Some very interesting stories to follow over these last couple of week.
This coming week I am excited about the Sports Philanthropy Network holiday events in DC (December 17th) and Chicago (December 19th), as well as the Aspen Institute’s event on the State of College Sports which is being held in DC on December 17th. Should be a a very interesting week ahead with lots to report next week.
NFL CELEBRATIONS—for so many years the NFL fought against allowing players to celebrate. The moniker of the “No Fun League” seemed to fit very well. I think one of the best things to come along in sports in a long time is the permission the NFL has given players to have fun planning, executing and enjoying the pleasure that comes along with a TD or a turnover. Though the games are long enough, I would much rather watch the players celebrating than seeing a commercial for the
100th time, 500th time. Let’s hope that they find other ways to encourage these positive spirited enhancements of the game!
CHRIS PETERSON—His retirement highlights the enormous pressure cooker college coaches are under. NFL coaches are no different, except that very few of them are able to make it past a few years in the league. Virtually no coach has an open ended contract, unless your name is Belichick or Tomlin. We have seen Urban Meyer retire multiple times and there are reports he will be back. Bill Cowher took a step back and there does not appear to be much chatter connecting him to any job openings this year. Jon Gruden stepped away for a long time before he was lured back. Though it gets in the coach’s blood, people often underestimate the mental, physical and psychological damage it can do to the coach and his family.
49ERS ANNOUNCER—This was a very disturbing incident in which the 49ers announcer Tim Ryan stated that one of the main reasons Lamar Jackson succeeded was due to his dark skin (and uniform) being able to hide the ball on play-action and read-option plays. The absurdity was highlighted by Jackson wearing white sleeves and white gloves and continuing to put up huge numbers. Anyone watching his performance will tell you that his running and passing abilities have nothing to do with “hiding” the ball due to his skin color. The announcer got the appropriate flack and hopefully this issue is put behind everyone.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME—I had the privilege to get press credentials to cover the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis last Saturday night. Indianapolis has the well-earned reputation for putting on a phenomenal show. It was doing so for many years of NCAA tournaments, Big Ten Tournaments and other events, before the Super Bowl showcased its capabilities to a much wider audience. The fan set up in Indy is tough to beat with the hotels and restaurants so close to the action. The Indiana Convention Center hosted a terrific Fan Fest and pep rallies letting fans get opportunities to kick field goals, run the 40 yard dash and much more. Some parents even let their kids get in front of them in line. 😊 The staff at Lucas Oil Stadium does a great job hosting the media and ensuring first-class access to the field and all of the necessary resources.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF— Returning from the Big Ten Championship game and watching the playoff field unfold was completely anti-climactic given that there were really no strong arguments for any of the other teams, highlighting the need for an 8 team playoff to keep things interesting for more of the country and putting home field at stake! Personally, I still hate having these games in advance of January 1st so that the losers of the semi-finals are out of the college football talk before about half of the bowl games have even been played.
PATRIOTS VIDEOTAPES—It is hard to believe that the Patriots are embroiled in another scandal. You would think that they would have learned their lesson and that the specifications of working on a Patriots project would clearly articulate the need to be careful about videotaping improper areas of the field. While it is hard to see how this would give the Patriots a competitive advantage (because anyone in the stands can videotape anything these days), there are certainly multiple troubling aspects of this issue. First, the lack of “institutional control” in this case is surprising given the past history. Second, the videographer’s lack of ability to articulate his purpose is somewhat troubling. If you are filming for a particular feature, it would seem that you should be able to tell the “story” about why that film was needed. At minimum, it is just a bad look for the Patriots, but it is also the type of incident that has seemed to galvanize the team in the past.
PRESIDENTS CUP FIGHT—Golf is typically perceived to be a game of honor and sportsmanship. Patrick Reed’s failure to report his violation in the sand waste area created quite a storm leading into the Presidents Cup and the opposing fans at Royal Melbourne gave him an earful. Reed’s caddy was apparently tired of it at the end of one of his rounds and got in a fans face and shoved him after the fan’s explicative filled tirade. No matter the fan’s comments, physical assault by the caddie was unacceptable and the PGA rightfully suspended him immediately. Reed accepted that penalty. He also responded as you would expect and came back with a dominating performance early in the singles session to help set the tone for the USA’s comeback victory.
BEARS-PACKERS—As one of the oldest rivalries in sports, this game always means a lot. There were some very interesting plays and a finish which might have ranked up there with the famous Cal-Stanford rugby laterals (even if this one was shorter). The Packers seemingly had no idea how to defense the play and only the failure to make the last lateral properly kept the Bears out of the end zone. It has been a difficult year for the Bears franchise and it will be interesting to watch to see how they react in the off-season. Trubisky made a lot of very good throws in the game but still makes the critical mistakes that can turns wins into losses.
DARK WATERS—I don’t usually put much in here in terms of movie recommendations but I saw “Dark Waters” Saturday night and highly recommend it. It depicts the highly disturbing story of DuPont and the pollution it wreaked around the disposal of the chemical compound used to make Teflon. The compound cannot be broken down by the human body (or by most animals) and it causes all types of cancer and birth defects. The movie traces the lawyer who fought the battle for 15 years to the detriment of his own legal career and family. The heartbreaking elements of the story highlight the ongoing failures of the EPA, the inability of government (federal and local) to regulate chemical compounds for our food and water supplies and the challenges inherent in our legal system which allows a large well funded corporation to “bully” its own employees, cancer victims, the town hosting its plant, opposing counsel and everyone else involved in the legal process.
If you didn’t have a chance to see some of the other things I have been involved with or written recently, take a look here:
- Sports Philanthropy Newsstand, December 13, 2019
- PODCAST: Fred Mitchell, Chicago Blackhawks
- Sports Philanthropy Newsstand, December 6, 2019
- Roy’s Ramble, December 1, 2019
- PODCAST: Tony Giarla, AVP First
- Why an 8 Team Playoff Will Save College Football
- Plenty of Blame to Go Around in NFL/Kaepernick Fiasco
- PODCAST: Danya Rosen, Chicago Run
- FIRE SABAN!! Be Careful What You Wish For ‘Bama Fans
- Why Second Guessing Playcalling is Like Second Guessing Rock, Paper, Scissors
- Sports Philanthropy Newsstand, November 29, 2019
- Roy’s Ramble, November 22, 2019
HUMOR FOR THE WEEK
MOTIVATION FOR THE WEEK