Well, I thought my next sports blog would be about the horrible officiating that is going on in sports today, and what are some of the solutions. However, it has been a wild and crazy week in sports, both on and off the field. In baseball, the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers have become major players in the free agent market, while the Yankees and Dodgers just sit on their hands. Two major college football programs had their football coaches leave within just a few days of each other. The college football playoffs came into focus this week with the committee possibly having a rough session this Sunday. Who cares what they say tonight? Pro football is showing what mediocrity is all about. Finally, at 12 midnight tonight baseball may have a lockout. A lot of head shaking things, going on right now, in the world of sports.
Let’s take a look at baseball first, since they may have the first work stoppage since 1994. The free agent market is in a frenzy, since it is very possible all signings and deals, will be frozen, if there is a lockout. The free agent activity is not surprising, but what is surprising, is who, and who is not participating. The Yankees and Dodgers, the two richest teams out there, are laying low at this point, and have not had any significant signings. They may be thinking, that a new agreement may be more harmful to them than other teams, so they are taking a wait see attitude, until the new agreement is made. It may not be made tonight, but it will be made. There is no sense going through all the issues, but it will be interesting to see how many changes there will really be. The possibilities include, expanded playoffs, lowering the luxury tax, establishing a minimal payroll, eligibility for free agency, universal DH, and where extra money is being distributed, among other things. Obviously, not all teams were thinking like the Dodgers and the Yankees. The Mets were heavy into free agent signings, but that was not surprising. However, the Texas Rangers signed Corey Seager and Marcus Semien for over 500 million dollars, and the Detroit Tigers signed Javier Baez for 6 years and 145 million. Wow! Wonder how that is going to turn out? Meanwhile, if there is a lockout, there are lots of free agents, that are going to have to wait for their big pay day. Even though I think there probably will be a lock out, I do not think it will be a long one. It should be over by the first of the year. Baseball is as financially sound as it has ever been, and it would be hard to believe that either side would take the risk of a long labor dispute. You never know though, each side has a general dislike of one another, and you don’t know how petty these men can be. A strike by millionaires is always interesting.
In the last few days both Oklahoma and Notre Dame fired their head coaches. That’s what Notre Dame and Oklahoma wish they could say. They have said that many times in the past. No, this time the head coaches left on their own. There is no question, Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame for LSU is the bigger shocker of the two. Let’s face it, nobody leaves Notre Dame, unless they are quitting coaching. I am sure the real reason will never be known, but up to a point, it has to do something with the pressure of being the head coach of Notre Dame. Not that there is not pressure in any big-time college head coaching job, but Notre Dame is definitely unique. No matter how you slice it, even though Kelly is making more money, the LSU job is a less prestigious job. Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma is not quite as shocking, and you would say his move is at least unilateral. He is taking over a program with lots of problems, and not a great track record over the last 5 years. Maybe the move to the SEC has him thinking, that Oklahoma will not do all that well, but the move is not until 2025. For whatever reason, two major college football powers lost their head coaches, and they could do nothing about it. What’s even worse for Notre Dame, is they could make the College Football Playoffs without their current head coach. This Sunday the decision will be made by the buffoons of the committee to pick the final four teams for the College Football Playoff. This committee has always been fortunate in the past. When the 4th pick has been controversial, the 4th pick has gone on to win the National Title. The conference Championship games have usually gone as predicted. Wouldn’t it be nice to see total chaos this coming weekend, and to see the committee really have to make some hard decisions, to come up with the four teams. All I can say is, I will really be rooting for the underdog this weekend, and can’t wait for Sunday. This would be a great scenario. Georgia, Iowa, Utah, Houston, and Baylor all win. Do you think that would move up expanded playoffs? Who’s in?
Then there is the NFL. Could it be any worse? Let me count the ways. In the NFC there are only 6 teams above .500. In the AFC no team has won more than 8 games. This past weekend there were 15 games and in 5 of them no team scored more than 21 points. The king of parody Pete Rozelle must be smiling down from above on this NFL season. In this case, parody can be synonymous with mediocrity. The NFL has always been this way to some degree. There have been teams make the playoffs with below .500 records or just at .500. But this year the league is turning it into an art form. Every team can beat any other team every week with the exciting score of 17 to 15. Well almost every team, there is the Detroit Lions, who lost another yawner 16-14 on Thanksgiving Day. Pro football has deteriorated into a comedy of errors. False start and holding is the most used words on any Pro Football telecast. That’s the hard part of football, everybody has to be on the same page. It is truly a team sport. It seems to rarely happen in Pro ball any more. Players run one way, the quarterback thinks he is stopping. When a team scores it is because of blown coverage. Thank God, or nobody would be scoring at all. The funny thing is, I don’t see any solution to this problem of boring football. It seems like it is just too ingrained in the sport. The players are mediocre, the officials are mediocre, and the coaches are mediocre. The best thing the NFL could do is go on strike. The only good thing I see in this, the NFL could be a cure for insomnia. A draft, salary cap, and a schedule based on the previous season record, the perfect socialistic league, SFL. No wonder they are thinking of playing more games in Europe.