Refs try to rub it in, but this time Saints prevail
The first week of the NFL season has come and gone, and not much has changed. The Browns are still terrible, the Patriots are still dominating, we still have whack-jobs by the basketful, and game officials still shoot themselves in the foot, as we saw on Monday Night Football.
I’ve known quite a few owners of professional sports teams over the years. Like any cluster of human beings with similar interests, owners run the gamut from solid citizens to those who compel you to count your fingers after you shake their hand. I bring this up after Bob Kraft, owner of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, was charged last week with frequenting a massage parlor where, for the bargain price of $79 an hour, he apparently enjoyed the pleasures of ladies specially trained in pleasuring horny old men. For an even better bargain price of zero, local sporting fans are taking great pleasure in Kraft’s dilemma, only because it puts their favorite sports commissioner, Roger Goodell, in a precarious position.
The New Orleans Saints have been in operation for 51 years and have only delivered one Super Bowl championship to their faithful fans. Nevertheless, the most loyal fans in the world still bleed black and gold and are passionate about supporting their team. Maybe it was because of the fact the team was announced on All-Saints Day in 1966 but supporting the team has become a religious experience.
New Orleans Saints fans and practically the whole state of Louisiana are up in arms. And for good reason. It’s become the most talked about call in the history of NFL football. Simply put-the Saints got robbed.
It’s the end of the college football season with Clemson taking a resounding victory over favored Alabama. The year also produced a financial bonanza for top tier football schools all over the country. ESPN has paid some 7 billion dollars for the rights to telecast just seven games a year over the next 12 years. Television revenue has doubled for major college football programs over last year. Stadiums are expanding and ticket sales are at an all-time high. So let’s ask this question-is it all about the money?
The Saints have never been here before after nine games, and I am not talking about wins and losses. Their current 8-1 record stands second to the 9-0 start run off by the eventual Super Bowl champions in 2009, but that’s not the HERE I am talking about. At this point of the season, no Saints player has been the leading candidate for NFL Most Valuable Player. Not even during the magical Super Bowl year was QB Drew Brees given as much consideration for the honor as previous winners Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
A new NFL season started last night, and there were more misguided National Anthem protests. Sadly, last night, several players used the opportunity to express their grievances against the country, instead of respecting a great symbol of the United States.
Last night, two players on the Miami Dolphins team knelt while another one raised his fist in protest. Another two members of the Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists.In Jacksonville, four members of the Jaguars stayed in the locker room while the National Anthem was played.
The Times Picayune reported last week that the New Orleans Saints may ask the state to pay for a $350 million upgrade to the Superdome before the 2024 Super bowl. That’s a huge taxpayer commitment for a state that can’t even fund education at all levels and basic healthcare for hundreds of thousands of its citizens. So how should any upgrade be paid for?
After a year of needless controversy concerning player protests of the National Anthem, the NFL finally decided to act. At the owners meeting this week, a decision was made to require players to stand at attention during the National Anthem if they are on the playing field. Otherwise, players will be given the option to remain in the locker room. If players show disrespect during the National Anthem by sitting or kneeling, their team will be fined by the NFL.