Boy, there seems to be a lot of sports news these days about players, coaches, and owners who seem to think they are exempt from the laws of common sense to which the rest of us must live.
Of course, when our own Congress doesn’t seem to understand where sports should be among our national priorities, how can you expect anyone else to understand?
Goodbye, NFL Glory Days
With their decision this week to discontinue the revenue sharing plan among NFL teams and the seeming likelihood that the NFL will play the 2010 season without a salary cap, I think it is now safe to say that the golden era of the NFL is officially over.
For decades, the league was able to fend off the attempts of owners such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys to hoard as much money as possible and put smaller market teams at a disadvantage.
However, with the union seemingly vulnerable and owners looking to take back some of the concessions they have given over the years, this seems to be a perfect opportunity for Jones and Co. to ensure that teams like St. Louis, Buffalo, and Kansas City stay down.
The NFL has built its global dominance based on the fact that there is competitive balance for all 32 teams and in any given season, any team can rise from the ashes to contend for a title.
This philosophy has never suited Jones, and with the playoff victory drought in Dallas now into its second decade, he needed to do something to try and regain a dominant position.
Getting rid of the salary cap and revenue sharing is no guarantee that Dallas will suddenly start winning playoff games again. I believe that until Jones gives a coach complete control of player decisions, the Cowboys are destined for mediocrity.
However, much like the New York Yankees in baseball, if the Cowboys and other franchises with deep pockets are able to spend at will, eventually they will rise to the top because they are better capable of overcoming bad personnel decisions than a small market team that doesn’t have the resources to sign top free agents every year.
As I have written several times before, I can already name for you at least a half dozen Major League Baseball teams (and probably more) that will not contend in 2010.
The NFL has always been the one league where there was a level playing field and a team could make a quick recovery because all teams were playing by the same financial rules.
Unless clearer heads prevail over the next few months, watch for Jones to explode the Cowboys’ salary budget next season while many smaller market teams will contract theirs.
This will result in Dallas and other deep pocket teams picking up lots of top talent for almost nothing, much like the New York Yankees just did with the addition of Curtis Granderson from the cash-strapped Tigers.
Jones won’t ruin the NFL overnight, but it looks like we may not even have an NFL season in 2011, and if that happens, it could give the other sports just the opening they need to reduce the domination the NFL has on the interests of American sports fans.
Retirement or Banishment, Its All The Same
Read today that even though Barry Bonds has never officially retired, he doesn’t think his client will ever play another game in the majors.
Must say I was quite surprised by this one.
It has been such a peaceful year with the unofficial banishment from baseball of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
With other famous athletes to stalk (right now it is Tiger Woods, and earlier in the year it was A-Rod and Brett Favre), the media have pretty much forgotten about Bonds and Clemens and consequently so has the American people.
Heck, given all the publicity their legal troubles received a year ago, I bet most sports fans probably thought they were both rotting away in a jail somewhere.
To the contrary, Bonds is still waiting for his perjury trial that I predict will probably never happen. And Clemens has gone undercover to help O.J. find the real killer.
Or at least it seems like he has disappeared too. Remember when he vowed to clear his name and then threw his wife and his teammates under the bus in front of Congress?
The great thing is that neither of these over-juiced athletes has played in the last two years. Bonds vows that he could still play again, but at 45 years old, I think we have mercifully seen the last of Bonds.
And, I think, the last of Clemens.
Unless, of course you count federal courts, as it seems that eventually we could see both of these fallen stars actually having to tell the truth in front of a judge and jury. Won’t that be a strange twist of fate?
Don’t They Have Anything Else To Worry About?
Okay, let me get this straight. Our country is still in the throes of the deepest recession in 70 years, more than 10 percent of all Americans are unemployed, we are escalating a war in Afghanistan, and healthcare costs are threatening to overpower the budgets of middle-class Americans and small businesses.
Yet, our good old leaders in the United States Congress have the time to create and move through committee legislation calling for the NCAA not to be able to call a team the College Football National Champion if that team doesn’t win the title through a playoff system!?
What exactly am I missing?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system any better than most other college football fans.
However, I’ve spent enough of this past year dealing with the realities of our economic situation to recognize that there are a lot more important things to worry about than who gets to play in a football championship game.
Those members of Congress who chose to take up this legislation now should be ashamed of themselves and run out of town on the next rail by their constituents.
Congress needs to fix healthcare, help companies create jobs and stop giving Wall Street companies carte blanche before they spend time worrying about college football.
Each week we look at some current and former athletes who were born during the week.
Here are some notable sports figures born during this week:
December 11 – Stu Jackson (1955), Derek Bell (1968), Willie McGinest (1971)
December 12 – Bob Pettit (1932), Tracy Austin (1962), John Randle (1967)
December 13 – Archie Moore (1913), Larry Doby (1924), Ferguson Jenkins (1943), Gary Zimmerman (1961)
December 14 – Charley Trippi (1922), Alan Kulwicki (1954), Craig Biggio (1965)
December 15 – David Wingate (1963), Jerry Ball (1964), Mo Vaughn (1967), Rodney Harrison (1972)
December 16 – Bart Oates (1958), Cliff Robinson (1966), Charles Mincy (1969)
December 17 – Cal Ripken Sr. (1935), Bob Ojeda (1957), Joe Wolf (1964), Curtis Pride (1968)
This article is an original story from Sports Then and Now , which was created to give passionate sports fans a place where they can analyze and discuss current sports topics while also remembering some of the great athletes, moments, teams and games in sports history all at one site. If you haven't been there yet, check it out today.