The Roof Is On Fire
Football fans, get your popcorn ready. That’s right, there’s only seven weeks until they kick the Rockettes out of Radio City Music Hall for the weekend and prepare the venue for the NFL draft. This year, there’s only one player who stands out as a clear number one, Ndamukong Suh, but despite that, this draft will be unlike any other in recent history. That’s because the NFL is about to tread into unfamiliar waters.
With an uncapped year approaching, some players stand to get VERY rich while owners around the league will soon take serious gambles with their pocketbooks. Although football reigns supreme, even the NFL isn’t recession-proof. In this economy any owner not named Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder will think long and hard about who they sign and how much they pay. In fact, there’s rumors that the top three teams in the draft, the Rams, Lions and Bucs, are looking to trade down to avoid being burdened by a huge signing bonus.
It makes good financial sense for these teams to do so if they’re not in love with any of the top three picks, but will there be teams looking to move UP? Not only is the NFL entering an uncapped year, but there will also be no salary floor, meaning owners can spend as little as they want.
With a lockout looming, football players and the agents representing them will be looking to land a huge payday while owners will be looking to tighten their bootstraps. After all, who wants to cough up $30 million dollars in guaranteed money on unproven talent? For every Peyton Manning, there are five JaMarcus Russells. There’s already considerable clamor among veterans that rookies are paid too much, even if the vets get a nice steak dinner out of the deal. Last time I checked it’s hard to find a steak that costs more than eighty bucks.
Whether we like it or not, we’re about to be subjected to seven more weeks of Mel Kiper’s speculation and Todd McShay’s rebuttal regarding which teams will jockey for draft position when not even Chris Mortensen knows for sure.
War rooms, get your cell phones ready. We could be in for a wild ride.
Thank You, Sir. May I Have Another?
Nothing says Geeksville more than offering to buy a pretty girl a drink while standing next to her at an open bar.
I tended bar at a wedding last weekend for about 150-200 people. The couple getting married did it up right, splurging for all the liquor for their guests. The only way to fly… although I’m sure they probably grimaced when they got the bill.
Since it was open bar, the return customers were aplenty. As is usual at such functions, there’s always some single guy who thinks he’s coming up with a clever line no one’s heard before. Inevitably someone will approach a single female, or his friends, and shout “This round’s on me!” or “I got this one!” while the bartender rolls his eyes. I mean, come on. Even the guys from the FreeCreditReport.com ads come up with a new jingle every now and then, although it’s probably unfair to compare your average wedding lush to the most prolific recording trio of this generation.
One poor guy at this particular wedding, who was clearly getting his drink on, must have dropped that line about four or five times that very evening! Fortunately his comments were met with a series of disingenuous chuckles.
People, I plead with you. I know it’s tempting to say something witty when faced with a night of free booze but next time, please refrain from cheapening the moment, and yourself, by jokingly offering to buy someone a drink when the liquor is already free.
The only person who thinks that’s funny is you.
Passing the Torch
Raise your hand if you watched the Olympic gold medal game between USA and Canada. Now raise your other hand if you regularly watch the NHL. If you’re sitting there with only one hand raised, you’re not alone…. and you’re probably looking pretty silly. Simon says you can put your hand down.
Last Sunday’s gold medal was the most watched hockey game since, you guessed it, the 1980 Olympic games. That game drew more viewers than any World Series game since 2004. It also outdrew any Final Four or NBA Finals game since 1998. One would think that the NHL, a sport which so desperately needs viewers could benefit from this sudden spike in hockey interest.
Just like the rest of the nation, I watched USA-Canada on the edge of my seat. I’m not a huge hockey fan but I couldn’t turn away, shouting loudly as Team USA scored the game-tying goal as time expired, then shutting off the tube moments after Sidney Crosby finally shut up the trash-talking Americans once and for all. Canada reclaimed dominance in their sport just as Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James had done with basketball in the Summer Olympics only two years ago.
Sundays’ finale was quicker, cleaner and prettier than most NHL games. There were fewer clock stoppages and considerably less blood left on the ice, an image the NHL is becoming more and more know for.
I knew we Americans have an abnormal affinity for bloodlust, otherwise guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal wouldn’t be millionaires. But we’re also patriotic. Heck, at this week’s Buffalo-Pittsburgh game, USA goalie Ryan Miller got a louder standing ovation in Pittsburgh than their superstar Sidney Crosby and Miller plays for the opposing team!
When polled, most NHL fans want fighting in hockey, but there has to be some sort of middle ground. It’s the job of the commissioner, the owners and their advisors to figure out what can make their sport better. If Bettman is wise, he’ll take something from these Winter Olympics and incorporate that into his league’s brand of hockey before the last fan reaches for the remote.