Welcome to my weekly NFL column, known as 4th and Long.
Item 1: Brett Favre Photo Wins Contest
The photo shown above of Brett Favre is called 'First Down'. It was taken by Steve Apps of the Wisconsin State Journal. Apps' work won him the Dave Boss Award of Excellence in the 40th Annual NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Photo Contest.
Nice work and congratulations, Steve.
Item 2: ESPN Finally Gets It
The NFL Draft has traditionally started at noon, EDT. This has always been a bad time - for everyone, including ESPN. Guys with families have kids things or shopping to do; single guys are still hungover from Friday's festivities. It was even worse for our west coast friends, who had to get up at 9am to tune in.
ESPN finally got smart and moved the draft to 3pm. This helps all of us, but it benefits them the most. By moving the draft to later in the day, they will not only compete directly with the sports coverage by CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX, they will spill over into prime time and grab a chunk of that audience.
Rounds 1 and 2 will transpire from 3pm to 11pm on Saturday. Rounds 3-7 will begin at 10am on Sunday and conclude around 7pm.
Item 3: Udeze Gets Some Good News
Minnesota Vikings DE Kenechi Udeze, who was diagnosed with leukemia on February, got some good news from doctors this week. The disease is in remission and a bone-marrow donor (his brother) has been located. Udeze is not out of the woods, yet but this news is very encouraging for the 4th year pro out of USC.
We wish him well.
Item 4: Raider Fans on Bleacher Report
People I refer to bleacherreport.com have asked me why there is so much Raider noise on this website. You would think given the team's recent performance that Raider fans would be in hiding. I tell them, you don't know this group, they are fanatical about this team. It's a good thing.
But there is one thing that Raider fans are wrong about.
They are not hated. People I have talked to - from all cities and teams - bear no ill will towards Raider Nation. We are not sure where this false notion has come from.
Do they really think that fans of other teams hate them or are jealous of them?
All of those teams either have won or lost the Super Bowl in the new millennium, gotten new stadiums - or both. Football is thriving in those -and other - cities.
The Raiders are the last thing on their minds.