Three topics for a rainy Saturday, none of which are remotely connected to the other.
Bounties — Do they exist? It reminds me of the scene from “A Few Good Men” when they were trying to determine if “code reds” still existed at Guantanamo Bay. Sure, code reds existed, but no one would admit to them. Do bounties still live and breathe in NFL locker rooms? Just from hearing Terrell Suggs and reading Brian Billick here at WNST.net, I’d have to say, “yes, they do…” After all, when one of the on-air announcers asked Suggs if they had a bounty out on Hines Ward, Suggs didn’t even bat an eye. He didn’t say, “bounty? huh, what’s that?” Or, “whoa, whoa, we like to hit hard and everything but bounty is the wrong word…” He jumped right in with both feet. Billick wrote about it at WNST.net as if it were fairly well known that bounties are part of the locker room culture. There are probably scenarios that exist in every sport that reward players for certain accomplishments during the course of a game. Back in my former life in the soccer business, I authorized cash pay-outs for team WINS, but never for anything other than that. I remember late in the ’93-94 season we had a big 2-game road trip late in the season and I gathered the players together before we left and said, “we’ll give $500 a man if we win both games this weekend…” In soccer, that equated to $10,000 I had to go ask the owner for (to him, that was a golf trip to Scotland…). In the NFL, $500 a man might not sound like a lot until it’s multiplied times 10 – as in, “if Jason Campbell doesn’t finish the game and we win, there’s $5,000 waiting in this bag for the guy who puts the finishing hit on him…” Suddenly, $5,000 in a bag looks pretty good, even when you’re making $2.1 million.
Bayhawks — I noticed in Bryan Powell’s blog that the Bayhawks are back (I didn’t know they were gone – or still here, actually) and set to play their games in Annapolis next season. It doesn’t matter. Just like professional outdoor soccer, professional outdoor lacrosse doesn’t work here. Don’t ask me why…if I knew why, I’d bottle it up and sell it to people and go on those golf trips to Scotland I referred to above. But outdoor lacrosse has NEVER worked in this market and neither has outdoor soccer. People PLAY outdoor lacrosse and outdoor soccer, but they don’t go watch it on the professional level. They can play professional outdoor lacrosse in any city they want, Annapolis, Ocean City, Baltimore, or Bel Air…and it won’t work. But people sure do play the game a lot in these parts.
Battered — Towson University just got run out of the gym – thrown out of the gym up in Durham, NH, losing 42-14 to the Wildcats. UNH had 4 TD’s in the air and the Tiger defensive backs were being treated for sun poisoining afterwards…insert the “from being burned too much” joke here. Sean Schaefer had a decent day (34-for-48 for 309 yards) but he threw more interceptions (2) than TD passes (1) and one of those picks was returned 75 yards for a TD in the first quarter. Towson (3-5, 1-3 in CAA) was clearly outplayed by a very good UNH squad (6-1, 3-1/CAA) but the Tigers did battle hard in the second half after New Hampshire ran out to a 35-7 halftime lead. Yes, the Wildcats didn’t play at first-team-strength in the second half, but the cheerleaders werent’ playing, either. In a season with few high notes, Gordy Combs can at least be pleased that his Tigers didn’t completely cave-in and lose 58-7 today. At halftime, that looked like a safe bet. The CAA is producing a high-level of (Division I AA) college football these days and Towson, clearly in rebuilding mode, looks like they’re lagging back a bit as the overall play of the league improves. But, with more scholarships offered in ’09 and ’10, the Tigers will be in a better position to compete with the big boys like James Madison, Villanova, Richmond and New Hampshire. The question, of course: WILL they compete?