterno or Schultz or Curley or Spanier reported the crime to campus police. According to the Grand Jury Report that is demonstrably false. They investigated and no report was made to either a police entity nor a Child Protective Service official, which is required by law in such a situation, by any of them . And that is precisely why Curley and Schultz have been charged. Don't ask me to tell you why Paterno et al wasn't charged as well because I have no answers. I will say that if the law declares that what McQueary and Paterno did was "enough" then its obviously time to change that law.

It is precisely because of the investigation of the assaults reported in 2008 that we know anything about the other seven victims unearthed by the Grand Jury. Otherwise Sandusky would probably still be freely sexually assaulting little boys and that 2002 situation would likely still be swept under the rug.

He did "enough" or he did "what he was supposed do".

Ive heard Paterno apologists spew that garbage since the arrests and allegations came down last weekend. But if the fact that another child was molested after Paterno knew about the sexual assault Sandusky committed in the showers on a young boy isn't enough to prove what Paterno did in the aftermath wasn't enough, lets go back to 1998.

In 1998 Jerry Sandusky was Joe Paterno's Defensive Coordinator and had been for more than 20 years. It was also the year that a yet different mother had to report Sandusky for molesting her child. Where did this occur? In a shower. During the course of the investigation Sandusky both admitted to police that he had showered with this woman's little boy and possibly had sexual contact with him (he used the word "maybe"), he was also over heard by the police admitting the same directly to the child's mother.

Now I can't fathom how he wasn't charged in that case and I imagine most other reasonable people cant either. And unfortunately we may never get to the bottom of how that happened because the prosecutor assigned to the case has been missing since 2005 and is now presumed dead. However according to the Grand Jury Report Gary Shultz admitted that he was aware of the 1998 investigation and that the University Police, which are under his umbrella, reviewed the case against Sandusky. Further he admitted the similarities in the two cases of something sexually inappropriate happening between Sandusky and a child in the showers!!!

The report doesn't express whether Joe Paterno was aware of the 1998 investigation and or also saw the similarities in the two assaults, but lets look at what happened a year later in 1999. Sandusky was long thought to be the heir apparent to Paterno as Head Coach of the Penn State football team and he was in the prime of his career coaching wise at 55 years of age when suddenly he "resigned". But in the Grand Jury Report we do learn that just a year after he avoided being charged with molesting a child in 1998, Sandusky was molesting yet another little boy who was told by Sandusky himself that Paterno informed him he would not be the next Head Coach in May of 1998 shortly before he "resigned".

Don't you have to wonder what precipitated this meeting and change of heart from Paterno towards a man who had coached under him for so long and helped him win 2 National Championships? Don't you have to wonder what the justification was that Paterno gave him that day?

Biggest of all don't you have to believe that Joe Paterno, who many have thought over the years was the most powerful man in Pennsylvania and many more have been sure was the most powerful man in Happy Valley, knew all about the 1998 investigation?

And if that was indeed the case how can anyone look themselves in the mirror and believe that Paterno did "enough" in 2002 when a very similar assault occurred, and when he knew that Sandusky was never reported to police and instead was just "disciplined" by the Athletic Director. I mean Sandusky was still allowed on campus at least up until last year. Am I or you or anybody else supposed to believe that Paterno never saw him on campus over the last 9 years acting as if nothing ever happened?

While I'm at it I have to point out how absurd going to the Athletic Director about someone who is no longer employed by the University is. What exactly was the Athletic Director going to do? He couldn't fire him, he couldn't suspend him. I suppose he could have rescinded his privileges on campus but he didn't even do that. Instead he "banned" Sandusky from bringing kids on campus with him, as if the kids just there was the problem. And Curley himself admitted the "ban" wasn't even enforceable. The Grand Jury Report doesn't explicitly saw Paterno was told what the "punishment" would be for Sandusky but it does say McQueary, the graduate assistant, was told. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to whether Paterno was told too but in my ind its not even a question.

For some reason when discussing Paterno's firing some people bring up McQueary and the fact that he hasn't been fired yet as some reason to be upset or push back on the idea Paterno deserved to be. Well for me its simple. They both deserve to be fired and probably prosecuted for not reporting the assault to police. McQueary may in fact deserve to be fired more than Paterno, but that doesn't change the fact that Paterno deserved to be fired too.

Let's keep in mind that the Grand Jury found that Schultz and Curley had lied to them and yet Paterno released a statement shortly after the story broke that closely echoed their testimony and contradicted his own. In my mind that alone is enough reason to lump him right with those scumbags and bring him up on charges as well. However, again, the law may be unfortunately be on his side even if common decency isn't.

When the story first came out I saw the words "graduate assistant" and immediately assumed he was fresh out of college. But it turns out McQueary was 28 years old when he witnessed Sandusky raping a little boy in the shower. That's plenty old enough to be man enough to step in and stop the assault and protect that child, but he didn't. One detail that I missed until today was that McQueary didn't immediately leave after he witnessed the assault. According to the Grand Jury Report he was still at the complex when he called his Dad to tell him what happened. And how sorry does a father have to be to tell his 28 year old son to leave the complex and allow that assault to continue?

Pretty damned sorry in my opinion.

Another thing I hadn't realized until I read a profile on McQueary today was that he was the quarterback for Penn State while Sandusky was still the Defensive Coordinator. So i think its safe to say he was familiar with the man. And yet from that day until now he never, not once, picked up the phone to call the police after it was apparent nothing was being done to bring him to justice. No, instead he stayed at Penn State and rose through the ranks all while Sandusky was still enjoying his retirement as well as access to the campus.

So you're damn right he should be thrown out on his ear as well.

But that's the point. They all should.

And that included Joe Paterno.

So far there have been reports that 12 or more new victims have come forward since last weekend. Unfortunately I think its likely there will be even more. And many of them may be victims who were assaulted after 2002. We already know of at least one and one was more than enough to clean house. Because even one more victim after 2002 exposes one undeniable truth.

None of the people who had an opportunity and a moral responsibility to end this back then did "enough".

And they all probably should've been fired long before now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


So yesterday I went on the radio around 4pm on 1040 AM with Tom Krasniqi amd Ronnie "Night Train" Lane to talkAbout the Penn State scandal and then did my regular Tuesday night hit at 8:25pm on the 2 Hand Touch show with Old School aka Derek Fournier to discus the Bucs' loss to the Saints on Sunday. I havent really posted many podcasts on this blog lately but both of those topics got me fired up for obviously different reasons and I figured I would share it for anybody who might have missed it.

Check it out.

My thoughts on Penn State/Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno et al.

My thoughts in what happened to the Bucs against the Saints.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tim Tebow Sucks....And That's Ok

Tim Tebow sucks at being an NFL quarterback.

That is an objective fact at this point.

I could go all sabermetrics on you and list a LOT of statistical categories to back that statement up, but I won't. The truth is the "Tebow" argument is no longer, if it ever was, about objective facts. Its about raw emotion and what goes wrong when one player's fans not only will not accept reality, but also attempt to force THEIR reality on everybody else.

I'm a fan of Tim Tebow as a person. I think some of the things he has done in his life are incredibly remarkable and would be even if he weren't a Heisman Trophy winning, College BCS Championship winning, first round drafted NFL football player. But being a great person does not equal being a great player.

Never has, never will.

Rest assured there have been plenty of great guys who just weren't good enough to play in the NFL at every position. A recent example is Myron Rolle. This guy was a Rhodes Scholar. Let me repeat that A RHODES SCHOLAR!!! And to be sure he is an impressive young man. But although many casual football fans were outraged that he wasn't drafted until the 6th round it turns out he wasn't very good at playing safety in the NFL. And that's ok too.

It happens.

But the central problem in the Tim Tebow debate is that his fans refuse to allow anyone to acknowledge the reality that he isn't very good right now. Any person who dare point out that he has completed better than 50% of his passes in only one game of the five he has started is derided as "hating" on him, usually for something other than his football play like his devout Christian beliefs, by many of his fans.

Ben Roethlisberger in his "bad" rookie season completed over 66% of his passes.

Doesn't really matter if the person pointing it out is themselves a Christian. Nope, all that matters is that you dared to "diss" Tebow.

Vince Young completed over 51% of his passes his rookie season.

I played football for quite awhile and a 50% completions percentage has ALWAYS been the demarcation line for bad quarterbacks. I don't care how many yards you run for. I don't care what leadership qualities you display. If you can't complete 50% of your passes then just about every analyst is going to admit you aren't an NFL quality quarterback.

Right now out of 33 quarterbacks ranked only 1 has less than a 53% completion percentage this season.

But now people seemingly want to change the rules of the game for one guy. A guy who has a lot going for him indeed, but if you can't complete half of your passes how can you even be considered an NFL quarterback, let alone a good one?

And the irony of it all is that because these fans, and lets be real many people in the media, are trying to force those of us who know a little something about football to lie and say Tebow is a good quarterback when he isn't they are making more and more people turn against him. And they are making themselves look like fools in the process.

Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman have both been benched this year while completing more than 55% of their passes.

I actually watched his last two starts and I will give you that he looked better against the Lions than he did the previous week against the Dolphins. And truthfully there were some dropped passes by his receivers. But he was still awful. But you have people like Skip Bayless who OBVIOUSLY didn't watch the game against the Lions who just one week prior were calling for the Broncos to try to tailor the offense to Tebow's strengths and open up the play book and then when they do exactly that he and they complain that they opened it up TOO much and didn't give him enough easy short passes to complete.

Let me just say clearly that that is a bunch of bullshit.

For much of the game the Broncos appeared to be trying to run a lot of the kinds of plays Tebow ran in college. The problem of course is that he isn't in college anymore and a lot of those plays are just not going to work against a quality NFL team. Especially with a quarterback as inaccurate as he is.

Hell I have to give the Broncos props for even attempting to totally change their offense in a week just to give him the best opportunity to be successful. To be sure other teams have been castigated for doing the same thing when they had an "unconventional" quarterback. Yet Tebow fans not only accept that the Broncos are changing to an offense that likely will reduce their chances of winning any games the rest of the season, they are demanding it!

And the sick part is that no matter what the Broncos do if Tebow isn't successful his fans will still blame everybody BUT him for his failings.

Kyle Orton was completing almost 60% of his passes when he was benched.

I saw countless people on social media lamenting how bad the Broncos' offensive line played because Tebow was sacked 13 times the last two weeks. Now again I remind you that I watched these games. His offensive line may not be stocked with All Pros but they have been doing a decent job. They can only blocks so long though and Tebow seems content to not throw the ball away and run around trying to make something happen even when nothing is there. Then there is also the hitch in his follow through when he throws the ball that all of the scouts and people who know football criticized him for when he was coming out of college. That hitch is directly attributable to at least one sack he took against the Lions when Cliff Avril came around and was able to strip him at a point in his windup where the ball should have been out of his hand.

I have to point out that the same offensive line only allowed 8 sacks in the previous 5 games with Kyle Orton starting but I know that for Tebow fans stuff like that doesn't matter.

Its also very interesting to me that these Tebow fans will laud his skills running the ball to try to bolster their case about him being a good quarterback. But many of these same folks were cautioning heavily about other running quarterbacks coming into the NFL saying their health wouldn't hold up. I know that some people would like to think Tim Tebow is indestructible but I unfortunately remember that hellacious hit he took against Kentucky in college when he received a concussion. If you think the same thing can't happen at the NFL level you are fooling yourself. And I'm not wishing that on him, just stating a fact.

Now here is the rub, none of us know what Tebow will be by the end of his career. There is a chance that he will find a way to fix some of his technical issues and over time become a more accurate quarterback. I personally don't believe that he will ever be a Pro Bowl type of quarterback but that doesn't mean he can't be a quality starter in the NFL. But the more I hear and see fans of Tebow ignoring reality and demanding I do the same the closer I get to rooting against the guy. That has nothing to do with his Christian beliefs and everything to do with the "Cult of Tebow"'s douchebaggery.

JaMarcus Russell, yes that JaMarcus Russell, completed almost 54% of his passes his second year which was his first as a starter.

So if you like Tim Tebow and want to see him do well please do us all a favor and just accept that right now he isn't very good. You can like him and root for him and still acknowledge reality, you do know you can do that, right?

At some point I just hope that the section of Tebow fans who think he can do no wrong will come to understand that most of the people criticizing him are doing so honestly. Is there a small minority of people criticizing Tebow for reasons other than his play on the field? I'm sure there are. But most of us either like the guy as a person or have no problems with who he is off the field. However we can't sit with blindfolds on complimenting the guy when our eyes tell a totally different story. That would mean compromising our integrity for the sake of people who don't seem to have any. And I, for one, am not going to be able to do it.

Who knows, by the end of the season Tebow may not suck anymore. Maybe he will improve his accuracy and lead his team to several victories to close out the year. But until that change happens he sucks.

And its ok to admit it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trying Something Different

If you follow me on Twitter, and a lot of you do, you probably know that I announced a few weeks ago that I probably wouldn't be blogging much if at all this season.  I kinda came to this reality/decision watching the first Bucs preseason game and not having the slightest inclination to rewind the plays or make notes for a blog.  I was just enjoying watching as a fan for the first time in quite a while and it felt good.  Now there are obviously other factors to this also but what I said a few weeks ago hasn't changed.  At the same time however more than a few people have tweeted me and emailed me asking that I continue blogging which has been both gratifying and humbling that so many people enjoyed it. 

So I thought about trying a compromise.  A lot of what takes up time with blogging is trying to take notes about the game and then translate them into easy to understand verbiage for all of my readers as well as trying to keep it at least somewhat entertaining.  This is a lot harder than it probably sounds but I was thinking that maybe I could incorporate Twitter into my game review commentary and just give you all short and to the point comments about what I am seeing.  Its still going to be a little time consuming but I won't feel the pressure I used to put on myself to make it into such a polished product and have it out as quick as possible.

I don't actually know if this will work or how many people will be interested but I think I will do a trial run tonight.  What is going to happen is this, I will tell everyone what time I will be doing a film review on Twitter on the defensive line. The time will generally  be later so I don't blow up my other followers timelines and I won't be able to answer questions, however you will be able to go with me pretty much play by play and find out who played well and who didn't.  Tonight I will be doing a review of just the first half of the last Bucs preseason game against the Dolphins at 11pm.  So if you want to get in on it just follow me on Twitter at sgw94 if you aren't doing so already.

If there is a sufficient level of interest then I will have the next session like this after the first regular season game and I will give everyone a few days notice to plan for it.  If not then I'm just going to take this season to get back to being something I haven't really been in years, just an average fan enjoying the games.

Oh, before I forget, I'll also be contributing to great friend of the blog and all around good guy WhatTheBuc's radio show which runs on Tuesday evenings from 8pm-10pm on 1010 AM locally.  If you get a chance tune in and show your support.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Random Thoughts On The Decertification/Lockout

I have a few things on my mind about the desertification/lockout yesterday and it was more than twitter would hold so I figured I would come back here to hash it out.

First off, yes my loyalties like with the players and the NFLPA. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Now lets talk about the NFLPA decertifying. In the event of a lockout one of tools available to the NFLPA to block it and try to force cooperation from the owners through litigation is to decertify as a union so that players can then file injunctions and anti-trust lawsuits. Now to me the problem is that the CBA required the union to basically fire the first shot.
The collective bargaining agreement says the NFLPA in effect must wait six months to decertify if it does it after the collective bargaining agreement expires.

I would say it was PR genius from the owners on that accord. See I'll bet there are a lot of you out there that feel like the union forced a lockout yesterday because they had to act first. Only problem with that is there is literally no way for the union to force a lockout. Even without a union to bargain with the owners could have set up free agency last night. They just chose not to. Which should have been utterly predictable.

And yet I'll bet you most of the stories today give the impression that the NFLPA caused the situation we are now in. But that would ignore the fact that it was the NFL ownership that in fact opted out of the previous CBA and hadn't participated much in negotiations at all until the eleventh hour when they were forced to. Yes the NFLPA HAD to act first in order to protect the players' rights to bring litigation but this was far from their doing.

And I know some folks are salty about De Smith's "ultimatum" yesterday. Well I'll get to that but first lets talk about a really big deal that is THE tell about how we got here and why

I would hope by now almost all NFL fans had heard the term "lockout insurance". It of course refers to contract the NFL owners signed with the TV networks which included money that owners would be paid even in the event that games weren't played during the 2011 season. It was to be a war chest of sorts to help keep owners rolling in the dough while players were going broke from being locked out in order to force them to take whatever deal the owners decided to offer.

Now I'm sure if you haven't really followed the case and or have it set in your mind that "both sides" are at fault for the work stoppage you probably think I'm embellishing the situation. If anything I'm probably being kind.

If anything I'm probably being kind.

Please please please do not take my word for it though. What you should do instead is read Judge David Doty's decision for yourself in full and see for yourself the kind of fuckery the owners were on with those TV contracts.

I know that most of us, myself included, are not lawyers and a lot of us, myself included, tend to be lazy when reading blogs and don't always click the link. So allow me to excerpt just a few parts of the ruling here with relevant parts highlighted.

Here is one section:

Broadcast contracts are an enormous source of shared revenue
for the Players and the NFL. Under the SSA, the Players rely on
the NFL to negotiate these contracts on behalf of both the NFL’s
own interests and the interests of the Players. In May 2008, the
NFL opted out of the final two years of the CBA, and recognized
that a lockout in 2011 would help achieve a more favorable CBA.
Thereafter, the NFL sought to renegotiate broadcast contracts to
ensure revenue for itself in the event of a lockout.
See, e.g.,
Exs. 98, 102, 110, 131, 228. The record shows that the NFL
undertook contract renegotiations to advance its own interests and
harm the interests of the players. The NFL argues that the SSA 4
does not require it to act in good faith in 2011 or subsequent
seasons, that lockouts are recognized bargaining tools and that it

The NFL’s “Decision Tree” is one glaring example of the 4
NFL’s intent and consideration of its own interests above the
interests of the Players. See Ex. 216, at 00081969. Moving
forward with a deal depended on the answer to the question: “Does
Deal Completion Advance CBA Negotiating Dynamics?” If yes, the NFL
should “Do Deal Now”; if no, the NFL should “Deal When Opportune.”

is entitled to maximize its post-SSA leverage. The court agrees. 5
However, under the terms of the SSA, the NFL is not entitled to
obtain leverage by renegotiating shared revenue contracts, during
the SSA, to generate post-SSA leverage and revenue to advance its
own interests and harm the interests of the Players. Here, the NFL
renegotiated the broadcast contracts to benefit its exclusive
interest at the expense of, and contrary to, the joint interests of
the NFL and the Players. This conduct constitutes “a design ... to
seek an unconscionable advantage” and is inconsistent with good
faith. See Ashokan Water Servs., 807 N.Y.S.2d at 554 (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
The NFL next argues that any injury to the Players’ interests
will occur after the termination of the SSA. The court disagrees.
As a result of the broadcast contract renegotiations, the NFL
demanded and received “material[ly]” different, immediately
effective work-stoppage agreements. See, e.g., Bornstein Dep. 168-
69. Moreover, at least one broadcaster would have considered
paying more in the 2009-2010 seasons “to have [the work-stoppage
provision] go away,” Tr. 410, indicating that the NFL’s
inflexibility with respect to lockout provisions resulted in less
total revenues for the 2009-2010 seasons.
The NFL also argues that

The court notes, however, that a lockout is usually an 5
economic weapon employed in response to a strike. See 48B Am. Jur.
2d Labor & Labor Relations § 2652 (“A lockout is a legitimate move
by an employer in the face of a strike....”).

the broadcast contracts were renegotiated to avoid defaulting under
certain loan covenants. That fact alone substantiates value to the
NFL without a corresponding increase in total revenues. Moreover,
the value of the renegotiated contracts far exceeds the amount
needed to satisfy loan covenants, and the DirecTV contract creates
a financial incentive to institute a lockout. Further, the
decision to lockout the Players is entirely within the control of
the NFL,
thereby rendering a debt default also entirely within its
control. Lastly, the debt covenants are of the NFL’s own making.
The risk of debt default brought about by a lockout does not excuse
or justify a breach of the SSA. Therefore, construing the good
faith obligation as modified by “consistent with sound business
judgment,” the NFL breached the SSA by failing to act in good faith
so as to maximize total revenues for each SSA playing season.

Here's another section:

To the extent that “consistent with sound business judgment”
modifies the best efforts requirement, the NFL may consider its
long-term interests but not at the expense of maximizing total
revenues for each SSA season for the joint benefit of itself and
the Players. A promisor’s consideration of its own interests
becomes unreasonable when it is manifestly harmful to the party to
which it has obligations. See Van Valkenburgh, Nooger & Neville,
Inc. v. Hayden Pub. Co., 281 N.E.2d 142, 145 (N.Y. 1972); accord
CASE 4:92-cv-00906-DSD -SPMS Document 675 Filed 03/01/11 Page 25 of 28
Dist. Lodge 26, 689 F. Supp. 2d at 242. “Consistent with sound
business judgment” does not permit the NFL to enhance its long-term
interests at the expense of its present obligations. The record 10
shows, however, that the NFL did just that. In considering
broadcast contract renegotiations, the NFL consistently
characterized gaining control over labor as a short-term objective
and maximizing revenue as a long-term objective.
See, e.g., Exs.
142, 201, 228. The NFL used best efforts to advance its CBA
negotiating position at the expense of using best efforts to
maximize total revenues for the joint benefit of the NFL and the
Players for each SSA playing season. Moreover, at least three
networks expressed some degree of resistance to the lockout
payments. As it renegotiated the contracts, the NFL characterized
network opposition to lockout provisions to be a deal breaker and
“clearly a deal” it would not consider. Ex. 163. To the contrary,
the evidence shows that maximizing total revenues for SSA seasons
was, at best, a minor consideration in contract renegotiations.
Therefore, the court finds that the NFL breached Article X,
The NFL urges the court to follow an unpublished Fourth 10
Circuit case, which held that the duty to use best efforts
“consistent with its overall business objectives” allows the
defendant “to act in accordance with its own objectives if they
conflict with those of [plaintiff].” Mylan Pharm., Inc. v. Am.
Cyanamid Co., Nos. 94-1502, 94-1472, 1995 WL 86437, at *6 (4th Cir.
1995). This unpublished case is not persuasive or controlling
authority. See 8th Cir. R. 32.1A; 2d Cir. R. 32.1. Moreover, it
provides no analysis or substantive reasoning for its

§ 1(a)(i) in extending or renegotiating its broadcast contracts.
Accordingly, the special master committed legal error in failing to
properly interpret the SSA’s requirement to act in good faith and
use best efforts, consistent with sound business judgment, to
maximize total revenues for each SSA playing season, and thus
finding no breach.

Now I really, REALLY encourage you to read the whole thing if you can. I mean hell I might be just excerpting the part that helps my case right? But the truth is there is MORE in there than I excerpted. A lot more.

But this is also an issue that has pissed me off to no end. The owners stood to rake in $4 billion dollars from those deals during a lockout.


And yet pundit after pundit tried to downplay the effect before the ruling of them having that money and the effect after that ruling of them losing that money. Some said it was only for the second year of a lockout, others said it was only a loan.

And you know what on paper they might have been right.

But lets be real here, $4 BILLION dollars in your pocket spends RIGHT NOW. And you can bet your ass that if the owners didn't need it they wouldn't have played hardball to get it in the contracts and wouldn't have worked so hard to keep it after the litigation started. Oh yeah, that's that word again, "litigation". I imagine you will hear it a lot from the owners over the next few weeks and months to try to demonize what was essentially the only approach the players could take once the owners revealed they had no interest in negotiating.

And yes you can make that determination from the response to Doty's ruling. Hell the owners were no where to be found prior to that ruling, famously cancelling meetings to meet with the players during the Superbowl and also never seriously offering any proposals until the last few weeks.

And then all of a sudden they show up RIGHT AFTER THE DOTY RULING. And yet you STILL didn't see pundits connecting the dots. None of them dared say that the ruling had changed the owners policy of just sitting on their hands until they could lock the players out.

And so I ask to the people who are still on that "both sides are at fault" bullshit, what could the players do to compel owner's to negotiate with them prior to that ruling on the lockout insurance. I mean yeah they could have just accepted everything the owners demanded but that's not a negotiation at all. And is that REALLY what you're telling me they should've done?

And don't miss this point from the part I highlighted: The owners themselves argued that they didn't have to "act in good faith" when negotiating those TV contracts. Seriously its right there in the ruling. THAT was their argument.

So let's get back to De Smith's "ultimatum" from yesterday.

Earlier this week I happened to read one of the worst reported, bordering on libelous reports from ESPN's Adam Schefter. You see Schefter, probably force fed by a shill for the owners, claimed that ownership this week had offered to show De Smith and the NFLPA ALL of the financial data that they had been asking for and De Smith said no. The reason Schefter gave, covering his ass by saying an anonymous person "with knowledge of the process" was his source, was that De Smith didn't want to lose face with the public after demanding the owners open the books.

One slight problem...it was total bullshit.

After Schefter's article got a gazillion links on blogs everywhere covering the negotiations the AP came out with their own report where by they actually did something CRAZY. They asked De Smith about the financial data he had been asking for and then he did something crazy. He gave them a letter from two years ago that he sent ownership asking for 10 years of audited team by team statements.

And you know what ESPN and Adam Schefter did? Well first I'll tell you what they didn't do. They DIDN'T offer De Smith and the NFLPA leadership a public apology. They did go back and totally rewrite the story from the information inside of it to the tone (seriously, the story is a 180 turn from the original) and put a nice "updated" note beside it. As if that would explain everything.

Now you may recall that the original CBA deadline was a week ago. It was extended first for a day and then for a week. But the question was and always had been whether or not the owners were just stalling or truly committed to reaching a deal. And yet after two years of demanding the 10 years of audited financial statements the owners were still acting as if they had access to their lockout insurance and didn't really need to show the NFLPA anything more than what they chose to. And remember that an appeal on Doty's ruling is coming soon which could be another reason to just stall out negotiations. And what do you know...

Even after federal mediator George Cohen began presiding over the sessions, union negotiators thought they were being shined on by the league, as most or all of the owners were absent from the bulk of the meetings. Finally, last Wednesday – the day after Doty’s decision – 10 executives from the league’s labor management committee showed up for the talks at the FMCS building. They left to join the rest of the league’s owners at a meeting 25 miles away in Chantilly, Va., and Smith and other union negotiators were under the impression that those owners would return for the next round of discussions.

Instead, the union leaders learned that those owners, including the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, had flown home on private planes, leaving only two members of the league’s labor committee (New York Giants owner John Mara and Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy) to attend Thursday’s crucial session.

Even after negotiating a pair of extensions, the league’s negotiating team showed up this past Monday without displaying a sense of urgency. On Thursday afternoon – with Friday’s deadline looming – Smith and other union negotiators left the FMCS building and walked back to NFLPA headquarters. They were told by Cohen to expect a call before 4:30 p.m., at which point they’d be summoned to return for another session of talks.

The union officials waited as 4:30 arrived, then 5, but the call never came. Finally, Atallah learned via a reporter’s post on Twitter that the owners who’d been in attendance were on a conference call with the rest of the league’s owners.

Said Atallah: “I turned to De and said, ‘Oh, that’s funny – we were supposed to be over there right now. “He said, ‘Are you serious?’ At 6:15 we called the mediator’s office, and he told us, ‘Well, they’re packing up to go, so we’re not doing anything tonight.’ And then we heard they all went to dinner.”

So yes, De Smith put conditions on continuing the negotiations and I thought he was entirely right in doing so. For two years now many in the media have, again, tried to downplay the significance of wanting the owners to open their books. Hell one ex NFL coach this week went so far with his shilling that he said NFL owners were "small business owner". You know like the folks running the Mom and Pop store on the corner.


But let me break this down in two different ways.

First I keep getting folks tweeting me saying something to the effect of "hey dude, if I asked my employer to open their books they would just laugh at me".

Well yeah, DUH!

If any single person goes to their boss out of the blue and asks them to open their books I'm sure they WOULD get laughed out of the room. But this ain't Peyton Manning going to Jim Irsay asking him to open the books, and this ain't out of the blue.

If you want a more valid comparison you would say "Hey dude, if they chose to cut everybody at my job's pay by around 15% after they made record profits before we all renewed our contract and then we all banded together and decided to go ask the owner to open the books to justify it or else none of us would sign on to come back...."

Well it gets kinda convoluted after that but I think you get my drift. But see the comparison will never really make sense for two reasons. Now you might not like to hear this but playing in the NFL is not something the overwhelming amount of people can do. Hell its not something the overwhelming amount of people who play college football can do. And so they players themselves are a precious commodity that owners know they can't replace wholesale and keep the same or close to the same quality level.

On the other hand NFL players are pretty much captive employees to the NFL because there are no comparable professional football leagues out there where they can make around the same amount of money doing what they do.

But if you have a job outside of the NFL then there are probably other people that can do your job and at the same time there are probably other companies that you can leave and go work at if your job start's tripping and trying to lower your compensation.

Now I have been rude to a few of the people who have tweeted this at me. And honestly I don't take any of it back. Mostly because they were unsolicited tweets to me and I feel like if you are going to say something to me out of the way you should at least know what you're talking about. Otherwise either stay silent or ask somebody who might know. But at the end of the day the truth is people should understand that these differences in how the relationship with their job is with the players and their job make those kinds of comparisons unrealistic.

And yes, dumb.

Now let's back up a minute and come back to a very important point. This is mostly about MONEY.

Read that line again. MONEY!!!

Yes, 18 games and a rookie scale are very important issues too. But make no mistakes ladies and gents this is about money.

About $5 billion dollars worth to be exact.

Now some of yall are probably scratching your heads right now because you thought it was either about $9 billion or $1 billion. $9 billion being an approximation of total revenue or $1 billion, the amount the owners are asking players to give back of that revenue.

Well see that $1 billion the owners want back is per year. Mean if a CBA is for 5 years they are really asking for $5 billion dollars back. I thought of this after De Smith made reference to writing a $5 billion dollar check which at first kind of threw me off.

Now you tell me and be serious about it. If you had $5 billion dollars to spend on an investment, just how damn much information would YOU want to know on that company?

See the owners are asking the players to give up $5 billion dollars of revenue they themselves help to generate because, and I'm paraphrasing here, "they said so dammit". The information they have released to the union so far has been by all accounts underwhelming. The supposed reason that the owners believe the players HAVE to give back this money is because, according to them, the owners are starting to lose money. Now they give a list of reason's they deserve more of the revenues like building new stadiums etc. But they have been reluctant to actually show players the information that would prove quite clearly the financial direction the NFL is headed in.

Because if the profits aren't actually dropping, how could they possibly justify wanting to take more money from the players than they were getting in the last CBA?

The core of their argument is something they have the ability to prove. And its apparent at least to me that if the league could prove that the owners were losing money public opinion would decidely shift to their side and there would be enormous pressure on the NFLPA to give up that money.

And yet they have, up until now, refused to do so.

You take from that what you will. I'm sure you probably know what I think.

And while we are on the subject lets talk about why the money is the most important part of this negotiation and integrate why you shouldn't buy the spin from owners in the current weeks about what the active players "walked out on" yesterday that would have benefited both them and the retired players. Supposedly.

Until we find out how the money will be split up we don't get to find out what that financial implications are for an 18 game season if it's implemented. See one would assume there would be additional revenue with additional games. And so how much more the players would get from actually playing in those games would likely color whether they were more likely or less likely to even negotiate on the issue. But how can you know what that is if you still don't know how the revenue is going to be divided?

Also with the rookie cap again how could the NFLPA possibly decide if they should agree to such a cap without knowing how much of the revenue the players will be getting to offset the lost income draft picks will see due to a rookie cap?

It is obvious that, as with many things in life, the real issue here is the money.

And so when you here the NFL's shills talk about how much money active and retired players are going to miss out on by rejecting their final offer just remember that they are proposing to you that in some sort of new math that players were going to get more with less of a share of the revenue.

I don't know about you but I can't get my calculator to figure that one out.

And that's kind of why I wrote this blog today. You see, and I'm not saying all because obviously there is some good reporting going on out there, I just don't see a lot of NFL writers shooting it straight on this labor issue. It moreso appears that they are either trying so hard to refrain from blaming either side or that they simply do empathize more with the owners, that the reporting tends to strain credibility. I mean last night the NFL sent out a statement that the owners hadn't decided whether to lockout or not. And some folks were sending that out as if it had ANY credibility behind it. Look back up at Judge Doty's order. THEY PLANNED FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS FOR THIS LOCKOUT. And yet now we are all supposed to believe that they just weren't sure about it?

C'mon Son. Thats ludicruss <

So it is that kind of reporting that to me has been the biggest problem as far as public opinion is on this issue. If more reporters just stuck to the facts and refused to publish some of this spin I don't think there is any question that more NFL fans would be siding with the players. I just don't know of too many people who think $5 billion dollars doesn't warrant some serious interest in the financial data. And yet, because the owners' spokesmen say so, writers are reporting that the NFLPA maybe doesn't really need all that information.

Now if you read this post and like it I would just ask you to do one thing. When you see people on other social media who are fans of football and either confused about which side they should support or say stuff like both sides are at fault, I would just ask you to send them the link to this blog. I'm not trying to garner sympathy for the NFLPA or De Smith but I do believe that the facts in this situation are decidedly on their side. I just don't think that most of those people with that point of view have been exposed to the facts and or have been spun hard in the media by the owners about what those facts really mean.

One last note, there won't be any replacement players because this isn't a strike. When the owners lock the players out business stops. There won't be any games unless the current players are involved and the lockout is lifted. Just FYI to a frequently asked question on twitter.

Aight peace

Friday, January 7, 2011

Your Week Seventeen Leader

And winning the crown in the final week of the regular season was...



Funny thing is I was all set to ALSO hand over the overall title to 1Bigg_ER after he edged me out by 40 points but it turns out that the fun continues into the playoffs!!!

So make sure you sign in and make your picks because there is still time to make a push for 1st place.

Good luck to everyone!

Everyone but 1Bigg_ER that is. I wish only the worst things in life to that guy LOL

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Years!!!!

Ok so maybe I'm a few days late with this.

But at least I won't have any Bucs posts up any time soon either!

Wait, that didn't come out right.

So look it, I figured I wouldn't have a Bull Rush or TGTBTU post up for the Seahawks game and if you paid attention closely I said I wouldn't be posting for a week or so in my last post. But I didn't realize at that time that I also wouldn't be able to post on the Saints game either. I didn't see much of the Seahawks game any way but I did catch most of the Saints game (great game by the way) but I wasn't able to tape either unfortunately. And I know my limitations, there is no way in hell I could do a write up based solely on what I saw one time as it was happening with very few replays. Sometimes life just gets in the way and this is one of those times.

So I apologize for that, but I want to thank all of the folks who have been reading my blogs all year and especially those who participated in the fantasy football pick em league as well. I probably would have blogged about the Bucs this year no matter what but having people appreciate my work definitely gave me added motivation each week to git er done.

As for what's next, I'll probably do a post mortem on the season as a whole in the coming weeks and I'll also probably do individual breakdowns on each member just like I did last year as we head into the off season. At the same time I have felt the pull of the coaching profession once again and I have decided to test the waters to see what opportunities may arise. Therefore I can't promise that blogging will be regular but when I blog it will probably be substantive and worth your time. Maybe something will happen, maybe I'll still be blogging the Bucs next year, who knows. But I just ask that you bear with me for awhile until something happens....or doesn't.

I would be remiss if I didn't shout out the Bucs for doing what most folk, including even myself, didn't think they could do and that was get to 10 wins. The turnaround this season was truly amazing and if it didn't give you reason to be hopeful and excited about next year you're either dead or not a real Bucs fan. What those coaches and players accomplished despite all the injuries and the suspension of one of their best players can not be over stated. That we didn't have a single Pro Bowler is instructive on how much respect there still is out there to be earned though. Another year like this one and I don't think that will ever be a problem again.

Again I hope everyone had a happy holidays and I'll have at least one more post up this week crowning the champion of the fantasy football league.