NFL Draft

April 20, 2010

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NFL Draft

The 2010 draft will kick off Thursday night, with a new three day format.  In the past, the draft took place on Saturday and Sunday.  This year’s draft will be split across three days.  First round picks will be Thursday night, the next two rounds will be Friday night, and the final four rounds will occur on Saturday.  The NFL is making this move to try to score higher TV ratings for the draft.  I see this as a losing proposition for fans, though.  In the past, the Saturday start to the draft lent itself very nicely to draft parties.  A Thursday night draft doesn’t work quite as well for those who have work the next day.

After releasing longtime quarterback Marc Bulger, the St. Louis Rams are expected to select a quarterback with the top overall pick.  The general consensus is that this year’s crop of quarterbacks doesn’t have the slam-dunk guy who is a near-guaranteed star.  Barring a trade, the Rams are expected to pick Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, whose injury derailed the Sooners’ 2009 season.

Speaking of the Rams, their ownership is still in flux.  When majority owner Georgia Frontiere passed away in 2008, her 60% stake of the team was inherited by her children, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.  Now, they have chosen to sell their stake in the team.  They accepted a bid from Illinois businessman Shahid Khan (check out his Wikipedia bio for a great immigrant-makes-good story).  However, minority owner (40%) Walter  Kroenke has an option to match any offer.  At the end of his window to match the offer, Kroenke announced that he would exercise his option.

There’s a wrinkle in the plan, though.  The NFL bans owners from owning franchises (in other sports) in other NFL cities.  Kroenke owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Denver Avalanche – and would thus be barred from buying the Rams, unless this rule is waived, or unless he sells the Colorado teams (his 40% stake in the Rams was grandfathered during a 2005 expansion of this cross-ownership rule).  I’m really not a huge fan of the rule, as it doesn’t make much sense to me.  Some people think the Kroenke has a legitimate interest in becoming sole owner of the Rams, whereas others see this as posturing in an effort to get Khan to pay more for Kroenke’s 40%.  Only time will tell.

Another player sure to be drafted high in the NFL draft is Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  Suh is expected to be grabbed in the first three picks.  Suh already has a massive fan base in Husker Nation – but he may have gained a few more on Saturday.  During Nebraska’s spring game, Suh announced his intention to donate $2.6 million to the university.  $2 million will go toward the strength and conditioning program within the athletic department.  $600,000 will go toward endowing a scholarship in the college of engineering – from which he earned his degree.  Suh’s family is yet another story of immigrants living the American dream.  His Jamaican-born mother and Cameroon-born father  met in Oregon in 1982.  There will certainly be some 2010 draftees who get into trouble in the future – but I sincerely doubt that Ndamukong Suh will be one of them.  He’s a great player and an all-around class act.  I say this despite the fact that I hate the University of Nebraska.  It’s hard to root against the kid.

Be Like Ike

On the baseball beat, Ike Davis was called up by the Mets on Monday.  Not coincidentally, players called up on Sunday would have received credit for an entire season of service time; those called up on Monday only get credit for actual time served (I explained how this works when I answered the question of why Stephen Strasburg got sent to the minors).  The effect of delaying Davis’ call-up until now is that he will not become a free agent until after the 2016 season.  Down the coast in Atlanta, 20 year old Jason Heyward broke camp with the Braves and is off to a great start.  However, barring a demotion at some point, this means that Heyward will become a free agent following the 2015 season.  A few weeks in April make a lot of difference down the line.

If you’re a longtime reader of The Soap Boxers, you’re familiar with Davis’ name.  He was one of the players selected with draft picks the Mets received as compensation for losing Tom Glavine to free agency.  Chalk up that exchange as a win for the Mets.

Where There’s a Will

Mike and Mike in the morning were talking with George Will this morning and mentioned that his book Men At Work will be re-released next month.  It’s 20 years old, but one of my favorite baseball books.  Will picks the minds of 80’s baseball icons such as Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. to see what makes them tick.  (Yes, this is the same George Will who writes about politics).

When I was looking up the book in Amazon so that I could link to it, one of the books that popped up in “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought …” was Jim Bouton’s Ball FourBall Four takes an even more interesting look way behind the scenes of baseball.  It’s a great read, but there’s adult language and situations, so it’s not the sort of book to use as a bedtime story for your kids.  (There’s no logical reason to talk about Ball Four today, othe than the Amazon connection.  It’s just a good book 🙂

Suh for Heisman

December 8, 2009

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A lot of water cooler talk around the offices this week after the games this past weekend.  Today, Johnny Goodman looks to find the truth about many of the issues in College football.

Fact- Alabama and Texas will play in the BCS Championship game

Truth- yep I can’t come up with another argument here.  These are the two most deserving teams and I have no beef with that

Fact:  Alabama beat Florida soundly

Truth:  Florida really isn’t that good.  Who have they beaten or dominated all year.  Heck I think the SEC is terribly overrated this year.  A lot of good teams yes, a lot of GREAT teams?  C’mon…no way…This conference gets more verbal blow than anything and it is totally unfounded this year.  Play a bowl game or better yet a nonconference road game outside of the southeast sometime.  What is your conference record the last 51 times you have left the southeast?  25-26.  Overrated!!!!

Fact:  Mack Brown was named Big XII 2009 AP Coach of the year

Truth:  Did you watch the Texas vs. Nebraska game?  Then tell me which team imposed their will and their style of play and was :01 away from pulling off the upset as a 15 point underdog.  Coach of the year?  This guy can’t coach at all.  If Tom Osborne would have had the talent Texas gets every year in their program the Huskers would have had about five more national titles during his tenure.  Mack Brown is a average coach in arguably the easiest place to land fantastic recruits.  Saturday night was just another example of that.  His total and complete mis-management of the game clock at the end of the game almost prevented his kicker from having a shot at the game winning kick and the Horns from a shot in the BCS title game.  This guy is the luckiest coach ever…but he isn’t even in the top three coaches in his own conference.  Frankly I am surprised that Texas fans are not piling on about this right now.  After they get wood-shedded by Alabama, maybe they will be.

Fact: Cincinnati deserves to be playing in the BCS game against Alabama

Truth – you gave up a forty spot to Pittsburgh?  The argument stops there.  The Panthers are not exactly an offensive juggernaut.  Brian Kelly likely is gone to Notre Dame, and bad coaching by Wannestadt might make it a certainty now.  The Bearcats are good, but top 3 in the county???….nope.

Fact:  The refs put back one second on the clock in the Big XII title game

Truth:  They did get this one right although I hate to admit it being a Husker fan.  If time expired it would have made LSU coaching buffoon moves at the end of the game a few weeks ago look like no big deal.  The Truth also is that the #3 team was lucky to escape and was dominated by a team with a far superior defense who unfortunately for them has an offense that would barely be effective in your kids Pop Warner league.

Fact:  This year is a toss-up for the Heisman Trophy

Truth – Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh should win the award but won’t.  Lets run down the top candidates here.  Tim Tebow – nope –  lost last game and cried on the sideline.  There is no crying in Football Timmy! – and had average statistical year, Colt McCoy, laid an egg in final game and last second (literally) gaffe almost cost team a shot at the title game.  Jimmy Clausen – hardly.  Mark Ingram – you can’t get pulled in the next to last game for being ineffective and win THIS award.  Toby Gerhart – I could see this as I think he has been most consistent – Suh –has been dominating in every big game for the Huskers defense which is very good.  He had 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles – 8 for losses – an numerous hurries in the Big XII title game.  Can you honestly say there is a better or more dominating player in the country this year?