From a bunch of you guys and gals
What do think about Myles Garrett's claims that Mason Rudolph made a racial slur that triggered the fight?
I know that this has been a week-to-a-10-day stretch that Roger Goodell has likely done a fair amount of day drinking.
(Side question: You have to believe Goodell has one of those monster NYC offices that has a bar area with a sink and such, right? Do you know anyone who has an actual bar in their office? Side note on the side question: Being in newspapers for more than two decades, well, yes, I have known folks with liquor in their drawers. Hi, Spy.)
Let's cut to the faux 5-at-10 playhouse:
Scene: Goodell's office, middle of last week. The big guy is sitting behind his desk reading the USA Today Sports section. And his phone rings.
Goodell: This is Roggggggggggggg, "What's Happening?" Is this Rerun? (Laughs to himself.)
Secretary: Uh, Mr. Goodell, I told you that I don't understand your 1970s black sitcom humor.
Goodell: Just go with it, Agnes. Trust me, Jerry loves it. I'm in a great mood. What's up?
Secretary: Speaking of Jerry. Well, several of the owners have called and are wondering about the spiraling details of this Kaepernick thing in Atlanta. There seem to be a lot of questions
Goodell sighs heavily and looks longing at the Johnny Walker Blue under the bar in the far corner of his office. Cut to last Friday. The big guy is sitting behind his desk reading the NYT Life section. And his phone rings.
Goodell: This is Roggggggggggggg, "What's Happening?" Where's Dwayne? (Laughs to himself.)
Secretary: Uh, Mr. Goodell, I told you that I don't understand your 1970s black sitcom humor. Did you see all of the game last night between the Browns and the Steelers?
Goodell: Most of it, why Agnes?
Secretary: Sir, you need to click on ESPN right now, because the calls are flowing. There was an incident.
Goodell: Clicks on the TV. Watches the helmet swinging and walks directly to the bar and sings softly in his best Paul Simon: "Hello Johnny, my old friend."
Fast forward to about 3 p.m. yesterday The big guy is sitting behind his desk reading anything other than a newspaper. And his phone rings.
Secretary: Uh, Mr. Goodell, uh sorry.
Goodell: Well, (Bleep, bleep, bleep), that son of a (tapestry of cuss words) Schefter. Is there anything he doesn't know?
Clicks on TV as he spins the cap off the Blue and drinks straight from the bottle as the allegations of racial slurs become news.
OK, let's kind of rehash the entire thing as best we can with some questions and points that we believe to be reasonable and pertinent.
Big-picture stuff we all saw:
Heated exchange between Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett that was escalated when Rudolph kicked Garrett in the junk. (Side note: Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett are very much names of dudes who are looking forward to seeing each other, as well as Worthington, Ivey and Hallowell at the 20-year McCallie reunion, right?)
Garrett rips off Rudolph's helmet, Rudolph continues to charge and Garrett takes it from a bad scene to a historically bad incident that went from leading SportsCenter to leading "The Today Show" by doinking Rudolph on top of the head.
Cue the outrage and the race to having the hottest take about the hardest stance possible. We'll wait.
OK, now at the appeal as Garrett is trying to lower the indefinite suspension, word leaks that Garrett said that Rudolph used a racial slur and that escalated the incident.
First, as a white dude — hey, look at the photo — this is the point of the program where we all agree that racial slurs are bad. Unacceptable. You name it. Also, by modern PC times, I must remind everyone that I have no idea how that word would trigger someone. (Covered? Good.)
But the most commonly asked question is about the timing of this announcement.
If it did happen, why did Garrett not share that after the incident on the field, in the postgame interview or even in the locker room with his teammates? All of those are critical and hard to answer.
Also, you have to wonder if Garrett heard the racial slur, Rudolph's teammate Maurkice Pouncey also would have heard it, no? And teammates or no, that would have a) given Pouncey pause in the moment and b) gotten out.
And the NFL has said it investigated the claim and could not conclude that it happened with sound technology available. OK. But I have not heard anyone ponder whether anyone asked the referee who was standing right there. I would like to hear from that guy.
Those questions — and the vehement denials from Rudolph — make you wonder about the validity of the claim.
But now let's look at a couple of questions on the assumption that Rudolph did say something inappropriate or, at the very least, Garrett heard something that be thought was inappropriate.
How much would that actually change Garrett's actions, really? There are no places for racial slurs, but there were a lot of folks saying Garrett's actions should warrant charges and how fortunate everyone involved was that Rudolph got hit with the padding of the helmet rather than the crown.
Does a racial slur justify what a lot of folks were calling assault and even attempted murder? Should it? I ask because I don't know.
Also, if Rudolph did use the nastiest of nasty words, well, how was Garrett the more reserved of the two in the conflict?
If there's a racial slur in these series of events — QB pressured and gets upset for being tackled after the play and taken to the ground; QB kicks DE in package; DE swings him QB around like a rag doll and backs away after ripping his helmet off; QB becomes the aggressor and charges DE; DE swings said helmet and hits QB on the noggin — where does it happen, because other than the one helmet swing (and that's a big "other than"), Garrett showed more restraint that Rudolph, no?
This does not even get to the point of the negativity this generates if it's not true because, well, that's a known and retreaded discussion.
That said, this was a really bad situation before these allegations were made, and whether it happened or didn't, a very bad situation has been made worse with this news.
Like Goodell, I could use a Co-Cola. Thanks for the question, friends.
From Lunch Bunch
Jay, a lot of us have kids and, not surprisingly, "Frozen 2" has become a lunch-time topic for us.
That has generated two discussions, and we would love your answers on them.
> First, what is the Rushmore of animated sequels?
> Second, what was the worst show or movie that your kids loved that became like fingernails on a chalkboard?
Thanks and keep up the great work at the 5-at-10.
Wow, great questions. Let's review the second one first, with an added wrinkle.
The worst, huh? Well, my oldest son had a very brief "Caillou" phase and that little snot-nosed, whiney jackwagon was ear-bleedingly bad. (Side note: I actually told the Lil' 5-at-10 that "Caillou" was cancelled. That would not work now because, well, he's 12 and likely knows how to work our TVs better than I do.) "Clifford the Big Red Dog" is not exactly must-watch TV, either. His little sister did not have one because, well, we managed that a little better the second time around. She did have a Hello Kitty phase, and that was less than enjoyable.
That said, the 5-at-10 Princess did have a very "Frozen" stage.
The other end of that also is a talking point. What shows did your kids watch and like that you became a fan of?
Well, "Phineas and Ferb" is aces, friends. It's excellent.
As for the Rushmore of animated sequels, well, while I hold out hope for the best for "Frozen II," it's likely going to disappoint by comparison.
"Incredibles 2" is there. You feel somewhat obligated to have at least one of the "Toy Story" movies there. "Monsters University" (although it's a prequel) is a great second installment of that series. And, the second "Despicable Me" was great.
That's where I'd start. Worst animated Rushmore? "Lion King 2," which is right there with "Caddyshack 2" as the worst all-time sequels considering how great the originals were.
Which brings us to this week's Rushmores. (Side note: Unable to finish the Rushmores before deadline. Crazy morning. We'll explain this week's zaniness a little bit later. Deal? Deal.)
Jay, mailbag item here. When you send Muschamp (like Florida did) off you've said defense doesn't matter. When you send Gus off (like Auburn may) you've said offense doesn't matter. So in the SEC, please rank the top 5 items or "job responsibilities," if you will, for an SEC football head coach. And is he a head coach OR more of a program manager?
And it's not really fair to say that firing Malzahn right now claims that "offense doesn't matter." Malzahn has wasted two very good defenses the last two years (and an elite one this season).
Offensive guru, my hind parts.
And this answer is of course other than Job No. 1 being — win. Or better yet, how you have the best chance to get there.
In the big picture, it has to be more program manager in most cases. But if you have an elite skill as an offensive or defensive play caller then you have to make a structure that uses your skills best. (I think Malzahn used to be that guy and wants to try rob that guy now, but it seems in a lot of ways that he's too concerned about keeping the job as opposed to being great at the job, if that makes sense. My head hurts.)
No. 1, and it's not close, in my opinion, is hiring and maintaining a great coaching staff. And this one is extremely underrated by almost all of us who think we know football.
No. 2 is the ability to close on the recruiting trail. You have to be the guy that seals it and delivers talent. Which leads us to:
No. 3 is the ability to keep the boosters engaged and happy. You can do that with charisma. You can do it with success. You can do it with a combination. (But always remember you can be the nicest guy in the world, but a decade of niceness gets you the Mark Richt treatment if you do not continue to press the envelope of success and expectations.)
No. 4 have the best structure and protocols as possible. Order and organization is a huge priority in terms of putting your team in the best position to win. This is one of the reasons that so many people try to grab someone from the Belichick or Saban tree.
No. 5 Did we mention win?
Great question, JT.
With the signing of Devin Askew this week UK now has four 5-star players and the top 2020 class, according to 24/7. Corey Evans at Rivals just placed Coach Cal at the top of his All-Decade Best Recruiters. Coach K is second. Any argument?
Coach K — and this is a credit to him — has built a structure that kind of recruits for him, right?
Coach Cal is bringing waves of talent into the fold.
From there, I'd like go Penny and Roy Williams to round out the Rushmore of the current college hoops recruiters.
The Wooden staff back in the day, however, is the all-timer, right?
(And what do they all have in common other than five stars and jealousy? A complete and total understanding that the rules are optional.)
Why do you talk and write so much about gambling? I enjoy your work, but do you have a gambling problem or something?
No, I wish I bet more, to be honest. But in a lot of ways making picks allows me a fraction of the juice that putting money on games used to.
And, oh yes, at one time I had a huge gambling issue. I could not watch a game without several hundreds of dollars on the line.
And let's just say that I had several floating card games during that, too.
Long time ago, though, and we all make different choices.
As for writing about it, well, I'm pretty interested in it to be honest, and I think it is an under-covered part of sports that will only grow as the legal betting options continue to expand.
Some interesting gambling tidbits this week:
Did you know that Bronnie James — LeBron's oldest son who is a freshman high school playerin L.A. on the same prep school team with Dwyane Wade's son — will have 15 games on some form of ESPN this season? Also, there are prop bets on Bronnie's performances at various sports books in Vegas. (Yes, that seems over the top extreme, doesn't it?)
As for the occasionally talking points of bad beats — the things that happen late in games that do not change the winners or losers in the practical sense but have huge impact in the gambling realm — how's this one:
Georgia Tech played Georgia in basketball earlier this week. Georgia was a 4.5-point favorite and had a seven-point lead as the clock was speeding toward bagel.
A Georgia Tech player holed a 45-footer that was still in the air when the horn sounded. Bucket and a Georgia win on the scoreboard became a Tech win in Vegas. Bad beat.
So let's run with our NFL picks. (And I originally had Packers over San Fran here, but the 49ers pass rush scares me and the Packers up-and-down run defense is a bit scary, too.)
Baltimore minus-3 over the Rams (buy the edge there). Hard not to ride or die with the Ravens right now, right? It's like they have a service academy philosophical difference with the best athlete on the planet running point. Good goodness.
Bengals-Steelers under 41. First team to 17 wins, right? Only way this one gets in tothe 40s is if the Steelers get two defensive touchdowns.
Seattle plus-2 over Philly. The Eagles are beat up. The Seahawks are coming off a bye. Carson Wentz is struggling. Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate. Someone explain it more clearly.
Detroit minus-3 over Washington. Stop me if you've heard this, but buy the hook. Yes, the Redskins are this year's NFL version of last year's Louisville. Good times. Did you see this story? https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/tickets-for-one-nfl-game-in-week-12-are-selling-for-under-5-and-it-doesnt-involve-the-0-10-bengals/ Yep, what used to be one of the toughest tickets in all of sports and the toughest season ticket across all of the NFL in Washington has become a $5 ticket on the secondhand market. Hello to the Dwayne Haskins era.
Saints minus-9 over Carolina. Biggest blowout on the slate right here. There's film and tendencies out there on Kyle Allen now, and the league is adjusting. That's bad news for the Panthers and Allen. Which restarts the entire Cam Newton talks. Good times.
From Bicycle Bob
Jay, in Thursday's 5-at-10, you said if we had a mailbag question, to fire away. Well, here's mine: Why do college football teams always go into the "prevent defense" way too early in the game? Seems it happens every week in some game me and the missus are watching, and the only thing it often prevents is the team who is doing it from winning.
For example, UGA was handling its business against Auburn until, in the words of Bulldogs radio man Eric Zeier, they started playing a little loose on defense (incidentally, we always listen to the team radio call; get a radio with a delay to sync to the TV. Much better than the network analysts). Suddenly, Auburn marched down and scored a couple of quick ones and is back in the game.
This has forever been a complaint of and a cause of consternation for football fans everywhere.
It hatched the adage that "The only thing the prevent prevents is winning."
Heck, ask a UT fan about "Third Down and Chavis" back in the day.
(Side note: Love the fact that you are still rolling with the radio broadcasts of your team. Love it.)
I think the biggest part of this is the big-picture realization that there's still a difference between losing and losing while opening the hatch of being second-guessed.
So coaches have their traditional fallback places of accepted protocol and playbooks.
Running the ball late rather than keep running an offense that is working. Why? Because if there's an incomplete pass that stops the clock or a tipped ball that becomes a pick, well, the questions are about that. Running the ball is the safe and expected play.
Same with the prevent, and Georgia is the perfect example. Playing press coverage and daring Bo Nix to complete a throw of more than 15 yards in the air allowed the Bulldogs to smother Auburn.
Soften the coverages and dial back the pressure and Nix and Co. got their feet underneath them in the fourth quarter. And the outcome was teetering between a win that was way closer than it should have been or what would have been a DISASTROUS loss for Kirby Smart and Co.
In fact, there are only about five or seven teams in college football that have enough talent to be that traditional and still find success, and Georgia is one of them.The rest need to keep their foot on the gas.
And don't even get me started on the changes that need to happen in terms of punting and field goals. Or God forbid, coaches not knowing how to manage the clock in scenarios in which you need a TD and a field goal in the final five minutes of a game.
Every major college program and NFL team needs to hire an elite Madden player for situations just like those. Seriously.
Let's say Georgia wins this weekend. So that puts them in COFH (and don't mix up those letters because the Google search gives you something way different) against a really, really bad Tech team.
But Kirby also has a date back in Atlanta the following week and a very good shot at the CFP.
So just how hard do the Bulldogs go against Tech? Does a loss of less than significant proportions hurt them at all? How hard does he press down on the gas pedal against Geoff Collins and Tech that Saturday after Thanksgiving?
He could send a message not to 2020 recruits but to 2021 and beyond with a thorough beatdown, mightn't he?
I think Georgia is going to destroy Tech.
Yes, there's the recruiting part. Yes, there's the in-state part. Yes, there's the hatred part and making sure the new coach knows his place.
But here's the other thing that a lot of folks are not discussing.
The positioning of the college football playoff committee's rankings has caused some teams to really drum opponents. (Have you seen what Clemson is doing? Man, those game tapes look like snuff films. Egad.)
Have a great weekend, friends.