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FILE: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense gets set at the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs defense during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

NFL moving and shaking

Been a while, and through the fall, Tuesday is the Power Poll offering of the most popular league in our land.

Not afraid to tell you, I miss the NFL. More this year than most, and it likely has a lot to do with fantasy football. Yes, the daily options on the gambling sites are a way to fill the void, but playing in a league with folks you know, even if the stakes are rather small, makes fantasy football the bees knees of those games.

So, with that, let's do a random, offseason power poll of NFL stories that are pretty newsworthy to me:

1 QB conversation. Whether it's Big Ben's future, Russell Wilson on the trade market, a second-year WR telling Carson Wentz he's keeping No. 11, Cam getting heckled by a teenager, retirement news or Dak and Deshaun, there's a lot going on. No, I'm not going to discuss the carousel, but man, add in this rookie class of QBs and it's everywhere.

2 Jeff Bezos has interest in buying the Washington Football Team. The Washington Amazons? Side question: Is Amazon offensive to tall blonde women. Side question not directly related to the side question: Did you see the Cherokee Nation wants Jeep to change the name of the Cherokee vehicle? Anywell, Bezos in the league would be wild.

3 The NFL is closing in on finalizing the 17-game schedule for 2021. Count me in.

4 Franchise tag season starts Thursday, but with all the uncertainty about the salary cap and the details about payroll, this may be a slower time than normal.

5 Mock drafts are everywhere, and hey, I love the draft, you know this. But why is the order, free agency then the draft? Shouldn't it be reversed?

 

Thank you sir may I have another  

Will that be charge or charge, President Biden?

Because there's no way the $1.5 trillion economy boost bill the Democrats have crafted will be anything but another direct hit on Uncle Sam's credit score.

There are a slew of places that breakdown the aspects of the bill, which Democrats have vowed to ram through the Senate with the arcane 'reconciliation' rules to avoid needing the 60 votes normally needed to avoid a filibuster.

First, let's get some things out of the way.

The Federal government needs to act. There are millions of Americans hurting because of COVID, and that's not counting the hundreds of thousands of deaths, the tsunami of mental stress and anguish, and the daily fear of everything from losing loved ones to losing jobs to what's around the corner.

Side note: This is why fiscal conservatives wisely bemoaned the egregious spending of previous regimes — of both parties — through the last two decades. Yes, times were mostly good, and the economy was mostly humming right along, but the spend-spend-spend mentality of political leaders (or as I like to call it, "Indirect vote buying by incumbents") continued to grow rather than address out debt. Now, in a time of real crisis, when stimulus and aid are much-needed, that debt is going to spin to unimaginable heights.

Side note on the side note: That's one of the reasons that Hamilton County is in such terrific shape, and County Mayor Jim Coppinger deserves a lot of credit for that, because he has been a wise steward of the excess, managed our credit rating like Bobby Cox did the Braves and willing to say the most unpopular of words when needed — 'No.' And he has a boss 'state, so War Coppinger.

Anywell, as for the Biden Bucks Bonanza, there are so many Democrat barnacles on this S.S. Stimulus that somewhere Bernie Sanders is shirtless and rubbing warm butter across his chest.

Let's look at some of the line items and, according to Yahoo, the numbers in parenthesis are the estimated costs from the Congressional Budget Office:

> Family relief ($422 billion). This is the $1,400, fulfilling Biden's $2,000 campaign promise. This is assuredly needed for some, but not all, and in truth, there will be a whole lot of day traders making a GameStop run when these checks clear. Bitcoin, anyone?

> Small business assistance, most notably restaurants ($60 billion). This likely should be higher. Yep, I wrote that. Now I need to go take a shower.

> Unemployment boosts ($163 billion). Again, I am for this, and could see the wisdom in taking some of the first line item and moving it here, because the folks who have lost jobs in this time need this more just about anyone.

> Housing aid ($40 billion) and paid leave ($132 billion). Anyone else think these numbers should be flipped? And here's betting the devilish details of 'paid leave' would make your head hurt.

> School aid ($170 billion). At first, this one seemed outrageously high — and the $35 billion going to colleges and universities likely is too high — but the knowledge of how school budgets work make this feel a little low in terms of public school systems across the country. Most public school systems have budgets that are generated in large part by the taxes paid in that district. Now, using Hamilton County for example, the taxes on homes will remain steady from 2019, but how much less money was spent in restaurants, hotels, and in daily commerce in 2020, 30% less, maybe more. So the taxes from those services that go to state and local education systems will be greatly reduced too.

Now for the Biden/Bernie Santa Clauses (or as one columnist called it, a "Democrat spending orgy):

> Minimum wage to $15 (God only knows the cost). We've talked about this topic around these parts. My view is simple, and you certainly are entitled to yours. The current minimum wage is too low. I think $15 is too high. I know that this is not a COVID issue, though, and shoving it down our throats here and now — when we all realize how much small business and the unemployed are struggling — is a downright shameful act by the Democrats.

> Pension relief ($74 billion). This is mainly for unions, and this is downright laughable to be a COVID relief bill, and truth be told, how could you pick and choose which pensions you are going to try to save?  

> Expanded coverage in Obamacare ($53 billion). Is this an issue that deserves debate? Almost certainly. But is eliminating income thresholds and sliding the rules on insurance eligibility may be high on the Democrat wish list, but this is not a COVID item.

And to pretend it is COVID-related simply politicizes the pandemic even more, and I believe that's something that every common R and D has had more than enough of.  

 

Transfer trends

Hey, good news Tennessee fans, the Vols have two linebackers on a top-10 list. Hey, bad news Tennessee fans, it's the top-10 players still looking for their next stop from the transfer portal. The folks at 247sports.com ranked the best players on the new version of college football free agency, and yes, Henry To'o To'o is numero uno.

Speaking of the portal and the impact these have, well, it's pretty dire for the Vols.

Consider that Florida landed a slew of impact transfers and in addition to the two linebackers — Quavaris Crouch joined Hank 2-2 on the list — and three impact former Vols will make Oklahoma a great deal better come September too.

In truth, the portal is going to need better definition, if you ask me, and I am all for a player having more control of their situation.

Certainly Tennessee is not the poster program for the problems with the portal. Coaching upheaval is reason one that there should be easier options for players to transfer and be eligible. And no more so than the upheaval like Jeremy Pruitt's termination, which is being alleged as a firing for cause for NCAA violations like paying players.

In addition to the new staff that did not recruit these players or form relationships with their families and could run a completely different system, the NCAA shadow will affect all of the Vols for at least the coming season and potentially longer.

But what about the transfer turnstiles in Norman, Oklahoma or State College, Pennsylvania or other places that did not have turnover. Yes, the recruiting process is structured that coaches are already looking for bigger, faster, better than what they have. Wise college athletes know that the threats for long-term playing time are more from the guys not on campus than the guys on the current depth chart.

What about an Arik Gilbert, the super duper five-star tight end recruit who fell out of love with Coach O and LSU?

Yes, kids get homesick. Yes, situations change. Yes, the NCAA is sniffing around Baton Rouge too.

But there has to be some station between all transfers sit out a season unless you change level of competition and college football free agency, doesn't there?

 

This and that

— Not sure I've ever seen two runs in the same sports like this but the Jazz are 19-2-1 against the spread over their last 22 NBA games and the Cleveland Cavs are 0-13 against the spread in their last 13. The Cavs' streak is the longest run of gambling imperfect in 32 seasons, according to David Purdum, ESPN's gambling writing ace.

— Purdum also posted on social media that the NBA is looking at a free-to-play game in which fans/contestants can make predictions on each individual possession. The app, called "NBA InPlay," is done with partner FanDuel, and in truth is the future of in-game action for a lot of sports. Not sure how well it would work with the NBA, because of the fast-moving action. But this is a dream for players/bettors for games like baseball and golf. Bet what the next hitter will do or if that shot hits the green. Heck, it would work great in football too, considering the delay between snaps. As if Tony Romo needs more money.

— Speaking of the Jazz, gang, they are the best team in the NBA. How about this stat: Jazz reserves Joe Ingles, Georges Niang and Jordan Clarkson combined to go 19-for-27 from 3. Yes, coming off the bench. Gang, I hope NBA commissioner Adam Silver is prepped with plenty of dark liquor and some comfort food when it's the invisible Jazz and the impossible-to-like Nets in the NBA Finals come July. Talk about a ratings nightmare.  

— Here's today's A2 on the Muppets needs disclaimers, and how that's not surprising considering the times, and a better solution than cancelling the show altogether because there were Arab Muppets digging for oil in Kenny Rodgers dressing room in one episode. (And yes, I have written millions of words and countless numbers of sentences in my life, and among the phrases I never expected to use, "Arab Muppets digging for oil in Kenny Rodgers dressing room" has to be pretty high on the list.)  

— Former first-round pick and UGA star Isaiah Wilson is 'done' with the Titans. Considering his multiple off-the-field incidents, here's betting that feeling was at least somewhat shared by the Titans too.  

— There are folks upset at Pat Sajak after he said "I thee" instead of "I see" Monday when interacting with a contestant who has a lisp.

— Former Republican Party Chair Michael Steele offered these three insightful words to GOP members looking to breakaway from the party and follow former President Donald Trump. "There's the door," he said. And either way, Trump has gutted the Republican party to a point that it's mired wasted deep, having caught a full case of Catch-22. If Trump stays in the GOP, it's hard to see a path to success in big-stage elections; if Trump and his followers leave, the numbers simply do not compute to beat the Democrats in a three-party approach.

— Is there nothing MC Hammer can't do? Fashion innovator. Lyricist. An all-timer rug-cutter. Now, Twitter titan with a genuinely thought-provoking stance on science and philosophy. Here's the Hammer's Tweet that got social media humming Monday: "You bore us. If science is a "commitment to truth" shall we site all the historical non-truths perpetuated by scientists ? Of course not. It's not science vs Philosophy ... It's Science + Philosophy. Elevate your Thinking and Consciousness. When you measure include the measurer." Man, please Hammer, don't hurt 'em. Can't Touch That.

 

Today's questions

Hi, Ernie. True or false, it's Tuesday.

True or false, if a new QB was traded to the team you played for, you would give up your number for free.

True or false, I am remiss that we missed Monday's 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. (That's true folks. And you were born to be hockey players. War Herb Brooks, and War Herb Brooks' pants in that movie.)

True or false, Biden's relief bill is a good one.

True or false, Kermit is the best Muppet. (If false, I need your answer. My favorites are Stadler and Waldorf, or as they are known around these parts, Chas and Spy.)

True or false, you had no idea MC Hammer was that deep.

Which also brings the question, which rapper's post-musical career is the most surprising? For me, the image of Snoop Dogg doing commercials with Martha Stewart and hosting the Joker's Wild takes the cake.

Rushmore of most successful rappers after the rapping wrapped. Go.

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