Happy Sunday, friends. Y'all remember White Boy Day, right? Of course you do; I think some of you are still mad at me about it. I have found it interesting how a middle-of-the-pack NFL RB - who tailed off late in the 2010 season due to overuse and led the league in fumbles while playing for a losing team - was voted the Madden coverboy. I have posited several times over the last few years that Hillis's wide popularity is largely due to the fact that he's very rare as a caucasian tailback. People get pissed at me for saying so, but I think all this stuff about "grit" and "blue collar" is code for "he looks like us, and we can relate to him."
I think that's fine, and that it doesn't in and of itself make anybody a racist. People of all ethnic groups tend to naturally identify with their own, and it's an instinct-driven defense mechanism. It's good that the world is consciously moving toward widespread racial tolerance, but it's a societal choice that we're making, and not something that happened naturally, in the sense of evolutionary biology.
So, I continue to believe that Hillis is massively popular because he's caucasian, and the majority of NFL fans are caucasian. I have tended to think that that popularity drove the voting victory for Hillis in appearing on the cover of Madden. It turns out that his race had little to do with his victory, at least in the final round of voting. I know some of you are thrilled, and feel vindicated by me telling you this. Last night, I learned how and why Hillis actually won, and I feel like I should share that information with you all, so that we all have the record straight.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Von Miller has stirred up a bit of controversy with a tattoo he got the other day - it's a band on his arm of Pac-Man, a slice of watermelon, a dollar sign, a fried chicken leg and a Pac-Man enemy/ghost. I can't say I'm totally equipped to write about this properly, but my first reaction is that Von didn't do himself a favor with this one. While I'd like to think Miller did this to make us think about stereotypes and reflect on race relations in American society, his Twitter stream makes it seems more like he didn't quite think it through. What are your thoughts?
The NFL lockout has given many teams an excuse to trim payroll. Cuts (or furloughs) for coaches and staff are reported to have hit the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaquars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Tampa Bay Bucs.
Greedy owners? Sure. Greedier than other teams that aren't cutting payroll? Perhaps.
The Denver Broncos are one of several teams who have said they won't be cutting back.
They should be lauded for the move, but not for some moral, ethical, or emotional argument. They should be lauded because it's smart business.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Many of you will recall former Denver backup QB Matt Mauck, best known for having guided LSU to a share of the 2003 National Championship with Southern Cal as a 24-year-old junior. What you may not remember is that Mauck, who spent three years in the Cubs organization before heading to LSU, was rumored to be considering dental school over his final year of eligibility and a possible NFL career. This turned out to be untrue, and Denver selected him in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft. Mauck did not appear in a game during his one year in Denver before spending three seasons with the Titans.
So why are we talking about Mauck today? Well, his story has come full circle - following his retirement from the NFL he headed to CU's dental school, from which he graduated last week - and Mauck will be returning to the Broncos as one of their team dentists. He will be working in their dental office and be on the sideline at the Big IF in case of player injuries. Rather than the more typical path of returning to football as a coach, Mauck has now gone from minor-league baseball player, to D-1 national champion, to backup NFL QB, to team dentist. Congratulations Matt, and welcome back!
My highly educated guess: one of them is the owners continuing to come down significantly from their original demand of taking another $1 billion off the top of player earnings. The players always believed this was an outrageous demand and the players were right.
Meanwhile, lawyers for the two sides appeared in St. Louis today before the Eighth Circuit to argue the validity of the lockout. According to Andrew Brandt, the tenor of the hearing was a direct contrast to that which was presided over by Judge Susan Nelson and resulted in the lockout injunction. Brandt writes that the two Republican-leaning judges appeared to be "empathetic to the Owners' argument" and expects they'll rule in the league's favor.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! In Woody's latest mailbag, he again makes the argument that Denver should sign Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams in free agency while listing a few alternatives including Ahmad Bradshaw of the G-Men. Interestingly, he says that it was Gary Kubiak who was most responsible for the Broncos having taken Terrell Davis back in 1995, not then-RBs coach Bobby Turner.
Paige also continues his burial of Knowshon, writing that the coaching staff is already convinced that Moreno "is not a big-time running back" and "doesn't have the skill set or the mind-set" to be one. It's interesting that Woody has consistently represented these opinions as belonging to the Broncos' brass. If Knowshon is as difficult a personality as Woodrow has made him out to be, perhaps the team feels the only/last way to get more out of the RB is to call him out in the local rag?
Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal has just tweeted the following:
The minnesota federal court has cancelled mediation set next week saying it is engaged in confidential settlement talks with the parties
Obviously we don't want to jump to any conclusions, but this is good news.
UPDATE 3:48PM ET - Liz Mullen has just shared Judge Boylan's order via Twitter:
Whereas, the Court has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions involving the above captioned matter it deems it appropriate to cancel the mediation session previously scheduled in Minneapolis for June 7 and June 8.
More to come...
Americans sure are a conflicted lot.
Perhaps it's our Puritan heritage mixed with a healthy dose of risk taking. After all, it requires a special type to flee religious persecution and immediately begin executing witches (good times!).
We've been battling our demons ever since.
Take sex, for instance. In 2004, we Americans collectively blew a gasket after seeing Janet Jackson's nipple during the Super Bowl. At the same time, the pornography industry outearned Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple,and Netflix combined. Gambling is another of our favorites. According to this research from Fairleigh Dickinson University, 53% of Americans oppose betting on college and pro sports, but 62% of these same Americans have gambled at a casino at least once.
The list goes on and on. Pick any topic, and it's likely Americans will have conflicted themselves in some manner.
Perhaps the biggest joke of them all is college athletics. Education and college athletics may be allowed on the same bus (or chartered jet), but education has to sit in the back.
This week, we were again reminded of this reality. Everyone's favorite grandfather in a sweater vest, Jim Tressel, resigned from Ohio State University.
UPDATE 2:30PM ET - The players and owners have released a brief joint statement which reads,
The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.
According to Judy Battista, the meetings actually commenced earlier in the week and that while Judge Boylan was present, he did not preside over the negotiations. Plus, the nature of the meetings were so secretive that several NFL owners were not made aware of them until after they had already begun.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Gray Caldwell looks back at the Denver coaches' comments at the dinner they hosted a few weeks ago for corporate sponsors and suiteholders. DC Dennis Allen spoke about using a simple and attacking defense disguised to seem more complex through multiple alignments and personnel groupings. Meanwhile, ST coordinator Jeff Rodgers is excited by the Broncos' draft class, as he sees seven fast players - the linebackers, safeties and tight ends - who should contribute to his unit's success right from the start. Rodgers also offered more praise for his specialists Matt Prater, Britton Colquitt and Lonie Paxton, while interestingly pointing to Eddie Royal as a return man. Obviously this is a bit of word-parsing speculation, but those of us who want to see Eddie's role be exclusive to offense may not get our wish.
OC Mike McCoy said new RT Orlando Franklin would help the Broncos' offense become more physical, and that the team would like to have the dual threats at running back that were a signature of John Fox's Carolina teams. To that end, Fox told of wanting to improve the offensive balance to help the Broncos become more effective in the red zone.