Home / Sport / FMIA Week 2: Let Russ Cook? Wilson has ingredients for his first season as an MVP

FMIA Week 2: Let Russ Cook? Wilson has ingredients for his first season as an MVP



So we all know about Russell Wilson’s weird story with no MVP rating. (It’s not an outrage, by the way, which I’ll explain.) But did you notice anything in the first two weeks of this weird NFL season, as far as Wilson is concerned? He’s playing like he’s trying to get the MVP case so out of reach that no one will be able to touch him by December.

Seattle are 2-0 after a glittering 35-30 win over New England on Sunday night. After two weeks, Wilson is the most accurate passer in football (82.5%), scored the most touchdown passes in football (nine), with the highest score in football (140.0).

There is something else, something as important as the flashy numbers. We all talk about that athletic gumby Wilson, but he too takes a pounding. The Patriots had a good plan for him: wrap him up, don̵

7;t let him get away much, don’t let us stomp. He had rushes on his face Sunday night. In three of his five TD passes against New England, he took a hard hit the moment he released the ball. . . and the ball was perfectly positioned; on the fourth TD, he was hit, but not hard. TD 1, a four-yard gun job for Tyler Lockett, was the only non-punishable pitch.

TD 2: A high arch loft job at DK Metcalf for 54 yards, over Stephon Gilmore’s cover. WHACK! Chase Winovich nailed him from behind upon release.

TD 3: Wilson’s best of the night, a deep throw, 46 yards in the air on the left prop, for David Moore. BURST! In the intestine, Lawrence Guy hit him in the breastbone.

TD 4: An innocent looking cross, right to left, for newcomer Freddie Swain. WHAP! From Wilson’s right, Guy pinned him in the back as he turned to soften the blow.

TD 5: A glance from Winovich as Wilson threw a perfect ball into the arms of running back Chris Carson for winning points.

“Honestly,” Wilson said on the phone from post-match Seattle, “I think you know they blew me pretty well on the touchdowns you’re referring to. I think being able to stay in my pocket and be able to take All shots and anyway taking shots is always the key. Give your boys a chance. My thing is to always give the boys a chance. The boys make amazing games. So many boys have touched football tonight. Makes a defense so difficult when Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf – DK played a special game – David Moore played great, Freddie Swain scored his first touchdown. Chris Carson scored on a touchdown pass. I want to be able to spread the ball. “

Another MVP thing: He doesn’t throw it, nor hand it over, to bonus kids. Wilson’s TD throws on Sunday went to the chosen players in the third, second, seventh, sixth and seventh rounds.

The 50 voters for the MVP, mostly media people, don’t vote for 15 weeks, until the day after the regular season ends. Designing is silly now, but Wilson is off to the best start of a great career and you can’t stop him from dreaming.

“I want to be the best in the world,” he said. “If I don’t think this way, I won’t be successful.”

When Wilson told Dan Patrick the other day that he thought he was the best quarterback in football, his eyebrows went up. It wasn’t like traditional Wilson, a deflector of praise. “I think when you try to be the greatest to do this, you always have to believe that way, think that way and know that,” he said from Seattle early this morning.

My theory on Wilson’s perception: He is a low quarterback drafted 75th in 2012 in 2012. Being a Seattle quarterback in a more traditional offense that hasn’t given him the freedom of other passersby means he won’t have the flashy numbers of the other quarterbacks. He has never made more than 35 touchdown passes and has never had more than 4,300 yards. As for the MVP vote, the 50 voters get a selection. In baseball, voters pick multiple players for MVP in a sliding order and then you see who finishes second and third and so on. In football, often a player has an incredible season and wins overwhelmingly. Last year, Lamar Jackson set the quarterback run record in a single season, led the championship with 36 TD passes, and Baltimore was the best 14-2 in the championship. The year before, it was Mahomes’ 50-TD passes, and the Chiefs who won AFC’s first seed, which paved the way for him to win it.

Wilson has traditionally done more with less talent than many other famous quarterbacks, and that matters. But if the Ravens are 14-2 and Jackson has what may be the best all-round season for a quarterback ever, it’s hard to vote for anyone else.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones. (Getty Images)

This year, however, may be different. The “Let Russ cook” thing – fans and media wish he could create more, as he did on Sunday night – is gaining ground, perhaps even in the coach offices on the outskirts of Renton, home of the Seahawks. The seat belt game plans that caused frustrations like the 24-22 playoff defeat to Dallas two years ago are fading. I asked Wilson if he would be able to open up a better line of communication with coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, to tell them what he likes and what he doesn’t like.

“I think I have a great relationship with Coach Carroll and also with Coach Schottenheimer. I don’t think Coach Schotty has enough credit. He is a fantastic teacher of the game. Then, obviously me and Pete, we were together what is this, my ninth year now. We had a great time together, incredible victories. We bond so well together. “

But it’s no secret that Wilson wanted a freer hand in offense. “I’m trying to go somewhere, you know what I mean? I’m trying to help bring this team to a special place. It takes a lot of hard work. It all takes. It’s not just me. I’ve always tried to be the best in the world. . I want to lead my team. “

I’m trying to go somewhere, do you know what I mean? For me this is the code for I’m trying to win a championship and the more different we are in attack, the better the chances we have. (This is my interpretation, no one else’s. These aren’t exactly the best days to approach the players or the manager and ask them the reality of what’s going on.)

This game has shown us so much of Wilson’s talent, even when he was throwing incompleteness. Wilson knows when it’s smart to throw it away and live for the next down. Midway through the fourth quarter, with a lead of 28-23, Wilson hit two balls, both times against a strong run. At the third and seven with six minutes left, another heavy race came. This time he made Tyler Lockett run to the center and hit him. He was now in a comfortable shooting range to take an eight-point lead, at least. But two plays later, Carson came out of the backfield, security Adrian Phillips was late to cover him and Wilson, staring at Winovich’s barrel, held out to make a perfect pitch, 33 yards in the air.

“I’m super grateful,” Wilson said. “I thank God every day that I can do what I have to do. I think of everything that is happening in America and in the world, being able to play this game is a gift. We have lost so many people. It is a very difficult year. Despite everything, I keep the faith and I just believe that the best days are ahead. This game is part of it. This game is a gift and I want to continue to enjoy every moment of it. “

It’s only been two weeks and there are new (Arizona) and old (a battered San Francisco and the Rams) challengers. NFC West are 7-1, best division record in football. So there are miles to go before these teams sleep. Seattle looks dangerous and different, though, especially when Russ cooks.

Fantastic day of football. Weekend, really. Starts Thursday. Coming out party for Joe Burrow, 23, who earns 30 points for a Cincinnati team with many holes, losing to Baker Mayfield, 25. On Sunday, Jared Goff (25), Kyler Murray (23) and Lamar Jackson (23) had total control in the dominant wins. Patrick Mahomes (25) needed to do some Patrick Mahomes stuff in overtime, Josh Allen (24) threw wonderful, effortless deep balls for Buffalo, Dak Prescott (27) threw for 450 yards to win the craziest game of his life, and Wilson (the old man at 31) ended it all with the second game of five TDs of his career on Sunday night. That game – Seattle 35, New England 30 – definitely shouldn’t have been televised to any heart unit in the United States.

This morning’s message is threefold:

1. The game misses the fans tremendously. But the Sunday drama, up to half an hour before midnight Eastern time, when Cam Newton was overturned in the last game of the match two yards from the winning touchdown in Seattle, was the ultimate.

2. Zero of the approximately 2,272 active players and the training squad in pink tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the season, a remarkable achievement. Even though the injury bug is terrible, the COVID bug is non-existent, so far.

3. The quarterbacks keep coming. The over 35 set – Brady, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Rodgers – went 4-0 on Sunday, winning with an average of two touchdowns per game. But the QB agricultural system continues to churn out quality. Eleven of the 13 quarterbacks selected in the top 10 picks over the past five years started at the weekend. Justin Herbert, the 11th, who appears to be 17 and in dire need of a haircut, went with Mahomes for most of the day at SoFi.

Show of the day: Watermelon Kick.

“That’s what we call it,” Prescott said with some glee 90 minutes after the game. “The ball sits there like a watermelon, not on a shirt.”

When I talk to players after matches, very often the answers are quite clear and they speak at a press conference. But Prescott was fired in his car on his way home with his girlfriend. “Amen, AMEN!” he said of the victory. “We could have been 0-2!

Dallas was down 39-24 with six minutes left. The Cowboys scored but missed the conversion by two points. “So we knew we needed two scores in the last five minutes,” Prescott said. “Not easy.” The Cowboys burned the timeouts and forced Atlanta to punt with three minutes left. In 68 seconds, they drove up to a TD, Prescott running in his third TD of the day, and the extra point came at 39-37, Atlanta.

Dallas needed to recover on-game football, otherwise the team would be at 0-2. Here came kicker Greg Zuerlein for football. Without tee. Prescott described the next few seconds in vivid detail.

“I’ve never been in a game like this,” he said. “Maybe my rookie year’s playoff game against Green Bay, but we lost that one and it didn’t come down to a game like this. It was amazing, honestly. We’ve seen it in practice. [Offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore saw it being set and [quarterbacks coach] Doug Nussmeier said to me: “Watermelon kick!” “

It is actually a brilliant idea. Since players cannot line up more than one yard from the kickoff spot (they were able to get a five-yard run start), team players who kick cannot get the kind of run start they used in-game kicks. So Zuerlein and special teams manager John Fassel had practiced a form of in-game football in which Zuerlein kicked a diagonally spinning ball, and quite slowly. Cowboy players could run to the slipping ball and attempt to block, like on a basketball rebound, any opposing players who might attempt to reach the ball.

Obviously, the Falcons had never seen him before. They looked at the slowly spinning ball as if it were sick and did not want to touch it.

“I asked our client, Chris Jones, why [the Falcons] he wouldn’t dive in, “Prescott told me,” and said the way he spins makes it really hard to do it. They were probably afraid that if they jumped on it, it could come off and we would recover. “

Better than what happened: Dallas cornerback C.J. Goodwin, once the ball traveled exactly 10 yards down, skipped it and won a wrestling match with three Falcons. Prescott’s 24-yard dart against rookie CeeDee Lamb (“CeeDee is smart as hell, great feeling for the game,” Prescott said) helped set Zeurlein’s winning basket with four seconds left.

Cowboy quarterback Dak Prescott. (Getty Images)

Everything was made possible by the Watermelon Kick.

Prescott: “In the locker room after the game, I saw [guard] Zack Martin, and we both said the same thing: I don’t know if you understand what that means! There is no way we could start 0-2. It just couldn’t happen. We have lost so many guys up front. Three tackles, our tight end, Blake Jarwin. But you know that next man mentality. We have it here. We believe in the guys behind the appetizers. And I’ll tell you, they played great today.

“The other important thing today – not just the win – but the way manager McCarthy was with us at half-time. That was an important moment for our team. We were great [29-10 at halftime] and he said: “Forget the final score. Let’s see the team we have on the pitch in the second half. Let’s see the men we have.” It’s easy to follow. “

Amazing. Prescott threw for 450. He ran in three scores. We don’t talk about it. Just crazy in-game football and a cliff-side saved start to the season.

I’ve never seen anything like what happened at the end of Kansas City 23, L.A. Chargers 20 (extraordinary). With two minutes left in overtime in a 20-20 game, this sequence occurred:

• Harrison Butker, KC player, 53-yard field goal attempt. Good. Canceled by a false start of the KC guard Nick Allegretti. Five-yard penalty.

• Butker, 58-yard field goal attempt. Good. Canceled by a whistle of the last millisecond. Time out, chargers.

• Butker, 58-yard field goal attempt. Good. No whistles. No flags.

Before Sunday, 25-year-old Butker had never kicked a 58-yard or more field goal in a game. Within 90 minutes, he kicked three and two counted.

“Definitely the most difficult situation I’ve ever been in,” Butker said from the locker room after the match. “But what has given me some confidence is how we train. Basically, I have to hit eight to 10 long field goals, like 54, 63, 65, 58. So some footballers, maybe their leg would get tired of kicking three longs in a row like that.

“So I lined up for 53 yards and thought they might call a timeout. But I don’t hear a whistle and I got kicked. Then there is a flag and we go back five meters. I destroyed it, I knew it was good. I thought, let me do this and let’s get out of here. But then I saw that they called the time. And I did it again. “

That’s all. Except for this tidbit: “I got one from 67 pre-game, and then 70 at half-time. This is certainly the most beautiful stadium I have ever played in. Absolutely beautiful. “

What we know after an eighth season for 30 of the 32 NFL teams:

We can’t be rash about the injury streak, but the NFL and NFLPA need to study them particularly closely. The instinctive reaction to the injury epidemic – ACLs torn for certifiable stars Saquon Barkley and Nick Bosa on Sunday, and minor injuries could keep Jimmy Garoppolo, Drew Lock, Anthony Barr and Davante Adams sidelined for a week or more – is that without matches preseason and normal retirements, players entering the season less accustomed to contact and top speed than usual. It could be. In the case of 49ers injuries, the NFL should also look into the ground at MetLife Stadium.

I think one more thing needs to be considered: the loss of a legitimate off-season schedule, with organized and forced force and conditional, quick work for nine or 10 weeks of spring. It vanished this year. The teams trusted the players to train on their own. For the Tom Bradys, workout and health fanatics, it is a fact that they will find a way into their work. But I remember a story from the summer, with Austin Ekeler of the Chargers telling me he was going to go to a local California park and do pull-ups on the same monkey bars that schoolchildren use at recess. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not the kind of conditioning NFL players are used to.

Gardner could be good. Really good. Last week, on the Colin Cowherd show, NFL Films tapemeister Greg Cosell raised some eyebrows after Gardner Minshew’s 19 of 20 against the Colts. “I don’t think jaguars need a quarterback. I think Gardner Minshew can play as a quarterback in this league and be very effective.” Cosell called Minshew “refined, accurate”, had “a good feel in his pocket and deceptive range of motion”. Some of the throws he made starting with an accuracy rate of 75.4% show great presence and touch, and mostly he knows exactly when to leave the pocket and when to hold out.

Minshew caught an idiot 20-yard sack in Tennessee on Sunday, but made two big ground shots: he hit D.J. Chark with a 45-yard strike between two Titans defenders, then dropped a touchdown in a bucket to close Tyler Eifert between three Titans. Two perfect shots, against a good defense. The rest of this year will be very interesting for a team with four picks in the first two rounds next April and three or four brilliant quarterbacks in the draft.

It’s September 21st and Matt Patricia looks already done. Lions have lost 11 in a row and are the worst finishes since 2019 Edwin Diaz. In week 1, they lost a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Mitchell Trubisky Bears. In the second week, they lost a 14-3 opening lead at Green Bay and lost 21. Predictably, all the Lions were stuck with their coach tomorrow, but what will they say? The most troubling thing about Lions is that Patricia was considered a brilliant defensive and tactical mind in New England, and fails to defend well in Detroit.

The next two weeks probably won’t help. Detroit is at the 2-0 Cardinals, with the 1-0 Saints (in play tonight) arriving in Detroit in week 4. Then Detroit has its goodbye. There’s no way the franchise would fire him at 0-4 this year and 9-26-1 in his term, right? Doubtful, but Patricia clearly doesn’t have much time to save her job, not when the Cleveland Browns have five more wins than Patricia since opening day 2018.

If the 49ers can survive these injuries this year, they have incredible depth. “The 49ers had one of the most solemn wins in NFL history on Sunday,” The Athletic’s Matt Barrows aptly wrote Sunday night. Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were both taken away with suspected ACLs torn; starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain; and at the start Raheem Mostert – he of the sprint TD from 80 yards in the first scrimmage game in the 31-13 route of the Jets – has a milder knee injury. The Niners were already missing three of their top 10 players (who didn’t play on Sunday): narrow George Kittle, wide Deebo Samuel and cornerback Richard Sherman. Wow. It’s the second week!

49ers overtake rusher Nick Bosa. (Getty Images)

The Niners retired from the field in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va. after the game to train / heal this week before returning to Meadowlands to face the 0-2 Giants next Sunday. I’ve covered the league for a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team of the caliber of a league lose nearly every big player to injury (short or long term) by the end of week 2. What advantage does San Francisco have? Two, I’d say. The Niners will face 0-2 Giants, 0-2 Eagles and 0-2 Dolphins in the next three weeks. And GM John Lynch built good depth. That depth helped keep a bad team, the Jets, at 197 total yards until a round of trash at the end.

21 September 2020: New Orleans to Las Vegas, the 799th ever “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN. First ever NFL game in Nevada, first game in the sparkling new Allegiant Stadium. ESPN is paying the NFL $ 1.9 billion for its package of NFL games and other programs – 224 times what ABC paid the NFL for the rights to a particular game package that the league dubbed “Monday Night Football” half a century ago.

September 21, 1970: New York Jets in Cleveland, the first ever “Monday Night Football” game on ABC. The Jets and Browns played in the old barn on Lake Erie, Municipal Stadium, the first weekend of matches between an AFL and NFL merger. For many Americans, MNF was their first exposure to prime-time football and a nasal-sounding New York sports reporter, Howard Cosell.

The match made sense. Browns Art Modell owner, a showman, and Commissioner Pete Rozelle negotiated MNF’s contract with ABC’s Roone Arledge. The NFL was turned down for the Monday night package by CBS and NBC; ABC, the weakest of the three networks, was motivated to take the package due to its poor primetime lineup. Modell really wanted the first home game. What better visitor than Joe Namath’s Jets? It was a year and a half after Namath engineered the biggest upheaval in NFL history, the Super Bowl III win over the Colts, and he was football’s biggest star. “Pete knew it was going to be a great scene,” recalled league executive Joe Browne. It was: 85,703 filled the stadium on a warm September night to watch.

But even the players were not optimistic that it would work, a football match starting at 9pm. in an evening of work, a school evening, an evening dedicated to television entertainment. They were right. That year, “Monday Night Football” did not reach the top 35 of the network’s television charts. In total viewers on Monday night in the fall of 1970, MNF ranked eighth out of 11 network shows. Monday night was beaten by Here’s Lucy, Gunsmoke, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (Goldie Hawn in a bikini was pretty bold for the time), Mayberry RFD, The Doris Day Show, NBC Monday Night at the Movies and The Carol Burnett Show.

As hard as it is to think that the NFL is a ratings bomb behind seven Monday night shows, well, prime-time football had to start somewhere. And now, prime time football is pretty common. NBC’s Sunday Night Football was the highest rated TV show for nine consecutive years. This is the longest running series for a top rated show in TV history.

“It was a strange thought for all of us players,” Joe Namath, the guest quarterback on the night of September 21, 1970, told me the other day. “People are working. Monday evening? Who will watch? Plus, for gamers, from Pop Warner, high school, college, pro, whatever, who the hell ever played football on Monday night? “


My conversation with the legendary Namath about the birth of “Monday Night Football:”

FMIA: Did you know that this 50th anniversary of the MNF was coming?

Namath: “No, I wasn’t. It reminds me of some of the kids who died, like Howard [Cosell]. Wow. “

FMIA: It seems that merger was a bigger deal at the time than Monday night game starts.

Namath: “Yes. I don’t know all the details about [the merger]. At that point I wasn’t sure we wanted to merge, as far as players and at least one owner are concerned. I remembered how Al Davis was the only owner who was really against the merger. We were proud as AFL to be the underdogs, and then we won the last two Super Bowls [before the merger]. But you know, [Lamar] Hunt, Mr. [Leon] Hess, the other AFL owners, knew what they were doing, as far as I know. When we look at it today, it definitely blossomed and worked well. “

Jets quarterback Joe Namath and Browns defense end Ron Snidow, Cleveland, September 21, 1970 (Getty Images Archives)

FMIA: I remember that first match. I was 13. What was the talk in your locker room? Did you guys think he was crazy?

Namath: “We got through that part. We began to feel it was special. You heard, “Dude, this is the only game in progress.” [ABC’s] Roone Arledge was a brilliant mind, he knew what he was doing. I knew more than we did, certainly. We realized we were the only game to be played. That uniqueness of playing on Monday nights, with the nation watching the years go by. . . Apart from the league match, it was unique. But the game was great for me because I grew up 60 miles from Cleveland. The Browns, Otto Graham and Paul Brown, I was a fan. Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, was the place of birth. It was great to get into that stadium because of the match and personally my background, wow, you’re going to Cleveland. I had seen him many times as a child. When we walked in, the place was electric. This is the right word. Great atmosphere. “

FMIA: Also kind of a crazy game. Guys, you were chasing the Browns all game and had a chance to win there in the end.

Namath: “They had a guy who developed this reputation in New York for not having the best hands with the Giants, Homer Jones. But damned if he didn’t return a kick-off, I think it was the start of the second half, for a touchdown. “

FMIA: Right, 94 yards.

Namath: “I can still see Homer Jones run around that damn field 50 years later. Damn!”

FMIA: I’m late 24-21 and you take the ball with a chance to take the lead.

Namath: “In my life, in my life, I still remember the last play we had the ball. I threw it behind Emerson Boozer right at a linebacker, Andrews, I think. [He’s right. Billy Andrews, a fourth-year linebacker, picked it off and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown—the only touchdown of his career. The Browns won 31-21.] We had a chance to win the game –and I blew it up! All the good memories I’ve had from the sport over the years go back to what my college coach in Alabama, coach Bear Bryant, told us: ‘We’ll remember the bad plays, the bad times, the hard beats, faster. than we will remember the victories, the good times. “He’s right. When he told us I was 18 with a bunch of other freshmen. Did I say what the hell is he talking about? You know, when that Monday night game comes up, my mind’s eye goes back to that. last play where Boo was open and I threw it behind him, boy. “

FMIA: So the story of the game isn’t a big deal compared to defeat?

Namath: “That’s the only thing. The loss and that interception. The show was called 74 CI And 74 was the number and CI means” close “for the back on the weak side. Close is the release and the passage through the line of scrimmage, the offensive tackle and the feint outward and the cut across the center of the court from left to right. That was Emerson Boozer. He had Andrews knocked at least two yards. I ended up just throwing him behind Boo, man. I’ve said that many times to Boo. If I had had that ball in the right place, Boo would still be running. When we watched the movie later, Boo would still be shooting. But you know, he could, I wish, I should have. “

FMIA: Over the years, did you watch Monday night games and were you still playing?

Namath: “I remember watching the games on Monday night. Well, I turned off the volume, actually, when I watched the Monday night game. “

FMIA: Because of Howard?

Namath: “Yes exactly! [Laughter] You know, it wasn’t as soon as Howard. As a player, he was criticized. You weren’t used to hearing some of the criticism from people who weren’t truly informed. You felt like they didn’t know what they were saying. I actually watched with my records. I listened to music and watched the game. I played my albums. I watched almost every Monday night game as a football fan. I still watch, depending on the teams playing. “

Monday Night Football broadcasters Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson and Don Meredith, left to right. (Archives Getty Images)

FMIA: What do you remember about Howard and your relationship?

Namath: “È stato bello. È stato bello. Sapevo che era più intelligente di me. A volte rabbrividivo per alcune delle cose che diceva. A volte era duro anche con le altre persone. Non sapevo che una persona potesse conoscere così tante parole in lingua inglese che non avevo mai sentito prima. Sai come diceva sempre: “Lo dico così com’è. Lo dico com’è? “Ho detto, Howard, di cosa diavolo stai parlando? Prima di tutto, indossi quel parrucchino e hai cambiato il tuo nome da Cowen a Cosell. Mi stai dicendo che dici le cose come stanno, eh? [Laughter] Vai a dirlo a qualcun altro. “

FMIA: Poi hai fatto il lunedì sera allo stand della ABC un anno, 1985. Tu e O.J. e Frank Gifford. Ricordi il gioco Giants-Joe Theismann? (Theismann ha subito una brutta frattura alla gamba, mostrata graficamente in TV.)

Namath: “Oh Dio, sì! Grazie. Ti dico cosa, quando è successo, l’ho visto. Hanno mostrato il replay. Ho visto l’inizio del replay e quella caviglia. Fino ad oggi, non l’ho mai più guardato indietro. Penso che abbia persino rivoltato lo stomaco di Lawrence. “


Parte più interessante della discussione: l’intercettazione di un cinquantenne lo infastidisce ancora, regalmente, fino ad oggi.

“La perdita supera tutto”, ha detto Joe Namath. “La perdita fa schifo e l’intercettazione è ciò che ricordo. Oh, posso ancora vederlo adesso. “

È incredibile, a volte, pensare che questa è la 28a stagione in cui la NFL ha avuto una qualche forma di replay istantaneo sui libri, e ci sono ancora volte in cui il sistema funziona come se fosse il 1965. Replay è un ottimo strumento, se usato correttamente. Quando non lo è, e quando una chiamata del tutto ovvia impiega due minuti e 33 secondi per essere giudicata, risucchia semplicemente l’aria fuori dal gioco e stuzzica gli spettatori a casa e motiva inutilmente le persone a cambiare canale perché le persone semplicemente non possono rendersi conto del motivo per cui questa polizza assicurativa officiante può richiedere così tanto tempo

Mi riferisco al primo scatto dello scrimmage della settimana 2. Cincinnati a Cleveland. Palla bengalese. Ricevente di Cincinnati A.J. Green ha effettuato una presa in tuffo di 35 yard vicino alla linea laterale sinistra ed è caduto fuori limite. Il giudice laterale, il dodicesimo anno ufficiale della NFL Jimmy Buchanan, proprio in cima al gioco, ha stabilito una presa completata, con entrambi i piedi in campo. Dal momento in cui Green ha toccato terra, sembrava dubbio che entrambi i piedi fossero abbassati prima di uscire.

Sono andato a NFL GamePass il giorno successivo per classificare questo gioco, secondo per secondo. Ho iniziato l’orologio quando Green ha colpito il tappeto erboso.

: 00 – Il verde è caduto a terra con la palla, sull’ampia striscia bianca laterale, sulla linea delle 26 yard di Cleveland.

: 13 – Il primo replay al rallentatore di FOX ha mostrato chiaramente che il ginocchio e il piede destro di Green erano in aria quando il suo corpo è caduto fuori limite.

: 16 – L’allenatore di Cleveland Kevin Stefanski ha lanciato la sua bandiera rossa, sfidando la sentenza di un passaggio completato con il ricevitore in entrata.

: 26 – Su FOX, Troy Aikman ha detto: “Sono sorpreso che l’ufficiale se ne sia accorto”.

: 48 – Il quarto replay completato su FOX è terminato, il che ha mostrato chiaramente che la gamba destra non era in campo quando Green ha colpito il terreno fuori limite.

: 56 – Referee Shawn Smith announced to the crowd the play was under review.

1:11 — “Everyone knows this is incomplete,” Joe Buck said. Aikman chuckled derisively. Sixty-five seconds of prime-time filler followed.

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. (Getty Images)

2:22 — “The crowd of 6,000 is getting restless,” Buck said.

2:33 — Referee Smith announced: “Incomplete pass. It will be second down.”

I get wanting to be correct. The league can rightfully say, “We got it right, and that’s what matters.” Ma non è così tutti that matters. This game was a 3-hour, 21-minute affair that should have been 3:19, if one simple call took seconds, instead of two-and-a-half minutes, to fix. What should happen, in cases like this, is that senior VP of officiating Al Riveron, in charge of replay review on game days, should have the power to get in the on-field ref’s ear and say, “Overturn it. Guy was clearly out of bounds.” That should happen instead of the ref, in this case Smith, going under the hood and going through the motions of fixing a call everyone knows was blown. In that case, it would have been a 35-second delay, not 2 minutes and 33 seconds. (Adam Schefter reported that Riveron was sidelined in week one because of COVID-19 but was back at work in Week 2. Riveron is a good man, and here’s hoping he’s in good health now.)

Offensive Players of the Week

Jared Goff, quarterback, L.A. Rams. What a start, three time zones from home: 12 of 12 for 145 yards and two touchdown passes, leading the Rams to a 21-3 first-half lead at flawed Philadelphia. And for the second straight week, Goff led the Rams to a win over one of the two best teams in the NFC East. He finished with three TD passes, all to tight end Tyler Higbee, and he’s rapidly dispelling doubts about his ability brought on by his 16-pick season last year. Great game for Goff in a tough place to play—made very much easier by the no-fan edict.

Aaron Jones, running back, Green Bay. There won’t be many better games for a running back in the NFL this year: 22 touches from scrimmage, 236 yards, 10.6 yards per touch, three touchdowns. Imagine producing a first down, in effect, every time you touch the ball. What’s so interesting about Jones is his ability to make up for the lack of depth in the Green Bay wideout corps with his ability to produce winning plays in the passing game downfield.

Defensive Player of the Week

Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Tennessee. The Titans allowed the Jags to score 30 points, and so why is the defensive player of the week on a team that allowed Gardner Minshew and friends generate 480 total yards. Good question. I’d say it’s because without Vaccaro, it would have been worse, and maybe much worse. Vaccaro had 11 tackles, one sacks, two tackles behind the line, two more pressures of Minshew on blitzes, and two passes broken up. It’s a terrific all-around game by a terrific safety.

Special Teams Players of the Week

Harrison Butker, kicker, Kansas City. As I explained higher in the column, quite a day for Butker. His 58-yard field goal in the third quarter brought KC within eight, 17-9. His 30-yard field goal at :00 of the fourth quarter made it 20-20 and sent it to overtime. Then he worked overtime in overtime for the win, winning it with another 58-yarder.

Stephen Gostkowski, kicker, Tennessee. The least effective kicker in the league through two weeks has two game-winning field goals through two weeks; he’s the first kicker this century to kick game-winners in the last two minutes of the first two games. You explain it. I can’t. His 49-yard field goal with 1:41 left Sunday beat the Jags 33-30. Last Monday, his 25-yarder with 17 seconds left beat Denver 16-14. All of that, of course, happened after missing an extra point in each of the two games, and missing three field goals last week in Denver. So for a guy who’s missed five kicks in two weeks, it’s fairly amazing he’s won both of them with field goals.

Coach of the Week

Matt LaFleur, coach, Green Bay. Barring the Saints or Raiders scoring in the fifties tonight in Las Vegas, the Green Bay Packers will exit Week 2 as the highest-scoring team in the team in NFL. They’ll do that with one standout wide receiver, a fifth-round running back and a tight-end-by-committee that has combined for four receptions in two games. LaFleuer could have used receiver help in the draft, but what he got was a quarterback project whose presence could have messed up the good chemistry LaFleur built in an NFC North championship season in his rookie coaching year in 2019. But the Pack has scored 43 and 42 in two games, and LaFleur is 16-4 (including playoffs) in his first 20 games piloting this storied franchise. For all those (like me) who thought the Packers’ stay atop the vision would be brief, LaFleur and his team have demonstrated in eight quarters that 2019 was no fluke.

Goats of the Week

The Atlanta kickoff-return team. Particularly tight end Hayden Hurst, wideout Olamide Zaccheaus and safety Sharrod Neasman. On the worst play by any team of Week 2, the Falcons, up 39-37 with 1:49 to go and lined up to receive a kickoff, let a Dallas onside kick roll and roll and roll, clearly not knowing the rules. The receiving team, of course, can recover an onside kick at any time, and one of these three men closest to the sliding football should have jumped on it before it went 10 yards and ended the game. Obviously, there was no guarantee they’d have recovered it; it could have squirted away. But the alternative was way worse. Once the ball traveled 10 yards, Dallas cornerback C.J. Goodwin dove on it. Dallas drove 26 yards to the winning field goal, and Atlanta’s worst football game since the blown 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51 four seasons ago was complete.

Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Minnesota. The Vikings are 0-2, and Cousins was the biggest culprit in number two, the feeble 28-11 loss at Indianapolis. Cousins’ first nine series ended like this: field goal, punt, punt, safety, interception, interception, interception, punt, punt. No TD passes, three picks, 15.9 rating.

io

“Two-eight, we love you bro! We love you bro!”

—New England safety Devin McCourty, after returning an interception for a touchdown in the first half in Seattle Sunday night. “Two-eight” is running back James White, number 28, who was de-activated for the game after his father was killed in a Florida car crash Sunday.

II

“We’re still figuring each other out right now. We have to understand each other’s weaknesses, what we’re good at, what we’re not good at and work with it and try to get better with it as a unit. Allenatore [Bruce] Arians said it’s a 16-round fight. We have a lot more fights to go. This is just the second one.”

—Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette, after the Bucs beat Carolina to improve to 1-1 Sunday.

III

“I think if the NFL can add more leeway for the home team to add noise at appropriate moments in the game, it would make the viewing experience much better. If the home team gets a big sack on third-and-10, let them crank up the crowd noise because that gets me at home excited. They haven’t allowed them to go over whatever certain decibel [level] yet because I know they don’t want it to be an advantage one way or the other. But homefield should be an advantage.”

—Joe Thomas of NFL Network.

IV

“It’s stupid. It’s selfish. It’s dumb.”

—Houston’s J.J. White, after rookie defensive tackle Ross Blacklock was ejected from the Baltimore-Houston game for unnecessary roughness.

V

“We haven’t shown progress.”

—Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins. New York has lost its first two games by 10 and 18 points and looked hapless doing so.

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Much has been made in the past week about the Rams’ salary cap, and the big contracts given to Jared Goff and Aaron Donald (last year) and to Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods (this year). But this year isn’t the issue for the Rams. The next two years are.

In 2020, the combined cap numbers for the five big contracts will be $73.9 million, which is 37.3 percent of the NFL’s 2020 cap number, $198.2 million per team.

But look how the numbers inflate next year, with a cap that’s likely to be about a $175 million. The cap numbers of the Rams’ golden five:

Goff: $34.63 million
Donald: $27.9 million
Ramsey: $22.5 million
Kupp: $14.5 million
Woods: $12.4 million
Total of those five: $111.9 million.

On a $175-million cap, those five contracts would take up 63.9 percent of the Rams’ salary load, and leave $63.1 million for 48 other players on the active and the practice squad. Say it’s 10 on the practice squad. That creates an incredibly bottom-heavy roster.

But I do not expect the Rams to stay status quo on those five deals. In the NFL salary space, teams can convert base salary to signing bonus at any time, meaning, for instance, that Goff’s salary next year could be reduced from $25.33 million to $1 million. That would allow the Rams to spread $24.33 million equally over the cap numbers of the last four years of his contract. Upside: Goff’s cap number in 2021 would be reduced by $18.2 million. Downside: Each of the last three years of the deal would have the cap number jacked up by $6.1 million.

That’s why—and the Rams aren’t the only team thinking this—it’s vital that the NFL get back to some semblance of normalcy in 2021, so the 2022 and future caps are not continually hamstrung by the economic effects of this COVID-affected season.

II

The Dolphins put 13,000 tickets on sale for their home-opener against AFC East rival Buffalo.

They sold 11,075.

That had better be a commentary on fans not wanting to go to a public event during a pandemic, and not a commentary on the interest in the Dolphins in south Florida.

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Saquon Barkley, if the initial reporting of a torn ACL is proven accurate, will finish his third NFL season with 34 rushing yards in two games—with 10 carries of positive yardage and nine carries of negative yardage.

II

Jacksonville plays Miami on Thursday night this week. The NFL often tries to pair two underachievers (nice way of saying “bad”) on a Thursday night game—Bengals-Browns this weekend, for instance; Dolphins-Jags in Week 3—to get their lone annual prime-time game out of the way.

A couple of interesting points about the Jaguars and prime time.

They have not played a Sunday or Monday night game since a December Monday night loss to the Chargers in 2011. Last Sunday night appearance: 12 years ago.

Between 2014 and 2019, they played five times on Thursday nights—all against Tennessee.

No travel for the time being because, well, you know. But I was on the subway Friday afternoon, the B train, on the way back from an appointment in Manhattan to my home in Brooklyn. I thought I would take a count on my car of those wearing masks. The city made mask-wearing mandatory on subways recently, with masks available for free in any subway station, and a $50 fine for anyone who refused.

As we left the Rockefeller Center station, I counted 34 people in my car. All 34 were wearing masks.

Along the way, the dour conductor, in a thick New Yawk accent, said over the PA, with zero emotion or feeling: “Spread love. Wear a mask. It’s the New York way.”

io

Barnwell covers the NFL for ESPN, and Tweeted after the Men of Minshew roared back to tie Tennessee in Nashville.

II

Brady’s ex-teammate, Patriots running back James White, was grieving the death of his father in a car crash Sunday.

III

Agar is a reporter for WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich.

IV

Torre is the Hall of Fame former Yankees manager.

V

LeBron, tweeting in the first half of the Bengals’ Thursday night loss to the Browns.

Lots of comments about column length after reader Dave Smith last week said FMIA was getting too long in an email to peterkingfmia@gmail.com. I mean, more than 100 emails and tweets about it. A few of your thoughts:

Rene Bugner (Mainz, Germany): ”I strongly disagree with Dave Smith here. This column can’t be too long. I understand that some people aren’t willing to read it from beginning to end BUT scrolling is an option.”

Jack Finkle: “I thought I was the only one skimming your columns, because they are too long. Thanks for letting your readers know, including me, that other readers are doing the same thing. You could shorten them by getting rid of your writing about your coffee and beer indulgences each week. It comes off as ‘Owner’s Box’ talk snobbery. You can also shorten your columns by deleting your travel discussions. Covering the NFL is a privilege, not a hardship.”

Bill Kennemer (Fayetteville, Ark.): “Write as long a column as you need to, to tell the stories you think need to be told. If it’s book length, that’s OK. Better than a lot of drivel I read, and it’s my first read every Monday morning. Don’t back off the politics either.”

John Burton (Phoenix): “Please go back to your old column style of writing. FMIA is simply way too long, obscure in focus, and non-compelling. I try to read titled select categories and subcategories (63 total today), but even that is a chore. Your column has become a long wandering mess that I no longer can commit reading time.”

Mike Kreiner: “Kurt Vonnegut once gave great advice that helps me in this situation: ‘Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.’ “

Ken Boyer (Redmond, Wash.): “Stop the crazy talk! Peter King talking about shortening his column? Say it ain’t so!”

Joe Stephen (Chicago): “Some of us love the little asides, detours, and back roads you take. We’d prefer more, not less. Brevity is far too prevalent in life.”

Rafa Chapa (Monterrey, Mexico): “I couldn’t agree more with Dave. Have a suggestion for you to consider: You may take advantage of the internet medium and have a few paragraphs to get people interested in whatever story you don’t consider as a ‘core’ part of the week’s NFL and leave a link for the full text. So the column would be shorter and show the most important current issues and function as a kind of index to more compelling coverage of the league.”

Craig Alt (Australia): “I don’t think you should cut down your column length. One of the things I love about your column is that, in this age of bite-sized columns, it is long enough to keep me occupied for quite some time (sometimes even days depending on when I get opportunities to read it). I do indeed skip or skim some bits. Last week I skipped through the pandemic stuff about the broadcasters and the Seattle beat writer because I am just not interested in the impact on the commentators or the covering of the game. My opinion: Forget about column length, concentrate on quality. If you think it’s good, print it. You’ve been in this game long enough and earned the right to print what you think is good stuff.”

Chip Caswell (Panama City, Fla.): “Your column, and the journalism that I find at the Sunday Long Read, allow me to disconnect from all the noise, and immerse myself in great writing. Your column is a guaranteed read from start to finish.”

Thanks for all the input. Rafa’s idea is interesting—link to longer things; I’ll think about it. My fear there, of course, is that people won’t go down the rabbit hole to, for instance, read Tony Dungy on John Thompson. I do like what Rene wrote about scrolling. Jack, I think you need to read the column a little closer if you think my travel notes are weekly bitch sessions; some are complaints, but I’d guess 70 percent are not. Thanks to everyone for checking in and giving your thoughts.

1. I think I would disagree with Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ coach who said Sunday night that if Tyrod Taylor is “100 percent ready to go,” he’d remain the Chargers’ starting quarterback. Uh, why? Sometimes, life ain’t fair. Justin Herbert played well enough Sunday to keep the job, for now.

2. I think I wouldn’t fret too much about being 0-2 if I were a Texan. It’s a hole, of course, But honestly: Did you think the Texans would win at Kansas City? No one did. Did you think they’d beat a powerhouse Baltimore team, the same team that slapped them around 41-7 last year? Maybe a few thought they’d win, but that was a long shot too. Houston has played, possibly, its two toughest games of the season in the first two weeks, and now, after a sobering but understandable start, they head into three reasonable games: at Pittsburgh, then Minnesota and Jacksonville at home. If they’re 1-4 in three weeks, then it’s time to worry. But not yet.

3. I think that was a huge win for Baker Mayfield and the Browns on Thursday night. Huge. This, of course, is referendum season for Mayfield—Browns legend Joe Thomas called it a make-or-break season last week—and Mayfield was confident and accurate in the win over Cincinnati. The 43-yard TD to Odell Beckham Jr. was placed perfectly and timed just as well. There’s a yeah-but element here — Yeah, but it was Cincinnati. But with a run game that good, Mayfield’s got a chance to finally be the quarterback he was drafted to be. Now he’s got to do it. The next five weeks—Washington, at Dallas, Indianapolis, at Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati—will tell us everything about where he and this offense are. No team is a killer; no team is a pushover, even Cincinnati with Joe Burrow. If the Browns are going to finally get off the non-contending schneid, they’ve got to be 3-2 or better in this stretch.

4. I think many times we assume the male influence, particularly when the male influence is a football coach, becomes the biggest influence on a person in football. And what does it matter, really, about the respective contributions of parents Steve and Jeannette Belichick on the fate of the best coach of this era, Bill Belichick? Suffice to say they’re both very big factors in what he became. But you should not underestimate the power of Jeannette Belichick, who died last week at 98, in forming the person and coach Bill Belichick is. She was an absolute giant in his life. In 2004, to research a profile on Bill Belichick after the Patriots’ second Super Bowl victory, I went to Annapolis, Md., to see his childhood home and to talk to his parents about him. Steve, of course, was a long-time college football assistant coach and wrote the first authoritative book on scouting. Bill, a huge football nerd at a young age, used to sit silently in Navy meetings when Steve broke down the upcoming opponent for the team. Jeannette, who knew seven languages, emphasized education. To this point: Sometimes, while his mom was getting dinner ready, Bill would sit in the kitchen and read to her. She loved to read, and read the New Yorker cover to cover most weeks. She was such a sweet lady. Sympathy to the Belichick family.

5. I think a re-read of that 2004 SI profile on Belichick is in order. How I led my story 16 years ago:

“Would you like to see Bill’s room?”

The kindly voice belongs to Jeannette Belichick, a petite 82-year-old who is standing in the living room of her Annapolis, Md., home. Back when she taught Spanish at Hiram (Ohio) College, Jeannette spoke four languages fluently and understood seven, but now, as she says with a smile and a twinkle, “The only language I speak is football.”

It’s a short walk to the onetime bedroom of Steve and Jeannette Belichick’s only child, now 52 and coach of the two-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The twin beds are made pristinely, as though awaiting military inspection. Two maritime paintings done by amateur painter Steve—hang on the walls. A high school graduation photo of Bill sits on the dresser. The bookshelf is crammed with volumes from his days at Annapolis High. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler. The Case of the Screaming Woman, a Perry Mason mystery by Erle Stanley Gardner. There’s The Gettysburg Civil War Battle Game and a signed football from the 1963 Navy team and four trophies from Bill’s childhood athletic triumphs. “That room hasn’t changed in 40 years,” Bill says, asked about it later.

The room is, to be frank, a little barren. “It’s not a big deal,” Jeannette says. “That’s the way we live.”

The contents of the room provide a window into the mind of Bill Belichick. They tell us that the hottest coach in the NFL is well-educated and uncluttered in his thinking.

6. I think there is much to be optimistic about with the Bengals. But those uniforms are awful. JV unis.

7. I think the Chargers, despite the loss to Kansas City in the SoFi home opener, avoided a potential big embarrassment with the no-fans edict. Imagine the opening game for the franchise in the new city and the new stadium, with a sea of red in the stands—or at least red throughout the stadium in big splotches. Kansas City fans travel very well, and would have been fired up to go to Los Angeles with the novelty of the first road game after winning the Super Bowl, and with the novelty of the first game in a shiny new stadium.

8. I think the one thing that the summer of 2020 has proven is that pro football certainly does not need four preseason games, and it does not need three preseason games. I don’t think it needs two. One seems fair, to make sure a team can get whatever work it wants for the starters (two quarters, three quarters, no quarters) and to see on-the-edge-of-the-roster young players in competition. Because owners won’t want to surrender all the money from the golden goose that is the preseason, I’d settle for two games apiece. But absolutely no more.

9. I think it’s amazing that, 50 years ago this morning, most people in the United States had never heard of Howard Cosell.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

un. Pensacola, Destin, Mobile, and everyone in the vicinity: I feel for you, and hope your wonderful places can survive rainfall the likes of which most of us have never seen.

b. California, Oregon and the West: I feel for you. What a tragedy these fires are.

c. RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great American, and an inspiration to every young girl striving for precisely what we tell our daughters—you can be anything you want to be, truly.

d. Column of the Week: (Actually, it’s from 2016, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg) Advice for Living, which she wrote for the New York Times.

e. Two passages I loved:

Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.

Work-life balance was a term not yet coined in the years my children were young; it is aptly descriptive of the time distribution I experienced. My success in law school, I have no doubt, was in large measure because of baby Jane. I attended classes and studied diligently until 4 in the afternoon; the next hours were Jane’s time, spent at the park, playing silly games or singing funny songs, reading picture books and A. A. Milne poems, and bathing and feeding her. After Jane’s bedtime, I returned to the law books with renewed will. Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law studies lacked.

f. Radio Story of the Week: Thanks, Rachel Martin, for the Cat Stevens interview on NPR, and the interesting story of re-recording every song on the iconic Tea For the Tillerman album.

g. Tea For the Tillerman is 50 years old. Where’d my life go?

h. Best song on the album.

i. Now Yusef Islam, he told Martin he once sold all his guitars because he was “being weighed down with an image of me that I was no longer willing to serve.” And then . . .

j. “There was a point when the Bosnian War was taking place — and it was a big, big shock, because this was Europe and we were seeing a genocide right on our doorstep. This was quite frightening. But I was involved in relief and delivering aid to these people, and when I got there, I found that they were singing these songs. I mean, these songs lifted their spirit at this time when it was so dark. I think it was that that made me realize that music has a very important part to play in the shaping of our dreams and the shaping of what we want for tomorrow.”

k. Podcast of the Week: (It’s a short one.) Ten minutes, from “The Daily,” the New York Times podcast. Producer Bianca Giaever, who works in the fire-scarred West, asked a Utah-based writer she knows, Terry Tempest Williams, to write “An Obituary to the Land.” Williams wrote a poem, discussing in part one of the miraculous things about these fires—that some plants, before being incinerated, drop seeds so that trees and plants will soon sprout and life will begin again:

I will never write your obituary

Because even as you burn, you throw down seeds that will sprout and flower.

l. Will Leitch, you’re correct: If today’s athletes want things to change, they might have to stop playing. Not recommending that, simply stating a fact.

m. Basketball Story of the Week: Gina Mizell of the New York Times on the great Diana Taurasi, in the twilight. “Finding the beauty in the struggle.” Interesting words from Taurasi. Those who know the women’s game—I am an interested bystander, but not intense fan—would be the ones to answer this question: Is Taurasi the best women’s player of all time? I truly do not know; simply asking. I am an admirer, because she plays the game like her idol did. That’s Kobe Bryant.

n. My Taurasi story is a tangential one. It involves Al Davis and the 2004 draft, and the four TVs in his office: On the night before the NFL draft, Davis was giving me a tour of his offices at the Raiders’ facility in Oakland. In his inner sanctum, there were four large TVs on the wall, in a diamond configuration. He said he watched games in his office quite often. “Basketball, women’s basketball, baseball,” he said. “All the sports.” I decided to test him. I asked him which team just took Diana Taurasi with the first pick of the WNBA Draft? He scoffed. “Oh, come on. That’s easy. Phoenix,” he said. Davis wanted you to know he paid attention to everything in the world and knew something about everything. But just think how long Taurasi has been relevant, and a star.

o. Taurasi, even without Brittany Griner, led the Mercury to the playoffs, even as it took her two hours to physically prepare to play a basketball game. “If you would see my body, it’d look like I got beaten up in an alley,” she told Mizell.

p. Taurasi seemed sort of honored that Portland superstar Damian Lillard wore a Taurasi T-shirt to a playoff game this year. But, as she said: “I never played for that type of fame. I never played for the money. I literally played for the love of the game. I played because I love to compete. I love being on the court.” Good story idea and execution by Mizell. We need to know more and read more about players like Taurasi.

q. Journalism “Get” of the Week: Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, interviewing one of the great sportswriters ever, Roger Angell of the New Yorker, on the occasion of his 100th birthday (Saturday). From Angell:

“I’ve memorized quite a lot of poetry, which is very useful now that my eyesight is declining so rapidly. I have about 30-odd poems and stretches of plays from Shakespeare and John Donne to Ogden Nash. And these sustain me. When I go to sleep, I’ll say some of these poems to myself. I never thought I would lose my eyesight. The biggest thing that has happened with my rapidly declining eyesight from macular degeneration is that I’m beginning to lose movies. I’ve been a big movie buff and watched movies over the years, with great happiness. But I can’t quite see the actors anymore. Baseball, I can still follow because it’s more expansive. Individuals are spread out. I know who is where and what position. I can follow a game pretty well.”

r. Baseball idiocy of the week: Examine this snapshot from the Thursday game, with major playoff implications, between Minnesota (31-20) and the White Sox (32-17), AL Central on the line, in Chicago. With the game tied at 2 in the top of the sixth, Josh Donaldson of the Twins had a pitch that was outside called for a strike by umpire Dan Bellino. Then Donaldson hit a home run to put the Twins up 3-2, and as he crossed the plate, Donaldson kicked dirt on home plate. If you know baseball, that means the dirt-kicker thinks the home-plate ump is awful and missed one or more ball-strike calls. Bellino ejected Donaldson. The internet exploded in glee. Oh, that wacky and funny Donaldson! What a cool thing, shoving it up the ump’s rear! The White Sox took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh. In the top of eighth, Donaldson’s spot in the order came up. But it wasn’t Donaldson, one of the most dangerous hitters in the Minnesota lineup, coming to the plate. It was utility infielder Ehire Adrianza, batting .184, coming up. Strike swinging, strike looking, strike swinging. Three strikes, and the banjo hitter was out. White Sox 4, Twins 3. Final.

S. What a stupid, stupid play, Donaldson.

t. I see none of the PAC-12 schools has a sanity major.

u. Coffeenerdness: I’ve got a new coffee favorite, which my Brooklyn coffee shop Gran Caffe di Martini makes so well. A cortado: three shots of espresso, topped by a dab of steamed milk. When espresso is excellent, a cortado is perfect.

v. Winenerdness: I’ve got a good $15 bottle of Cab for you: Kendall Jackson Cabernet. Classic can’t-tell-the-difference Cab. When a $15 Cab is pretty much the same as a Jordan or Frog’s Leap, you know you’ve found the right wine.

w. Do you want to know what’s just disgracefully wrong? I’ll tell you what’s disgracefully wrong. (You’re waiting, of course, for one of about 200 things I could write about.) What’s disgracefully wrong is the disparity in these two events:

Our elected officials refusing to hold hearings or vote on a Supreme Court nominee put forth by a Democratic president in 2016, an election year, though the vacancy occurred 245 days before the presidential election. The Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

On the same day Ginsburg died, 45 days before the presidential election, the same Senate majority leader, McConnell, announced the Senate will take a vote on whoever the president nominates for the Court. The American people, thus, will not have a voice, because McConnell knows the fix is in and he believes he has the votes to game the system and force another justice onto the Court.

You can tell me all about how the Republican president and the Republican senate have the right to do whatever they want. But that was not what McConnell said in 2016. He said: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.” Now it’s six months closer to the election. And now, in 2020, McConnell deems the American people should not have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. What a fraud McConnell is. What an anti-patriot he is.

Why trust the system when it’s fixed? And you want to know why this election is so important.

Las Vegas Raiders.
It kind of snuck up on us.
It all starts tonight.




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