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Should the New UFL Compete with the NFL or Complement it?

From what I understand (and it seems pretty obvious) the backers of the United Football League think there’s enough demand in this country for professional football that a second league could be successful. I know NFL Europe was canceled for being a bust and that the USFL didn’t make it, but maybe there’s room for the UFL. From what I understand based on brief research, the USFL posed a strong threat to the NFL but their ultimate goal was to merge the leagues in order to profit on the increase in franchise values. Their lawsuit didn’t work out and the league disbanded. So here’s my question to you: would you care for a second professional football league in this country? (and I don’t consider the Arena League competition). Should they compete using a fall schedule (and play on Thursdays and Fridays like they’re scheduled to do), go up against baseball during the summer, or play during the fall and serve as a minor league-type operation for the NFL?

I think bringing in coaches like Dennis Green, Jim Haslett, and Jim Fassel for three of the four UFL franchises (Ted Cottrell is the other), provides instantaneous credibility to the league. That’s enough to get my attention and make me think the league is for real. Imagine if they land someone like Michael Vick, too, how could we not pay attention? I don’t know if it would work, but I believe a pro football league like the UFL could work during the summertime, competing with baseball and ending before the NFL season starts. Is there enough of a market out there for another league in addition to the NFL? Should they try to compete with the NFL’s popularity or supplement them as a minor league system? Oh yeah, and if you haven’t already, please locate Versus on your cable network because that will be your home for all UFL action.

Terrell Owens Sounds Thrilled to be in Buffalo … Not

Forgive me for that lame reference — I just saw Wayne’s World the other day for the first time in forever. Much like Jonathan Papelbon, one of the nice things about Terrell Owens is that he’s accessible to the media for the most part. He did a station in Buffalo the favor of joining their radio show (Shredd and Ragan on WEDG). What does he get for that nice gesture? Scrutinized for his attitude in the interview. Sports Radio Interviews has the audio and even transcribed the interesting piece.

What did you think when your agent said Buffalo?

(7 second pause followed by TO repeating question, followed by four more seconds of dead air) “At that point in time I was just going up there to have a meeting and I thought that was just going to be the start of the process of trying to find me a team. From that standpoint, once I got there I was very excited with the coaching staff, I met with the head coach and one thing kind of just happened after another.”

First of all, the pause wasn’t seven seconds at the beginning, it was only a few. But if you listen to the audio you definitely get the sense that T.O. has an apathetic attitude towards being in Buffalo. Even when asked about his plans for touchdown celebrations he seemed disinterested. Maybe things happened so quickly that his head is spinning and he doesn’t know what to say yet. Think about it — three days after the shocking news broke, he already had a new team. One that is the antithesis of glamor in the NFL. I guess you can’t blame a guy from being down after being cut from a team he enjoyed to going to a team that hasn’t seen excitement in over 10 years. If I had to sum up T.O.’s attitude to being in Buffalo based on this interview, I’d definitely say he seems apathetic. For Buffalo’s sake, you have to hope that turns around come training camp.

(via Sports by Brooks)

Matt Jones Continues to Impress

Matt Jones is working his way up to Pacman Jones status here at LBS. Hopefully he’s got enough in him to keep this fire fueled for a few more years. First the Jags bust of a wide receiver got caught chopping lines of cocaine in his car along with some friends in Fayetteville last year. It bothered me that he was able to escape penalty under the league’s personal conduct policy until the final weeks of the season, at which point the Jags were already eliminated from playoff contention. Anyway, fast forward to the present day where Jones was busted for drinking alcohol (a few beers on a golf course with friends), which apparently is a violation of his drug program for the coke arrest. Best part is the way the judge laid down the law:

[Judge Gunn] said, “why in the world would you drink beer on the golf course when your future’s at stake? And let me tell you why your future’s at stake. Everybody’s is, but your playing field time is smaller than my career. I could practice law for 50 years, hopefully, but you can’t play football for 50 years. You have more to lose and you have to respect that. I have not seen you be anything but respectful in this program, and man! It’s you, it’s not us! You either work it or you don’t. You didn’t. You’ve got a choice. Stick around and find out what Matt’s going to say. But you’re going to go to jail for a week, Matt, or you’re going to go to residential treatment for 6 weeks, and you know what? You may need both! You’ve been 100% on everything the NFL’s asked, and everything that we’ve asked. Except this; court’s in recess!”

That judge made Matt Jones her bitch! She owned him in court, no doubt. According to them, he’s on $150,000 bail, but could still wind up missing some offseason activities if he’s in a residential treatment program. Between Jones, Reggie Williams (now a free agent), and Jerry Porter’s million bucks a catch, the Jags need a new receiver. Badly.

Pacman Jones Gets Into Fight During Pros vs. Joes TV Show Taping

Pacman Jones WrestlingConsidering no NFL teams have shown interest in him, I’m surprised Pacman Jones hasn’t gone back to TNA wrestling for a second spin as “The Lap Dance Man.” Maybe the paychecks doing the turnbuckle thing weren’t quite cutting it for Pac. Anyway, I guess he’s still trying to stay in football shape, and he’s been doing it by participating in Spike TV’s Pros vs. Joes show (they’re clearly using the term “pro” lightly). Naturally, since trouble and Pacman Jones are like synonyms, you could guess what happened on set. From PFT:

According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, who attended one of the sessions, Pacman and one of the “Joes” got into a fight … The hit came from Dan Adams, a former linebacker at Holy Cross who once made 21 tackles in a single game. Pacman had been calling Adams “Waterboy.” A few minutes after the hit, the two started punching each other, and they had to be separated.

“He hit me 10 yards out of bounds, kind of a cheap shot,” Adams said. “I couldn’t sit there and not retaliate. You’ve got to have some pride and dignity.”

Clearly, because nobody would ever want to be outclassed by Pacman Jones. Now I wonder if Roger Goodell will find a way to suspend Pacman for this one. Do you think this could be held against the player formerly known as Adam regarding the personal conduct policy should Pac make a return to the league? I’d say the odds are fair.

Is This the End of the Road for ‘The Player?’ Who Will Dare Sign Him?

Word came down late Wednesday night, and kudos to the boys at ESPN for picking this one up, that Terrell Owens would be released by the Cowboys. I guess it’s fair to say that Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Jason Garrett, Roy Williams, et al won the battle now that “the player” has finally been released. I’m sure it was a tough move for Jerruh to make considering the amount of money and emotion he invested in TO the player.

I know a lot of people would like to say that this will solve the ‘Boys problems and that T.O. was the problem, but I’m not so sure about that. The team was 13-3 two years ago and looking very strong. They just happened to get beat by a Giants team that went on to win the Super Bowl. This year, it was a combination of Romo’s pinkie injury and their difficult schedule down the stretch that did them in. Honestly, I will not call the T.O. project a failure — I really don’t think the Cowboys failed all things considered. I think they were actually successful with TO and that he played pretty darn well. Had Romo not been injured (or had they a better backup) they would have made the playoffs and a lot of problems would have been solved. It also didn’t help that ESPN made it their personal goal to break apart the team, either.

Now, onto larger issues moving forward, is this the end of the road for The Player? Would any team take a chance on him? Regardless of how he is as a teammate or performer on the field, the biggest downside is that the guy’s a walking effing circus. Seriously, he’s like an ESPN and media magnet, so no matter where he goes, what he does, or what he says, the locker room will already be a freaking calamity. The guy’s certainly a good enough player to be a difference-maker on any team, but there isn’t much denying that it’s just not worth it for a team serious about winning. Now a team just looking for headlines or one that doesn’t care because they’ve stunk, Owens would be fine. Attention Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders: it’s your move.

Kurt Warner Actually Says God Told Him to Sign with Arizona

When I first called for the Cardinals to stop screwing around and get Kurt Warner signed already, we joked around that the lord had told him he deserved a raise and that he should use the 49ers for leverage. Well, turns out we weren’t too far from the truth. Check out this beauty that Warner unloaded in his press conference on Wednesday regarding his visit with the Niners and ultimate choice to re-sign with the Cardinals:

“[My family] didn’t want to close a door if God wanted it open. So that’s what we went into it with — ‘where does God want us, that’s where we’re going to be. No matter what the money is or what the situation, that’s where we want do be.’ Very early in the process in San Francisco, as many good things that are out there, I just knew very quickly that [Arizona] is where I was supposed to be. I told my wife probably 45 minutes into that I felt God say ‘you’re supposed to be in Arizona’.”

It’s really a shame that God didn’t tell Kurt to hold out for a few months until the Cardinals paid him what he was worth, because that’s really what would have been fair. Why was the lord siding with the cheapskate Bidwells on this one? Why didn’t God send the Bidwells a message in their sleep to pay Warner the fair amount of $29 million instead of $23 million? One other tidbit I’d like to add is that I’m pleased Warner called his agent and told the agent to get a deal done with the Cardinals, no playing games. A lot of players lose sight of the fact that the agents work for them and should do what the player tells them. Often times agents give players bad advice. Just see Ramirez, Manny.

So Was the Matt Cassel/Mike Vrabel Trade an Inside Job or What?

I think it’s been pretty firmly established that the Patriots, especially under Bill Belichick, are one of the shrewdest organizations in the NFL. They’ve been known to pull off great deals and bring players in for below market value. Keeping in mind that their GM Scott Pioli left for Kansas City and that he could have been the “brains” behind many intelligent moves, how is it that the Chiefs only gave up the 34th overall pick in the draft to acquire QB Matt Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel? I’ve been searching and searching for the answer and I’ve heard many possible responses, most of which sounded bogus. For instance, I’m not buying that the Patriots value an early second round pick more than they do a mid-first round pick. Something more plausible is that Vrabel actually brought down the value of the trade and that the Pats were just looking to dump his salary.

Maybe the best explanation for what appears to be a fleecing by the Chiefs, especially now that we’ve heard the Bucs and Broncos were working on a three-way deal that would have sent the Pats a 1st and 3rd round pick, is that Belichick already had a deal in place with Pioli before anyone else stepped up. Peter King at SI says nobody offered a first-round pick for Cassel this offseason, so Belichick in turn asked for an early second from KC and received it. It wasn’t until after that point that the other teams came calling with their more appealing packages. Also, because Cassel was only signed through the upcoming season, teams could have been afraid to give away too much for someone they might only have one season which also makes sense. Well, I’m going to trust for the moment that this was a fair deal. If someone has any better ideas as to what’s going on here, I’m all ears.