Chip Kelly gets fired? On a day off? Before the last game of the year? This ranks as the kind of absurd timing one normally associates with Mike White getting gassed on Christmas Eve.
But we know this much: To be the king, you have to either kill the king, or win so much that no other king can king you. If checkers analogies work, and they so rarely do. And for the moment, neither does he.
[NEWS: Eagles fire Chip Kelly]
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There are only eight business days before the 32 NFL planet-eaters . . . er, owners gather to determine what they intend to for, and more importantly, to four cities of football fans, and still nobody knows anything enough to say with any conviction. This is an amazing bit of secrecy in a league with more blabbermouths than a hall full of auctioneers on crank.
But hey, when you’re only dealing with fan bases in St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles, the process must be respected. At least that’s what FIFA always said.
St. Louis is trying to spackle together a $1.1 billion stadium plan whether the Rams stay or not and presented such to the NFL today on Deadline Day. That still has some hurdles, but is the only one out there since San Diego has been essentially spurned by the Chargers and Oakland has been broke to any stadium ideas for years now. So this entire process is down to whether Dean Spanos would consent to do business with Stan Kroenke as some NFL owners would like, and apparently he has resisted all efforts to find common ground with the Rams owner.
Though with secret-keepers like these, all bets are still good.
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By the way, there’s a story going around that ESPN wants the rights to organize and televise a debate between the five candidates for FIFA banker . . . er, president to replace Sepp Blatter. This would be the first known example of televised public vote-fixing and bribery ever, presumably on the theory that if ESPN is doing the bribing and everyone is getting the same amount no matter who they vote for, it isn’t necessarily legally actionable, but does keep their reaching-and-grasping muscles properly toned.
The theory is, of course, daft, not only because I just made it up, but also because these men and women are so skilled at the art of taking money that they could so even in zero-gravity while under alien attack, and have probably learned after the downfall of their colleagues how to be more camera-bashful when the bags are being exchanged.
Although watching Bob Ley and Andrew Jennings, the man whose decade-long investigative journalism started this particular ball rolling, on set together is solely worth the money ESPN will have to piss away on this quixotic effort.
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In other news-that-won’t-happen-because-money-is-involved, European track and field president Svein Arne Hansen does not expect Russia, whose athletes were banned after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report alleged widespread corruption and a state-sponsored drugs culture in a sporting superpower, to return to international competition in time for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
An IAAF (the world track and field governing body) inspection committee is due to visit Russia in January to oversee the country’s reform process and produce a report at the end of March, but Hansen told Athletics Weekly magazine, “For the moment they have to fulfill the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio. They must have a cultural change. They must get rid of all those people from before.”
Evidently this guy thinks Vladimir Putin is going to take 2016 off.
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DeMarcus Cousins got a game for his full-on snap at official Monty McCutchen, which you could have predicted, but the more interesting ejection Monday night was Gregg Popovich’s in San Antonio. After yelling repeatedly at, and being T’d up by, referee Lauren Holtkamp, and I quote, “call the goddamn foul,” he walked along the baseline to reinforce the point only to be ejected not by Holtkamp but by crew chief James Capers.
The reason this is better is because Popovich, ever the stern egalitarian, went after Holtkamp himself rather than, say, sending his assistant coach Becky Hammon to do the job. This means he really is gender-neutral, not only in hiring but in berating as well. I only wish Holtkamp had run him herself, and yelled, “Happy Holidays, Pop” as he walked off the floor, in true old-school officiating style.
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The 49ers face St. Louis Sunday, and the only reason that matters is because there is the chance that Rams teammates Chris Long and William Hayes may come to blows on the sidelines over dinosaurs.
They won’t, but they should, just for the entertainment of the 39,545 who shall be at The House That Jed Built Sunday. From Nick Wagoner of ESPN, Hayes plays at being a massive lizard-denier:
“Although it can often be hard to tell if Hayes is serious or joking, he vehemently protests that dinosaurs ever walked the earth. ‘He thinks archaeologists place bones underground like a parent would place Easter eggs,’ Long said. ‘They just planted them. It's some large conspiracy. He does not believe that dinosaurs ever existed and he thinks that mermaids are real. I love dinosaurs, so we have a big point of contention.’
“No, I don't believe dinosaurs existed,” Hayes said. “Not even a little bit. With these bones, it's crazy because man has never seen a dinosaur, we can agree on that, right? But we know exactly how to put these bones together? I believe there is more of a chance you will find a mermaid than you will a dinosaur because we find different species in the water all the time. I don't understand how (Long) just believes in dinosaurs. That's just crazy to me. We know they died. We know what a T-Rex eats? That don’t sound crazy to you? We have never seen a dinosaur before but we know exactly where every single rib (was) and which rib goes where. That's crazy to me.”
Ahh, but does he believe in the rulebook definition of a catch?
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And finally, the baseball Hall Of Fame ballots close Thursday. My vote for Arnold Rothstein remains alone. I think the Danes call this behavior “iconoclastic.”