Fitzgerald just biding time before his inevitable Hall of Fame date

When the Arizona Cardinals played in the Hall of Fame game in Canton a week ago, it was a special moment for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

At age 33 as he begins his 14th season in the NFL, Fitzgerald has already punched his ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This past weekend won’t be his last visit.

Fitzgerald already is third all-time in catches with 1,125 and ninth in yards with 14,389, so there won’t be much debate about his qualifications.

His induction will likely happen five years after he retires because he figures to be a first-ballot selection.

Continue reading “Fitzgerald just biding time before his inevitable Hall of Fame date”

Full-time officials is just another PR ploy by Goodell & Co.

The NFL’s announcement that it will hire up to 24 full-time officials is a good PR move. It gives the league a chance to show fans that it’s trying to improve the quality of the officiating.

But don’t be fooled. Even making all the officials full-time wouldn’t make much difference.

The other major sports have full-time officials — and their officials make mistakes all the time. Remember, they’re human beings. Coaches and players make mistakes all the time. To think officials aren’t going to make mistakes is downright foolish.

NFL officials tend to get more scrutiny than officials in other sports because the regular season lasts just 16 games and teams play only once a week, so fans and the media can spend several days talking about a blown call.

Baseball teams usually play the next day — and the next … and the next — so the debate about a blown call doesn’t last as long.

Continue reading “Full-time officials is just another PR ploy by Goodell & Co.”

Cutler move shows Dolphins still paying a price for past personnel sins

The Miami Dolphins’ desperation move to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement once Ryan Tannehill was injured is another example of how a team can be haunted for years by mistakes of past regimes.

That’s because neither Tannehill nor Cutler should be their quarterback.

Their quarterback should be Drew Brees, but the Dolphins bypassed him twice early in his career.

In the 2001 draft, they took cornerback James Fletcher with the 26th pick in the first round. Brees went to San Diego with the first pick of the second round even though Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said before the draft that three members of his staff had looked at every college pass by Brees.

According to a story written in 2009 by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who still covers the team, Spielman told him after the draft they didn’t feel Brees was that much better than incumbent Jay Fiedler. Later, the story changed that then coach Dave Wannstedt pushed Fletcher instead of Brees.

Continue reading “Cutler move shows Dolphins still paying a price for past personnel sins”

With Coughlin being Coughlin, Marrone already looks like a short-timer

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone is facing an unusual dynamic this season that no NFL coach has ever faced.

He’s got Tom Coughlin as his boss.

Coughlin, who built the most successful NFL expansion team ever in his first tenure with the Jaguars, is back this year in a new role.

He’s the executive vice president of football operations, but he’s not the coach.

In his first stint with the Jaguars, Coughlin also ran the show, but he was the coach. So Coughlin couldn’t second-guess himself.

Continue reading “With Coughlin being Coughlin, Marrone already looks like a short-timer”

Here’s hoping Kessler lawsuit blows up the NCAA’s corrupt system

“The NCAA’s Worst Nightmare’’ the headline on the HuffPost website blared over the weekend.

It turns out the site feels the NCAA’s nightmare is longtime sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who is continuing his legal assault on the NCAA’s gameplan of making billions of dollars without paying the players more than the alleged cost of attending college.

In effect, Kessler is trying to change the system and force the colleges to give the players more compensation.

It’s likely to be a long legal fight that will go to the U.S. Supreme Court, although the NCAA has managed to all but continue the status quo despite some recent legal hits.

First, Ed O’Bannon won his lawsuit last October in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that found the NCAA was violating antitrust law. The Supreme Court let the decision stand.

Continue reading “Here’s hoping Kessler lawsuit blows up the NCAA’s corrupt system”