Morning, hope you're safe. We're going to make it through this thing, friends.
And we're here to offer a daily respite. If you're working from home or find yourself looking for a distraction, well, welcome to the 5-at-10. Also of note, we're planning on continuing Press Row, our daily talk show from 3-6 p.m. with cohost David Paschall on ESPN 105.1 here in Chattanooga.
You regulars know the drill. For you newcomers, well, here's the deal. This is the 5-at-10, five things at 10 a.m. Yep, it's just that easy. (We have three main talking points, a "This and That" and a daily question that normally includes a Rushmore. That's the format, but there may be tweaks considering the coronavirus.)
Feel free to leave a comment or a question or an observation below. I try to swing by and respond every day, so check back.
This little conversation is and will try to stay sports based, but we live in surreal times at the moment.
Enjoy, and stay safe gang.
Joe Biden. The Democratic primary is a done deal, right? Last night's debate offered several things, including Bernie looking crazed at times and Biden continuing his surge since South Carolina, and almost all of them benefited Biden. Now you add in the unrest in the country and how that has been placed at Trump's feet and, well, the last time the Democrats looked this strong heading into an election year was Obama running for a second term.
Ryan Tannehill. Few people had a better 2019, right? Tannehill went from getting shipped out of Miami for a bag of chips and now he's set to get right at $30 million per for the next four seasons. What? (And please notice that I put Tannehill in the weekend winners, not the Titans. Man, $29.5 million per seems mighty high for Ryan Tannehill, no?)
MMA. The only live-action sport over the weekend has put its flag on the "Unless we are forced to shut down, we are moving forward." And, with all due respect to the corona and the knowledge that we all should be heeding the advice of the CDC, let's think for a moment about the MMA as a whole. They are doing this without fans to limit exposure. They have a chance to have the spotlight to themselves. And while every other sport would have to be worried about its athletes getting exposed to corona, is that really that much more threatening to the health of the fighters than their day job?
Eric Celin. I wrote about him in my Saturday A2 column — sorry gang, no link available — but he's the local owner of the New York Pizza Department. Eric took to social media addressed the tragic number of school-aged kids who rely on school systems for the vast majority of their meals. Eric said he did not know how long he could do it, but if your kids are hungry, come in and he'll feed them, no questions asked. At least one other restaurant — Wine Down in Ooltewah — followed Eric's lead. Well-played Eric, well-played indeed.
Runaway winner, of course, is the Hixson Hoarder, Mr. Matt Colvin, who had almost 18,000 hand sanitizer containers in his home and was trying to sell them for a big profit on the interwebs.
Sports fans in general, this sports fan in particular. I was not feeling super good Sunday morning, but it was more Bud Light-virus than coronavirus. But the malaise covers all of us. Granted, there is never a good time for this. Never, and we're not making light of that in any way. But Saturday and Sunday would have been filled with college hoops (tournaments and bracket bemoaning), great golf at The Players, baseball gearing up for Opening Day, and everything else. You could make an argument that even as much as we love football, this is most fun and entertaining stretch across the sports calendar.
TSSAA high school athletes at state hoops tournaments and in all the spring sports. My heart hurts for those kids, because as TFP ace sports editor Stephen Hargis mentioned on Twitter, it looks more and more likely that the rest of the sports calendar will get washed.
Vegas. In a big way. Major casinos being closed for the foreseeable future. Travel packages for March Madness' wonderful opening weekend being refunded. Sin City is being crushed. How desperate are sports bettors for events to wager on? Well, DraftKings offered a slew of prop bets on the Democratic debate last night, and according to this, there are ways some folks in different areas can bet against their local weatherman. (Sorry, weather people.)
Iona. The Gaels hired Rick Pitino. Seriously. Couple of questions loom. First, is this April 1? No. OK. Then, how does Quick Rick not have a show-cause penalty? Next, considering the number of coronavirus distractions and NFL issues right now, is hiring Pitino in this window of time clever or is it open to more scrutiny because of the lack of sports news? Discuss.
Whole Foods CEO for his plea for employees to give up unused PTO to other employees. Hey, jackwagon, why don't you make sure the people infected with the corona have the time they need rather than the rank and file being asked to make the sacrifice? Man, does anyone else continue to be surprised by the level of tone deafness for some uber-successful folks?
NFL work week
The NFL had a full weekend, and by all reports the league plans to start its new season on time later this week.
> The players voted to approve the owners' offer. There are a lot of opinions on each side about whether the players got a good deal or whether the owners got a great deal. The details — good and bad — point to each side of that discussion. The big chips on each side: Owners get 17 regular-season games in 2021 and an extra playoff team in each conference in 2020; Players get raises in the league minimum, 1.5 percent more of the revenue, lighter penalties on marijuana use and more roster spots.
> It passed by 60 votes and there were more than 500 players who did not vote. That's puzzling to me.
> Teams have until midnight tonight to place tags on players. With Ryan Tannehill under contract, one of the biggest names out there that likely will be tagged is Titans running back Derrick Henry. Of course Dallas has two stars — Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper — headed to free agency, and with the new CBA allowing only one tag per team, the Cowboys are going to have a decision to make.
> Some of the dudes who have been tagged are Shaq Barrett in Tampa, Chris Jones in Kansas City and reportedly Leonard Williams with the New York Giants.
> We mentioned Ryan Tannehill above, and the rest of the quarterbacks now have a baseline for discussions. We know Dak will get north of that. Will Tom Brady get $30 million a year?
> This one caught my eye, too. The Baltimore Ravens traded the assets they acquired for dealing a back-up kicker to get defensive end Calais Campbell, a pass-rushing piece that will be even more coveted considering the path to the Super Bowl in the AFC goes through Kansas City for the foreseeable future. And if you are going to have a chance against Patrick Mahomes for the next decade, you are going to need to have a defense that pressures with three or four and can zone the depths of the field with different looks. Campbell is that type of dude.
(Man, feels good talking about sports again, no?)
This and that
— Speaking of the debate, and again, the coronavirus has changed everything in our daily life, but the format last night was an improvement in my view. With the concerns of the virus and the needs and calls for social distancing, the debate was just the candidates and the moderators. Again, maybe it was the reality of the time in which we live, but the debate was more serious, and without a crowd was more about debating ideas and philosophies and opinions than searching for the soundbite or the "Ohhhhs" and "Ahhhhs" from the crowd.
— With the CDC recommending that crowds of 50 or more be on hold for eight weeks, well, simple math puts everything on hold until mid-May at the earliest. And we all know that each sport is going to need a brief training camp. There are concerns that the NBA season will be scrapped, which would make this NBA season arguably the worst in team sports history considering the losses in China and a real potential for a full spring and summer playoff run with LeBron and the Lakers.
— For those curious, the Olympics in Japan are set for July 24.
— The Florida state legislature has declared FSU the 2020 national college basketball champion. Fellas and ladies, you folks don't have some more pressing needs right now? C'mon folks. Does no one think about the optics of things like this?
— Here's Jerry Palm's final bracket projections. While all of sports fans and teams and all of us are in a surreal situation, there is a lot of sympathy and even empathy, but man, it's hard not to feel for the Dayton Flyers and their fans. They had the best player in the country and almost assuredly were going to get a 1 seed. Man, they will never have another chance like this one, no?
— The Premier Golf League looks like it may be dead before it ever puts a peg in the ground. The top three players in the world — Rory, Rahm and Brooks Koepka — have no interest in the overfunded, team-based alternate to the PGA Tour. So there's that.
For the newcomers, here's the part of the show where we ask for some feedback.
Mondays we want your nominations for weekend winners and losers. Go.
We also look back at this day in history, and considering the limited sports talking points moving forward, this piece may get expanded in the corona-covered days ahead. Let's explore. (Side note: My parents would have celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on Sunday. Rest easy, Mom and Pop.)
On this day, March 16, two of the clown princes of their time — Jerry Lewis and Flavor Flav — were born.
Also, Ozzie Newsome is 64 today.
And while he certainly makes the Rushmore of Ozzies — Newsome, Nelson, Smith and Osborne, no? — does he make the Rushmore of best former great players who became great GMs?
Discuss, and feel free to leave your thoughts as we walk the dark path toward the light that is the return of sports and our normalcy.