Posts Tagged ‘nhl’

Whoever replaced David Lee Roth on Van Halen, was going to get crushed! It didn’t matter that Sammy Hager had done some great tunes, had some hits, had some big sales, my neighbor was as guilty as anybody, he loves Van Halen with David Lee Roth and it had been decided that Van Hagar was bad! They perhaps weren’t that bad with Sammy, but my neighbor was guilty because he loves David Lee Roth, he had made up his mind and he was not being fair. In the end, as he admits to me now, Sammy Hager wasn’t all that bad but he brought the bias to the table, he was not objective.

I’m not saying that these replacement referees are ideal – the Rams/Redskins game on Sunday was really sloppy and undeceive.  There was a call in the Pittsburgh/New York Jets game against the Steelers that was just an absolute mystery to me, even as a Jet fan, luckily it didn’t change the outcome of the game. But what we see happening is that 95% of the time (97 or 98% to be fair) of the time, replacement ref’s are fine. But the media and the players are looking so hard for that 3% so that when it happens, they are just pouncing on it. You know what it really reminds me off? Listen, I too thought the call in the Steelers/ Jets game was horrific but it didn’t change the game did it? Josh Morgan ruined it for the Redskins, not the refs.

You know what this all reminds me off? It reminds me of the media when reporting shark attacks as they are absolutely ridiculous! The summer time is usually a slow one for the news; many in the media take that time off. So the media just waits for shark attack stories, perhaps just one. So they’re just sitting there with cameras poised at the beach and if anybody see’s a fin – it could be a dolphin, it then becomes a story and then you’ll get one shark attack on some Florida beach and then 10 minutes later this is what the local news is reporting “Tonight on the 11pm news: Could sharks come into your home and eat your children? Tonight on News 10” I mean, it just over the top and we are just crushing these guys.

Joe Flacco said something after the game – by the way, read what Flacco sayid, as the players in general have made their mind up. They hate these guys, it’s easy to make an excuse, said Flacco “For them to make that call, l might sound a little bit like a baby here but for them to make that call I think was a little crazy. He didn’t even throw a flag, he threw a blue beanie and then put his hands up in the air as if it was pass interference, I mean…come on!” Excuse me? The other ref’s throw that blue beanie too…all the time! They can’t get there flag…they throw a hat, throw a beanie, real refs do that all the time. Like even the play by play guys have an animosity, this kind of play happens constantly all the time as the quarterback is hit. It was just palpable animosity, that’s a tough call that usually happens once a weekend, it really is. Everybody throws beanies or hats sometimes; I saw it twice in college this past weekend. It just happens all the time but the media and the players have already made up their minds – just like my neighbor had about David Lee Roth, people are demanding that they get “rid of these guys”.

I find it funny because I don’t honestly think they are nearly as bad as people paint them to be – they’re not changing any outcomes, they’re really not. The best teams are winning and the bad teams like Jacksonville and Cleveland are bad, Kansas City is not very good. Do you really blame the ref’s for Arizona/ New England outcome? The only argument you can make is that it seems as if home teams have done better than usual because the replacement refs may be a bit intimidated. But the truth is home teams win anyways! New England lost at home, so like home teams win anyways! New Orleans lost at home as well. I just find that the players and the media have simply already made up their mind.

Another issue I really wanted to touch on is the New York/Tampa situation which was getting a lot of press Monday morning. So there was like 5 seconds left, Giants are winning the game, it’s within one score, Greg Schiano – rookie head coach with the Bucs, the Bucs blast through the line but its suppose to be one of those kneel plays. Here’s the thing though: the NFL is not a gentlemen’s game…that’s golf! I’m hearing all this “well Andrew, it’s etiquette, you don’t do that…” One thing we know about football is that it is incredibly violent, even now at the high school level, kids are bigger and stronger. Here’s what I would warn everybody about: when you get on the football field – at any level, play until there is double zero’s! If you start going by the “that’s etiquette…” that’s what baseball does, they do all these silly unwritten rules. Even with these unwritten rules in baseball, Curt Schilling – former Red Sox pitcher says one thing, another guy is interviewed an hour later and says “I don’t believe in that unwritten rule”

You have to remember in football that because you have an offense, defense and special teams, you really have 3 teams inside a team. So quarterbacks see what the Bucs did as evil, the defensive players however don’t because football is very unique. You have an offensive team that usually goes to their own meetings in their own room; defensive guys go to their own rooms as well, it happens at halftime. The NFL is separate, so offensive and defensive guys sometimes don’t even talk during the week. So you’re getting all these offensive guys saying “it’s unwritten rule” and your then getting these defensive guys saying “it’s not an unwritten rule for a guy like me” The New York Giants are a great example on how different offensive and defensive players are: the best defensive player you’ve ever had is Lawrence Taylor – look at his life! Defense is about blowing stuff up and violence. The best offensive player you’ve ever had of the many? Eli Manning – the Manning family, royalty, 40 Wonderlic score. He gets critized for not having emotion, Lawrence Taylor? He’s all emotion. So you’re getting all these different opinions where offensive guys hate it “it’s a gentlemen’s game…etiquette” while defensive guys are okay with it “hey pal, 4 seconds left, I’m taking your ears off” that’s what football is all about!


Understand that I’m not rooting for stuff to be fixed, but here is what’s funny. I was talking with someone earlier this week – and I thought a lot of about this. He did some work at HBO overseas, he was a very low paid employee – not sure if HBO even paid him but rather the producer Frank Belmont. He sat ring side for about 20 fights and he would go home to his roommate and say “god I saw this and this and this and this” and his roommate would say “I watched the same fight on TV, I didn’t see that” so his roommate would him “what did you see?” and he said “the real fight, the one on ring side” Three judges ring side saw something that a lot of people on TV did not and the other people 5 rows back did not.

I’m not saying those judges saw it right but boxing is a subjective sport…that is judged! We’ve had all sorts of these controversies in the Olympics, judged sports.  When you ask people to judge things – reasonable and highly educated people can see something different. You could take two guys from Harvard – Obama speaks, one is Democrat the other Republican, they see two different speeches. What you are denying if you think it’s absolutely fixed is that human beings simply cannot see things differently. I can watch Ellen DeGeneres and think she’s a riot; you can watch her and not think she’s funny yet it’s the same act. Comedy is a great example; guys who I don’t think are funny at all could be absolutely hilarious for you. So to deny that people could watch the same comedian, the same television show and have completely different opinions…why are any of us denying that?

I’d get so much hate mail saying that Tim Tebow was a great quarterback and I would answer “what are you watching?” that’s the same guy that is now saying “that Pacquiao fight was fixed” My friend sat ring side for 20 fights, went home and told somebody what they saw – that one person saw one fight, my friend saw another…yet same fight! I’m not saying that the decision was right but to deny that human beings can see things differently is simply denying humanity. “Well Andrew, there’s rum ours…” there’s always been rumours! They usually start from guys with no access; rumours are people with no access.  “The NBA…it’s rigged” really? I mean, if it was fixed then tell me who made money? Vegas got their butt handed to them on that Pacquiao fight, they got crushed! Sports columnist called it “the sports’ worst loss ever” you might say “Bob Arum fixed it” read what Bob said after the fight, he was ripping the judges!! Calling them incompetent saying “I was absolutely stunned when I heard that one judge had put one in for Bradley, I mean it wasn’t a close fight at all. It was an 11-1, 10-2 fight, the press, the fans, everybody had it that way, everybody except these 3 judges that is”

People see what they want to see and everybody had money on Pacquiao. You could host a sports talk radio show and may literally get someone accusing the NBA to be rigged. Now, that’s a secondary issue though because if it was rigged, it’s still not bad for the NBA. Charlie Sheen is a hell of a lot more interesting when he’s got problems at home – let’s be honest about it, part of Boxing’s twisted charm is this fixed thing. Boxing is more interesting when it’s controversial. “Andrew, I’ll never watch Boxing again” you never watched it to begin with!! Only 1% of sports fans consider it their favourite sport. So don’t give me this “I’ll never watch Boxing again” yet 1% of Americans, according to a Harris Interactive poll, say that Boxing is their favourite sport. Do I believe double that – 2% will watch a re-match because of the controversy? Absolutely!! This is great for Boxing.  Yet people are saying Boxing is going to die…really? Really? And Robert Downey Jr. won’t get another gig neither will Charlie Sheen. Controversy sells – the Kardashians, the more divorces the better the ratings!! Rush Limbaugh’s ratings go up during controversy. So the idea that Boxing is going to die – firstly of all, it’s been largely dead on broadcast networks for 30 years. It will, in re-match get huge ratings.

Now, on the whole thing on being fixed – never forget this, the NBA, the Olympics, Boxing and Wrestling are allegedly for quite some time, rumoured to being fixed. My blog will get astounding viewership numbers. No one has ever claimed hockey as being fixed? Because nobody watches! The reality is that as long you don’t know who’s going to win before you go to a Boxing match, who cares! Now I’m not advocating on these matches being fixed. What I’m saying is that if I told you two guys from work were going to be out in the parking lot in 10 minutes to fight, a real fist fight – now it could be rigged, but they’ll still have a real fist fight. You’d probably go out of your office and watch but if I told you those two guys are going out to play marbles and it won’t be rigged, you wouldn’t watch. Why? In the end, even though Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, Kardashians, Survivor are all written and scripted. If you don’t know the final result, you will tune into see the drama and a big fight has drama.

So the idea that it was rigged and you’ll turn away forever is false on two fronts: A) controversy sells B) even if it was rigged, as long as it’s good television and good drama, we’re always drawn to it. Everything is rigged on television, all the reality shows are scripted yet you still watch don’t you? In fact, I would argue that the more scripted and rigged the show, the higher the ratings! In the end, you don’t know who’s going to win on those reality shows and you don’t really care, you just want to be entertained “entertain me!”

Apologise for the three week absence – found myself touring all over Spain for two weeks and have been playing catch up for the last week or so before piecing something together, but here we go! So it’s no secret that I have several theories in life – most that I care to share with you on this blog. Before leaving for Spain, I thought about North American sports and when you think about it, the NHL is really the only league in North America with parity. In baseball, Kansas City, Oakland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle…they simply cannot compete financially, let’s quit that argument right now. In the NBA nobody disputes that you really need a star in order to get to the next level. In the NFL, parity is widely overstated and exaggerated – New England has 5 Superbowls in 11 years, Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New England and the Giants…you know that they are always going to be good.

But the NHL has got ultimate parity, a strong rigid salary cap – 9 different Stanley Cup winners in 9 years, won by often young, dark horse teams. The lower seeded usually sneak in, get momentum and win. What does all this parity get the NHL? A rating on a Monday night  which is a great television night, with nothing else on and I mean nothing else on, you get an invisible league with mostly starless teams and a lower rating that your average college football game on a terrible TV night like a Saturday.

Canada has got parity but the U.S. doesn’t have it as much. But the 20 best hospitals in North America, 19 of them are in the U.S. Of the 20 best universities, all 20 are in the U.S. Parity squishes everything in the middle; it valiantly protects the bottom and handcuffs those at the top – affecting ultimate greatness. Some would call that socialism – is sports really better than for that? Or with that? Really? Is sports really better with everything smushed in the middle? And if you love that in sports – why are you so deathly afraid of socialism in the form of a government? At least I’m consistent in that I believe parity and socialism are both garbage! But parity fan – to me, reeks of socialism fan to me.

To me sports are better with stars, people not only to root for but against – real villains! I don’t want a jungle where every animal is equal, I think Africa is more interesting – the Lion and the Tiger chase the Gazelle every day. Parity guy roots for all Gazelle’s. I love the Lion, by the way, the Lion doesn’t always win, and it sometimes gets killed by a horn or other predators. Even Hyenas have killed Lions! Why should the Yankees have to suffer for being born a Lion? Life isn’t equal, why force unnaturally sports to be. Milwaukee will never be Chicago – don’t like it? Get on a car, train, bus or plane and move!!  But at least with a Lion in the jungle you’ve got a formidable presence to root for or against.

I hear about parity all the time “Andrew, you’re an elitist!” noo, you have the wrong word! I’m a traditionalist. I like the Lakers, I like the Yankees, I like Ohio State football, I like Duke Basketball – they’re just interesting. Sometimes I root for them and sometimes I root against them! But I like villains because life becomes more interesting. Why punish New England for having a better head coach in Belicheck, a better quarterback in Tom Brady and a better receiver in Wes Welker – all of those 3 men were available to the entire league. Belicheck was fired, Brady went late in the draft and Welker was available to all other teams.

You go ahead and support socialism and parity, salute the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings. I enjoyed Oklahoma City vs. Miami for two weeks or so – 2 guys who will probably meet each other in 4 of the next 5 NBA finals. Parity is for people afraid to compete, afraid to move to a better place …and I should congratulate that? No thanks! Go ahead and knock yourself out. Parity stinks, socialism stinks, cramming everything into the middle stinks. Greatness is what I want to watch on my television screen and the culture I want to live in my life. Life has never been even – my parents try to tell me that every single day. If you think it is, you are delusional and it’s a horrible message to ever give a kid. Life’s not fair or even and you don’t deserve squat nor do my future kids, you earn everything!

So generally when I see lawsuits, I’m usually not a fan of them but there are times – like if you own McDonald’s and a new burger place comes out called McJohnson’s, you probably have to sue. But I saw this lawsuit and I laughed – even texted a good friend writing “seriously?” So Saints suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He claims that Mr. Goodell relied on, at best, “heresay and circumstantial evidence and lies” in suspending Vilma. Then Vilma’s attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said “By making these false and public statements, he has significantly harmed Jonathan Vilma’s reputation and ability to make a living” ohh please! As if single defensive coordinator in the NFL would not hire Jonathan Vilma because of Bountygate.

People who have killed people have been given second chances in this league – Pacman Jones was in the league last year. He’d either been arrested, apprehended, citations, twelve times with cops. If you can make us better …you’re in! Want another example? Randy Moss – played on 4 teams within 2 years. The NFL is a “win games for us” league. Nobody in this league is going to say “you know, Jonathan Vilma was reportedly in this thing, they called it Bountygate and he was going to hit people even harder! No room for him here” pfft please, Randy Moss keeps getting work. You can be a jerk, you can be indignant, you can be temperamental. Terrell Owens, OchoCinco…it doesn’t matter; it’s a “win games” league because if you can help win, you’ll get a job.

Now, is Jonathan Vilma angry? Yes, but let’s be honest here, he’s been in the league for almost 8 years, it’s on fumes, he’s not the player he once was. His biggest issue, and I get it, is that “I got about 2 years left and your taking one of my years away” dude, invest your money better. Lester Munson this morning was on the Mike & Mike Show and said that this is a very uphill battle for Vilma “…he must prove, not only that the NFL was incorrect in what it said about him, but he has got to show that they did it deliberately and maliciously. Vilma, under the law, is a public figure and to succeed in any defamation case, he has got to show malicious – and that is an overwhelming burden for Vilma” So it’s unbelievably hard to prove.

In order to win that lawsuit, you have to believe that Roger Goodell thought “you know, I want to pick on one guy in this league…ahh, let’s go after Jonathan Vilma, I want to end his career!” Really? You’re not going to prove that. Remember, when you’re a public figure, it’d be very difficult for any public figure to sue somebody and it would be equally difficult to sue a public figure. I heard recently that a prominent sports talk radio guy on ESPN received a letter during last year’s finals claiming from a Dallas based attorney claiming “slander on Dirk Nowitzki! I don’t like your comments. I am considering in my law office to take legal action against you” why? Because he’s a talk show host who has an opinion on Dirk Nowitzki, if that attorney could sue him then Barack Obama could sue Sean Hannity…it’s not happening!

The NFL is loaded with bad dudes who have jobs – don’t tell me that nobody is going to hire Jonathan Vilma because of this Bountygate stuff, it’s totally irrelevant! It’s not a PR hit either because he’s a long time defensive player so it’s not a PR hit. He’s not running for public office or anything like that, he’s not an elected official, and he’s a football player and is a defensive player who lights people up! Got the Greg Williams audio tape – it’s the culture of the NFL.

So I have to tell you that it’s one of those things that sometimes when you go to press conferences or when you watch them on television – some members of the media just don’t like going into the dressing room/locker room. Now, some reporters are easy going while some others are tough and some ask smart questions. One reporter whom I interacted with a lot while at MLSE said he was always worried about the responses he’d get yet some of them got very good responses. The New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is a real feisty guy anyways and so he has very little patience for the media and last night it really showed – the man just hates the media.

But I’ll defend him to a degree here, so the Rangers go out and they didn’t play the perfect game – and they don’t have a high powered offense to begin with, that’s why they’ve been in a lot of close games these playoffs against Ottawa and Washington and they are a great story this year – but John is just so over the media, he basically calls them idiots and last night it really showed “Reporter: Coach, it looked like you had them and it slipped away…what went wrong? John: a number of things Stan, but I’ll keep it in the room. Reporter: Did you feel like this was the kind of effort you would’ve needed to win this game? John: Nope! Reporter: Are you disappointed in their showing, after you had eliminated Washington…John: I answered your first question, nope! Reporter: Do you think it’s more of certain guys who didn’t play enough than they normally have throughout the playoffs? That perhaps it wasn’t enough effort or the results don’t show it? John: You need to improve as a hockey team in every game. Reporter: What areas would you like to see better…John: Stan, I’m going to keep it in the room”

That’s pretty much it, but those are all legitimate questions “keeping it in the room” basically means “I’m not going to talk about it in front of your guys” and I have no problem with a coach saying “listen, I’m going to talk about it in my locker room, I’m not going to talk about it to you guys” I have no problem! But I got into this discussion with a buddy that sometimes in the radio, television and newspaper business, it’s not like years ago when a newspaper had a big fat staff, more guys than they needed – yet every newspaper in North America, especially in the U.S. has been cut down and now you’ve got limited number of people, a lot of good people have been let go. So you’re getting young, cheap people covering hockey (especially in the U.S.) and it’s not like newspapers send their best people to hockey. Then you have the combination of people who never cover hockey and suddenly the Rangers are hot and you send them to a press conference – and they don’t follow the sport religiously and especially in the U.S. you get a lot of that with hockey.

The reality in the media business is that, be it FOX News for example, they wouldn’t send Bill O’Reilly to a speed bump proposal in his hometown, he’s going to the presidential election. The networks send their biggest, best, most talented, smartest stars to the biggest events. Hockey doesn’t get the cream of the crop in the sports media in the U.S. Now you get some guys who use to play hockey – and that’s not saying that everyone who covers hockey is a dope. But with the reduction in numbers of staff, in newspapers all over Canada & more importantly in the U.S. along with radio stations as well, you’re getting young people, inexperienced people – press conferences, to me, have become significantly worse in the last 15 years! Your just getting younger, cheaper people who are over their heads and especially with hockey, you’re not getting a lead columnist anyways. In New York, if I run a newspaper, I’m giving my best writer a column, my second best writer a column, my third best gets the Yankees and my fourth best gets the Giants – where do you think I’m putting the New York Islanders? To the kid out of NYU probably – who doesn’t like hockey, but he’s cheap and he’s bright, he got a degree and will do the job for you for nothing and his brother use to play hockey.

Like I’ve been listening to some of these press conferences – some of the questions are just outright dumb and that’s with me not being a hockey guy. Now, this Stan guy has been covering the Rangers for 40 years – Stan Fischler is his name, he’s been covering hockey forever….he’s fine! So that’s why John Tortorella is calling him by his name – he let Stan go, he didn’t bury him. But there have been some questions at these press conferences these days and I think it’s just down to the reduction in newspaper staffs. Radio stations use to be flushed with money, then big corporations bought them and overpaid for them, they have big bank notes and had to let people go, you’ve got more syndication – you’ve got radios and newspapers that are on shoe string budgets and now have kids at press conferences and coaches have no patience. Again, hockey gets a couple of guys like Stan, who’s been covering the Rangers for 40 years –you look around that room with 30 people, not a lot of Stan’s. The guy covering the Florida Panthers, he apparently was at a floral show earlier in the week!! Some of these questions – it just seems to me that over the last 15 years, there has been a reduction in the quality of questions at press conferences – but again, that’s just me!

Let me start off by asking you – and think about how you answer this and what the ramifications are, but would you ever yell at your parents for giving you vitamins? Or if your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend make you a great breakfast, would you scream at them? If you do, that probably seals the relationship for you. Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL; does everybody reading this blog realize he’s doing all of us a favour? He’s trying to save the game! But it’s as if there are a percentage of sports fans that are just meatheads! I’m amazed at how many players can’t understand this.

So this past Sunday, on the San Jose Mercury News – first off, there isn’t going to be any newspapers in the next 5 years, but this is one of the really good ones. Bob Young, from Arizona Central, was writing about an article that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News ( . It had to with former NFL player and friend/teammate of Junior Seau, Gary Plummer. He says that Junior Seau, who committed suicide last week, had experienced around 1500 concussions throughout his playing career. Now, Plummer told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News “In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter. As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.”

Plummer continues on by saying “Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce” as I’ve said on my rants and as this article points out, this is why Roger Goodell is dropping the hammer so hard on the Saints for Bountygate. I have been preaching this on my blog for the past 2 years, for 2 years on this blog – outside of Lebron rants, I’m not sure if there is anything I’ve hit harder than supporting Roger Goodell. It’s not because he’s got a contract with various networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC, CBS and the NFL Network. I’m not defending the NFL; I’m defending the NFL because I love football and Roger Goodell is on our side!!

In fact, I don’t think he’s gone far enough!! The NFL also needs to enforce a minimum padding requirement because lots of receivers in this league right now wear fewer pads to increase speed and maneuverability, he should outlaw that!! As they too will be able to sue the NFL in the future. There was a player for the Baltimore Ravens named Bernard Pollard who said last Friday on a Houston radio station that he doesn’t think we’ll have an NFL in 20 to 30 years! And I am just stunned by how many players and fans can’t get past today! You should see my emails – 90% of people saying “hey, they’re gonna wear a skirt…what? Are you going to let girls play now?” are you the fat guy who smokes? That can’t see past your belly? You do understand that you’ll be driving one of those carts you see in the airport for old people with oxygen canisters. You do get that’s you if your 75 pounds overweight and smoking…that’s you in 20 years! Stop eating like a pig and quit smoking!

Some people just cannot see past today – like obese people, it’s just mind numbing to me. You are basically going to be crippled in your old age if that’s how you want to eat today. But it’s just incredible – I got an email from somebody saying to me “Andrew, a woman will be able to play in the NFL in 10 years – this is football not ballet. Without big hits, it wouldn’t be the same game! Might as well put those players in those inflatable sumo suits” people, are you kidding me? Darren Woodson was on the Scott Van Pelt Show last week; he played for the Cowboys and won a bunch of rings. He was asked about how, after all these years, does he feels when he wakes up in the mornings. He said “I had 12 surgeries – back, shoulders, and arms…everything! I mean, I have laid on that operating table many times. To answer your question, I struggle…I struggle daily getting up early in the morning”

How can people not see that Roger Goodell is on your side and my side! I honestly don’t think he’s gone far enough. People, do you want to have an NFL in 20 years? He’s trying to increase helmet awareness, pad awareness. But if I were to provide you guys with a phone number to call me and discuss this topic – I’m almost assured that 50%+ of the callers would be “let them kill each other!” you’re going to kill the sport! Do you not see the class action lawsuits, do you not see them lining up? I am absolutely stunned by fans and players, I just don’t get how so many of you can see it as harm what Goodell is doing. I’m not asking you guys to be Steve Jobs and to be visionaries! I’m not asking you to be a political and technological visionary, but try to see beyond yesterday – it’s amazing! Kurt Warner got clobbered last week as he was on various shows all over the U.S. where he basically said that he doesn’t want his kids – he has strongly considered not letting his kids play football. He said “I understand how great the game of football was for me and what it did for my family, but when I’m sitting back and watching my kids play – my boys play right now, they love it, their dream is to play in the NFL, I certainly worry about it”

Folks! He’s got a child with a traumatic brain injury, TBI; he gets the challenges that come with having an injury to the brain. So he basically says, listen my son is a tremendous blessing but I’ve dealt with this personally…and we’re clobbering Kurt Warner for a reasonable opinion??? I was looking up if at any other point in the history of football, if this has ever been this hot of a topic in previous years as it is today. You have to go back to when Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States, when he threatened the leaders of pro football at the time – where he basically told them that he was going to ban their game because players were dying. Based on the way were headed folks, these guys are 30, 40% bigger than what they ought to be by their genetics because they are pumping themselves up with HGH and if the NFL doesn’t get a hold of it, somebody is going to die on the field, God forbid on a Monday Night Football, where the entire audience is zoomed in on this one game. This would probably then force Congress to step in and they’re going to take it out of the hands of the league. So based on that, the first thing you have to do is get rid of HGH – you know it’s around this league, you have to have unbelievable testing. Players will shrink, violence slows down, and then you have to get equipment, force them to wear pads. Roger Goodell is not our enemy…he’s our friend! It’s just unbelievable that we would criticize Kurt Warner for caring about his sons! What has happened to us…are we nuts??

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!