Bullet-point items from around sports: While We’re Waiting

Nike Football Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott

Hey y’all. Let’s do a quick-hitter on a whole slew of topics this morning. And, go.

NFL Stuff

The NFL is impossibly great at making everything worse than it has to be. The past week has given us a multitude of examples.

Ezekial Elliott: If you have been able to keep up with his on-again / off-again suspension, then you must be a lawyer. The crazy part is the whole saga isn’t even about if he is guilty or not (NFL investigation nor police thought there was enough evidence to pursue). It is about if Zeke’s lawyers can prove the NFL had predetermined his suspension before the investigation. Basically, whether or not the disciplinary procedures were properly followed.

Colin Kaepernick: The NFL could have just taken the win when he said he wouldn’t kneel in 2017 and had someone sign him to a contract. Seattle was the perfect fit to slot in behind Russell Wilson in a heavy blue-leaning city and region. If that had happened, then we wouldn’t have the whole last six months of ridiculous comments and actions by, well, everybody.

Worse for the NFL owners, Kaepernick’s collusion case is inching closer to discovery where emails and phone records are expected to be handed over to his lawyers. But, I’m sure there’s nothing embarrassing for individual owners or the league in there, right?1 The real question will be if it will be possible to get any of the information leaked without them facing future legal action. Given the leaks on the Mitchell Report and Biogenesis scandals in MLB, it seems it is not out of the realm though perhaps not with the NFL’s legal arm watching over closely.

This constant escalation was easy to predict, but it is now harder to figure out a way for us to all stop arguing with each other. I mean, it has gotten so bad in the public spectrum, people are killing Papa John’s for stating they are unhappy with NFL leadership handling of the issues between players and the league during a third quarter financial call. It was poor finger-pointing, but I thought everyone agreed the NFL was terrible in their leadership on this issue, no?

The interpretation of the quote is what has many people up in arms as there are assumptions of what he meant the NFL should do. Here is the actual quote as reported by Chris Otts of WDRB in case you have only seen the opinion pieces or memes on one side or the other, which only serve to exasperate the problems:

Schnatter said during prepared remarks at the start of the company’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. “Like many sponsors, we are in contact with the NFL and once the issue is resolved between the players and the owners, we are optimistic that the NFL’s best years are ahead. But good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”

After declining 8 percent during the 2016 season, NFL TV ratings were down another 7.5 percent through the first six weeks of the 2017 season, ESPN reported last month, citing Nielsen data.

Papa John’s is one of the league’s biggest TV advertisers and the most recognized brand associated with the NFL, company executives said on Wednesday’s call.

Injuries: The news of Deshaun Watson crumpling down during practice for the Houston Texans the day after the Astros won their first-ever World Series sent shock waves across the NFL as his outstanding rookie season will end with an ACL tear. However, should it have? Halfway through the NFL season, the IR list is full of future Hall of Fame players and other Pro Bowlers. In fact, it is so full of big names that it is possible to create a team from them that would compete- and probably win- the Superbowl should everyone be healthy and on the same sidelines.

Aaron Rodgers would be backed up by Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, and Deshaun Watson. It is absolutely bananas how common injuries have become league-wide with no known recourse in site. Is it possible that we have advanced players to the point where they are too big, strong, and fast to remain healthy when colliding into one another?

Here is one list of the 2017 NFL rookie class injuries.

Cleveland Browns: Oh, while we are here, a nice note on how the Houston Astros front office learned how adding in the human element to their analytical methods helped bridge the gap between the players, coaches, and front office. Are you reading this Berea?

Indians Stuff

Michael Brantley: I could give my opinion on the Indians opting into the deal, but WFNY’s Mike Hattery summed up my feelings on it better than I would have been able to state here.

The Indians are expending close to 10% of their payroll on a player who is recovering from major surgery and has not played in 100 games since 2015. Perhaps Brantley will play the 100+ games necessary to make the contract worthwhile. Perhaps there will be no significant skill decline despite his most recent experience with extensive surgery. Yet, what is scary is that the probability band of him significantly outperforming his 12 million dollar option is incredibly narrow, and the risk of under-performing significant.

Josh Tomlin: There have been some opinions that the Indians should have declined his three million dollar option because no one wanted him on the postseason roster. Please attempt explaining the difference between the need for regular season depth and having a short postseason rotation. If it fails, then just move on understanding the Tribe can flip his contract at a moment’s notice for true value as players like Scott Kazmir are making $18 million in 2018.

Bryan Shaw: Paul Hoynes reports the Indians do not believe they will be able to retain the services of reliever Bryan Shaw. It is not unexpected as his value to teams more needy of bullpen support increase his value across MLB compared to the Tribe, but he becomes the first free agent the team has acknowledged is unlikely to return.

Houston Astros: Hey, it hurts that it was not the Indians celebrating the championship. I’m still happy for the people of Houston though who get to celebrate the first World Series title ever won by a team from Texas as they still recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

  1. That’s a joke, folks. []