The silly story from Portland about moving the Raiders to the Rose City has gotten a bit of amused play in the Great Northwest, on the theory that Portland should be “big league” (though it already is, unless your self-esteem is a mile wide and an inch deep). The group NFL To Oregon has sent a petition to governor John Kitzhaber that reads in part:
“Bringing an NFL team to Oregon would dramatically increase the footprint of this state, bring tax revenue, create jobs and create a multi-use venue that would increase tourism. Portland is the nation's largest metropolitan area that is served by only one of the Big Three Major League sports organizations.”
Two points: One, slighting the MLS Timbers just because the league isn’t Big Three is not a good civic pride idea. Those maniacs carry chainsaws. And two, how did that ongoing hunt for the then-bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins go, kids? Oh. The NHL would make it Big Four, and no good argument should ever go un-cherrypicked.
Thanks for trying, though. You gave us a badly needed paragraph, and that is the zenith of your accomplishment here.
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Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is making a case for a 38-yard extra point, which is just a slightly less silly version of the 43-yard extra point (and we know it’s silly because we suggested rotating goal posts like in miniature golf).
But we are open-minded here, so here’s another idea: Two players in full pads with paint guns, one under each goal post. Hit the ball, it’s blocked. Miss it, you get the one. It merges football fans and gun nuts without the messy bullets and collateral damage that would ruin the in-game experience for fans (“Come on guys, block that ki . . . GAHHH!! I’M HIT! I’M HIT! MEDIC!!”)
Hey, it’s about time gunners had more to do than run on the flanks on kickoffs.
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Here’s one more reason why the letter of intent rule in college sports is simply a way to help us normal people smoke out America’s weasels. From Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated, Malik McDowell, one of the nation’s most prized defensive ends, intends to follow through on his intention of going to Michigan State despite the fact that his mother won’t sign his letter and he can’t be put on scholarship until the first day of fall practice. Thayer and Evans:
“In the days leading up to signing day, (mother Joya) Crowe and the elder McDowell, who are divorced, both publicly said they did not want their son to attend Michigan State, citing the school's social scene. Crowe said her son could attend Michigan, but she and the elder McDowell also said they preferred Malik play out of state, either for Ohio State or Florida State.
“According to the source, the elder McDowell (Greg, his father) has since changed his mind and now supports his son's decision to attend Michigan State. He won't sign a letter of intent, however, as he fears it could jeopardize his relationship with another child he has with Crowe.”
Hurray! McDowell has to wait five months because his divorced parents might get into an argument over another child. Or maybe because another school paid his mom to get the lad to sign with them, or any number of other skullduggeries.
College football – building character in adults since, well, never.
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From Mark Heisler, writing for Forbes, another surreptitious attempt by the Cleveland Cavaliers to schmooze LeBron James.
“Proving what goes around comes around — and took just four years to circumnavigate — the Cleveland Cavaliers are bringing back James, who plans to attend Saturday’s ceremony to retire former teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ number.
“Exactly! It looks innocent. No one can prove otherwise . . . and the Cavs, who yearn to woo Bron home from Miami as a free agent — he still lives near Cleveland—can walk him out to a ringing ovation in this audition, er, heart-warming moment, showing him that his old fans still love him, despite those bonfires, torn-down billboards, et al. It’s the most outrageous, slickest case of tampering, with even the quick-draw NBA lawyers yet to go for their guns, since . . . since . . . oh yeah, since 2008-2010, when Knick fans turned the Cavaliers’ visits to Madison Square Garden into LeBronstock festivals, chanting his name in the hope of luring him as a free agent.”
Maybe they could get him to sign a letter of intent, if his mom will go along.
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From Chris Wright of our research department at Who Ate All The Pies (which is fancy for “we go to him a lot”, like we do here), this magnificent “corkscrew backheel spider volley” by France’s Blaise Matuidi in Les Bleus’ 2-0 friendly win over Holland.
But the best part of all is the personalized endorsement by force-of-nature/Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who sent this tweet to Matuidi:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic @Ibra_official
Hey @MATUIDIBlaise I saw your goal last night. Magnifique. You must have been watching Zlatan in training. #DareToZlatan.
Yes. The hashtag is a vile construct and should be escewed by all right-thinking citizens of the world, but we should all Dare to Zlatan at least once a day.
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And finally, this from CBSSports’ Ken Berger on Adam Silver embracing his role as David Stern 2.0.
“There's been more public dialogue about what should change about how the NBA conducts its business in the first month of Silver's commissionership than there was in the previous decade or more under Stern.
In truth, it began before Stern's handoff to Silver even became official. A few months ago, for example, the idea of scrapping the draft lottery and replacing it with a predetermined draft wheel was floated. Recently, people took too seriously what was essentially a hypothetical discussion about what a 4-point line would look like in the NBA.”
That’s not all, though. Silver was asked by Berger about tanking, and Berger summarized:
“He oversimplified the idea of tanking by describing it as ‘losing games on purpose. And there's absolutely no evidence that any team in the NBA has ever lost a single game, or certainly in any time that I've been in the league, on purpose.’
“Then, Silver hit the nail on the head: ‘What you're referring to, I think, is rebuilding.’”
Dear Adam, as you know we like to help, so here’s a useful tidbit.
THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS.
Thank you. We’ll be here all week. At least until tomorrow, anyway. And don’t forget to Dare To Zlatan. No hashtag.