EppsNet Archive: Football

Tom Kelly, Pat Summitt, Buddy Ryan

28 Jun 2016 /

The Grim Reaper very active in the sports world the last day or so . . .

  • Tom Kelly dies at 88; broadcast USC football and basketball games for decades — LA Times
  • Pat Summitt, legendary women’s basketball coach, dies at 64 — CNN.com
  • Former NFL coach, defensive guru Buddy Ryan dies at age 82 — ESPN

The One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Herschel Walker Edition

27 Jun 2016 /
Heisman Trophy Winner Herschel Walker

NFL great Herschel Walker was one of the early Trump supporters out of the gate but now he says he is losing speaking gigs by anti-Trumpers who are blackballing him.

Maybe I’m not paying attention but I can’t remember any people with left-leaning views being blackballed from public discourse.

At the risk of being super obvious, tolerance and freedom of speech don’t mean anything if you’re not willing to extend them to everybody — people you applaud as well as people you detest.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

21 May 2016 /
Redskins primary logo 1972-1981, 1983-present

New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins nameThe Washington Post

Man, am I sick of people who get offended on behalf of a group they don’t belong to, projecting their own phony outrage on the group members and their own biases on non-group members.

In light of the poll results, non-Native American opponents of the Redskin name seem to have changed their position slightly to say that Native Americans are in fact being offended but are too dumb to realize it.


Super Bowl 50: The Cam Newton Karma Game

7 Feb 2016 /
Super Bowl 50

You probably know people like Cam Newton, co-workers maybe, who like to call attention to themselves — Look at me! Look what I did! — and like to rub your nose in it when things aren’t going well for you.

I don’t like people like that.

I don’t think a choreographed activity has to take place every time you make a first down. I saw a game this year where Newton threw a screen pass to a receiver, who ran 50 yards with it for a touchdown. Newton ran all the way to the end zone to perform a choreographed celebration, not with his teammates, but standing all by himself. Look at me! And he really hadn’t done anything. He threw a screen pass.

He came out for Super Bowl warm-ups wearing gold cleats. Look at me! I’m wearing gold cleats! After the game, he ungraciously answered a handful of questions, then walked out of the room. That’s inappropriate. If you want to call attention to yourself when things are going good for you, be willing to take the negative attention when you suck.

I recommend that he develop some choreographed activities for losing, for interceptions and for fumbles that lead to touchdowns for the other team . . . like an Oopsie Face, or rotating his fists in front of his eyes like he’s wiping away imaginary tears . . .

Final Score: Broncos 24, Panthers 10.


No One Seems to Understand Point Spreads

24 Oct 2015 /

I lost track of the number of headlines I saw this week regarding how USC (3-3) could possibly be a 3.5-point favorite over undefeated and third-ranked Utah (6-0).

USC logo

It’s weird that no one in sports journalism seems to understand what a point spread really is.

It’s not a prediction. It’s not a scientific analysis. It’s a gambling mechanism. The only purpose of a point spread is to distribute the betting equally on both teams so the bookmaker can pay the winners with the losers’ money.

USC is a 3.5-point favorite for one reason and one reason only and that is because there are more people willing to bet on USC than there are people willing to bet on Utah, so a carrot is offered in the form of 3.5 points to induce more bettors to put their money on the Utes.

Substitute any other team . . . Team X is a betting favorite because more people want to bet on Team X than on Team X’s opponent.

“Team X is a betting favorite” is not the same thing as “Vegas thinks X is the better team.” Vegas has no opinion on who has the better team. That’s why point spreads fluctuate, sometimes by a lot. If too much money comes in on Team X, the point spreads changes to be more favorable to X’s opponent.

FIGHT ON!


Slightly Deflated

17 Sep 2015 /

New Yorker cartoon


Yes, I’m Ready for the Big Game!

1 Feb 2015 /

People keep asking me, “Lightning, are you ready for the Big Game?” OF COURSE I’M READY FOR THE BIG GAME! Look at me … how could I be any more ready than I already am?!

P.S. Wake me up if there are any pug commercials this year.

— Lightning paw

Lightning 2015-02-01


The NFL Doesn’t Condone Alcohol Abuse?

25 Jan 2015 /


The College Football Playoff is Working

3 Jan 2015 /

Under the old two-team BCS format, the teams that lost the semifinal games — Alabama and Florida State — would likely have played each other in the championship game, while the two winners — Oregon and Ohio State — would likely have been voted out.

Florida State, as the defending champs and only undefeated team, would have been in for sure, while Ohio State would have just as certainly been out. That leaves Alabama and Oregon. One would have had to be dropped and it probably would have been Oregon.

Four teams is still not enough (see TCU’s 42-3 blowout of Mississippi State) to be able to say that none of the teams voted out was good enough to win it.

Also: I am sick unto death of the goddamn Larry Culpepper commercials. Enough of that already.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

3 Jan 2015 /

Larry Culpepper


L’Affaire Winston

18 Oct 2014 /
Jameis Winston

Florida State said Friday its athletic department compliance staff is reviewing the reported authenticated signatures by Jameis Winston, but has yet to find evidence that the star quarterback accepted payment for the autographs.

ESPN reported Thursday that more than 2,000 authenticated signatures by Winston have been found on the James Spence Authentication website.

A couple of very surprising things about this:

  1. Jameis Winston can write his name. That may be a clue. Before I bought any signed Jameis Winston memorabilia, I’d insist on independent verification of his ability to write his name, lest someone be foisting some counterfeit goods on me. Caveat emptor.
  2. Florida State’s football coach — a grown man named Jimbo — believes (or claims to believe) that Winston signed 2,000 items without being paid for doing it. He signed 2,000 items for free. I wouldn’t sign 2,000 items for free, would you? How long would that take — several hours, right? I’m sure Winston as a college student has homework and classes and other things he should be doing with his time.

The Lowlight of My Weekend

14 Oct 2014 /
Robert Hass

Robert Hass

I had lunch over the weekend with Robert Hass — Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, UC Berkeley professor and former Poet Laureate of the United States. When I say I had lunch with him, I mean he was one of five people seated at our table.

I asked to take a photo with him, which he graciously consented to. I don’t have any photos of myself with Pulitzer Prize winners and still don’t because the photo didn’t come out at all. I completely botched it somehow.

So that was probably the lowlight of my weekend, except for Cal getting blown out by Washington on the gridiron 31-7, while four Husky fans sat directly behind us screaming the whole game.

Football at Cal unfortunately is like academics at Washington: not terribly distinguished.


Incan Gold

14 Oct 2014 /
Incan Gold

A couple of coworkers are playing a board game called Incan Gold.

“What’s the objective of the game?” I ask. “To decimate an indigenous civilization and plunder its riches?”

Evidently Incan Gold requires a lot of concentration because neither player answers my question.

“Why is ‘Redskins’ a bad name for a football team but ‘Incan Gold’ is an acceptable name for a board game?” I ask.

No response.

“Is there a board game called ‘Aztec Genocide’?”

No response.

“How about ‘Mayan Massacre’?”


Are There Any Intelligent People Currently Living?

4 Aug 2014 /

I was at LA Fitness this morning . . . one of the TVs was showing an interview with Jameis Winston on ESPN. Winston is borderline retarded but thinks he’s articulate — a deadly combination.

He’s a very talented athlete. Just show clips of his athletic accomplishments. They’re impressive and fun to watch. Why would anyone want to talk to him or listen to him talk? The interviewer is paid to endure it, I get that, but why foist it on the viewing public? Maybe it’s the train wreck element. It was very painful to watch and yet I couldn’t look away!

Rarely is one person gifted in multiple ways. Some people are great athletes, some people are intelligent and interesting . . . the overlap between the two groups is very small.

Venn diagram: Athletic / Intelligent

Listening to Jameis Winston talk is like watching Milton Friedman take batting practice or Albert Einstein work on his five-step drop.

(I know the Milton Friedman and Albert Einstein references are dated but I’m having trouble thinking of anyone who’s a) highly intelligent; b) well known to the general public; and c) currently alive.)


One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Tony Dungy Edition

24 Jul 2014 /
Tony Dungy

“What’s your beef with Tony Dungy?”

He said he wouldn’t draft Michael Sam. He’s not showing the requisite level of tolerance and inclusiveness toward people who are different than he is.”

“Isn’t Dungy himself entitled to tolerance and inclusiveness?”

“Oh, no. No. Absolutely not. Because he’s being different in a way that’s totally unacceptable.”

“So you’re not against intolerance as a matter of principle, so long as the ‘right’ people and groups get ostracized.”

“Right.”

“I don’t remember anyone until fairly recently saying that having openly gay players in the NFL is a good idea. Now that we’ve reached a point in history where everyone in America has a breezy indifference to homosexuality . . . everyone knows people, works with people, has people in their family who are openly gay . . . every single TV show and movie has at least one gay character — NOW people like you are ‘brave’ enough to support the idea, for the same stupid reason you never supported it before: because you don’t want to be on the wrong side of public opinion.”


People Who Don’t Want Me to Know Things

12 Jul 2014 /

What I want to know is why there are so many people who don’t want me to know things . . .

Trudeau's book Natural Cures Updated Edition

And that doesn’t even include all the things that people “won’t tell me.”


Random Thoughts on Paying College Athletes

17 May 2014 /

Where is the money going to come from? Most people seem to think that college athletic programs are big money makers. They aren’t. Despite the big revenue dollars associated with two sports — football and men’s basketball — 90 percent of Division I athletic programs, because of the much larger number of non-revenue sports, operate at a loss. They’re subsidized by the general fund of the university. Paying athletes would require additional dollars to be directed away from academic endeavors: hiring and paying professors, funding research, offering financial aid to non-athletes, etc.

 

Title IX requires gender equity. You couldn’t just pay football players and men’s basketball players. Everyone would need to be paid equally in some sense, even in non-revenue sports.

 

How much money are we talking about? Let’s say at a medium to large school, we have 500 to 1,000 student athletes and we’re going to pay all of them a modest stipend of $10,000. That’s a cost of 5 to 10 million dollars a year. Sorry, Mom and Dad, that your kid couldn’t get the classes he or she needed to graduate in four years but when we pink-slipped professors so we could pay the athletes, we had to cut back on the number of available courses.

 

Are college athletes being exploited imposed upon financially? It makes sense to consider athletes in two groups:

  1. Future professional athletes. They have available to them a large group of coaches and support staff whose job is to prepare them athletically and promote them so as to make as much money as possible in highly lucrative occupations. If they don’t get paid right now, they’ll get paid a lot of money very soon.
     
  2. Everyone else (a much bigger group). Everyone else will have to go forth into the world and try to earn a living in some non-athletic pursuit. An athletic scholarship gives them the benefit of a paid-for college education that most of them would not otherwise receive. What is the monetary value of that over the course of a lifetime? Quite a lot.
 

With all the national and local sports networks, playing football or basketball at a Division I school makes you not only a big man on campus, but a local, if not national, celebrity. It’s fun! You get to play games with your buddies, travel around, stay in nice hotels, appear on television. If you’re a good player, people will talk about you on TV, on the radio, on the Internet – constantly – like you’re some kind of an important person. There are worse things that can happen to you in life than being a Division I scholarship athlete.

 

All that being said, if you as a college athlete really feel that you are being taken advantage of and not adequately compensated for the value of your contribution, don’t play. It’s not exploitation if you do it voluntarily.


See You in Hell, Carl Douglas

5 May 2014 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

“It put a smile on my face that finally [Donald Sterling] would be unable to deny the racist allegations against him,” said Carl Douglas, a lawyer who represented former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor in a lawsuit against Sterling.

Carl Douglas is best known as a member of the O.J. Simpson defense team. O.J. Simpson has done some regrettable things, like murdering a couple of white people, but at least he’s never made negative remarks about Magic Johnson photos on Instagram.

See you in Hell . . .

P.S. Carl Douglas the lawyer should not be confused with Carl Douglas the “Kung Fu Fighting” singer. Him, I like.


See You in Hell: The Fritz Pollard Edition

1 Mar 2014 /

Satan

Satan


[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, expects the league to institute a rule where players would be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word on the field.

The N-word. Let’s see . . . the N-word is “National,” the F-word is “Football” and the L-word is “League.”

Wait — what?! I’m now being informed that the N-word in this case is “nigger.” That’s what the Fritz Pollard Alliance wants to penalize. OK, that’s a great idea, Fritz Pollard Alliance, and by “great” I mean “bullshit.”

Has anyone at the Fritz Pollard Alliance read the Harry Potter books? In the Harry Potter books, Voldemort is known as He Who Must Not Be Named. He’s so powerful and scary and evil that you’re not even allowed to say his name! The only person who’s not afraid to say Voldemort’s name is Harry Potter.

I wish someone would ban my name from being spoken. I hate to hear my name bandied about — “Satan this” and “Satan that.” It makes me seem unremarkable, like someone you might chat with at a dinner party or meet at Starbucks for a coffee.

If people were banned from speaking my name, every time someone did speak it, accidentally or on purpose, it would be like “AUUUUGH! SATAN HAS BEEN UNLEASHED FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL!” I’d be 10 times more fearsome than I am already.

You see where I’m going with this, Fritz Pollard Alliance? Banning the use of a word makes the word more scary and powerful, not less.

Who knows better than me that if you make a thing forbidden, people will want that thing more than ever? I call that Satan’s Paradox.

 

Except for the N-word, all racial, ethnic or religious zingers, epithets and provocations remain A-okay with Fritz and his boys. The Kailee Wong Alliance has proposed that calling a Chinese player a gook or a Vietnamese player a chink, instead of the other way around, be grounds for automatic ejection, but adoption of the proposal is considered unlikely.

See you in Hell . . .


The 12th Man

17 Feb 2014 /
CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks

The home crowd of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is known as The 12th Man. Isn’t this awfully sexist? Doesn’t it marginalize female Seahawk fans? Wouldn’t The 12th Person be a more appropriate appellation?

I’m surprised there isn’t more outrage over this. It seems like the kind of thing that someone should be really bent out of shape about.


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