Busy few days in sports, if you've not been paying attention.
The Dallas Cowboys, who were thought to have at least a shot of being the first professional football team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium (this season's version will take place in the mega-Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX), instead have posted a 1-7 record and yesterday bade farewell to Wade Phillips as their head coach. Phillips' pedigree indicates that he's a talented football coach, having successfully coordinated defensive units in Denver, San Diego and elsewhere. But he's never translated that to head coaching success, at least not to the extent that he's one of those coaches who everyone reveres. One sports pundit observed some time ago that he resembles "the guy who delivers your mail," but being an ordinary-looking and, by all reports, an exceedingly nice guy didn't serve him well trying to form a team of the players acquired by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The job now goes to Jason Garrett, who just a couple of years ago was turning down head coaching jobs elsewhere to stay and be an informal "coach-in-waiting" in Dallas. Good luck, Jason, you're going to need it.
I'm not sure what to make of the sudden attention to all of the helmet-to-helmet hits in the NFL, either. This isn't exactly new, but I guess that there's more understanding of the nature of concussions and their lingering aftereffects. Concussions forced Steve Young and Troy Aikman out of football, if I remember right, and they're just two of the more visible victims. Anyway, I'm glad that there's more being done, but the best thing that could happen is to SUSPEND, not fine, the offending parties, and their forfeited pay being donated to entities that specialize in research on brain injuries. Commission Goodell, I'm available for consultations.
ESPN announced yesterday that they were parting company with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, who had been the primary announcers for their Sunday Night Baseball franchise for over twenty years. Miller's a real pro, and wonderful to listen to whether on TV or radio (I hear him occasionally as the voice of the San Francisco Giants via XM Satellite Radio). Morgan, though, wore thin some time ago, at least for me. He's an intelligent and informed observer of baseball, no doubt, but he suffers from an apparent excess of ego, feeling the need to explain the simplest things repeatedly until driving a relatively knowledgeable fan elsewhere. He's become somewhat active with the Reds over the past couple of years, so perhaps he'll find a role that suits him.
And it looks like the bandwagon against Auburn's breakout quarterback star Cameron Newton is gaining size and speed. On the heels of implications that someone was shopping this young man to various universities in expectation of receiving payment from the successful school, last night the news broke that he was apparently on the verge of expulsion at the University of Florida for academic infractions. I don't know how true any of this is, but it's kind of unfair. Newton almost singlehandedly defeated my Kentucky Wildcats and their furious comeback, so I have a fair respect for his athletic prowess, and you just know that none of this would matter if he weren't having such a good season on the field.
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