Posts Tagged ‘super-bowl’

When the real NFL ref’s do return – and I think it will be soon, fans will give referees a standing ovation! It’s never happened in the history of North American sports. It may be slightly sarcastic but I can assure that almost every single stadium hosting an NFL game will give the referees a stand ovation. It’s going to be absolutely hilarious because we’ve hated them for our entire lives and now we can’t wait to get them back.

I was thinking about this Monday night – terrible call obviously, Green Bay losing to Seattle. It was really a historic day as it was an absolute terrible call. Large corporations like the one I work for and like the one’s many of you reading this may work for – they always have more power than I do, you do and we regular workers do. Even if you’re a great employee, corporations have the power – it really stinks. But after Monday night’s Green Bay/Seattle butchered call, I believe it’s the first time in North America where part-time workers – remember, refs are part-timers. For the first time in North American history, part-time workers have more power than a major corporation because negotiations are all about “who has the leverage” Corporations have got the money, the brand. 99.5% of the time corporations have the negotiating leverage, rarely do you or I have it and that’s even if you’re good. But one of the ways you and I can get leverage from a big corporation is via bad press because they absolutely hate bad press, especially when it’s the worst kind of bad press – bad integrity press.

You can call ESPN all day “I don’t like what Skip Bayless said or what Stephen A. Smith said…Colin Cowherd is an idiot!” pfft they couldn’t give a rip about what you think. “I don’t like your programming, you shouldn’t have the Spelling Bee competition on” again, they couldn’t give a rip. But if you question their integrity you’ll have a bunch of suits running down the hall calling a big meeting. Did you hear what ESPN NFL Analyst Trent Dilfer said Monday night after the game? Where he basically said that you can sense now – especially after Monday night, where you’ve got 30 million people (estimate viewership of Monday night’s game) questioning the integrity of the NFL saying “The NFL has insulted my intelligence, has insulted your intelligence and everybody’s watching the game and the NFL is simply trying to tell us that this issue is not that big of a deal [refs lockout] and we have a multi-billion dollar machine and we’re letting this [ref blown call] ruin it, it’s ruining the very fabric of the game. You don’t hear Drew Brees – arguably the classiest guy in the NFL, come out and say what he said today [Monday] unless it’s a colossal issue. Players have never tweeted and done stuff out of such rebellion that they have been in, than today”

Whoa!! Worse kind of PR – integrity PR “you’ve got no integrity NFL” PR. I get emails, comments all day “I hate you, you don’t know what you’re talking about” etc my response? “So? I don’t give a rip” but if you question my integrity…that hurts! I don’t like that at all. “You stink, you’re a hag…” yeah whatever. But when you say that I have no integrity? That stings! Through 3 weeks, 16 games a week, via 47 games already played, the leverage has gone from the league  to these part timers. Don’t get me wrong, there are still tiny rain drops of criticism like Harbough getting challenges he shouldn’t have been allowed, Lions/Giants/Bengals/Redskin games where the officials marched off too many yards on penalties – it’s little stuff though, little rain drops of criticism. Game # 48 Monday night? The roof caved in!!  The complaints were all self-contained fires, Monday night however a 5 alarm, out of control ragger was created. 30 million people, Packers got hozzed, America loves the Packers , 47 games in which the NFL had leverage, game # 48 changes it all and gives it to the NFL refs. So the question now becomes: How much integrity heat does the NFL want to withstand?

I mean, you’ll still watch the games – its fall and you’re in Wisconsin, what are you going to do? Hit up the local Strawberries festival again? I mean seriously…what are you going to do? It’s the fall, it’s Wisconsin…you’re obviously going to watch the Packers! But again, how much is the NFL willing to digest because it’s certainly going to be awful. My gut feeling is that within the next 36 hours…it gets solved. The irony is that it took a really bad call to get the real guys back with more good calls and that’s usually the way negotiations work, where there is a tipping point. It’s as if someone came to replace me at work, but they weren’t as good, then my clients that I deal with start to complain to the corporation I worked for then my replacement drops an f-bomb, leverage then comes back to me. If you’re going to make a mistake as a ref…make it during Week # 3 of the pre-season, you do not make it on Monday night football game.

So the irony here is that a very atrocious call will actually end up getting us a lot more good calls and the real refs will come back. This is how North American negotiations work where corporations have leverage 99.5% of the time- Monday night however, the .5% won. Now there is not much confusion, I’m sure most of you have already seen by now the replay. It was like a perfect storm of incompetency where Seattle could’ve really been penalized for several different things. First of all, you can’t overturn possession with a replay – so whatever is called on the field is the call, when it comes to possession. So first of all #14 for Seattle (Charlie Martin) was using his arms to clear out Packers. They are never going to call that but that could be a penalty. Secondly, Tate pushed the player covering him and then thirdly, Tate didn’t have simultaneous possession of that ball at any point – it wasn’t close! But once the refs called the touchdown, you can’t overturn possession with a replay.

Jerry Markbeit, long time official but now retired, was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio Tuesday morning and basically said what he would’ve done in this mess “what I would’ve done is go to the other official – the back judge, and ask him “ why were you killing the clock and about to give a touchback signal – tell me what you saw” and when he would’ve told me that Tate had one arm on the ball, I would’ve then looked back on the touchdown and said “if the interceptor had both hands on the ball and if there was not simultaneous catch in the air, we’re going to go with the touchback” and I would’ve exerted my expertise – as with the other professional referee’s to get this call correct”

Yeah, I mean once the ref put his hands in the air and signaled a touchdown on what was clearly not simultaneous possession, it’s not that hard of a call. Like once he puts his hands in the air to rule it a touchdown –if you’re Green Bay, you are hosed at that moment because you can’t overturn possession on that kind of play with replay, your done! So what you would’ve seen with veteran refs – and they would’ve gotten it right had they been there, is them getting into a huddle and saying to one another “no no no, no simultaneous possession”


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!

2012 NFL Standing Predictions

Let’s start with the NFC East; I’ve got the Giants and Philadelphia both at 10-6. The Eagles through the years have owned the Giants but I think the Giants beat them twice this season and turn the tables on them. I’ll take the Cowboys to go 8-8, they have upgraded their secondary and I really like their talent but am not a fan of the culture. For the first time, I rolled the dice last year on them and got burned. Redskins will be fun to watch in a lot of games but with a rookie quarterback in that division, I go 6-10 – they’ll be the most exciting 6-10 team in the league

In the NFC North, I think it’s Green Bay and Chicago’s division to lose – Packers at 12-4 is who I’ll take, Chicago at 10-6. Detroit has shown major maturity issues on/off the field, I’m not sold on Jim Schwartz  being able to pull back on this team, being able to pull them in, they are an 8-8 football team as they’ve still got massive holes, no running game and their secondary is – if they don’t get a requisite pass rush, is really really average.Minnesota? Outkast! Nothing you can say about it. If you have to face Aaron Rodgers twice, Stafford twice and Jay Cutler and you’ve got Christian Ponder, you’re going to lose a lot of those games, take them at 4-12.

In the NFC South, I think it’s a bunch of good teams – no great teams, I think 9-7 for Atlanta wins the division. Carolina is 2nd place at 8-8, I’m down on New Orleans right now because I think there is simply too much noise around the organization, I think coaches matter as Sean Payton is a great motivator and he’s gone, so I’ll take them at 7-9 and their schedule also isn’t easy. Tampa is rebuilding, 5-11.

In the NFC West I don’t think anybody denies that San Francisco appears to have the best coach, best special teams, best defense, their schedule is more difficult than last year’s – so they pull back a little, but take them to go 12-4. I’m going to take St. Louis as my dark horse team in the NFC, I think their schedule is workable if Sam Bradford is upright, I love their draft picks, they improved in the front 7, and I’m rolling the dice on them and calling a 9-7 record. Seattle, everybody is high on Seattle but let’s see Russell Wilson over the course of a season, a scrambling 5-11 rookie quarterback, I’ll go 7-9. Arizona – just a mess on the offensive line and in quarterback position, take them to go 5-11.


My playoff teams in the NFC therefore are: San Francisco, Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Giants all winning their divisions, with the Eagles and the Bears as the wild card teams.



In the AFC, let’s start with the East. I’m going to take New England at 13-3, I don’t know how they landed the weakest schedule but they also face some rookie quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill a couple of times, they play Cleveland as well. I think Buffalo has really improved their defense, they’ll have a pass rush, I liked their offense last year, I think they have under-rated tight ends, under-rated backs, I’ll take Buffalo to finish 10-6 – even Vegas likes them this year. The Jets, too much of a circus for my taste, don’t have a “pop” player offensively whom they can depend on, Stephen Hill could emerge midway through the season as a “go to threat” that would certainly help a lot, 7-9. Miami is too young coupled with a rookie quarterback, 4-12.

AFC North, the excellent Baltimore Ravens should finish 12-4, they were one catch away from the Superbowl, I don’t see any erosion there though perhaps getting a little old in certain spots defensively, but like them enough to win the division. I’ll go Pittsburgh 10-6, already had an injury on the offensive line with one of their young draftee’s, Big Ben has got to stay healthy and they are getting older defensively. Cincinnati is good, still not great, it s tough division for them, I’ll call them at 8-8. Cleveland, what can I say 3-13.

I think Houston has the most talent in the AFC South although we don’t know if Gary Kubiak is a great head coach, Matt Schaub is really good, they had some defensive losses, Andre Johnson is now past his prime, I don’t think they are that great of a team, I’ll take them at 9-7. I’ll say Tennessee finishes 8-8; I still like Hasslebeck rather than Jake Locker as my starter, I’ll go 8-8. Indianapolis – one of my other dark horse teams, I think they’ll be 6-10, go look at their schedule as their first 9 games, 7 are very winnable. Take Jacksonville at 5-11, very good up front defensively, not enough firepower offensively.

In the AFC West, I’ll take Denver and Manning to win it – their schedule is just brutal though, 9-7. I think they could even be 11-5 with a reasonable schedule, but it’s 9-7 now, it was good seeing Peyton Manning take a hit last weekend and get up quickly. San Diego and Kansas City are just both missing things – I think Denver has the best personnel in this division, take Kansas City 2nd and Oakland I think is on their way – they have a new general manager, I’ll go 6-10 for the Raiders.

So I didn’t watch a ton of the Olympics on television – though was in London for a week and saw a couple of events, including Michael Phelps inch out the gold medal from Ryan Lochte in the 200m individual medley, but other than that I saw the U.S vs. Spain in Men’s basketball finals on tv yesterday, I thought it was great! I’m mostly though into team sports, I’d say I have relationships emotionally with team sports because it’s what I know, though not really into team handball – it is pretty weird when you turn it on and you kind of stare at it, but I don’t have a lot of relationships with the athletes in those running events. Usain Bolt is the one guy I like to watch in the 100 and 200-meters, but when I watch Usain Bolt – you know, I know the whole game, I understand it, I’m not naïve.

You have to give credit to Dan Bernstein who writes for, he’s also a popular talk show host in Chicago – and he really nails it with Usain Bolt in my opinion. This is what happens – and I was telling this to a friend on Friday – that Americans fall in love with their gymnasts as they become America’s sweetheart, but they’ve traditionally never loved their sprinters, they never loved Carl Lewis as they often looked at him from a distance. These sprinters are kind of freaks, they are divas and have never been afraid to tell the world that and I’ve always thought that “fastest man in the world” is kind of just like…okay, so? “Richest guy in the bar” cool or “best looking guy at the bar” yeah, okay “fastest guy at the bar” umm Usain, could you go sprint over there and get me a Molson Canadian. “Fastest guy in the world “is a freak show! When you think about it, at best, Usain is still only running 19mph – heck, I can get on a slow train and beat you by 80mph.

So the point is, I’m not really into sprinters, Usain Bolt has got a cartoon ego but Dan Bernstein writes this ( and he goes “For many of us, years of drug tainted performances have deaden the senses” Bernstein continues “[your either]intellectually dishonest or willfully ignorant [neither is good] if you’ve got convenient blind spots and emotional neediness which causes otherwise intelligent people to create fairylands of childish naiveté” it’s the province of suckers! Now listen to these quotes, Carl Lewis said “When people ask me about Bolt, I say, he could be the greatest athlete of all-time. But for somebody to run a 10.03 in one year and a 9.69 the next – if you don’t question that, in a sport that has the reputation that it has now, you’re a fool”

Writes Bernstein “Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who just won the silver in the 100 and 200, tested positive for PED’s at the 2009 world championships. Teammates Julian Dunkley and Steve Mullings have also been caught doping”  “What are the odds?” asks Bernstein “that a tiny, island country suddenly dominates global competition…just because?” further writes Bernstein “Bolt reportedly has been working with Angel Hernandez [who used to] be called Angel Heredia, back when he was a chemist for BALCO” you know him? He was “source A, who supplied the documents that helped convict Marion Jones, C.J. Hunter, Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery. Gatlin just took the bronze in the 100, behind Bolt and Blake”  Furthermore, “Before the games in Beijing, Heredia told [A German newspaper] regarding the 100-meter final “the winner will not be clean” there is no doubt about it, the difference between 10.0 and 9.7 is in the drugs . By the way, Usain Bolt won those Olympics with a 9.69 time”

Even former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound told Reuters yesterday “Victor Conte, and his assertion that over 60% of London competitors were using PED’s. The truth is, he’s more likely [Victor Conte] to know more than I do because it’s a lot more than what we’re catching, I’ll tell you that!” So when you look at Usain Bolt and the numbers coming down, everybody is outraged by it, I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this. But I’m sorry, as Bernstein so rightly points out, when you’ve got a tiny island country, where guys left and right are getting caught, they’re working with a former BALCO guy – by the way, Usain is not winning the 100 and 200-meters, he’s winning it by JOGGING at the end. I’m sorry, but I am suspicious! Sorry, I am! You’ve lost the right as an Olympic sprinter – cutting times dramatically – and these times have been cut dramatically over the last 4 years, you’ve lost the right of innocence.  I have a right to be suspicious and I have the right to read or write a column like Dan Bernstein did – it’s like a “finally somebody is willing to say it” moment! I sure as heck hope he’s clean, but you’re really a sucker when the anti-doping former head acknowledges “yeah, there’s a lot more guys cheating than what we are catching” The cheaters have always, in the Olympics, have always been ahead of the clean guys trying to catch them! There has never been an exception to that; the cheaters are always ahead of them.

It reminds me of the baseball steroid scandals from the early 2000’s – Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds were always good players, but in Bonds’ case, you don’t go from 47 homers to 70!! You just don’t. In the case of Clemens “well he just worked out hard Andrew, he’s got this new workout regime” he always worked out hard!! He wasn’t taking cattle steroids, allegedly.  But in writing this, I’ll get nothing but emails, calls, texts, bbm’s and hate mail on my blog, Listen, Usain Bolt is making $9 million a year with Puma alone, these guys are being massively rewarded for what could very well be cheating. Usain Bolt is probably the most famous Olympian! “Well Andrew they passed the drug test…” again, that means nothing at the Olympic level. You have to remember, if I can make $9 million dollars with Puma – that’s just one sponsor, what am I willing to spend to be the world’s fastest guy? Anything slightly less than that if you do your cost-benefit analysis correctly. If I have to spend $8 million dollars to be the fastest human, knowing that I’m going to get $9 million on one endorsement? I’ll spend $8 million to keep it private! I’ll have a staff; I’ll do whatever I have to do.

But again, we don’t know this with Usain Bolt but all I’m saying is that there is a naiveté – come on! We gotta grow up on this stuff. I mean good Lord! Usain Bolt jogs at the end; it’s as if Lebron, blindfolded, were to score 28 points Here’s a crazy idea – what if Usain Bolt doesn’t finish his races as fast as he can as he knows that at his fastest, he’d lower the world record by THAT MUCH more thus sounding the “PED” alarms all over the sport? Then again, I don’t have any more than what Dan Bernstein has chosen to write about – all the stuff he wrote about, those are public quotes! But I guess the main point I’m really trying to drive is that we’ve got to stop being complete suckers on this Olympic thing. When Carl Lewis and the trainer is acknowledging “yeah, the winner at the Beijing Olympics will not be clean because the difference between a 10.0 and a 9.7, that’s in the drugs, that’s not in the work” Like I always laugh at the whole Roger Clemens thing “he started working out really hard” what? He didn’t work out hard in Boston? But then all of a sudden in Toronto he magically did more sit-ups? 8 more cliff bars? Listen, we’ve almost had to give these sports a decade to clean themselves and that’s with them cheating a decade before they began testing them! So they’ve for sure got a big lead on this stuff.

I understand people getting worked up over presidential elections, but sometimes I don’t understand the outrage people have over this type of stuff. So this past Wednesday, all the major sports leagues in the U.S. – NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL (let’s not forget them) filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in federal court because he signed a law that allows for betting on pro and college sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks. Now, the leagues claim that New Jersey sports gambling law violates a federal law that is already in place – enacted years ago. But here is the outrage part – by the way, laws change all the time and so just because something is federally enacted doesn’t mean that it can’t be federally rescinded.  The NCAA and pro leagues say “such gambling would not only harm sports leagues and organizations such as the NCAA or the NFL, but would be a flagrant violation of the 1992 Congressional Act, to halt the spread of sports gaming.”

Now, here’s what I don’t get: why is everybody so anti-sports gambling in these leagues?  Does anybody remember the Tim Donaghy scandal? Do you know who tipped off the NBA? Vegas!!! They are not your enemy, they’re your alley! Vegas called the FBI and the NBA and said “you’ve got a problem” Use Vegas as your friend, they are not your enemy. Vegas tipped off the NBA or else Tim Donaghy could’ve gone years and convinced other refs to do the same. First of all, sports gambling are here, we love it and it’s not ruining society. “But Andrew, people get addicted…” people get addicted to butter! Don’t blame the beer because you’re an alcoholic and don’t blame the bagel because you’re overweight. People have to be accountable for their own addictions. Is it a moral issue? Well, more wars have been caused by religion than sports gambling. Religious zealotry scares me, who has the over on the Bengals/Ravens game, does not!

Again, I get the outrage on a lot of issues – why do people get worked up over sports gambling? Know a family friend who lived in Vegas for years, there are sleazy people in Vegas, but there’s sleazy people anywhere! This family friend once told us that he found, at the time he was in Vegas, that the people he knew in sports gambling, he found them to be incredibly trustable – it’s a highly regulated business. You know what’s not regulated? Strip clubs! If you’re anti-strip club, you may have a point! The alcohol business – every state and province is different. “In this state, it’s the Wild Wild West…in this state, you can’t drink on the Lord’s Day” But the idea that people get worked up – that I have the Rams at -6, I’ve never understood. Here’s a little secret, sports gambling is already everywhere! Did you know that? Like everybody thinks “Vegas…the evil empire that takes everyone’s money” pfft, did you know that only 4% of NFL bets take place in Las Vegas? I’ve got news for you, there’s already sports gambling in New Jersey – there’s more in New Jersey than in Las Vegas! I don’t know the industry well enough to make big predictions, but I wouldn’t be shocked and I don’t think any of you would be either if sports gambling were legalized on the internet in the next 10 years.

I mean what person have you ever met in New Jersey that says “Bob, it’s not legal for me to bet on the Giants…Guess I’m out of luck!” You want to bet? Go bet! This is like the government trying to stop television viewing. People are doing it, they’re always doing it, its part of our fabric and even if it’s illegal – and there’s a 12% underground economy in America anyways, you’ll never stop it! People are going to drink, they are going to lust, they’re going to gamble, they’re going to eat and they’re going to watch television – you can’t stop it! So legalize it, tax the hell out of it and the state of Jersey could make over $200 million a year! Really? How many are they making on strip joints? Not that much I’d assume! It is amazing how people treat sports gambling – they treat it as if were the Ebola Virus “here it comes!! We’ll bleed from our eyes…run for the hills!” I bet football games people!! Again, is it a moral issue? I mean when the government had prohibition – do you think people didn’t drink? It was more of an underground premium that ever! I simply find that the stigma just forces more illegal activity but if you legalize it, the bad guys go away – they lost their market!

It’s like going to your son and saying “Do not listen to the band Gawr, I do not like that music…that music is evil” You know what your son is probably going to do? He’s going to go to his room and crank Gawr simply because I told him he can’t. But if I say to him “you know what, Gawr is awesome!! Crank it buddy!” suddenly it’s not cool. So again, take away the stigma, legalize it everywhere! “Andrew, but you’ll have game fixing” they’ve had more game fixing in Europe. There was an Arizona State basketball game several years ago that was fixed – sports gambling wasn’t legal in Arizona yet it was legal in Vegas and UNLV games aren’t fixed! Gambling sanitizes when it’s legal, there aren’t any thumb breakers, and there aren’t any loan sharks. We’re going to gamble as a society – get over it!! Legalize it and tax the hell out of it! You can’t stop it! Illegal card room/legal card room – how about we just make them legal and get some tax revenue out of it! Think about it, what vice has the government not gotten a piece out of it?

I think they’re biggest issue is – and here’s the great thing about sports gambling for you and I – and we’re doing it right now and it’s not ruining society. I mean look around our society folks, how many of them are tied to this: you can bet on a Laker game tonight! Are any of our societal ills based on that Laker game 4 months from now? This is not asking to legalize marijuana – there are concerns that it’s a gateway drug, concerns on what it does, I mean we all went to school with corky – he was forget and sort of apathetic. I just never understood and it’s so bizarre! The family friend lived in Vegas, he knew these people who betted on sports for a living – all they really are, when you think about it, are analysts! You’re a hedge fund analyst, financial analyst, insurance analyst and then there’s sports gaming analysts. Hit 58%, manage your money and that’s your living!

I’m not into even – never had been for that matter! Some people, some teams, some programs, some franchises, some coaches, some athletes, men and woman, some work harder are more committed, sacrifice more, and put in more hours. I’m for that woman, that kid, that man earning a better spot at the table of life. Why work hard if there is no reward? In baseball, the American League East – the Yankees, Red Sox’s, Rays, Jays and Orioles – could see 3 teams get into the playoffs come October.  I’m okay with that! They are more committed and spend more money.

In college football last month, we voted for even! We didn’t vote for fair. We have now finalized a 4 team playoff – there is some good news of course, you can now lose a game and still play for the national title. If Ohio State, USC or Oklahoma, Virginia Tech play great all season long and suddenly get nipped by an inferior team in Week 10, but can still win their conference championship, they will get in now.  But what was decided last month wasn’t fair, but even. The SEC is now going to get in only 1 team. Here’s what we are going to get:  The best team from the south, the winner of that Ohio State/Michigan game, USC out west and a Big 12 champ – the Big 4, touching every corner of America. That’s certainly more even but I’d contend it’s not fair because you and I know that conferences are not all even. The SEC has been more committed and worked harder, paid more for their coaches, recruited better players – they will not be rewarded.

Today, college football is more even and although it creates more arguments – more material for me to rant about, the media however often confuses fair and even. A really good team will get left out every year, one that scheduled much tougher games. Don’t think for a second that college football is even. For example, go look at LSU’s schedule last year (seriously, look it up) they played 7 of the top programs in the country: Oregon, @ West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, @ Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia – heck I’m not even counting the SEC championship game. Do you want to know who Iowa played in 2007? Ohio State and Michigan weren’t even on their schedule!! They loaded up with teams like Florida International! They didn’t even play a top 20 team that year, until they got into the Big 10 championship. If your okay with that then so am I, I really don’t care.

By the way, who is going to select the final 4 teams? Oh shoot, it’s a committee!  You don’t think they’ll be biased there? Go check out the Heisman voting. What was the only region last year to vote in Andrew Luck for the Heisman? Oh what a shock! He plays for Stanford, the guys out west. What was the only region to have Trent Richardson in at #2? What a shock! He played at Alabama, the South had him. Fair isn’t even and even isn’t fair. Every region will be represented – if this was baseball, sorry 2nd place team in the American League East, you don’t get in, but the Cleveland Indians do!! That’s what we voted for in college football. Now I’m not totally against it, it’ll certainly be fun, it’ll be good for the fans, and it’ll be more “even”…there’s a lot of good stuff. We’re going to get 2 really good days of this stuff where #4 meets #1 and #3 meets #2…I’m all for that. But I think sometimes we confuse fair with even – I’m not a big believer in “even” in life. I’m a big believer in that the harder you work, the more you get.

Here’s another thing, only 4 teams get in yet we have 5 power conferences and Notre Dame. Are you going to be okay when Notre Dame goes 11-1, can create their own schedule, gets in over LSU whose also 11-1 but finished 2nd in their conference and has 7 quality wins to Notre Dame’s 2? Is that more intellectually honest? The idea here, what I’m trying to tell you is that we’re still going to have massive bias and massive arguments. It’ll be better for ESPN, better for my blog, better for people in the media, but it will not be fairer!! It’ll just be more even. This is going to ensure than one big dog from every part of the country gets in.

You Yankee fans out there today, would you be okay if even if you committed more than the Mariners, with a new system, just to ensure we get a team from the Pacific Northwest in? They get into the playoffs every year and you don’t? Would you be okay with that? I certainly don’t think you would. Speaking of which, last month there was a particular play at a Yankee game, where Dewayne Wise was ruled to have made a catch when in fact he didn’t. He went into the stands, doesn’t make the catch, fan has the ball in hand, but the umpire rules that he had caught the ball.

Now, here’s the interesting part – when did everyone discover that it wasn’t a catch? Ahhhh when the REPLAY was used is how we found out the truth! How ironic is that?? When did we find out the truth on that call? Replay! Which MLB refuses to use and the decision not to use it looks sillier by the day. It was not easy to see but of course was easy to see with replay because a fan was holding it in the air and the umpire apparently didn’t see it as the player Dewayne Wise ran into the dugout with no ball in his glove – the umpire never checked. Folks, what if that were an ALDS game? We have to get replay into these big baseball games

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!”