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FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks for a receiver during the team's NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half in Charlotte, N.C. The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

Weekend winner

Cam Newton. More on that below, but is there a better place for a 31-year-old former MVP to springboard toward a Ryan Tannehill-like career rebound than New England? I don't think so. And if he's healthy, well, the Patriots will begin 2020 — you know provided there is a 2020 that is — the same place they ended 2019: As the AFC East favorites with the best quarterback in the division.

And the rest Not so much.

Hey we're looking for suggestions here, because even the PGA — which had a weather delay — which is trying to be back in the swing, is wrestling with more and more Coronas.

Dang you 2020.


 

Weekend loser (wow, we got some big time choices on this one friends)

Everything happening at Kansas State. A dumb college sophomore either looking for attention or looking to instigate posts a terrible joke congratulating George Floyd being drug free for a month. Now the K-State football players want him expelled. Was it stupid? Heck yes. But as we have wondered for a while about the expanding circle of power for college football players and where it would reach, do we really want the power of expulsion to go to the locker room? Especially for a college student excising free speech, even if it was offensive?  

Baseball fans. Buster Olney said over the weekend that he's only 5 percent certain the MLB will even start. FIVE!?!?!?! Five Buster?!?!?! When asked about the likelihood that baseball will crown a champion, Olney, who has made his career reporting breaking news rather than crafting controversial commentary, said from everything he has heard, MLB is going to try but it's supremely unlikely baseball will even get started. Egad.

Everything involved in the protests at The Villages in Florida. First, the impact of old wealthy retired white folks tooling around in golf carts and squabbling about equality feels very "Curb Your Enthusiasm"-esque in my view. But again, my opinion is clearly not important — I'm a middle-aged white guy. But the videos of those folks became national news  over the weekend as people protested for the Black Lives Matter cause, and people voiced support for President Trump before a yelling match broke out with the pro-Trump group yelling the buzz words "White Power." Trump retweeted the video clip and as expected set off a social media firestorm before deleting it and having his people say the president didn't see the "White Power" part of the exchange. Speaking of consistency of message around these parts, I've been fairly consistent on this: In retrospect, when Joe Biden — or whomever the Democrats decide to run not named Bernie Sanders — wins in November, and every poll has Biden cruising right now, the exit review on the Trump presidency will be a rough one. And part of the review process, if they are being honest, will be the very real realization that Trump lost because he couldn't put down his Twitter addiction. Yes, there are surreal times and circumstances around us — some that Trump could have handled better, as well as some things that Trump made better, like the pre-Corona economy — that few sitting presidents could have foreseen and have redirected Trump's narrative and exposed his lack of crisis management skills and the elite power of motivational leadership. But his Twitter habits are unbelievably bad and downright unpresidential, even to a growing number of us who voted for him in 2016 and are praying for a 2020 miracle to have a candidate we can really support.

The cancel culture coming for Vin Scully. Seriously. Twitter was abuzz about the re-release of quotes that Scully said he would not watch the NFL as long as players kneeled in 2017. Forget the support Scully offered Jackie Robinson back when he was, you know making history. Whatever.

The (Bleep)holes who threatened Shuford's Bar-B-Q. Really, that's where we are? Shuford's gets threats that their business will be burned to the ground if it actually provides food for the Police rally over the weekend. This is not America friends. Not even close. And every step forward or every ear that is open, stores like this one only push countless willing people from the cause toward picking a side. That is terrorism in my view.

 

Perfectly Belichick

OK, roll through these details, and we all would say, "Figues. Dang you New England."

Follow along.

The Patriots stay true to their mantra and cut every player a year too early rather than a year too late. Yes, that even includes future Canton unanimous choice Tom Brady.

The Patriots decide against reaching in the draft for a quarterback.

The Patriots sit through the turmoil and outside-of-football craziness, waiting and working toward 2020.

Then, when the process opens more and more details are learned — including the health of a very prominent former superstar quarterback — the Patriots make their move.

New England agreed to terms with Cam Newton over the weekend. We covered the ways this could behoove Newton, who if healthy, could be in for a monster year.And, considering the Pats made the move, we all have to assume that Newton is as healthy has he has been in recent years.

And if that's the assumption, then follow these lillipads, in no particular order:

> Only New England could jettison their best quarterback in franchise history and replace him with the best quarterback in another franchise's history;

> And they New England did it at a sizable discount (Brady at 43 is getting $25 million guaranteed for the next two years plus incentives; Newton is getting between $7-8 million for one year plus incentives);

> Now, as New England transitions to the post-Brady era, they have the chance to do any and everything offensively with the most unique offensive weapon in NFL history. Yes, there have been running great quarterbacks before, but they have been speedsters who throw deep and confound defenses (Vick, Jackson, et al.) or guys who throw first but are good runners when needed (Young, Tarkenton, et al.). None have been willing throwers who turned into fullbacks when they tuck and run;
   
Now the kicker (Side note: I have had a long-standing feud with the cliché "Push someone under the bus." Another one I loathe is "So-and-so is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers" and a lot of folks are using that about Belichick today. Well, in truth, Belichick is the only one about whom that tired cliché can be truly used these days.)

The Pats lost a third-round pick — as well as some coin — for the filming thing Cleveland from a few years ago. And, if Newton leaves as a free agent after the 2020 season, part of the compensatory packages the Pats would receive for Newton leaving would be.

A third-round pick.  

 

This and that

— Buck Johnson died over the weekend. He was a legend. I could write a whole bunch about his grace and kindness over the almost 20 years I knew him. It would be nowhere as good as TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer wrote in today's TFP on Johnson.

— Dustin Johnson won the PGA tournament this weekend. Because 2020 is the dangedest sports year ever — and dangedest year ever quite likely — I sat down with a beverage to watch a little golf Sunday. Weather delay because, well, 2020.

— The divide in expectations right now in terms of social media commentary is striking to me. Lexi Lalas, the former US soccer star posted this on Twitter: "Now it takes courage to stand for the anthem" and he was hammered on Twitter. Ja Morant supports a "(Bleep) the police" meme on Instagram and crickets.

 

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers, go.As for multiple choice Monday, there are a slew of things — heavy, real-life topics from Shuford's to Corona to cancel culture coming for The Duke and Vin Scully — that could elicit myriad questions.

But, I'm going here for clear and needed reasons:

OK, on those ESPN CooperFit commercials where the dudes are playing pick-up football and the team brings in Brett Favre and Jerry Rice, well, I have a slew of questions to be frank. I will make them multiple choice it's Monday.
How many passes does Favre throw to Rice before he targets anyone else?

> Five;

> 10;

> Enough to be up three-or-more scores;

> All of them.

How many defenders does the other team use on Rice?

> At least two at all times;

> At least four;

> All of them but one safety covering the rest of the pick-up players.

What would a fair spread be for a Favre-Rice — even at this age — team be against a random pick-up touch football team?

> Favre-Rice minus-20;

> Favre-Rice minus-31;

> Favre-Rice minus-42.

Finally, who wins?

> Favre and Rice and the rest of that rag-tag bunch of pick-up players who before the two additions were getting worked by old dudes;

> The intramural flag football champions at any SEC school.

As for today, well, it's June 29.

Kawhi Leonard is 29 today. Dude can play.

Harmen Killebrew would have been 84 today. Dude could play.

Also, former Giants star linebacker Pepper Johnson is 56 today.
Rushmore of former sports stars who share their name with a vegetable.

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