LSU’s Les Miles Alabama loss confirms he’s an idiot
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is reviled in New Orleans as the BP of sports executives, took a big step toward mollifying his critics last week. Or did he? On Friday, Goodell asked his former boss, Paul Tagliabue, to step into his old shoes and oversee the appeals of current and former Saints players in the Bountygate imbroglio.
We have all heard suggestions that we should take some time off now and then. And just as frequently, we usually thank the one who suggested it as we plow forward with whatever task, job or mission that consumes us. But the past two weeks have convinced me that a little time off isn't a bad thing.
Sure, the Saints came close on Sunday, losing by a point to the Packers in a game they could have won. Could have? They HAD it won, but for a holding call on Garrett Hartley's field goal in the fourth quarter that was called back. Hartley could not replicate the winner on his next chance, and the Saints lost again. But they had a better chance to win it earlier, and they did not because they did not heed something that is becoming abundantly clear to Saints watchers.
A Channel 6 sports reporter called last night to ask if I would comment on the legacy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the 10 pm news.
Jim W. Miller's New Orleans Saints blog column:
In the halcyon days of seven-day newspapers, I covered an NFL team that was usually out of contention for post-season honors by Thanksgiving. Sometimes by Halloween. As a practical matter, they were probably out of it by Labor Day, but their legions of loyal fans would not admit it as they went through the motions of masochism. After each loss, the ink-stained wretches of the press would dutifully ask the players about how they could continue to toil through another losing season even as they gave up their sugar plum dreams of post-season play and championship glory. The standard answer, which becomes a cliche to losing teams, is "we are playing for pride."
So let me get this newspaper thing straight. The Times-Picayune, our beloved local wipe, is cutting to three days a week because the print edition is losing money and most people get their news online anyway. But in a move that suggests they don't exactly believe that, the Baton Rouge Advocate announces it will soon offer home delivery to customers in New Orleans seven days per week. Then the T-P comes back and says it will open a Baton Rouge office of 16 people to "expand its focus" on the capitalcity while trimming staff at home.
It’s hard to measure disappointment, especially after upset losses in the first two games of an NFL season. No franchise expects to lose its first two games, no matter which rung of the ladder the pre-season experts have placed your team. But when you look at the Saints’ performances in two games they were expected to win, some things become abundantly clear.
So the Lord High Commissioner has agreed to meet with the four suspended players and hear their reasons why they should not be excommunicated from the realm for parts or all of the current season. In fairness, that opportunity was open to Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove since the suspensions were announced. But the elements of what makes them superb athletes - high emotion, a touch of arrogance and conviction in their own position - compelled them to walk out of such an opportunity. With Commissioner Roger Goodell's position softened by a three-judge appeals panel, he has opened the door once again and the players are going to walk through it, probably early next week.
Well, we got what we asked for. Now what? We all knew that once the games started, all the bad memories of the worst off-season in team history would be forgotten. Drew would start clicking with Graham and Colston, Ingram and Thomas would grab yards at will and Sproles would sashay in and out of puzzled defenders like a moth. After the touchdowns and the other team finally got the ball, Spags' new revitalized defense would stop the bad guys in their tracks, probably intercept a pass or strip a fumble and get the ball back for Drew.