Archive for March, 2012

Most of you know who Warren Buffet is – the #1 investor in the history of the United States. He always talks about a concept he’s developed called the Innerscoreboard/Outscoreboard – where a lot of people tell you that they are confident but when you really have confidence, Mr. Buffet calls it a innerscoreboard. An outerscoreboard is that you talk a big game but deep down you’re insecure. So an innerscoreboard is that you have a real gut level of confidence and people who do – and businesses that do, set trends not follow them.

As much as it pains me to write this about my beloved Jets, they have a lousy innerscoreboard! The New York Giants have a great innerscoreboard – they don’t react, they set trends, they act, the Jets react. Giants won the Superbowl in 2007, Jets react “Let’s get Brett Favre!” Giants win the Superbowl this year, Jets react “Let’s get Tim Tebow” The Giants win Superbowls immediately afterwards though, the Jets seek media attention. They are the low self-esteem girl who wears the big hat to a party – not really that good looking, but looking for attention. Every day the Jets look more and more reactionary, they make promises that they can’t keep! Except for young quarterback of course, naw the Jets are great with that!! The Jets are writing a new NFL handbook “How Not to Treat Your Young NFL Quarterback” it’s amazing! I heard Bill Polian, former Colts GM, interviewed on Mike & Mike show this morning and he said that it’s amazing how the Jets are doing this to Sanchez. He cited Eli Manning with the Giants after 3 years…the Giants to their credit, just kept giving him help. He then cited Peyton Manning with the Colts after his 4th season, had a 6-10 record. Sanchez reaches back-to-back AFC Championships, was on his way to another good year last year…and they bring in Tim Tebow? Unbelievable!!

If you don’t live in New York – and many of you I assume don’t, the New York Giants are blue bloods, old money, the Rockefellers of the NFL, they cast a huge shadow over the Jets and the Jets time and time again are consumed by it. The Jets said this morning that they had a “roll” for Tebow and apparently it’s to destroy the huddle. One thing even a Jets fan – I’ll be the first one to admit it; even Rex Ryan would admit is that teams take the personality of the coach – it’s applicable in all sports. Smart coaches create smart teams and the Jets – much like Rex Ryan, are emotional, hot and cold. They’re on a 3 game winning streak, 4 game winning streaks…3 game losing streaks, that’s what the Jets are! They are not the Steelers or the Patriots, they are not a model of consistency – they are hot and cold. Rex Ryan takes over in 2009, 3 game winning streak followed by a 3 game losing streak, a win, then a 3 game losing streak, followed by a 3 game winning streak. In 2010, 5 game winning streak, then a 4 game winning streak. Last year, 3 game losing streak, 3 game winning streak, another 3 game winning streak, then a 3 game losing streak. When they go into the tank…they go into the tank! I’ve got news for you, if you look at the Jets schedules this coming season, they face the improved Patriots twice, San Diego, Houston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, cross country to Seattle. There is going to be a losing streak somewhere. What are you going to do then when you’re on a two or three game losing streak Jet fan? (open this link in another tab ) that’s what you’re going to hear from the wackado’s and tebowmanicas! Apparently they say they have a plan of diversifying the offense….what the heck does that mean?? Does it mean on 3rd down you yank out Sanchez? Red zone you yank out Sanchez?

In New England, Tom Brady won’t give up a snap in practice, now you’re asking Mark to give them up in practice and at the games….way to develop a good young quarterback, way to go!! Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees – they’re backups have gone on record saying that they won’t give up snaps in practice!! I mean…seriously! It is utterly unbelievable. As my long time Pats friend living in New York claimed on his facebook status as soon as the Tebow to Jets story broke out,  the Jets and Patriots use to be a hell of a rivalry, but the brain is elevated from the mouth, consistency has separated itself from hot and cold – it’s no longer a rivalry. Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets GM, said something on Wednesday…he should know better than this! “I think we understand the dynamics here and within reason, we are prepared for it,  but again Mark is our quarterback and I think Rex does a very good job at managing those dynamics So he’ll come here [Tebow] and we’ll go from there, I believe we are totally prepared from an infrastructure standpoint.” He’s basically saying “we’re prepared for the hype” You can’t prepare for mania!! You can’t prepare for Beatlemania!! Linsanity!! Tebowmania!! I grew up in Leaf Nation, you couldn’t stop it the deeper they got into the playoffs. San Francisco has been prepared for an earthquake for 70 years – World Series, late 80’s, it hits…utter chaos! Life’s not spared.

You ever see these people that take karate classes? They “prepare” ….they say “I’m going to take karate classes to prepare for a burglary…I’m going to prepare for an attack” Yeah, how’s that working for you Snooki at 4am in the morning, you wake up and a burglar has got a knife to your temple and a hand over your throat?  How’s that karate class working out for you karate kid? You can’t prepare for attacks!! Unlike your instructor, wearing a robe and standing in front of you without a weapon, you can’t prepare for that!! Take all the karate classes you want! The idea that you can prepare for mania….like every time there is a mania in Hollywood or in music – forget sports, like a Justin Bieber mania – that’s what Tebow is like…what do the promoters always say? “I mean God, we were overwhelmed!! We thought we had a beat on this…holy smokes, this was like a tsunami…” does he really think in New York, two sports talk radio stations, with 4 or 5 competing new talkers – really the only city in the U.S. that has got a newspaper war where you’ve got the Times, the Post, the Daily News. Big personalities, everyone trying to break stories, everybody trying to create conflict…you think you’re going to control that? I mean…come on!!! You can’t control mania, you know why? Simple!! You can’t control other people in life. You may be able to have the infrastructure ready, but you can’t control wackado’s and zealots and that’s what mania creates! Bieber Fever, Tebowmania….this is going to be a mess!! When the Jets go on a 2 game losing streak…good luck with that! This is what you’re going to hear from the upper deck (open this link in another tab ) absolute nightmare!!

I’m also surprised by the Saints being outraged by this – it’s just the NFL protecting its legal butt, that’s all the NFL is doing. All the NFL is doing with the Saints is protecting itself for the next 15 years when they have to go to court and prosecuting attorney’s go out there and have to say “Hey NFL, you don’t take these injuries seriously!” and the NFL can say to them “hey, look what we did to the Saints, look what we did to Sean Payton.  The minute we found out about a bounty, we got rid of one of the most popular coaches in the league” I can’t understand how so many people just simply don’t get it. Folks, it’s an easy one…they are simply protecting their legal backside, that’s all Roger Goodell is doing. So every concussion and lawsuit – by the way, there’s one filed everyday if you pay attention. Every time someone files a lawsuit, every attorney now can’t say to the NFL “you don’t take this stuff seriously” because Roger Goodell will simply say “heck I don’t? Look what we did when we found out about it!”


So Peyton Manning has been anointed as the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos. News that ESPN’s Adam Schafter and Chris Mortensen first broke late Tuesday morning, where Peyton Manning told his agent to open up negotiations with the Broncos. I felt and most analysts felt that it was the best spot for him because you’ve got Demarious Thomas – an emerging star, Eric Decker a very good #2, you have an excellent offensive line, you have a ton of cash, it is a great wide receiver draft, and I believe it is the perfect spot. Now Eddie Royal late last week signed with the Chargers – I liked him not only as a receiver but as a punt returner, that’s a little bit of a ding, but again it’s a great wide receiver draft, you’ve got a ton of cash, don’t be shocked if they go out and make a run on one or two of the available tight ends out there.

In regards to Tim Tebow, when news broke out that Manning was all but a Bronco I thought for sure that Tebow would be out. The preliminary list of teams I thought would be a great fit for him were: New England, San Diego, New Orleans, Giants and the Steelers, these are organizations that have successful and stable pro bowl level quarterbacks who would not be affected if they have a bad afternoon and the crazy’s and the wackado’s would not be chanting Tebow’s name. My rationale was that you cannot have a young quarterback on the roster who you think has the potential to be an elite qb and bring in Tebow, you only do that unless you were going to give Tebow a real shot at running the organization – which as we now now, will be the case with the Jets. I just thought that under an Eli Manning, Big Ben, Brady, Brees, Philip Rivers he could be a very good situational player. I’ve always said that it doesn’t work in Denver right now with Tebow. John Elway – Stanford educated, his dad was a coach, 30 years + in the league knows what he’s doing. You’ve still got a high percentage of people in Denver who really believed that Tebow was the guy. Peyton Manning goes out and has a bad half and you would’ve had the nutcases clamoring for Tebow. You know what? You just really want him out of the neighbourhood, you may like your ex-wife but you don’t want to live next to her. This was the right move to make, I know people are going to argue but John Elway is no dope.

I also felt that Denver was the most desperate out of all the teams. Tennessee has Hasselbeck, 9er’s have Alex Smith…you can win a lot of games with those guys. Now, something that I eluded to during the NFL playoffs –which not too many people were really talking about, was Denver’s schedule for next season, when they will face 10 pro bowl level quarterbacks – remember, they have to face: New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. They also have to play the NFC South, where they have to face Brees, Newton, Ryan…it is a very formidable schedule for Denver next year. With Peyton Manning, I believe you can win almost all of those games – and a lot of those games are road games. Tim Tebow has not shown the ability, I’d even argue that he’s not even close, to go on the road and beat pro bowl quarterbacks.

Let me share with you something I read about a month ago in one of the online subscriptions. Where they had inside knowledge that deep down, Elway and John Fox were sort of done placating Tebow – where neither one of them truly believed Tim would ever be close to an elite quarterback. That is why they pursued Peyton Manning with such intensity. Elway and Fox had merely come to terms since the season ended on the direction of the franchise and that in order to beat elite teams in this league, they just didn’t believe that Tebow was close now or that he would ever get there.  For those of you who claim Tebow wasn’t given a shot to show his thing in his first year, I give you Cam Newton. The man walked into the league with a crappy team, Andy Dalton as well walked into the league the same way…yet both overnight were able to put up legitimate numbers. Your two full years into Tebow and he’s not even close!! By the way, they didn’t let Rodgers play all that much in his first season, yet by the time he hit the field, he was great!

In the current NFL, you don’t need two years to prove that you can complete more than 47% of your throws! You Tebow fans… he’s not close!!! I remember reading somewhere else where a veteran NFL head coach – I think they said he was coaching in the NFC East, watched Tebow work out in the combine and was shocked at how far he had to go mechanically. There are so many concerns about Tebow: mechanics, arm strength, above the shoulders, where he has struggled to make pre-snap reads. Nobody is saying that Tim Tebow won’t improve, but even if you gave him a 15, 20 or 30% improvement, the numbers are still not even close! NFL insiders really thought that the Broncos were not going to get significantly better- it’s not like Tim has to improve in one area, Tim has got to improve 40% across the board! So this whole thing about “oh Andrew, he needs time…” Andy Dalton didn’t get time, Cam Newton didn’t get time and Andrew Luck is not going to get time…you don’t have time, you have to win now!! The league is not waiting for Tim Tebow, you gotta be able to win shoot outs, on the road…now! 

Did you just see what New England has done over the past couple of days?  They got another tight end and a star wide receiver in Brandon Lloyd; you don’t think they’re not going to score 30 points a game? You’re playing them next year in Foxboro…can you win that game if you’re the Broncos and still had Tebow as your starter? The Pats just added two star pieces to that offense, you think you can honestly go on the road and win that game? If you don’t, then why did you want Tebow?? You can sure as heck win it with Peyton Manning; you can’t win it with Tebow. But, it’s set though, Peyton Manning to Denver.

Now, just to cover all the rumours and stories leading up to Manning’s potential destination – many texted me and thought 9er’s were the best fit. I never thought that Manning to San Fran was a great fit because if you’re Harbough, you’ve got a plan. Essentially with the money they would’ve had to pay Manning, you just wouldn’t be able to keep all these defensive stars over the next 2 or 3 years. In the end, if you go look at Jim Harbough’s career as a coach – at San Diego, at Stanford and San Francisco, what he develops tends to be very physical football teams. He likes very physical football teams; he doesn’t mind if his quarterback can run a little, he wants to pound the ball – that’s sort of the opposite of Peyton’s style. So I never thought that Peyton to the 9er’s was a perfect fit – I thought it was an absolutely perfect fit in Denver, I thought it was a bad fit in Tennessee.  Kenny Britt – to me, is an injury away or an off-field incident away from rendering Tennessee a virtually sub-par offense. I just don’t like Tennessee’s offensive pieces, I’m sure nobody disputes that Kenny Britt is a star but he’s also been a knucklehead, he’s coming off an injury. If he gets hurt…what are you stuck with?  Chris Johnson in a passing league? Coming up tomorrow – breaking it down on what the Tebow to the Jets move means! Stay tune!

So last Tuesday night, Chris Mortensen – award winning journalist with ESPN was the first to break the news that Peyton Manning had been cut by the Indianapolis Colts. Many Colt fans were understandably disturbed with the news – it’s one of those “you know it’s bound to happen and it’s gonna hurt, but just don’t know when” that was last Tuesday for them. But let me throw this at you – be it Colt fan or the Peyton Manning homer, I contend that it was not a day of sadness but rather that it was a day for everybody to be grateful, that it was even a day for Peyton Manning to be grateful. Listen, he was born with a dad named Archie Manning – a wonderful set of parents I’m sure, a great brother, not into poverty, not with disabilities, not born into dysfunctions. Day 1 – well, maybe not Day 1, but very early on, there was dad leading the path to a pro-football quarterback career.  There are a lot of worse families to be born into than the Manning family.

Peyton should also be thoughtful and thankful that he had an owner who didn’t put him on the IR – kept him on the roster last year, giving him $25 million for not playing. You think the late Al Davis, God rest his soul, would’ve done that? Or Mike Brown of the Bengals? Colt fans…you should be grateful for 14 years of unrivaled excellence because you generally don’t get one quarterback for that long. In fact, from 98’ to 10’, when Manning was the Colts’ quarterback, the Bengals started 17 quarterbacks and every team other than the Colts had at least 3 starting quarterbacks during that time span. The Browns had 16, the Dolphins had 16, the Cowboys/Ravens/Lions and Raiders had 15, Colt fans…you had one and he was a great guy. The NFL should also be thankful because Peyton Manning gave you 14 years of television excellence – no controversies ,he was even funny when he went on Saturday Night Live. Now, he’ll make 2 teams really interesting – the one he goes to and the Colts because Andrew Luck is coming aboard. Andrew Luck should be thankful because Indy is now his job and only his job and he won’t have to go through what Aaron Rodgers of the Packers had to go through – a 3 year apprenticeship with Brett Favre.

Jim Irsay should also be thankful because he saved $28 million bucks last Wednesday and gets the cushiest landing in the history of pro sports. He’s landing at the marshmallow airport – he virtually goes from Lebron to Kobe with Manning to Luck. Gregg Williams and the Saints should be thankful; no bounty talk at least until Manning decides where to take his talents. Speaking of Lebron, he should be thankful as well! He’s no longer the last icon to leave a city nor is Albert Pujols. Nike should be thankful because they have a new marketing deal with the NFL – Peyton as a Dolphin, a Bronco, a Jet, a Redskin or a Cardinal is $100-200 million in the bank! Peyton Manning started every meaningful game for 13 years. He broke the league record for most regular season wins in a decade. You’re looking for sympathy Colt fan??? It’s been an amazing ride! Andrew Luck is not going to be as good as Peyton Manning…who in the world is?? If he can make the pro bowl 2 out of 3 years and just get to a Superbowl, every GM in this league would sign up for it. You just didn’t get Peyton Manning; you got Peyton Manning commercial icon, funny guy, loyal guy, change the city guy. Tony Dungy was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio Wednesday morning and he talked about how when Peyton arrived in sleepy old Indianapolis – don’t forget, Indy use to be called “nap town” – I’m not making this up! NFL scouts called it for years “india-no-place”.

When Peyton went to the city of Indianapolis, they didn’t even care about football. Anyways, so Dungy said “when I got there in 2002, it was definitely a town that was all about Indiana basketball, it was Pacers basketball and the Colts were in third place. Peyton Manning did so much to change that – and now I was back there for the Superbowl and I would see people walking around in blue and white Colts jerseys. It is a completely different landscape and that is really a credit to Peyton and Jim Irsay and this has been a tough one. I’ve talked to both of those guys at length in the past couple of weeks – nobody wanted it to go this way, but in the final analysis this is the best thing for both parties, I believe.”  There is no sadness!! Peyton is not 80 and needs gallbladder surgery – okay, he had more neck surgeries than Frankenstein had in the last 2 months, be that as it may. In the end, Indianapolis, from one legend to another, in the NFL, one boring team will get interesting and Peyton Manning…it happens to all of us! The great thing about the U.S. and Canada – for the first time since our university days, now YOU get to choose where you go! That is absolutely incredible!!

Bill Polian use to be the go-to person between Irsay and Manning and I think he sums it up well – the nation, the league, the Colt fans…they got a gift in this guy! “Well not surprising, I think most people believed that it would happen this way. This marks a new chapter in Peyton’s life and certainly a new chapter in the Colts’ history and we’ll go on from here, but what Peyton’s done in Indianapolis will probably never be eclipsed.” It absolutely won’t be!! But if you could guarantee a GM 80% of it, they’d take it tomorrow! This is the equivalent of having Lebron and he leaves and Kobe’s ready to get drafted! I mean, I would even argue…heck, you didn’t even earn it! Your incompetence is going to get you both quarterbacks!  Don’t be sad, take a deep breath, be bummed for an hour, the future is incredibly bright – for not only the Colts but Peyton Manning.

Now, I may be reaching here – but did you see Peyton Manning in the range rover last Tuesday night? They flew in on a private jet; ESPN’s local affiliate in Indianapolis rushed up to him in their range rover and put a camera in front of him, here a clip of it (right click the link to open in a different tab ) Now, I may be reaching here, but something was playing on the radio, re-watch the video again, now listen to the radio, there was something on, I think it sounded something like this (right click the link to open in a different tab ) Now to me, that is symbolic because my gut feeling is that Peyton was sending us a message in that range rover with Irsay last Tuesday, but again maybe I’m reaching.

So Troy Aikman was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago and he was there talking at a large public forum  about the possible return of the NFL to Los Angeles – you do these public speaking engagements when you’re a public figure and they invite you out and throw some money at you to stand up in front of people and to talk, Troy Aikman is a very sharp guy, he’s a star, he’s one of the sharpest guys to play quarterback and he’s had a great broadcasting career because he’s a really really smart guy. Often a lot of the knuckle heads and the meat heads who play in the NFL, they don’t understand – mostly defensive guys, they don’t get the big picture of football and Troy Aikman does.

He was saying how he doesn’t think the NFL is going to be number 1 forever and how MLB use to be number 1 and it’s no longer number  1. So he talked about something that is very very smart, he said at one point that bottom line, he has a son. He wouldn’t tell his son that he can’t play football but he’s not sure if he’d encourage him to play it with all the violence. Nothing smarter and truer has ever been said about the NFL. Like we all want our kids to be active but the minute moms don’t want their kids to play football because of concussions, spinal surgeries and spinal issues, I’ve got news for you folks! 15 years later the quality of talent erodes. That is a very smart thing to say and that is why Roger Goodell is deeply concerned about concussions, spinal injuries and head shots whereas the typical meat head fan will be like “yeah!!! What?? Have you got a dress on?” Mr. Goodell sees that if you start having lawsuits and spinal injuries, moms don’t let their sons play football and 15 years from now, football is smaller and slower.

Now, I don’t think the NFL will lose its number 1 ranking, at least during my adult life, perhaps when I’m 90 and we invent something new because I believe that football has 3 main advantages over baseball. Firstly, the NFL is built for television because it fits perfectly into the small box. If you look at the rise of televisions in Canada and the U.S. it parallels the rise in the popularity of the NFL. When newspapers ran the American media, baseball was bigger.  All of a sudden, televisions are becoming a common product in the average household and you look at every decade, our love for football…it works perfectly inside that small box! The field is even rectangle to better accommodate it than the diamond like shape for baseball. Secondly, technology has increased the speed of life. The tempo of North American society is much faster than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Once you introduce any technology to any marketplace, you just don’t go backwards. Even the Unabomber said that in his manifesto, it was the only thing that he said that made any sense. He said once you introduce technology to a marketplace – and you can capitalize on it and make money, nobody is getting rid of it. So be very careful with what you decide to introduce, technology wise, to the market because it doesn’t go backwards. Football fits the pace of our society while baseball is innately a sport of slow tempos and no clock.

Football is perfect with one game a week at 1pm EST Sundays, fit’s our temp, we’re sped up. By the way, you show the play, you got to 2 replays, by the time you get back to live action they break the huddle, next play!  13-15 minutes of pure football per afternoon.  But yet the television product is built for the play, 2 replays and then back to the play – no downtime anywhere. Thirdly, the thing that football has that baseball doesn’t is that we bet football, don’t kid yourself! Now, primarily in the U.S., they’ve always had betting, but they are now so much more of a gambling country. Schools in the U.S. are built by state lotteries, which some people have issues with; I don’t have anything against that. I am pro gambling, we do it, you do it, and I do it! I don’t know why anybody would be afraid of it. $10 billion was bet on the Superbowl, 1% of that was in Vegas. So get over it, we gamble, it’s our society, they do it in Europe, Asia, Latin America, they do it everywhere. But the other thing about this – in reference to Tory Aikman and I think he’s wrong, I love Troy Aikman but he doesn’t think that the NFL will be #1. One of the things about the NFL – and I’m just going to say something and your probably not going to believe it, but there is absolute proof. Is that baseball’s popularity was overstated in the 60’s and 70’s because newspapers ran the American media and they had a link to baseball. They had a built in back page, you had to go to a newspaper to get the boxscore. So you had to buy a newspaper in order to find out how your team was doing because all the games were not televised.

Once cable television, regional networks came into the picture, all of a sudden the games are on television and you don’t need a newspaper for your boxscores. Hall of fame baseball voters are all newspaper guys. Bob Costas doesn’t have a vote, some guy in Lowell, Mass at a tiny newspaper has got a vote. Baseball needed newspapers, newspapers needed baseball and the American newspaper overstated the popularity of baseball. Think I’m wrong? I take you to the Harris survey, which is a non-bias look at the history of politics and sports. In 1972, 63% of people said that they’re a football fan, 60% said they were baseball fans. The NFL was more popular in the 70’s. In 1969, football had 52%, baseball 47%. We overstated how big baseball was in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s football had long surpassed MLB – by the mid 80’s,televisions had increased dramatically in both Canada and the U.S. and in the early 90’s, football blows baseball out of the water. Never forget this, if sports were the stock market – I’ll tell you something right now, the sport that is absolutely a $9 dollar stock right now and it will be an Apple type stock in 25 years is soccer. I’ve researched and found 38 metrics that tell me why. Did you know that in the 70’s, the sport of boating beat soccer, this year though, soccer is now more popular that college basketball – for about 9 reasons. Every major network in the U.S. and Canada is battling to get soccer. NBC Sports Network – the new network, they would die to get soccer! They’ve got Notre Dame Football…but they want soccer! They’ve got boating…but they want soccer! They’ve got rugby…but they want soccer! They’ve got the Bob Costas show…but they want soccer! Soccer is a growth stock!

So emails and texts were pouring in over the weekend on one story – the NFL bounty story, if you have not heard, this is the story that trumps all stories. We find out that the New Orleans Saints, Greg Williams and Sean Peyton knew about it; there was a bounty out there that the coaches had set up, primarily defensive coordinator Greg Williams while with the Saints – he apparently had done it at other previous stops. So basically the coaches had a little game inside the game, they were paying NFL players a thousand bucks or so to knock their opponents out. Now, we’re all terribly uncomfortable with it but let’s start with the first part of the story – and this is the bigger part of the story.

What do we always say about the NFL? That it’s the #1 sport! A couple of weeks ago Troy Aikman said – and I’ll be releasing a rant this week on it, he said that the NFL basically won’t be #1 forever. So what could possibly bring down the NFL? There are only 2 things, I believe, that can bring down companies such as ESPN, Nike, Coca-Cola and the NFL – these gigantic brands, 1) Government 2) Lawsuits. Do not kid yourself, this is a legal powder kick, it is a litigation landmine. Let’s try not to see it from the coaches and players standpoint, let’s first see it from the leagues standpoint.

They see it potentially as a nightmare – which Roger Goodell would have to sit in front of a jury or a judge, like a cigarette executive, like a tobacco executive and have no alibi. Expect him to come down hard – and I believe it is the right thing to do. The NFL does not want to end up in court and have prosecuting attorney’s squaring them off and saying “you had bounties, you were trying to hurt players….you permitted it!” The NFL would lose billions of dollars; they would also, just like MLB has for the last 20 years, start to lose their perch in the marketplace. When you’re as big as the NFL, two things can bring you down – one of them is lawsuits. Is paying a linebacker 1/83rd of his salary for a little extra sauce on the hit a huge story? No, but it’s the perception of the story, potentially to a judge or to a jury that is the theme of this rant.

Listen, the NFL profits from violence, they romantize about it, remember when they use to sell tapes of the biggest hits? They promoted it! But it’s players and coaches who have set up an employee to an employee business, a game within a game and there is a sinister feel to it that could leave the NFL massively exposed in the courtroom. The word “Bounty” would scare jury’s it would be feasted on by the media and the NFL would be in an ugly place. Matt Bowen use to play in the NFL, there was an article he wrote this weekend and I’ll quote it “prices were set on Saturday nights in the team hotel, that’s right – we got paid for big hits, clean hits by the rulebook” now you say to yourself “ Andrew, but they were clean hits!” Law is interpretation my friends. He also says in the article “a couple of bucks here for going after the quarterback hard or taking a running back out below the knees” sirens go off!

How do you interpret that? I could easily – as a prosecuting attorney, interpret that as “you’re trying to end a man’s livelihood” so a business, big picture, has to protect that business above the employees. I don’t like to say that because I’m just a runt like the rest of you, I’m an employee. So the first part of this story is about you not being able to legally promote a system that’s trying to hurt people, even if it exists. You have to stop it to protect your assets which are the owners, the capital, your advertisers, your TV contracts. For the record, concussion lawsuits – there’s 35 current lawsuits with 700 players involved that have been filed against the NFL. That is why Roger Goodell will probably fire Greg Williams, seriously suspend Sean Peyton of the Saints and take some draft picks away from the Saints. “But Andrew, it was happening elsewhere” it didn’t get unveiled elsewhere.

Damian Woody says that this happens all the time but you can’t allow it to get out or the league becomes vulnerable. Interviewed on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio this morning he said “This is not an isolated incident by the New Orleans Saints. This is the type of stuff that happens in different organizations, especially in the playoffs where teams are fighting to get to the Superbowl. Now, I’m not saying that its right but if guys have the oppourtunity to take a key player out in order to help their team, these types of things happen” Absolutely! I agree with him.

Now the second part to this story –first is the legal protection of the league and its assets, I just talked about that; but the second part of this story is that I really don’t think this is that big of a deal. I got a great text this morning – a buddy asked me “So Andrew, what’s the difference between an NFL Bounty and an Ohio State Buckeye sticker?” the truth is, not much! One is monetary and the other isn’t and money changes everything. If a male teacher gave your 9 year old daughter a smiley sticker, you’re okay with it. But what if he gives her a $20 dollar bill? All of a sudden, you’re not okay with it, even if the smiley sticker is worth $20 dollars…you’re not okay with it. You can run an NCAA bracket at work, a card game at lunch…throw money into it, changes everything! Money changing hands changes this story.

Jimmy Boeheim’s biggest booster can shake the hand of his star player, if he hands him keys to a BMW – Jimmy Boeheim and Syracuse are in some serious NCAA trouble. Sticker on a helmet is public, it’s playful and fun! A thousand bucks for a big hit is harsh and almost criminal. In some police departments, you’ll get an award for the most DUI’s as a cop – usually a nice plaque. Pay them $50 bucks a DUI…somebody is getting fired! It’s why I’m going to say today, let’s not overreact to this, there is a very fine line in what we’re comfortable with and what we’re not, money is often the fine line. Think about it this way, if Mike Tyson – and he was, is paid $20 million dollars to fight, we are okay with it. But if he is paid $20 million to fight and get’s an extra $500,000 that we find out about later to knock the guy unconscious for at least 8 seconds…there are lawsuits all over boxing! Even though that was Mike Tyson’s intent from the opening bell! In hockey, game starts with a fight –we’ve seen that, they played each other last week, a guy knocks another guy out with a cheap shot and the next time the two teams meet, say the Rangers and Flyers, they drop the puck and fight! We are okay with it, we cheer it on, it’s talked about on radio – well it’s hockey, maybe not…but you get my point.

The truth is, if we knew that they had $500,000 on it to knock the other guy out –even if that’s their intention once the fight starts and the puck is dropped, you’d have lawsuits, it’d be sinister and the league would look skivvy. So my two stances today are that firstly, the league has to come down hard to save its butt, just like any corporation, to keep it out of harm’s way legally. My second interpretation is, this kind of stuff is going around everywhere! Employee to employee business but money makes it look much more criminal!