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Jay Greeson

From TC in Ooltewah

Leave it to a "draft nerd" to pose the application of "socialism " to the NFL! I suppose it depends on what view of socialism you hang your hat on?

That term is thrown around a lot these days, mostly because it's an election year, otherwise I don't think most people give it much thought or bother to learn how "nuanced" it has become.

But, you are right, the NFL does practice a form of "redistribution of wealth" to maintain a more watchable product (for the most part?) 

Apparently college football is practicing a more "laissez-faire" brand of economics, particularly at Alabama. But then, I'm a long suffering Vol fan and they don't seem to be getting any smarter about how to "distribute the wealth."

Wonder if that's what Butch was spending all that time in Tuscaloosa learning? Guess we will know if Arkansas St. pops up in the top 20 in the next couple of years?

So, here's my question for you: what is your description of a "laissez-faire" NFL draft?

Thanks for keeping it interesting and entertaining as always!

Miss the hell outta you on the airways!

Happy New Year to you and yours!


TC - 

Great question, and like getting multiple Press Row inquiries — haven't decided if I am going to share that answer or not — I got multiple entries this week linked to my references to socialism.

But this one crosses several streams of interest for me and has had me thinking all week long to be honest. Hey, with this much free time in the afternoons, I have to fill it with something. Especially now that fantasy football is done. (Did I mention Team Greeson went back-to-back, and that was even after spending a fair amount to trade for Christian McCaffrey, who played in exactly one game for my team?)

Anyway, let's go to the college socio-economic assertion first. 

Yes, college football is a free market that is anything but free, and while the supply of elite talent will never meet the demand, it does certainly overlap with arguably the other fundamental principle of our modern marketplace.

You have to spend money to make money.  

And in my view the NFL's purpose behind the socialistic principles of the draft are not for a watchable product as much as they are for marketing purposes first and foremost.

And right behind that, the draft and the salary restrictions are less about fairness and equity as they are about protecting the league from the five-to-eight rogue owners that would spend every last nickel to win, no matter the cost.

If there was no salary cap, how many elite NFL stars would be wearing a Dallas star on Sundays if Jerry Jones could pay whatever he wanted to whomever he wanted?

Which trickles back to the draft, and in the business-sense of things, how anti-American is the draft in and of itself. 

Can anyone name any other industry that collective agrees to review all the applicants and college graduates, put them into a pool and let the various companies in said industry choose and then have the rights for said prospective employee?

Picture Jim Nantz welcoming everyone to the set of the National Software Designers of America annual draft.

Nantz: "Hello friends, welcome to Silicon Valley, the annual site of our NSDA draft where the nation's best and brightest are plucked and picked by the elite companies in the tech world. It's really an honor to be considered for the first right, isn't that right, Mel?"

Mel Kiper Jr. "That's right Jim. We have the best of the... Hey Jim, don't you work for CBS?"

Todd McShay: "C'mon Mel, stay on script. Goodness, next think you know you'll want Apple to draft that high school kid who rewrote Minecraft over the computer engineer from MIT who is the best prospect since Andrew Luck."

Kiper Jr.: "Todd, Todd, Todd..."

First, we can all agree the draft is not going anywhere, especially now that the NFL owners have further protected themselves with slotted payments to the various picks, which further contradicts anything resembling a free market in terms of entering the workplace. 

And beyond the protection from themselves, the NFL owners have created a marketable product and entity in the whole draft process, which blends two of America's most popular sport as well as generates the greatest offseason interest level of any sport anywhere.

Plus, in terms of the things the NFL players union would truly want to fight for in the CBA, the draft process and the slotted payment struggle would forever be way down the list because that's for the next generation of workers/players and every negotiation is done through the eyes and wallets of the current workers/players.

But imagine first a free market NFL job process, and what would Trevor Lawrence demand on the open market rather than being slotted to go to Jacksonville at x-amount over the next four years with a team option for Year 5?

Heck, even imagine a modified free market NFL draft process, where every team was given, say $25 million in salary it could pay to rookie employees.

Now, if you were desperate for a QB, then Trevor gets all $25 million to sign a contract of whatever length, and the rest of your roster holes will be filled with veteran free agents and bargain bin shopping off practice squads.

Or you could pinch off $10 million to DeVonta Smith and $5 million to Travis Etienne, and some cash here and there.

Great question, TC.        


From Ken

Jay, shame on you. If you were getting evicted and unable to buy food would you still be against the stimulus money? People are desperate through no fault of their own. If Trump had been honest from the start about the virus(not to mention eliminating the health groups we had in China) the virus wouldn't have gotten this bad. The recent hacking situation may have been controlled but he took the budget for that group and spent it on the Wall. I spent 40 years in the nuclear industry and have a deep understanding of the serious of this event. The national debt exists on paper.

If we quit cutting taxes on the ultra-rich it would help. FDR proved that the best way to stimulate the economy is put money in the hands of the workers. Not the wealthy. You came across as a privileged white Southerner. I am disappointed.


Ken -

Stand down my man, stand down.

I have never said I am against helping those that need it during the pandemic. I am against everyone getting checks from the government, especially people like me who are not facing eviction and are able to buy food and are still employed.

Now the reverse side of your coin of indignation, sir, is that for a big part of the summer, our government incentivized people not to work with the extra unemployment benefits and payments.

That's grossly unfair and downright dangerous long term, in my opinion.

As far as coming off as a  'privileged white Southerner' well sir, I'm not going to get into a name-calling back-and-forth, and there's no possible way I can tell your ears and eyes what they are to perceive and infer from my words.

And while we're here, using FDR's model is as flawed as trying to pigeon hole our modern system into Reagan's big-picture construct of trickle down economics in my opinion. Both worked at their time, but both are dated because FDR's New Deal really only gained meaningful traction when we went to war, and the greed of the modern American and the skyrocketing salaries of CEOs make the trickle-down theories nonsensical by comparisons.

Which brings us to the big picture, and what TC alluded to was correct. We are all over-using and/or over-sensitive to the phrasing of 'socialism' in an election year. Especially an election year in which Bernie and Nancy are this prominently involved.

But beyond the virus — if there ever is a time and country post-corona — this is less about help to those who need it than it is about fiscal responsibility to the generations of my kids and my kids' kids.

Because we as a nation do not demand enough of our leaders in terms of difficult choices, and that's not even getting into the single piece of legislation for those $2,000 checks — which thankfully failed — that stirred more pork than a Lion's Club Labor Day bar-b-Q.

And what happens in the next crisis or event or bailout, because there's another one coming. There always is, whether it's natural or man made. What then? Because big picture, that conversation is not about aid or assistant. It's not about socialism or capitalism. It's not even about Ds or Rs.

It's about right and wrong. Period. 


From Michael

Do you have any 2021 resolutions? Thanks Jay and I love your writing style.


Michael -

Thanks for the kind words.

The family spent some time around the fire pit last night before the rains came and wrote down the things we are moving on from in 2020 and the things we are looking forward to in 2021.

For me, and I know I am a blessed dude, but I am going to stay away from the wasted emotions — and serious health detractors — of fear and stress.

As for 2021, I have my fingers crossed I will get to coach my kids again. That's one of my biggest joys in life.

As for resolutions, thinking about your question has given me one. I am going to try to follow the advice I give my kids more often. Our No. 1 family rule is, "You can never go wrong by being kind" and that seems like a good place to start.


From Chas

Question for the bag - When you start out a response to my ramblings with "Boss" or "My man," does it indicate you're a tad peeved or perplexed at something I've said?


Chas -

Not overly, and that very instance is one of the reasons I try to completely refrain from serious or potentially tense (and/or these) conversations over email or text.

There is no room for nuance or voice infliction or tone. And it's the modern version of lost in translation.

That said, at a previous stop, a few of us ranked the general Southern terms/references that folks use to call someone that show a rising level of angst and/or anger. These of course are not "Hey Jerkweed" or any slew of curses or insults.

Boss is higher on the list than My Man, but I can see each being in the conversation. The top three we decided on were...

No. 3 — Buddy. 

No. 2 — Jack.

No. 1 — Friend.

When a Southern fellow offers "Friend" (especially without the 'my' in front of it) there's likely going to be trouble.


Let's handle the weekly tidbits.

NFL picks, which are a game over .500 because, well, 2020, will finish the regular season with Green Bay minus-4.5, Cleveland minus-9, Jets plus-3, Dallas minus-1 and Saints and Bucs each minus-6.5. Giddy-up.

Our bowl picks for today (went 1-2 yesterday and are 9-8 on the bowl season, I think): Northwestern minus-4 over Auburn, Cincy plus-10 over Georgia, Alabama minus-20 and Clemson minus-7.5 (would consider buying that down to avoid the dreaded back door.) My two favorite bets of the weekend are Ole Miss plus the 7.5 and UK minus-2.5. Also on Saturday, I'm on Iowa State minus-4 and North Carolina plus-7.5.

As for the Rushmore's this week — and great week by you guys and gals — let's roll this way:

Rushmore of 'New' — New Year's Day, New York City, new car smell, and shine like new money.

Rushmore of black and white TV — Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Ed Sullivan. (And yes, it was very tough to leave off the original Twilight Zone, and a personal fav of mine as a kid, The Lone Ranger. As great as 'The Honeymooners' were, that was a really short run.)

Rushmore of Jon Voight movies — Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Enemy of the State and National Treasure. (Side question: We look away from a lot of plot holes in a lot of sports movies, but when the football team in Varsity Blues tells Voight's Coach Kilmer not to come back out for the second half of the district title game, where are the rest of the assistants? And wouldn't the refs and/or school administrators have a real issue in terms of liability and responsibility of just turning the coaching duties over to Lance?)

Rushmore of best current working actors — Hanks, Denzel, Leo and McConaughey.

Happy new year, friends. Enjoy the weekend and we'll have some 2021 predictions. And for sure the bowl standings.