5-at-10: NFL returns (thankfully), NIL's risky returns, Voting a formality for big local issues

Miami Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker (55) takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

NFL is back, thank goodness

So the NFL kicks tonight. Kind of.

That's right baby. It's back. And with all of the off-the-field headlines - translation, disconcertingly bad news - these days, the return to the field could not come quickly enough for the league.

Put these headlines into the mixer over the last few months.

> DeShaun Watson and all his baggage gets a six-game suspension. The league appealed said decision because it wanted more penalties.

> Dan Snyder is forced to testify before Congress because of his overall general shadiness and allegations of an awful workplace culture.

> Miami owner Stephen Ross was suspended six games, fined $1.5 million and the team lost a first- and a third-round pick in upcoming drafts because of series tampering. I actually believe, that even though the league swept all of the 'tanking' allegations from the Brian Flores' racial discrimination lawsuit under the astroturf, this was an all-encompassing penalty for all of his misdeeds over the last few years.

(Side note: Among the folks listed as minority owners of the Dolphins are Fergie from the Black-eyed Peas, Serena and Venus Williams and crooner Mark Anthony. Since Ross and one of his leading co-owners have been suspended, who's ready for the Dolphins to get Fergalicious?)

Yeah, as Crash kind of told Larry Hockett, yeah, we're dealing with a lot of stuff.

So welcome back actual football. Kind of.

Jacksonville vs. Las Vegas in the Hall of Fame game, and nothing screams old-school football rivalry like Jacksonville and Las Vegas. Good times.

And you know I'm on the Raiders minus-2.5. Let's do this.

A NIL dilemma

So, for the second time in her UConn career, Paige Bueckers will miss significant time because of an injury.

The game's biggest star - also known as Paige Buckets, a nickname she has trademarked by the way - tore her ACL and will miss the upcoming season.

That's bad news for UConn, which has not won a title since 2016, which feels like an eternity since the Huskies won six of the eight tournaments held from 2009-2016.

It's also bad news for the sport because simply put, Paige Buckets was easily its biggest star.How big? Well, according to CBS Sports, Bueckers earned more than $1 million in NIL deals last year.Yes, seven figures, which would make her the highest paid player in the WNBA by a ton since the most any WNBA player makes according to spotrac.com is $228,094, a league max made by Diana Tourasi, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart.

It also brings into the conversation the return on NIL investments, be it injury or the potential portal pratfalls like the Ohio car dealer that gave five-star recruit Quinn Ewers seven figures before he left THE Ohio State without playing a single snap and transferred to Texas.

I'm all for the players getting checks and funds from outside sources, but man, what a risky endeavor, you know?

Voting decision

So, all the hullabaloo that has swirled around the Lookouts new stadium and our future county leaders has left a pretty clear trail to this point.

Point A: Jason Freier and Weston Wamp are not gonna have morning coffee together anytime soon.

Point B: With the County Commission's 8-1 approval of the TIF for the new Lookouts stadium at the old U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site, the process of this getting done is all-but certain at this point. The final hurdle is the City Council approval, and that feels more like semantics than anything. Here's more here from this paper's local government ace David Floyd.

Point C: Wamp will almost assuredly win today. We are a very heavy Republican county, so this is not a surprise. And maybe the 11th hour accusations and email leaks and whatnot will make it a smidge closer, but it's next-to-impossible to see a scenario in which Matt Adams prevails.

So that brings the next chapter.How will Wamp deal with those involved with the Lookouts and with this project moving forward?

Also, there were several less-than-veiled zingers directed at Wamp from the County Commission meeting Wednesday, primarily from Sabrena Smedley, who lost to Wamp in the primary.

In truth, all of the back-and-forth in this has not been a good look for anyone in my view. And it's extremely out of character for some.But that's water under the Olgiati at this point. Moving forward, though, considering Wamp and Freier look like victors in their respective pursuits, we'll see which side gets the ultimate spoils.

This and that

- Speaking of betting, here's some round-faced fella you know doing a podcast with my buddy Brian Edwards on college football for VegasInsider.com. Enjoy.

- You know the rules. Here's Paschall on UT's second-most important offensive player Cedric Tillman and how he hopes to build on last year's success.

- Speaking of the TFP, UTC beat ace Gene Henley delivers some UTC football items to watch as the Mocs open preseason drills.

- Phil Mickelson and 10 other LIV golfers have officially sued the PGA Tour. Raise your hand if you're surprised. Anyone? Bueller?

- Speaking of LIV, USA Today is reporting that John Daly "begged Greg Norman" for a chance to play on the Saudi-backed tour. Why would you not want Big John Daly involved?

Today's questions

Fire away with anything. It's a free-for-all Thursday.

And remember the mailbag.

As for today, Aug. 4, let's review.In 2015 on this day, Miss Piggy and Kermit announce their relationship was over on social media. Seriously.

Champagne was invented on this day by Dom Pérignon in 1693. Champagne, friend or foe?

Barack Obama is 61 today. Two Rockets were born on this day - Maurice Richard would have been 101 and Roger Clemens is 60.

Anne Frank was arrested on this day in 1944.

Rushmore of 'diary' and be creative.