Niblets from around the net for 4/11/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Niblets from around the net for 4/11/09


By Bill Smith

Updates on previous articles

Niblets for 4/4/09

As I wrote Rick Serritella, of, reported Southern California LBs Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing tested positive for steroids. I did verify the original report with another source. Cushing and his agent have both denied the report. Thus far, Cushing has not provided any proof of his claim. The official NFL report will be given to teams next week. Most likely it will be leaked.

Kentucky is no longer THE basketball power—GET OVER IT!

New coach John Calipari will have a couple of the best prospects back out of their commitment to Memphis and announce that they will follow Calipari. This still doesn’t change my opinion about the long term future of Ky basketball. Calipari is an outstanding coach and an excellent recruiter. Memphis fortunes will decline and Ky will be better. But long term the ACC will continue to be the center of basketball with the Big East second and the SEC in the dust of those two.

Several NFL QBs are in the frying pan.

The Sporting News had an article Thursday in their emailed sports paper SN Today listing 5 of my QB’s on the hot seat. I published my column on March 9th.

Home Court advantage is the road to a crown for LA or Cleveland.

The Cavs are still one game up on LA for home court advantage throughout the playoffs. To secure HCA the Cavs must beat Boston Sunday in Cleveland. They had a 2.5 game lead which was tossed away with a 2 game losing streak that included a loss to Washington. Thanks to a loss by LA last night, the Cavs are up by 1.5 games. I predict that these two teams will meet in the finals and whoever has HCA will win. I also predict that LeBron James will be the league MVP.

Owens going to Buffalo says most about the Bills

Terrell Owens finally showed up for the voluntary workouts. When asked about how he liked Buffalo, he said he loved it adding that Toronto was great. This is not a marriage made in Heaven.

Fresh Niblets:

Bills’ RB Lynch gets a 3 game suspension for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge.

It seems that the Commissioner is backing off his 0 tolerance policy. This could be an attempt to win favor with the NFLPA. If that is the case, it is a bad precedent. Fan support is a lot more important than giving the Union an Easter gift.

The player formerly known as Chad Johnson has his name accepted by the NFL.

The league officially but quietly accepted Chad’s name change to Ocho Cinco (85 in Spanish). Now the Bengals should change his number to 19.

French cycling officials complained that Lance Armstrong was uncooperative with a drug tester.

Armstrong asked the official to prove his credentials before taking the test. Now let me get this straight. A country that helped Saddam Hussein steal millions of dollars from the UN’s oil for food program despite a world wide embargo is complaining about having to prove credentials of a tester? That is what’s wrong with France. They planted trees along the major streets in Paris so that the German soldiers could march in the shade.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the NHL Playoffs.

After 9 years of total futility, IT’S ABOUT TIME! Now let’s see you get out of the first round.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: USC,College football,NFL draft,NFL,Cushing,College Basketball,Calipari,Kentucky Basketball,Sporting News,SportinG NEWS Today,NBA,Cavilers,Lakers,Home court advantage,Lynch,Johnson,Ocho Cinco,Hussein,France,Armstrong,NHL,Blue Jackets,playoffs

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/28/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday Niblets from around the net for 03/28/09


By Bill Smith

Best comment of the last 2 weeks:

Acai Burn’s comment on Don’t get too excited about a 3 team deal involving Jay Cutler and the Browns.

The Browns have two serviceable quarterbacks on the team at this time and to make a move at the qb position when they have other needs is a waste.

The problem is that in a three way deal, there is no way to compensate the Browns for the loss of Quinn. The Broncos will demand more than Quinn in return for Cutler. The question I posed boils down to where will the draft choice(s) for the Browns come from to compensate them for giving up Quinn?

Updates on previous columns:

Thoughts about the first 2 rounds of the NCAA Tournament. – CBS has done a little better job limiting the switches in games. The officials must be reading my site. There have been very few visits to the scoring table replay TV since I commented on the issue. The top seeded teams are still in control of the bracket although Xavier gave Pittsburgh a tough game on Thursday night. In my opinion a 3 winning over a 2 is not an upset. The quality of play was still way below average even in the games between 2nd and 3rd seeds. The experience of Missouri was too much for 2nd seed Memphis. The Missouri pressure cause both forced and unforced turnovers by the younger Memphis players. Shot selection is a totally unknown concept in college basketball today.

Owens going to Buffalo says most about the BillsOur favorite drama queen Terrell Owens did not report to the voluntary workouts in Buffalo. That is an indication that he is not overjoyed at being forced to sign with the NFL equivalent of Siberia. Supposedly, Coach Dick Jauron told TO it was alright to miss the workouts. However, TO has to earn the support of the Bills’ locker room. Avoiding workouts with the team is not the way to do that. The Bills’ organization is going to have to put TO on a VERY short leash.

Fresh Niblets:

The NFL is considering a developmental league. Given the current economic downturn, that would not be on the radar without the United Football League starting play in 09. Keep checking this site for updates on the UFL.

Curt Schilling retires. Schilling is a shoe and a bloody sock in for the Hall of Fame. While his regular season numbers are good, his performances in the playoffs and the World Series puts him in. The very best players want the ball when the season is on the line. He wanted it and was at his best in the biggest games.

Patrick White West Virginia QB refused to do WR drills at his pro day. The NFL scouts wanted to see White catch the ball and demonstrate his abilities at WR. White wants to play QB and given the number of teams in desperate need of a QB, I think he has a chance. He will probably be as good a wildcat formation QB as any in the league. But he has the chance to develop into a Mike Vick type QB without the dog fighting baggage.

The NCAA is investigating possible recruiting violations at Univ. of Connecticut. Coach Jim Calhoun was under fire for his reaction to questions by a reporter about his salary. This should add to the heat considerably. Although the player in question never played for UConn, the best way to defuse the issue is to win the championship.

Miguel Tejada sentenced for lying to Congress about steroids – Since it can’t seem to convict the users, the US Congress is going after those that refused to name names. Now, if we could just get those in Congress to admit their guilt for the housing and economic crisis, …

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones lifted the gag order on HC Wade Phillips for the owners meetings—Opps! – Phillips said it takes 4 years to tell if a HC can do the job. No Wade, we knew you were a dolt by the third game in your first HC job. You have been fired twice since then and should have been let go after last years disaster.

People wonder why Jones keeps Phillips as HC. Admittedly, trying to coach the Cowboys is like trying to herd cats—it just is not possible. It is not that Jones can’t see Phillips’ short comings. Phillips keeps his job by letting Jones call all the shots. The reason that Jimmy Jones and Bill Parcells are no longer in Dallas is they would not put up with Jones’ constant interference.

The Blue Jackets look like they are going to make the playoffs for the first time. It seems silly to play 82 game to find out which half of the league is not going to the playoffs. Even so, the CBJ have never made the post season. For fans of Columbus, all I can say is IT’S ABOUT TIME!

The Browns signed UFA alleged OT John St. Clair to a 3 year 9 mill contract. YUCK! St. Clair is a turnstile at tackle. If they play him at guard, he might be an adequate reserve. But at tackle, St. Clair has left more broken QB’s on the ground behind him than Mean Joe Greene.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Browns,Quinn,Cutler,Broncos. NFL,Draft,NFL Draft,UFL,United Football League,White,West Virginia,College football,QB,WR,Connecticut,Tejada,Steroids,Congress,Economic crisis,CBS,Officials,Phillips,Jones,Parcells,Blue Jackets,NHL,PLAYOFFS,St. Clair,Bills,Owens,TO,NCAA Tournament,College Basketball

TO: Owners of the NFL and NBA This is not the time to strike or lockout!

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Fryingpan Sports

TO: Owners of the NFL and NBA

This is not the time to strike or lockout!

By Bill Smith

There is a famous saying that those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is not correct in all cases. In the case of the NFL and the NBA that face expiration of player master contracts in the next couple of years, let me restate it.

“Those that fail to learn from history are just doomed!” Smith, 2009

Both the leagues must learn from the examples of the NHL and MLB how devastating strikes or lockouts can be to their survival.

The case of MLB in 1994

In 1993, MLB had a total attendance of 70,257,938 a 26 percent increase over 92 and the best in league history. In the 5 years from 83-88 the league had averaged an increase of 3.3 percent per year. From 89-93 the league enjoyed an average increase of 5.5 percent per year. Teams like Montreal that had struggled for years were starting to show improvement. The game seemed fine but according to both the players association and the owners the economics were not.

The owners had forced then MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent to resign in September 1992. They replaced him with an owner, Bud Selig.

The owners stated publicly the case for a salary cap similar to the one in the NFL. They claimed that small market teams would go bankrupt unless a salary cap and revenue sharing was implemented. The players distrusted the owners with good reason. The league had been found guilty of collusion and was forced to pay $280 million in reparations.

Despite President Clinton trying to intervene to prevent a strike, the two sides threw unrelated proposals back and forth doing more negotiating in the press than face to face. The players voted to strike and on Aug. 12, 1994 walked out. The rest of the season was lost including the World Series.

Attendance in 1995 which was 144 games instead of 162 was down 28% from 93. The total attendance did not recover to 1993 levels until 1998. The growth rate of 5.5 percent per year was not seen again. In fact the total growth between 1995 and 2005 was 6.6%.

We now know that the era of the live ball was being replace by the era of “juiced” ballplayer. After all that, the owners folded before they got a salary cap or any meaningful revenue sharing. Somehow the luxury tax does not replace either of those principles.

The case of the NHL

You may remember fondly the ESPN coverage of the NHL. Real hockey fans may remember less fondly the Fox coverage with glowing pucks and battling hockey robots. But at least that was coverage most people could see.

The agreement that ended the 94-95 lockout of players expired on Sept. 15, 2004. The owners led by Commissioner Gary Bettman wanted an agreement including salary structure linking player salaries to league revenues to provide cost certainty. From 2002, the league and the players association (NHLPA) negotiated. But failing to reach agreement, the owners locked out the players on Sept. 16, 2004.

To the surprise of no one, the NHLPA and executive director Bob Goodenow didn’t believe the league numbers and refused to budge on the “cost certainty” issue. Both sides tried to negotiate in the press but according to a poll of Canadian fans conducted by Ipsos-Reid, the owners were more successful than the players at getting their point across to the public. 52 percent of the fans blamed the players while only 21% blamed the owners. 17 percent said a pox on both of your houses.

The league lost the entire 2004-05 season but the agreement finally reached did not solve any of the problems and caused several others. Attendance, the life blood of the league went down following the second strike in 10 years and is still recovering in some markets. The biggest blow was the loss of the ESPN TV contract. Following the stoppage, ABC/ESPN passed on the opportunity to bid on covering the league.

The NHL had their 2008-09 all star weekend broadcast by their new network—Verses. I pay 80 dollars a month for Dish and Verses is not part of my package. Enough said.

My Advice:

If you are going to risk the future of the league with a strike or a lockout, make sure it is worth it. Stick it out as long as it takes to get what you need to survive.

The owners in the NFL can not survive with guaranteed player contracts. They must prevent that to make a lockout worth while. If the owners are not willing to stick together to get that done, forget the lockout, play 2 extra regular season games and do the deal with the players.

The NBA needs to either eliminate guaranteed contacts (not likely) or get a hard salary cap based on a % of total revenues of the league. If you’re not willing to do what it takes to get that from the players, forget the lockout.

While the players make great salaries, they will not stick together for an extended period. They need the income to support their life styles. The owners are lacking backbone as well. We will see who blinks first.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]


The NHL takes itself WAY too seriously.


Fryingpan Sports

The NHL takes itself WAY too seriously.

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: NHL, All star game, Vs Network, Blue Jackets

The NHL owners passed a rule to be implemented for the first time this season that if you are too injured to play in the mid season all star game, you will be suspended for the first game back in the regular season after that game.

Now, let’s be clear about the NHL. This is the league that brought us flaming puck. The league would be taken a lot more seriously if it actually was popular enough to get a TV contract. When your local team is shown on any channel on Dish network that has a number in the 400’s only when the girls field hockey team is not playing, you have no business getting snippy about your all star game. In central Ohio, we are really jazzed about the NHL. The league tells us in the next decade we will get an NHL team. So far, we have only a minor league team called the Blue Jackets.

When your all star game is on the Vs network, it will be watched by every player‘s mother and that is about it. Get some professional marketing so you can build up your ratings enough to get a real network to cover your games—including your all star game. Until then, don’t tell us that injured players that because they want to rest to help their team they can’t play in the next game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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