The Death of Andrew Breitbart and Other News

March 9, 2012

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Media personality Andrew Breitbart gives a spe...

Who Killed Breitbart?  His Heart.

It’s been a week since conservative leader Andrew Breitbart died.  At the time, I asked a friend of mine how long it would be before conspiracy theories started circulating about his death.  It took only a few days before people were saying that the Obama administration had Breitbart whacked.  While it’s fun to spin the theories, sometimes 43 year old men simply die.  My brother was only a bit older when he died due to heart issues.  It happens.

Now, if Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly both turn up dead in the next week, then I’ll agree that we should be taking a long hard look at this.  But until that happens, I’d suggest that Breitbart’s fans celebrate his life rather than trying to indict the president for murder.

The Billionaires Club

Mitt Romney picked up six wins on Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum picked up three, and Newt Gingrich won Georgia (the state he represented in congress).  It’s interesting to note that Santorum and Gingrich each have their own person billionaire funneling tons of money to them via SuperPACs.  This is completely legal.  However, the existence of the SuperPACs means that both can stay in the race even if they aren’t receiving decent fundraising support from anyone else.  In previous years, lack of funding likely would have pushed one of them out of the race by now, leaving the other to go head to head with Mitt Romney.  Head to head with Romney, either of them would have a chance.  But as it stands, they are splitting the non-Romney vote and are coming up short.  Romney can get a plurality in a three candidate race, but would likely have problems gaining a majority in a two candidate race.

Peyton Manning

After 14 years in Indianapolis, the Colts cut Peyton Manning.  The Colts are catching a lot of flak for this move, with many saying that they haven’t been loyal to the player who had built the franchise.

It’s true that Peyton Manning took over a team that sucked and turned it into a great team – largely due to the fact that he’s a stud quarterback.

But bear in mind that the Colts paid Peyton $26.4 million last year – when he didn’t play a down.  He was due to get a $28 million roster bonus if he wasn’t cut.  This isn’t some sort of pro-rated amount that would allow the Colts to wait around a month or two to see how Manning was doing – it was $28 million all at once.  If Manning didn’t play in 2012, this would have meant the Colts has paid $54.4 million for absolutely no on-field production.  Even if money wasn’t an issue, NFL teams are bound by a salary cap, and that sort of a cap hit would make it very hard to maintain a successful team.

If I were Irsay, I’d try to sign Manning to a one year deal with a low base salary and hefty incentives.  If he plays, he makes decent money.  If he doesn’t, then the cost is minimal.

Are the Colts right to go after Andrew Luck in the draft?  Certainly.  Even if Manning were to play this year, at some point soon he’ll be at the end of his career.  There’s no guarantee that the Colts will be able to get a player of Luck’s caliber in a later draft (in fact, it’s very unlikely, as a healthy Manning means a better team and a worse draft pick).  You need to take the bird in the hand.  I also tend to be a fan of having a young QB carry a clipboard for a year or two,  While a handful of recent QB have had success being thrown into the fire, historically, this has burned a lot of teams.

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Should The NFL Change The Rules For Andrew Luck?

November 2, 2011

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Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the odds-on favorite to be the #1 pick in the NFL draft – a smart kid with good physical tools.  There are a few bottom feeders with a quarterback in place (notably the Rams, Panthers, and Cardinals), but most of the other teams at the bottom of the stands would take Luck – even the Vikings, who used a first found pick for Christian Ponder in the 2011 draft.

There is the thought that the allure of Luck will cause some teams to tank down the stretch, resulting in some games that are real stinkers.  It’s hard to talk about tanking without bringing the Colts into the discussion.  The Colts are already in great position for the #1 pick, with an 0-8 record.  They let the Saints score 60 on them a couple of weeks ago (apparently Peyton Manning is also a defensive back).  Peyton Manning has been an iron man in his career, and the Colts never acquired a decent backup  for him.  As a result, they were in hot water when Manning ended up on the shelf this year with a bad neck.

Even if Manning is medically cleared at some point in the season, will the Colts put him on the field?  If Manning gets onto the field and wins a couple of games late in the season, these wins could knock the Colts out of the top spot in the draft.  Does keeping Manning on the sideline amount to tanking?  In my opinion, no.  There’s also the injury to be concerned about.  With the Colts having no shot at a playoff bid, why risk aggravating the injury by rushing him back.  The prudent decision is just to sit him and have him start anew in 2012.

Some people are suggesting that football move to a lottery system, similar to what the NBA has.  If the league feels that this is a better option that the current system (which guarantees the best picks for the teams with the worst records), then by all means go ahead and move to a lottery system (in fairness, I assume that such a solution couldn’t be implemented until the 2012 draft at earliest).  But don’t make the change because of one player – this would be a knee-jerk reaction.  Andrew Luck could turn out to be the next Peyton Manning – or the next JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, or Akili Smith.

It’s also important to note that sports drafts are not intended to be fair.  They are not intended to distribute talent equally.  In fact, the intent is to distribute talent unevenly, with the better players going to the worse teams.  This is intended to achieve competitive balance, but is certainly not “fair” to good teams that work hard to scout and develop players.