Three points to consider, for Friday’s show, and/or general water cooler debate.
The departure of Terps defensive coordinator Don Brown last week seemed to come and go without a lot of fanfare. In this case it would seem that Terps fans have conceded the fact that turnabout is fair play.
Given the unceremonious, if not completely out of the blue exit by Terps new head football coach Randy Edsall from his previous post at the University of Connecticut shortly after their loss in the Fiesta Bowl at the hands of Oklahoma and considering the abrupt and unpopular ouster of Edsall’s predecessor Ralph Friedgen, the willingness of Brown to apparently stick around may have been considered surprising to some in the first place. More surprising however would have to be the quick turnabout he made on that decision to instead take the same post at the aforementioned University of Connecticut.
From Brown’s perspective, it may make sense to relocate back to New England and closer to his family, an opportunity that’s becoming more and more popular these days, evidenced also by Greg Mattison’s decision to leave his defensive coordinator post with the Ravens and accept the same position at the University of Michigan.
More than anything, it feels like a jab at Edsall and Terps’ athletic director Kevin Anderson by the school that both recently left high and dry in the estimation of some. That he at least waited until after National Signing Day to announce his decision may speak to a desire to cause as little disruption on his way out the door as possible, or a calculated attempt at leaving a number of recent signees disgruntled and feeling deceived. As if Anderson needed to provide any more fodder for the fans and press anxious to take him to task, some are advocating giving defensive recruits the chance to opt out of letters of intent if they feel slighted by Brown’s departure.
My guess is that whether he is being used as a pawn in this high stakes game of one-upmanship or not, Don Brown will likely have a fair share of success and therefore enjoyment during his time at Connecticut. Maybe it’s a case of right guy, wrong reason for UConn. Hopefully the Terps will find their right guy in Randy Shannon or someone else soon too.
Someone’s 0 Has Got to Go
In the fight game, when you hear that someone’s 0 has to go, it usually means the makings of an exciting fight, even though Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander did their best to disprove that notion last Saturday. And before I go any further, I should mention that it’s a great weekend on tap for fight fans too. Friday Night Fights is on ESPN and ShoBox on Showtime on Friday night, and then the first 2 fights in the Strikeforce Heavyweight MMA Tournament on Showtime on Saturday.
As for someone’s 0 having to go however, for that we’ll look to Sunday evening in the NBA. That’s because unless the Cleveland Cavaliers somehow manage to beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, they’ll be hosting the Washington Wizards while riding an NBA record 27-game losing streak. The Wizards will bring to Cleveland with them a 25-game road-losing streak to begin the season and are closing in on that dubious all-time record themselves, currently 29 by the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks. Thus, someone’s 0 has got to go. I’m betting it’ll be the Cavs who win it. They will after all be resting up at home, as the Wizards host San Antonio on Saturday before venturing to Cleveland the following day.
Maybe Wizards coach Flip Saunders will weigh his priorities, pick his battles, and rest his starters as much as possible against the Spurs on Saturday, as there’s little chance of beating them anyway. You might safely guess that both teams have been looking forward to this game for a while and have the date circled on their respective calendars. It may not be pageantry, but it should make for a spectacle worth watching anyway.
NBA’s Labor Fight Beginning to Take Shape Too
As the NFL and its fans prepare themselves for an extended lesson in labor law, it has seemingly been easy from the outside looking in to see that the league has been doing a more than credible job of building fodder this season with which they can attempt to drive negotiations and distract attention from the real monetary issues at the heart of the matter. For their part the players haven’t been doing themselves a lot of favors either, from the Albert Haynesworth saga in Washington to the Antonio Cromartie proclamations at season’s end, the players seem to have their fair share of issues to overcome, not the least of which is that they’re poised to do battle with possibly the best PR and marketing machine in America in the NFL and it’s owners.
On the NBA side of things, we might not be as prone to believe that the owners are nearly as savvy or capable in the spin and marketing departments as in the NFL, but again in this case, it seems that the players aren’t doing themselves any favors.
NFL players are getting the worst financial deal in all of the major American professional sports, yet still seem to garner little sympathy from the public as they are about to see those benefits even further lessened. For those who have grown weary of the outlandish salary climate in sports in general, look no further than the NBA, where matching up cap numbers drives every trade, trades are routinely pulled off only to see players bought out of their contracts by the acquiring team that didn’t want them in the first place and only included them in the deal to make the financials work, after which the players often go back and get more money by signing with the team that traded them in the first place. Look no further than the league where terrible players with outlandish salaries are seen as commodities only because those outlandish contracts are set to expire and the league where luxury taxes, salary exceptions and trade coupons are as much a part of the game as picks and rolls to flame your disdain for the excesses of professional sports.
Jerry Sloan’s surprising mid-season resignation due to his apparent inability to get along with or tolerate the tendencies of the team’s star player and one of the league’s premier point guards in Deron Williams, is just the latest in a chain of events that give clear indication to fans that the inmates are running the asylum in the NBA. From last summer’s “The Decision” and formation of the “Riley’s Angels” triumvirate in Miami, to the season long Carmelo-drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets, to rumors of another Big 3 in New York that may or may not include Chris Paul, all signs point to the fact that NBA owners have lost control of their game. Here’s betting that all of the aforementioned weighs heavily in driving public sentiment toward those owners as the NBA goes to collective bargaining. Add to that, the fact that they’ll likely have successful model to follow in watching how NFL owners get their deal done, and it’s tough to see the NBA’s owners losing this time around.