Tag Archives: NFL

Picturing America Without The NFL Is Terrifying

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, left, and NFL football Commissioner Roger Goodell announce the end of the NFL lockout (courtesy cbsnews.com, AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster)

by Rob Loeber

Did you hear that?  That was the sound of a nation letting out a collective sigh of relief.

The NFL will have a season, and all is once again right with the universe.  The lockout is officially over and now you can move forward with important decisions like when to schedule your fantasy draft.

I guess I always believed deep down the owners and players would eventually come to some kind of resolution, but I was starting to have more doubts and I actually began to envision a world with no professional football.  It wasn’t a pretty picture.

Sure, you’d still have college football but that would only account for half of a weekend.  It wouldn’t have been enough.  What would you have done with all that free time on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights?  The hours normally reserved for eating wings, drinking beer, and finding that optimal couch position would have been spent shopping with wives and girlfriends, getting yard work done, or finally fixing that leaking faucet.  It would have been a world with empty sports bars, crowded golf courses, and a lot of men walking around Target in a semi-conscious haze mumbling about missing the second half of a game that wouldn’t even exist.

Instead of rushing home from church to put on your team’s jersey, you’d be talked into brunch or a trip to the in-laws for the afternoon. Continue reading Picturing America Without The NFL Is Terrifying

So What If America Isn’t The Best At Everything?

Its Fourth of July weekend and we as Americans have so much to be thankful for in this great country of ours.  Despite our struggles and our differences, we still have our freedom and a way of life that is the envy of the rest of the world.  I for one firmly believe in the concept of American exceptionalism.

But just because we are exceptional as a country, does that mean all of our sports have to be exceptional as well?

Two weeks ago the media was gushing over Rory McIlroy’s performance at the US Open.  The so-called “experts” were heaping praise on McIlroy while simultaneously lamenting the demise of American golf.  “Where is the next great American golfer?” they wondered.  “Is America losing ground to the rest of the world?” was a question of much debate among golf writers and analysts.  Of course those conversations led to “is there an American kid out there who’s going to take over for Tiger?”It was one big pity party.  It couldn’t possibly be that the rest of the world is catching up, could it?  No, no something must be wrong with golf in this country.

If you’ve watched any tennis at Wimbledon over the last couple weeks, the conversation has been exactly the same.  Hosts, reporters, and commentators all emphasizing the downfall of American tennis and wondering if it will ever get back to the level it once was when names like McEnroe, Connors, Evert, Sampras, Agassi, and Williams carried the dialogue.

I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but this doesn’t bother me at all.

Continue reading So What If America Isn’t The Best At Everything?

Call Me Commish

Acting as Commissioner of a professional sports league cannot be an easy job.  It requires business savvy, knowledge of the law, negotiating skills, and the ability to wade through piles of criticism while maintaining a tough, confident appearance.  Most of the job responsibilities aren’t glamorous, and the hours are long.  Commissioners are rarely praised and often vilified.  For the most part, I think the four Commissioners, David Stern (NBA), Roger Goodell (NFL), Bud Selig (MLB), and Gary Bettman (NHL), do a pretty decent job.  But every fan wonders what it would be like to be in charge.  We’d all love to take the ownership reigns of our favorite team for a week, but how does one attempt to change an entire league?  Well, like this for starters.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Is anyone else tired of talking about the same players and the same teams over and over? (courtesy bumpshack.com)

The first thing I’d address as NBA Commissioner is what I like to call the “redundancy factor.”  The league’s biggest problem is that 75 percent of its teams are almost irrelevant.  This is a league that revolves around seven or eight franchises at the most.  The conversation, the media, and the telecasts, focus on these so-called elite teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Mavericks, Heat, and Magic.  The rest of the league is barely worth talking about and that has to change.  The gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has to close for the NBA to become an all-around better product, because when only a few teams have an actual shot to win a title before the season even starts, then why is the regular season interesting?  Where’s the drama?  Right now, we’re all just biding our time until the playoffs start.  In my mind, the best way to solve this problem is contraction.  I know it’s a dirty word, but it’s time.  Too many small market teams (Milwaukee, Utah, Sacramento) acquire star players only to see them bolt in a couple years for one of the big cities.  The teams that can hold onto stars are eventually forced to trade them away because the players have too much power (i.e. Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams).  Getting rid of six teams would help bring the league back into a better competitive balance.  Talent wouldn’t be spread so thin, and increased parity is the result.  In other words, a more interesting, compelling NBA than what we have right now.  It gives me no pleasure to do it, but I’m taking the ax to these teams:

Continue reading Call Me Commish

My Sports Wish List

Only a week til Christmas, so its a little late for wish lists.  I won’t be asking for anything extraordinary from my family and friends at this point.  Get me the sweater, the book, the DVD, and I’m a happy guy.

But let’s pretend for a moment there is a sports Santa Claus.  A sports version of St. Nick who is very interested in making the wishes of sports fans come true.  Well Mr. Claus, I’ve been pretty good this year and I have a few requests.

Here is what I want for Christmas:

I WANT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Don't the unbeaten Horned Frogs at least deserve a shot at a national championship? Maybe one day they'll get that chance. (courtesy realclearsports.com)

I know Santa, you get this one a lot, but I’m never going to stop wishing for this.  I’m thrilled with an Oregon/Auburn matchup in the title game, but the BCS continues to get lucky and that can’t last forever.  I’ll even admit TCU probably isn’t as good as Oregon or Auburn, but shouldn’t that be decided on the field?  The Horned Frogs did absolutely everything that was asked of them, but won’t get a sniff of a championship simply because of discrimination toward smaller schools and non-traditional powers.  I don’t care how big or small the playoff is, I just want a level playing field here.  And spare me the excuses of extra games, protecting student-athletes, and preserving the bowl system.  The bowl system is a middling mess of mediocrity.  You mean we might miss out on Florida International vs. Toledo in the Little Caesar’s Bowl?  Good, I’d rather watch curling anyway.  Trust me Santa, if you want to stop receiving these letters, you’ll find a way to make this happen for me and the countless fans who hate seeing this sport’s champion be crowned by ignorant human voters and soulless computers.

I WANT THE NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT TO STAY AT 65 TEAMS

College football may get it wrong, but college basketball gets it right.  There is no need to expand March Madness to 96 teams as is being discussed by the NCAA.  65 teams means the little guy still has a shot and that’s all the little guy is asking for.

Continue reading My Sports Wish List