Emails in on NFL & media’s treatment of OKC
The new emails are in, and lots of talk about the NFL and the Thunder.
Rich: “St. Louis sports radio was talking Wednesday about Ndamukong Suh hiring Eugene Parker as his agent. They were discussing the propensity for Parker clients to be contract holdouts (Michael Crabtree ring a bell?), which is something the Rams could not afford to have happen if they want Suh to have an immediate impact on the team. They offered an alternative in Gerald McCoy if he did not hire the same agent. Of course, this is not known to be the Rams’ stance on the issue, just two talk show hosts’ observations on why Suh could possibly not be the first pick. The other Parker clients mentioned included Emmitt Smith (twice), Cedric Benson and Steven Jackson. Their reasoning was that Parker would play the No. 1 pick card to the hilt and demand more than Matthew Stafford’s six-year, $78 million ($41.7M guaranteed). They claimed that DTs don’t have long careers at a high level and could not last long enough to earn that amount of money.”
I think you’ve got to take Suh. He’s too much of a prime prospect. The surest way to get competitive is rebuild that defense. Draft a quarterback, and that only sets back the St. Louis rebuilding longer. Taking McCoy when you know Suh is the better prospect is no way to get good again. Heck, if you’re going to take McCoy, call Detroit and offer to swap the first two picks. Give the Lions the first pick and maybe get a third-round pick or something in return.
Dan wrote about my Rex Ryan column: “I had to write to ask you if you are really serious about Rex Ryan and all of the Ryans? Let me summarize what I learned from your article. 1. Buddy Ryan (known for punching a fellow coach on the sidelines, overseeing ‘Bounty Bowl’ and faking a take-a-knee only to throw deep against Tom Landry; his legacy of classlessness speaks volume as to his lack of character) had two sons, Rex and Rob. 2. Rex & Rob loved to ‘kick butt’ and ‘raise hell.’ 3. They were liked by all. 4. They are just like their dad. Wow, thanks for the journalism. Where do I sign up for the ‘I love Rex’ bandwagon? These guys are PUNKS, all three of them. Amazing as to how being void of character is admirable to some people. I KNOW you can’t write that with a straight face.”
New York City. That’s where you sign up for the bandwagon. Buddy Ryan was a heck of a football coach in the NFL, where you don’t go looking for boy scouts. And his sons are good coaches, too. Punks? Maybe. Tom Landry had a team full of them when he was going to Super Bowls.
Mike wrote about my column on parity. “I can explain why there won’t be an NFL team in LA anytime soon. Angelinos don’t have the bucks to spend on tickets for a pro football team. When you are taxed at the rate of about 85% of your income (and that is apparently no joke), all you can afford to live in is an apartment not much bigger than a Cadillac Escalade! And it won’t be as comfy, although you do have the benefit of indoor plumbing. You also have two NCAA football programs to compete with. Even more, USC could probably kick the crap out of any expansion team the NFL put there. While New York has two pro teams and the cost of living is higher than LA, New York doesn’t really have the competition of college football in its neighborhood, much less a successful one at that. LA has never really produced a homegrown winner as the Lakers came from Minneapolis and the Dodgers came from Brooklyn. LA, more than anywhere else, tends to have bandwagon fans and these folks just won’t support a loser trying to fight its way to the top. The other thing which is a real problem is where would the pro team play as the Coliseum and Rose Bowl probably aren’t what we will consider pro stadiums when we compare it to JerryWorld. While a new stadium would be great, where could you buy land cheap enough to build the stadium and parking lot and the roads to service the venue? It all comes down to putting people in those seats, at a price they are willing to pay and keeping the costs to minimum to have a profit. The reputation LA has enjoyed in the past is now becoming its own undoing as the price of real estate continues to soar and the Angelinos have no money in their pockets after paying rent and the cost of living.”
Well, that’s certainly an interesting take. Not one bit of it do I buy, other than the stadium issue, but it’s interesting. Let me get this straight. A metro area with two NBA teams, two MLB teams and an NHL team, all of them doing reasonably or very well compared to peers, can’t support an NFL team? The NFL works ANYWHERE. The NFL would work in Tulsa. The NFL would work in Omaha. The NFL would work in Albuquerque. All you need is a stadium. Los Angeles needs a new football stadium. That’s the only thing holding it back. It’s not USC and it’s not high taxes (the Bay Area has high taxes and two NFL franchises). It’s a stadium.
Jim: “As I’ve watched the NFL this year (and for, what, 50-plus years leading up to this year), something about the league bothers me. It’s the fact that out-of-the-box playcalling and gameplanning seem to be discouraged. Got a fourth and half a foot at the opponent’s 40-yard line? No question, you punt. Can’t take a risk to go for it. And if they do go for it, it’s never, ever anything around the ends. Always off tackle with a handoff deep in the backfield, with the results often like what happened with the Cowboys on that awful fourth down play when Switzer was coach. And I was surprised that Switzer would go for the conventional like that play. I can think of other situations where NFL creativity seems to be stifled in favor of doing what is expected. Never, ever, run any sort of option, especially if it’s the QB who makes a pitch. Maybe that’s why I like the Wildcat offense, because it gives a little variety to the game. And I sense that the game announcers buy into this, as well. They seem shocked, offended even, if a team tries something out of the norm. Am I wrong on this? It makes me appreciate the more open approach of the college game a lot more.
For all the glory of the NFL, it has one drawback. The size and speed of the players limits creativity. You can’t run the spread in the NFL, for example. The quarterback would be decapitated by the second quarter. Same with an option play. Can’t do it. Too risky. And you’ve got to set up a sweep just right. Those guys are too fast. That’s why 4th-and-1 is basically three options: 1. sneak; 2. hard off tackle; 3. play-action and throw, but you better do it quickly.
Marty wrote about my Uwe von Schamann column: “As a lifelong Dolphins fan, I would point out, as you noted, that Uwe is well-regarded by Dolfans. He has spoken to our civic club in Shawnee a couple of times in the past nine years. Each time I’ve reminded him that the biggest kick I recall is one he hit against the hated Jets on a Saturday in December 1982. Miami won 20-19 and Don Strock (the holder) did quite a celebratory dance. That loss to San Diego hurt, but beating the Jets, even in the regular season, is something Dolphin fans always remember.”
I don’t doubt it, but I also think Miami fans are probably a little more civil than some others. Giants. Jets. Bears. Eagles. Patriots. I wouldn’t go missing big field goals for those teams if you don’t want to be booed for the next 40 years.
Ed is the former college professor who is a big OU fan. He wrote about Tommy Brooker, who kicked the overtime field goal that won the 1962 AFL title for the Dallas Texans: “Tommy Brooker is a nice guy who talked to my football class two or three times at Alabama. He would tell the class Bear stories. And his favorite kick might be his 1960 field goal that beat Auburn, 3-0.”
Now there’s a dilemma. A field goal that won the Auburn-Alabama game or a field goal that won a professional league championship. Which is bigger? I know which one gets you bought the most dinners. And it’s not the ones that thrilled the fans of the Dallas Texans.
Georg wrote about Sports Illustrated’s treatment of OKC: “I thought I would check out The Oklahoman on a cold, snowy day in Kentucky. Good to see you are plugging away there. Did you respond to the recent SI story on Kevin Durant? I felt that the fellow who dissed OKC must be some latte sipping dude from NYC.”
Is it snowing everywhere? This snowstorm is one of our biggest in years and years, and it’s not even the biggest of the last 40 days. Anyway, no, I didn’t write anything about the Sports Illustrated story, which was an excellent piece on Duran but took the low-hanging fruit and trashed OKC. Just goes to show you that even guys with the prestigious jobs can be lazy.
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