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FILE - Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills in Houston, in this Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, file photo. J.J. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The team announced the deal with the free-agent edge rusher on Monday, March 1, 2021. Watt was released last month by the Houston Texans. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)

NFL power poll

Hey, on Tuesday, we're going to keep the conversation of the most popular league in the country.

So if we're going to poll vault into the offseason with power polls, let's get to it.

J.J. Watt inked with Arizona on Monday, and the odds on the Cardinals winning the Super Bowl dropped from 50-to-1 to 33-to-1.

So there's that.

It also got me thinking: What team winning the Super Bowl would be the best story for the NFL?

Not sure Arizona makes the list, even using their new name: Arizona (former) Texans. Let's look at the five teams that would create the most buzz, in no specific order.

> Cleveland. Yes, this would be the classic underdog, franchise reversal. And Baker Mayfield's presence and personality would be awesome.

> New York Jets. The step-brother in the biggest market in the country would be fun. Except for the unbearable coverage of the 72 ESPN personalities who for some reasons are Gang Green through and through.

> Atlanta. Yeah, this may be a bit of a homer pick, but man, the two runs to the Super Bowl were joyous across the South.

> Dallas. Imagine Dak taking the Boys to the Bowl. Only thing better may be Dallas getting there without Dak and the gloating galore from Jerry Jones.

> Team Brady, wherever he is. Man, are we even giving him enough credit for what he's doing at 43-bleepin-years of age?

 

Another verse

This story is extremely interesting. The Texas Tribune, using a public records request, found dozens of emails to University of Texas leadership about the hubbub about the school's song and the football players' demands to quit playing it after games.

"The Eyes of Texas" is the other UT's alma mater, and it was originally performed in minstrel shows in the early 1900s with white singers in blackface. I know, shocker, that something 100 years ago is viewed as racist through today's spectrum.

For Pete's sake, the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago are looking at cancelling statues of past historic figures, including at least five of Abe Lincoln. When the man who is credited in history of freeing the slaves is viewed as racist, well, then, well — to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how to end that sentence properly.

As for UT-Austin, well, the song became a sticky part of Texas athletes finding their protesting voice last summer. Longhorns football players even offered up a list of demands that included renaming several on-campus buildings, removing statues, and donating 0.5% of the annual athletics earnings to "black organizations and the BLM movement."

It also said players no longer wanted to sing "The Eyes of Texas" after games. Former coach Tom Herman supported his players in that cause.

It's clear from the emails, this became a big issue from donors and alumni. Without getting into direct dollar amounts, the Tribune reported that more than 70 percent of the 300 emails sent to the office of the UT president from June to October about the song and players singing it after games demanded that the tradition be kept.

No fewer than 75 emailers threatened to pull their financial support from the university.

Here were two examples of the emails:

From a 1986 UT grad who had his/her name redacted by the University: "It's time for you to put the foot down and make it perfectly clear that the heritage of Texas will not be lost. It is sad that it is offending the blacks. As I said before the blacks are free and it's time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor."

From Larry Wilkinson, a '70 grad and donor: "Less than 6% of our current student body is black. The tail cannot be allowed to wag the dog.. and the dog must instead stand up for what is right. Nothing forces those students to attend UT Austin. Encourage them to select an alternate school .NOW!"

(Side mental note: Choose your words carefully when emailing public officials. Got it? Got it.)

New coach Steve Sarkisian has already said publicly that the tradition of singing the alma mater after games will remain and you have to wonder how much this hurt Herman in terms of appeal to the Texas fan base.

And don't you know that this is not over, especially in the cut-throat world of recruiting.

 

Sam Bowie 2.0

Sam Bowie has gotten a bad wrap in history. He's forever remembered as the guy who went 2 in one of the greatest NBA drafts ever.

Yes, some guy named Jeffery went third. Whoa, hold that. Being told he went by his first name. So Mike Jordan went third in the 1984 draft.

Lost in history as Bowie has forever been bashed are several layers. Ogres are like onions. Shrek was great, you know? Wait, where were we?

So Bowie battled a lifetime of injuries. That was out of Portland's control. The previous year, Portland drafted Clyde Drexler, and he was on his way to a great career at MJ's same position. (It's worth noting that in 1984 the game was far removed from the position-less version of today in which everyone better be able to handle and play 27-feet from the hoop.)

And if we are going to bash Bowie, should Houston get some heat. Because while Hakeem Olajuwon was a future Hall of Fame, the No. 1 pick that year was not MJ.

In fact, Bowie was not even the worst UK player picked in that draft. Mel Turpin went 6th overall, ahead of future all-stars Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe and and Kevin Willis, as well as some kid from Gonzaga named Johnny Stockton.

I bring this up not as much as a defense of Bowie but as peace offering that he may find his way into anonymity in the modern age.

I present you Trae Young, who has become a fine player for the Hawks. But the fringe all-star point guard for a meddling franchise that likely will never even sniff the Finals was a draft day trade for Luka Doni.

Yes, that Luka Doni. The bona fide MVP candidate who looks the part of an A1 alpha who could lead a franchise to a title.

It came back up this week because the Hawks fired their head coach, but the GM who dealt Doni will live in infamy that will linger long after their playing days are done..

Just ask ol' Sam.

 

This and that

— Speaking of names that have become historic for less than good memories, man, Wally Pipp got a tough deal too. Dude had a headache and took a personal day. He had no idea his back was going to do THAT.

— This is a cool idea and here's hoping it proves fruitful. My buddy Weston Wamp is hosting the last three governors of Tennessee — which is doing far better fiscally than our country is and ranked among the best states in the country in terms of financial responsibility.

— This looks promising. Alabama is planning full capacity at football games this fall. (I almost inserted a "UT is planning for 70% capacity this fall, that is if they can sell that many tickets to watch this bunch" but decided against it. The lesson here: COVID is never funny, even in connection to UT football.)

— Here's today's A2 offering on the Tennessee Discipline Act. We need to be aware of previous numbers and trends, but we also should be looking for every way possible to help educators control unruly students and insure the best classroom environment possible. For all students.

— Paying more attention to the NBA these days — I know it is crazy — but all daddy jokes aside, LaMelo Ball has skills friends. Not sure if he's undefeated, never loss, but he's at 15.7/6.0/6.4 on the season and in his last 10, he's posted a 20.2/6.3/7.2 slash line in points/rebounds/assists. Side note: Want feel old, Spy? LaMelo was born in the 2000s

— When commerce leads the way, it's way, Way, WAY better than government mandate. Here's Costco's CEO talking about the value of employee retention, one of the reasons the giant retailer plans to lift its minimum wage to $16 an hour within the next year. Costco previously raised its lowest wage to $15 in 2019. And yes, the government still needs to act, but the market dictating the market is infinitely better than the government governing it.

— New York governor Andrew Cuomo is now at three former employees claiming he sexually harassed them.

— You know the rules. Here's Hargis on South Pitt coach Vic Grider stepping down from the Pirates football gig.

— You know the rules. Here's Weeds on college hoops, as UK and KU are poised to flip-flop in all-time wins.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on UT's new running backs coach.

— Wow, almost forgot, but did anyone else notice the teams just pulling the plug on an inning in the Braves' spring training game Monday. It felt surreal, and I know that it's just practice and pitching limits are being used and enforced. But when you're selling tickets, you have to be careful telling people your product doesn't matter, you know?

 

Today's questions

It's Tuesday, true or false.

True or false, the Balls will be the best basketball brothers ever.

True or false, Alabama's plan to have full football stadium this fall will come to fruition.

True or false, Sam Bowie got a bad wrap historically.

 True or false, the Brooklyn Nets are the best team in the NBA.

As for today, it was 59 years ago that Wilt dropped 100.

Rushmore of most unbreakable NBA records, because it's hard to see anyone posting triple figures again.

Go.

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