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Chaos and the Cowboys

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Jerry Jones actually had some good points Tuesday at Cowboys camp in Oxnard, California.

Dressed in his on field persona, Jones was in his Cowboys gear, blue baseball camp, blue t-shirt and was addressing the throngs and hordes of media.

The Cowboys, as traditionally has been the case, are a bastion of off-field chaos. As training camp kicked off over the weekend, the list of infractions are piling up.

Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News gives a full recount of the recent chaos in Jerry World, dating back two months prior:

“Cornerback Nolan Carroll was arrested for driving under the influence. Defensive end David Irving was suspended four games for violating the league’s drug program.

Linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested on two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he backed his truck into a woman and flashed a rifle at a man outside Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott was involved in an altercation a week ago at a club in Dallas where a DJ was punched in the nose. No charges have been filed. But the league was already investigating the league’s reigning rushing champion, with a suspension likely on the horizon.

And receiver Lucky Whitehead said he had his dog taken from his home and held for ransom. Blitz has been reunited with Whitehead and was unharmed.

Then the most bizarre incident tipped Cowboys chaos to the boiling point when Lucky Whitehead was kicked off the team after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The only problem is the warrant was false. Someone who was arrested for shoplifting in Virginia, had Whitehead’s social security number full name and provided it to police while Whitehead was on a plane to California.

The police admitted the error and cleared Whitehead but the Cowboys stuck with their decision to release him.

The media kinda wanted to know ‘why the double standard’?

When pressed Tuesday head coach Jason Garrett repeated several times, “We made a decision in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.” He repeated that about five times, each time increasing in anger.

Whitehead was already on the bubble for other “issues” and that was the icing and his “ability” was cited as well. In short, he wasn’t a lock to make the team anyhow.

But it was Jones’ reaction Tuesday that made headlines. Jones got pretty worked up

“I am going to say this is business as usual and I really won’t go into my parameters about why a player is here or not,” Jones said per the Dallas Morning News:

“I’m not going to go into anything about Lucky, but I am going to say if you’re going to get wadded up over people coming and going around here, then get ready to stay in angst.”

“I’ve never talked to a player that I didn’t have empathy. If you all (media) have done one thing in my time to criticize me, it is how I will back up a player to a fault. You’ve done it. You’ve done it for years. I will back them up to a fault.”

“So when we do make a decision around here that’s in the best interest of the team to move on, there’s one thing you can forget about and that is whether you’re being fair or whether you’ve given it consideration of what it means to the individual,” Jones said. “That doesn’t happen around here.

The news comes just a few days after Cowboys running back Ezekial Elliot was cleared of assault for a bar incident.

It seems the Cowboys made an exception for the best player on the team versus a guy not making it.

As Dink Kearny of the Dallas Morning News wrote four months ago it’s time for a general manager in Dallas.

It is assumed his son Stephen Jones makes most of the day-to-day football decisions. Still, the broader issue may be whether Jones really has control over what is happening on his team or will he finally relinquish control.

Jones is the only holdout from a bygone era, he is both owner and general manager of the Cowboys the only such setup that exists in the NFL and really all of pro sports.

Through the chaos the reality is people are talking about the Cowboys and that’s the goal for Jones.

The NFL’s social media problem

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When Twitter was just getting going, back in the stone-ages of social media, about five to seven years ago, ESPN sent a mandate on Twitter to one of its most famous writers at the time, Ric Bucher of tremendous NBA writing pedigree.

Bucher stated at the time that the worldwide leader is “prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN.”

The policy in actuality read in part, “If opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms.”

Of course, ESPN has loosened up in the seven or so years since then. ESPN thrives, lives and most of its live programming is tied directly with Twitter in some fashion.

The NFL on the other hand appears to have not loosened up. Earlier this season there was the mandate that NFL teams could not post video clips of game footage, only the official NFL Twitter account could. Of course, the NFL cannot control the posting of game footage by individual users, not today. So what was the point? Because fans would just post what teams could in high-def.  There are just too many platforms available for users to upload the video to and then share a link, but it can try. But that was the NFL ruling. A hard stance.

The least understood aspect of the NFL’s media stance is that of the established media. The NFL very, very, much works in step with the established print, radio and TV entities in the cities which have a franchise. It’s worked for 50 or more years in some cities and it works and works year after year. Press conference Monday after the game, story on the Monday evening news, story in the Tuesday edition of the paper. They never needed guys on the internet to help them get the story to the people. They probably still don’t.

If a certain internet website has the right stuff, audience, style, credibility or one of the latter, there’s a chance they could get the almighty credential from an NBA team or perhaps NHL team. MLB very much like the NBA may have a softer stance but it also draws a hard line on credentials for bloggers or “internet outlets”.

The NFL not only will turn down a blogger, they will blow the doors right open. They will make it perfectly clear that they’re not interested in internet entities. There are different strategies pro leagues can employ to work with an influential internet website, and by all accounts the NFL does not want to do that. Individual teams have employed strategies to work with websites and they are to be applauded for that. The league office is different.

Nothing was more clear this week as Barstool sports, an internet website, received just the kind of buzz, and “viralness” that it takes to turn a profit in the sports blogging world. The website mentions Barstool Sports and buzz this summer and into the fall reached a pinnacle so much that Comedy Central decided to give them a TV show.

None the less, when Barstool sports asked for a credential to the Super Bowl, they were turned down. As viral websites do, they turned the rejection into a story and then a reporter at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference this week at the Super Bowl asked him about Barstool sports and the rejection. Goodell of course said ‘well it looks like we have plenty of media here’. And he was exactly right. Goodell then said he trusts that the people who make these sorts of decisions make the right decisions, that is who to credential and who not to.

At a basic level, the NFL made the right decision by not allowing an internet blog to be credentialed they protect existing media which usually much higher readership, but with a demographic that is approaching the AARP years. On a long term and general public affection level they made the wrong one. Here’s why

When an internet blogger gets rejected by the NFL, it’s a feeling that traditional media doesn’t have to handle. If traditional media is denied a credential then there’s retribution and negotiation.  For example, a radio station guy is barred or denied, then the general managers make calls etc. The blogger is the general manager, he can’t call on his own behalf. He could but it may not go anywhere. With traditional media, things get resolved. When a blogger who is working day-in-and day out for pennies just trying to make it gets rejected it’s very personal. So what happens?

Well, the next time the NFL is in the news for yet another short-sighted position, a player arrest, new data on head injuries, that blogger or internet phenom is going to have a field day. And believe it or not fans and other traditional media pick up on it. Then you see a headline in traditional news outlets that say to effect, “fans are not happy with the latest move by the NFL” or NFL receives backlash after new data on head injuries. That backlash is your resident blogger, charming, and very readable who moves fan sentiment in the direction they choose.

There’s a balance.  The NFL could open its doors a little more, but it should not be ridiculed for barring certain internet outlets from credentials as it is responsible and has the authority to decide who and who cannot attend certain events as press.

Help Wanted: Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Help wanted. Snow Shovelers. Please show up at Lambeau Field 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304 Pay $10 per hour. Must be 18 years or older.

No Joke.

The Green Bay Packers, America’s only fan-owned sports team, needs help shoveling snow.

The team announced Wednesday that they will pay persons 18 years or older $10 per hour to shovel snow for the team.

According to the Sheboygan Press,  the team needs about 650 people Thursday to shovel snow in prep for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

The team says shovels will be provided by the team.

How about a drive to beautiful Green Bay?




Does this look like a man who wants a headache?

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Jon Gruden, former Super Bowl winning head football coach and perhaps the best or most widely known, color analyst in all of big-time sports broadcasting has once again declined interest in an NFL or college football coaching job. This is about the 60th time in the last five years.

According to multiple reports Gruden had interest in the Los Angeles Rams head coaching vacancy.

It seemed like a match made in heaven. Gruden in Los Angeles, man.

It’s beautiful click-bait. It’s a wonderful December story. It heats up the interwebs, but never, ever, has substance.

Jon Gruden said on ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike Tuesday he has no intention of coaching right now.

I love football, I’ve said that a million times, and I just want to say that I’m very happy doing what I’m doing,” Gruden said via Yahoo Sports.

“There’s a lot of chips on the table but right now I have no intentions of coaching. I really enjoy what I’m doing. I feel like I’m close to the fire. I’m getting plenty of satisfaction out of doing what I’m doing.”

What Gruden is telling us is that coaching the Los Angeles Rams is not better than broadcasting Monday Night Football with unfettered access to any NFL team and no loyalties to play or work for except for the boys in Bristol, CT who are quite thrilled with anything Gruden.

No Jon Gruden is not leaving Monday Night Football to coach your 4-10 football team.

Jon Gruden addresses rumors of him being a coaching candidate in the NFL.

A video posted by Mike and Mike (@espnmikeandmike) on

College Football we have a problem: The Bowl game conundrum

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Thankfully, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery saved the day and gave the college football diehards something to talk about in the lulls of December.

The LSU running back and the Standford running back will miss their respective bowl games so as to “prepare” for the NFL draft.

There are two sides to the story (maybe 3 such as individual personal factors or the unknown such as Fournette or McCaffery’s personal circumstances, things happening at the school, inside the locker room and stuff like that).

A) Fournette and McCaffery are their own brand, product and now enter adulthood attempting to financially benefits themselves as best as possible.

B) Both Fournette and McCaffery made a commitment and received free room and board to their respective programs, and to participate in their respective team’s games if at all possible and healthy.

Both sides of the story are both right. Fournette and McCaffery should not be criticized simply to preserve their draftability and personal health prior to their first NFL season and professional career.

On the flipside one can think is there a lack of commitment to the football team or school from both of these guys?

Who is making the decision to sit the game out, an agent, a family member, the head coach? Or are these guys making the call themselves.

So no big deal. Well not quite.

As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports points out, this is only just the beginning.

The Bowl system may be destroyed by the actions of and decisions of two.

Wetzel writes “It’s just there is also nothing wrong with the other way, the way Christian McCaffrey just uniquely busted open for plenty of future stars to follow.”

The worst nightmare for AD’s and Bowl organizers is if post-season games are treated like exhibitions where star players are held out for health. A) No one would watch these games, by-in-large, save for diehards B) certainly travel and ticket sales for such bowl games would be decimated.

A) No one would watch these games, by-in-large, save for diehards B) certainly travel and ticket sales for such bowl games would be decimated.

How do you enforce it?

How can you force a sure-fire NFL draft pick to play?

You can’t.

You can’t penalize it.

You can only adapt.

One possibility might be the ushering out of Bowl games for the Power 5 conferences where most of the top draft picks reside, and a move to a more broad playoff system, which could include 6, 8, 16 teams.

Jim Harbaugh appears to be over Ohio State loss, excited about FSU’s renegade

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You have to give Jim Harbaugh credit. As much as many try to discredit the head football coach at the University of Michigan, he’s incredibly resilient.

Speaking to media at the Orange Bowl press conference Harbaugh quoted Sir Andrew Barton to explain his mindset.

“It was a tough loss,” Harbaugh said, via “But as Sir Andrew [Barton] said, ‘Fight on me men. I’m a little hurt but slain, I’ll lay down and bleed a while, but then I’ll rise to fight again.”

Harbaugh and his guys will take on Florida State Dec. 30th against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  The game is perhaps the most compelling of the non-playoff matchups to close out the college football season.

Harbaugh stated he has re-watched the Ohio State loss where questionable officiating calls cost him $10,000 for criticizing officials after the game.  However, Harbaugh states that he hasn’t changed his mindset on the incorrectness of the calls in the game, doesn’t plan on doing so and still doesn’t believe he should be allowed to voice his concern publically without a fine.

Michigan finished the season at 10-2 and ranked sixth in the final college football playoff rankings, while Florida State finished at 9-3 and finished 11th in the final rankings.

Meanwhile, Harbaugh genuinely seems pumped about the Florida State spear.

Per ESPN: “[Florida State is] one of those great programs, one of those great traditions. Renegade the war horse. The spear. The tomahawk chant. I’ve never been to a game at Florida State. I always wanted to. I always wanted to go to their stadium and see what that atmosphere was like in person.”

“This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m very much excited about that and looking forward to that. I’m gonna get some chills I know when [Renegade] comes riding out there. … That is one of the coolest things. A lot of teams got cool things. We got cool things and other teams got cool things. That is right up there with one of the coolest things.”



For the present time, the Heisman Trophy appears to have lost some luster

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—At one time, the Heisman had extreme importance in college football and in the sports world.

Historically you can’t discount what Bo Jackson winning the Heisman Trophy in 1985, or just about any other winner in what some people might consider the “golden era” of college football 1970 to late 90s.

But it’s 2016 and no one in sports media and social media is talking about the Heisman Trophy and that’s odd. Sure there are mentions. But there is no buzz.

Sure a few college football websites have thrown out some content regarding the award, a kid from Louisville named Jackson (Lamar) may have a shot, but not only is there no definitive shining stars this year, no one seems to be all that excited.

Officially the final candidates for the 2016 Heisman Trophy are Jackson ,who is a quarterback, along with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

There are many theories as to why this has happened. For instance, a guy named Reggie Bush was required to give back his Heisman in 2010, after violating NCAA rules related to amateurism.

Another theory comes from Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune 

“The best player rarely wins the Heisman, and now it basically comes down to propaganda and ESPN, which has power over the award (see the joke of Gino Torretta over Marshall Faulk) mostly because the majority of the electors see but a few highlights and listen to talking heads crap. How many saw D.J. Pumphrey?

The thing usually goes to a quarterback or running back, which certainly doesn’t mean best player.”

Here’s my simple fix, include college coaches who actually play against guys, study the film, leave the media out of it. They are much too busy to really get a handle other than reading the hype themselves and transmitting it across their mediums.

Let the coaches decide and keep the pomp and circumstance of the show for ESPN and it will have a lot more meaning.

Kevin Wilson out at Indiana: Life, Physicality, Grit, Toughness and other College Football things

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—Kevin Wilson “resigned” as the head football coach at Indiana University on Thursday.

It was not due to wins and losses. In fact, strictly by wins and losses Wilson had taken the Hoosier football program places it had not been in several decades.

Indiana defensive coordinator, Tom Allen, whose acronym L.E.O. (short for “love each other”) spread across social media as word broke he would be taking over as the head coach,  is more of a family guy, more of an Indiana guy. He was born and raised in Indiana. Wilson was not.

Indiana athletic director Fred Glass stated that Wilson resigned after a meeting. Before the announcement, it was assumed Wilson was fired.

The end result is the same.

Glass stated it was due to philosophical differences which had crept up before but again reared their ugly head in recent weeks. Glass cited differences in “leadership” philosophy.

Social media and a report by ESPN tell a different story.


Kevin Wilson was aggressive. If a player complained he was hurt, Wilson let them know about it. If a trainer said a guy was hurt, Wilson gave them an earful of expletives, allegedly.

Wilson’s job at Indiana was not simply just to coach football and make everyone happy. His job was to recruit as hard as he could, take players with lesser talent and get them ready to play a violent sport against some of the best football players on the planet in the Big Ten. It appears it the leadership style that Wilson employed more often than not, which cost him his job, is that he pushed his players beyond their physical limit. Even when injured.

As reported by

Earlier Thursday, however, a former Indiana player’s father told ESPN that his son suffered a concussion in practice shortly before the 2015 season and was rushed back to workouts, causing his symptoms to intensify.

“He was out about a week and they started a normal concussion regimen, in which he was allowed to work out for about 20 minutes and gradually increase it,” the former player’s father said. “But after he worked out for 20 minutes, they had him run about 6 miles. After that, my son was feeling fine. But when he went home, he started throwing up and his symptoms went haywire.”

Indiana’s AD stated the NCAA won’t be involved. There will be no medical or legal matters to deal with, however the school employed an independent law firm to review the football program and found enough of a problem to warrant a change.

This is not the era in football to have guys grind it out. This is not the era in college athletics to have any hint that a coach abused or took improper measures or anything. Some say it’s a sign of the times that everyone is getting softer, and we’re training our kids to be pampered and self-centered.

But Kevin Wilson lost his job because he wasn’t quite aware or failed to fully realize what type of environment he was really working in.

Harbaugh’s boys show a weakness for the first time in 2016

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Call it overconfidence. The Juggernaut that is Michigan Football in 2016 is not.

When Michigan arrived at Kinnick Stadium the equipment staff mercilessly revamped the famed pink-walled visiting locker room with Jordan logos and UM pride. By the time it was over Saturday night, Michigan left in shock, losing 14-13. The Wolverines, no longer perfect, with doubts now for the lock that was the college football playoff.

Michigan faces Indiana next week, which likely will result in a win, then play at Ohio State Nov. 26th, which likely may decide their college football playoff chances.

“We’re all going to to our jobs,” Jim Harbaugh said after the game.

“That’s part of my job. I’m not the only one, but a big part of my job is to make sure we respond.”



The most profitable school in sports? Texas A&M

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Texas A&M’s athletic department brought in more money than any other school in the NCAA for the year 2015, due in large part to big Texas cash in the form of donations.

According to data compiled by USA TODAY published by Business Insider, Texas A&M raked in $192.6 million for its athletics program in 2015. The Aggies received $92 million in donations. The Aggie football program brought in $57 million and licensing rights brought in $47 million.  Ticket sales brought in $45 million for all sports.


$192 is a big number but that’s tempered against expenses of $109 million, with a net profit of $83 million, a number which many companies would love to rival.

Rounding out the Top 10 most revenue-rich athletic programs in the United Sates are Texas at No. 2 bringing in $183 million, No. 3 Ohio State at $167 million. No. 4 Michigan at $152 million No. 5 Alabama at $148 million No. 6 Florida at $147 million No. 7 LSU at $138 million No. 8 Oklahoma at $134 No. 9 Tennessee at $126 million No. 10 Penn State at $125 million.




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