The best thing reporters can do at T-minus 10 days to the NFL draft is listen to all the people they trust and know that much of what they’re saying might be a best guess because so few people inside an organization (one, perhaps) truly know what that team is about to do in the draft. Do not be absolute about anything.
And maybe this is more along the lines of the closer you get to the draft, the more flaws everyone finds. But I can’t find anyone in the NFL who thinks there’s an Andrew Luck in this quarterback crop. That’s why the top of this draft will be so hard to pick, and will be so overwrought and over-thought both before and after the first round. “I don’t see Luck in this draft, and I don’t see Carson Wentz, who I liked a lot coming into the draft,” Saints coach Sean Payton said Saturday. He’s in the market for a passer. “I’d feel a little bit uneasy if I were at the top of this draft and I decided I had to have a quarterback. The pressure to get a quarterback is so great in this league, I get that. But we can’t create ’em. I wouldn’t be surprised if only one of these guys is left standing in four or five years, and if so, I’d guess it would be Sam Darnold.”
So here’s what I think, a week and a half before Roger Goodell steps to the podium inside his best friend Jerry Jones’s stadium in Arlington, Texas, and opens the 83rd draft by saying, “The Cleveland Browns are on the clock...”
Cleveland, picking first
GM John Dorsey has to have made a decision by now, and my gut feeling is it’s going to come down to a quarterback, Wyoming’s Josh Allen or USC’s Sam Darnold, with this pick. For the first three months of the college season, Dorsey scouted all players, knowing there was a good chance he’d be a GM in 2018. For the last four months, since being named the Cleveland GM, he’s known he had to know everything about every quarterback because he was likely to pick one with the first overall pick. If he’d seen six Baker Mayfield games before taking the Cleveland job, don’t you think he’s seen every game of the top five quarterbacks, and at least privately has decided who he favors by now? Dorsey is one of the most thorough personnel people I’ve met in the business. I’m not saying he has written a name on the card Goodell will read yet, because I’m sure Dorsey wants to hear out smart offensive minds who may differ—namely coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. I’m just saying I’d be surprised if deep down Dorsey didn’t know who he is picking.
So put me down for Allen or Darnold here, at least as of this morning.?
New York Giants, picking second (or trading)
I can’t say with certainty, but I believe GM Dave Gettleman has looked at the five top quarterbacks in this draft and found flaws in each one. Now, he may love one quarterback, even if it’s not a perfect one, and if he’s there at two, who knows? But those who know Gettleman believe he would not use the second pick in a draft on a flawed player, particularly when he has a quarterback who is healthy and has won two Super Bowls—though Eli Manning has not played well in recent years—and a quarterback he never got to see last year (rookie Davis Webb)—because of stupid Giants’ decision-making in the last month of a lost season. Gettleman has to look at this draft and think about two players:
• Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, the best back to come into the league in years. Think of Philly defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, even with Star Wars weaponry all over his depth chart, trying to defend Barkley, wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard and rising-star tight end Evan Engram, with a solid left tackle (Nate Solder) suddenly making Manning less vulnerable to a great pass-rush. Beckham is 25, Shepard 24, Engram 23, Barkley 21. That is pretty tempting.
• North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, a relentless edge rusher who could step in day one and be a good bookend for Olivier Vernon on the Giants’ front. There aren’t many college edge rushers who can play the run well and the pass superbly, but this stat from his college career says he can do just that: He exceeded 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in each of his last two college seasons.
I truly don’t know what the Giants will do, particularly if they’ve got a bright prospect like Darnold staring at them when their 10 minutes start April 26. But I don’t see Gettleman passing on two surer things over a quarterback he’s not at all sure about. I also would be surprised if Gettleman trades the pick with two franchise players on the board, but if the Bills offer three ones to come up, he’s going to have to think about it. I doubt he’d do it, because of what he said at the combine: “You’re drafting [at two] what you think is gonna be a Hall of Fame player. So you can’t get too cute about the whole thing.”
One final piece of intel: Gettleman was the Carolina GM for five drafts, between 2013 and ’17, and he never traded any of his five first-round picks. Only once did he trade one of his second-round picks, moving up 16 spots in the 2015 draft to snag wideout Devin Funchess. So there’s not much of a history there.
New York Jets, picking third
A quarterback. My gut is Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield, or the much-studied Josh Rosen. I’d probably lean toward Mayfield if he’s there, and he likely will be.
The one thing we know about this draft is at least two quarterbacks are going in the top three. After that, anyone’s guess.
Cleveland, picking fourth (or trading)
I think they’d trade only for a ransom, like three ones from Buffalo (at 12) or Miami (at 11), and that’s unlikely. Dorsey went to the Gettleman school. Don't trade a guy you project to be an annual All-Pro player (Chubb, Barkley or even Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson) when you’re trying to build a great team. The one X-factor here: If Darnold survives the first three picks, one of those mega-trades might pop up. I wouldn’t do it if I were Dorsey, and I had the chance to get a player like Chubb here.
Denver, picking fifth (or trading)
I’m told a few things about GM John Elway’s draft-night preference:
1. He’s very unlikely to trade up.
2. He doesn’t think Bradley Chubb will be available here (nor do I), but he also views Quenton Nelson as a long-time great guard who could anchor his offensive line for years.
3. He hasn’t given up on Paxton Lynch, and though there’s a quarterback he likes a lot here (my guess is Mayfield or Darnold), having Case Keenum in the house for two years makes the drafting of a quarterback in this draft a lower priority. And if Elway picks one, Lynch would be the Rocky Mountain version of Christian Hackenberg—living on borrowed time.
4. Per Albert Breer, the Broncos are also smitten with two other ideas: trading down, or replacing Aqib Talib with Ohio State star cornerback Denzel Ward.?
Indianapolis, picking sixth (or trading)
The Colts are not likely to trade down to 11 or 12, because their floor sounds like it’s a play-making linebacker like Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds. No way GM Chris Ballard could count on one of them being there at 11 or 12. There’s a chance, but it’s very possible they both go in the top 10; San Francisco and Oakland, picking ninth and 10th, could take them in succession. Ballard could have his eye on Ward, which would be understandable; the Colts were last in the NFL last season in passing yards per play, allowing a gaudy 7.33. But the Colts will be very interesting to watch when they’re on the clock. Ballard is the type of GM who has so many holes on his roster that he wants to be blown away.
Indy needs one of the top four quarterbacks to be there when it’s on the clock, so Miami or Buffalo would be tempted to pay a premium for the pick. For the Colts to consider moving from six to 11 or 12, I’m guessing the price would be that pick plus another first-rounder, plus a mid-round pick this year or next. Buffalo, for instance, might offer 12 and 22 in the first round this year, plus a third or fourth next year. That might be worth the risk for the Colts.
Two sides of the Reuben Foster story
Sometimes your best draft choices are the picks you don’t make.
The Saints were thinking that way last week, when San Francisco linebacker Reuben Foster—a target of New Orleans late in the 2017 first round—was charged with felony domestic violence. Authorities in California said Foster dragged his girlfriend by the hair, punched her in the head eight to 10 times, and punctured her ear drum. The 49ers are letting the legal system run its course, for now, but if the charges prove true, it’s hard to imagine Foster stays on the roster of a franchise with a recent history of sordid acts by prominent players.
Saints coach Sean Payton told me Saturday he thinks New Orleans still would have chosen Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd overall pick last April, even if the 49ers hadn’t jumped ahead of the Saints to grab the 31st overall pick, which was used on Foster. I was in the 49ers draft room last year, and the most dramatic point of the weekend was the Niners feeling they struck gold by stealing Foster from the Saints. Foster told the Niners—and later told me—that Payton was on the phone with Foster minutes before it was going to be the Saints’ choice and said the Saints were going to pick Foster. Foster also said Payton asked to speak to Foster’s girlfriend. According to Foster, Payton asked the girlfriend, “Are you going to be the guidance to be sure Reuben doesn’t get into trouble?”
Payton confirmed that, and said periodically over the years he asked a prospective player’s significant other if the Saints could count on her to help steer the player away from trouble.
“This was part of our fact-finding late in the round,” Payton said. “I hadn’t had a chance to meet his girlfriend during the pre-draft process, and we were still in the process of deciding. I think we were going to take Ramczyk anyway, but I wanted to talk to her about Reuben.”
Meanwhile, the Niners traded with Seattle to move to the 31st slot, picked Foster, and rejoiced at what they considered at the time was a big win for the franchise. Turns out it’s verging on being a huge loss for the franchise. But Payton had more of a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-us feeling Saturday than a feeling of spiking the football in the end zone because Foster went elsewhere. “It’s tragic, and it’s sad,” Payton said. “I just feel awful when those things happen.”
Avoiding Foster turned out to be the stroke of great fortune that helped GM Mickey Loomis, assistant GM Jeff Ireland and Payton have the franchise’s best draft since 2006 (Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Marques Colston). Here’s how good it was:
• Cornerback Marshon Lattimore (first round, 11th overall) was Pro Football Focus’ ninth-rated corner as a rookie.
• Ramczyk (first round, 32nd) was PFF’s number four tackle, and top-rated rookie.
• Safety Marcus Williams (second round, 42nd) was PFF’s top-rated rookie safety, and 12th-rated overall. “We had him with a low first-round grade,” Payton said. “If we got him low in the first round, that would have been fine with us.”
• But when they took Williams, Payton figured the skill player he wanted badly, Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, was gone. But when he was still available late in the second round, the Saints started working the phones, and dealt a 2018 second-round pick to the Niners to claim the 67th overall pick and the third pick in the third round. That netted Kamara, whose explosive burst helped overcome a slow start. Kamara was named the 2017 offensive rookie of the year.
• Nine picks after Kamara, the Saints used their own third-rounder to pick the poor man’s Foster, Florida weakside linebacker Alex Anzalone. They still have hopes for him to become a sideline-to-sideline playmaker, but Anzalone missed all but four games last season with an injury.
That’s the kind of draft that could keep the post-Drew Brees Saints strong contenders … assuming they find a quarterback to be a solid heir to Brees. It’s far and away the best draft any team had in 2017, and it’s a reminder how important off-field homework is on draft weekend. Whereas Foster had a shaky past, Ramczyk had zero zits on his résumé and was steady from the first practice. The Saints had five picks among the first 76 overall, and surely they should have gotten two or three good players out of that haul. But five—if Anzalone pans out? That’s one of the best drafts in recent years.
Deep down, the Niners can justify the Foster pick as swinging and missing for a potential franchise linebacker. But Lynch knows that now, with the recent spate of rap-sheet Niners, he’s got to pick Eagle Scouts. This franchise has erred with risky players once too often, and for a while, they’re going to have to pick totally clean players.
I’m hosting a benefit Wednesday night, and you’re invited
The bad news: It’ll cost you $500.
The good news: It’s for a great cause.
I’m on the board of New Jersey-based Write on Sports, which promotes writing, critical thinking and self-esteem in mostly at-risk middle-school students. The students are encouraged to become better writers by interviewing athletes and sports media people and writing stories about sports (which theoretically would interest them more than some other topics) in both after-school programs and in 11 summer camps.
Write on Sports is having a small dinner in a private room at the Yale Club in Manhattan on Wednesday night at 6. I’m hosting, along with Yale Club president Dev Gandhi, a fellow Write on Sports board member. Food will be good and wine better, and we’re going to talk the draft, the upcoming NFL season and anything else about football, sports and life you’d like to discuss. We’ve done this before, and it’s really fun.
Tickets are limited. If you’d like to come, email Shannon@writeonsports.org today and procure your spot at a fun event Wednesday night. Questions? Ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know $500 is steep, but this is going to be 2.5 hours of fun and grilling me. Please come.
Quotes of the Week
“I am highly frustrated and agitated. When you don’t have a big name—I played two years, and I wasn’t any good, and I couldn’t stay healthy—if you don’t have a Hall of Fame jacket it’s hard to get a high-level job calling games in our industry.”
—Mike Mayock, to SportsRadio 610 in Houston, on his feelings about not being considered for NFL game analyst jobs.
“I do believe there is another frontier for me beyond television.”
—Troy Aikman, to The Doomsday Podcast, hosted by Ed Werder and Matt Mosley.
Aikman, the former quarterback turned Fox analyst, is covering the draft for Fox for the first time, analyzing the quarterbacks. He went to pro days for Darnold and Allen, and said on the podcast that experience has amplified his continued interest in potentially running an NFL team in the future.
“My dearest Darcy, I can’t tell you how much joy and pride I have in the way you are living. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not proud of you.”
—Leroy Haugan, the father of Humboldt Broncos coach Darcy Haugan, telling SI’s Greg Bishop what he said to his son the night before the crash that took his life, and the lives of 15 others with the team. How happy Leroy Haugan must be that he was able to tell his son something so important before he died.
“I have my thoughts about it, because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn’t on the field. To tell you the truth, I don’t know why. I did ask, but I didn’t get any answers.”
—Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, now a Dolphin, to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, on the absence of Malcolm Butler in the 41–33 Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia.
Can a player come closer than Amendola just did to saying, “What the hell was Bill Belichick doing that night?” I don’t think so.
Dez Bryant Stats of the Week
Lots of hubbub about the Dallas Cowboys’ release of wide receiver Dez Bryant, who will be 30 years old this year and hasn’t been worth the big money he’s been making since he signed a huge contact in early 2015. A few points, numerically, back up my question about the Bryant cutting: What took the Cowboys so long?
Rishard Matthews has been a more productive NFL player over the past three years than Dez Bryant. Since opening day 2015:
If you want to scratch the 2015 season because Bryant missed seven games due to injury that year, let’s consider productivity after ’15.
Tyrell Williams and Jamison Crowder have more receiving yards than Bryant over the past two seasons. (Tyrell Williams. Hmmm. You’ve got to do a quick mind-bender there. Who’s he play for? Chargers.)
In all, 36 players have more catches than Bryant in 2016 and ’17 combined.
Bryant, per Pro Football Focus, led the NFL with 12 drops in 2017.
For an occasionally divisive guy like Bryant, I don’t understand the logic of bringing him back in 2018, his age-30 season, at $12.5 million. Seems like throwing good money after bad to me.
Factoid That May Interest Only Me
Dick Hammer, the late grandfather of Sam Darnold, once played the Marlboro Man in print ads and billboards across the United States.
The Marlboro Man is one of the most famous images in advertising history. Several ruggedly handsome men played the part in the seventies and eighties in the ads. They were shown smoking a Marlboro cigarette and wearing a Cowboy hat.
Tweets of the Week
It would be great if everyone in their mock drafts could make it clear if it's based on "what they think will happen" or what they believe "should happen". Will make it easy for me to avoid the former.— Neil Hornsby (@PFF_Neil) April 11, 2018
Mark Sanchez would seem to have a good case. Clearly no substance has enhanced his performance.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 13, 2018
Indelible image of a writer’s-blocked Bill Nack, pacing the halls of @SInow during the early 80s, and never afraid to share his insecurities: “Willie Mays used to bunt his way out of a slump. Maybe I should try writing Faces in the Crowd.” RIP, Sultan of Secretariat— Alexander Wolff (@alexander_wolff) April 15, 2018
Nack, one of the greatest writers and reporters in the history of the magazine, died last week
i had a long talk. with my fren. about how to spot. a fake ball throw. the optimal strategy. is to follow the ball. with your eyes. instead of your heart— Thoughts of Dog (@dog_feelings) January 27, 2018
I love Thoughts of Dog.
U slide in with ur spikes up and catch a piece, ur gonna get thrown at young fella. That’s how baseball works. It polices itself, whether people like it or not. That will never change. Love the spirit in both squads though. #Redsox/Yankees— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) April 12, 2018
Agreed. No defense of Joe Kelly plunking—I hate that eye-for-an-eye aspect of baseball—when Yankee first baseman Tyler Austin slides aggressively into second base, spikes up, and catches the meaty part of the shortstop’s leg, the shortstop is going to be ticked off, and rightfully so. The incredulous indignation of the Yankees about Boston’s reaction was humorous. If the spike were on the other foot, they’d have done the exact same thing.
From “The MMQB Podcast With Peter King,” available where you download podcasts.
This week’s conversations: I spoke with 10 coaches at the NFL meetings, asking all what they would say to a mom in Dubuque, Iowa, who wondered if she should let her son play football. I also spoke about other topics with new Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel.
• Kansas City coach Andy Reid on the value of football: “I think this game teaches you all the values of life. It’s a microcosm of life, and the way the rules are set now for injury, we’re taking the head part of it out of the game. It’s as safe as it’s ever been right now. These life values way overrule any of the injury. I think if you look at any sport, you’re vulnerable to being hurt, so I think it’s a whole different mindset, and we’re really getting to that point where it’s not about the injury anymore; it’s about this question that you’re asking me about the values you should learn through the sport that you have a chance to play. This one drives you to where you question, if I could take another step, physically, which leads into the mental toughness part of it, which leads to: I got knocked down, can I get back up? These are all things that help you in life, I think, during tough times, and there are all kinds of tough times in life.”
• New Orleans coach Sean Payton: “It teaches leadership. It teaches grit and overcoming adversity. Your buddies may be starting, and you might not be in the starting lineup—it happened to me as a high school junior—and you have those low moments, and you continue to practice, you continue to fight, and then you get those opportunities and you get success, and you realize it’s just like life. So I think it brings so much to the character and the building of a character of the individual. And it might be flag football to a certain age … I think the rewards far outweigh the negatives.”
• Vrabel on what he learned from his father, an Ohio high school basketball coach: “My first experience with seeing somebody coach was my dad. I was the ballboy and the manager and the scorekeeper for the varsity basketball team in Norton, Ohio, and my job was to basically, sometime between the first and second quarter, catch his sport coat as he threw it off as he was yelling at a referee. It would wrap around my head. I was probably about six, and that was my job to catch that sport coat and I’d hand it back to my mom and after that I just had to make sure that the players had water. So he was probably my first coaching influence, and I would go to practice and watch him.”
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the 2018 regular-season schedule is not done—it always comes down to a tight close the week before the draft—but my guess is the league would like to have it released late this week. My money’s on Thursday. Part of the reason for that is the NFL doesn’t want the schedule release to conflict with the draft next week, so they’ll work hard to get it done this week and maximize the spotlight on the schedule.
2. I think there are not a lot of bipartisan things our elected officials can agree on, but this should be one of them: honoring former New Orleans Saint and current ALS spokesman and beacon Steve Gleason with the United States Congressional Gold Medal. Democratic senators from Gleason’s home state of Washington and Republican senators from his adopted state of Louisiana co-sponsored the legislation, which must be approved by two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives to become law. Gleason, who is wheelchair-bound and communicates by using his eye with a special computer program, would be the 107th individual so honored by the House and Senate over the past century. Previous winners include the Dalai Lama, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Jesse Owens, John Wayne, Walt Disney, Jonas Salk, Thomas Edison and Charles Lindbergh. I talked to Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy about the Gleason nomination, which the senator made clear is more for his post-football work to help find a cure for ALS than for his football life, and making the crucial play—a blocked punt—in the first game the Saints played in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina nearly ruined the city.
The MMQB: Why Steve Gleason?
Cassidy: “When you meet Steve, you expect that you are going to feel sorry for him. Inspirational is overused, but it is exactly the right word for him. You walk away from him thinking, I need to do something more to help people with my life. His biggest legacy in life will not be blocking that punt in that first game back in the Superdome. His biggest legacy will be his selflessness and work against all odds in trying to cure ALS for people all over the world. We are dealing with legislators on both sides of the aisle, and with the NFL, Microsoft (makers of his communication software), the ALS community and the disability community to try to make this happen.”
The MMQB: Why now?
Cassidy: “I am a firm believer that we need beacons of hope in this country. We need heroes. In the midst of the opioid epidemic and of an economy that has not benefited everyone, we need to show people that things can get better. In the midst of a struggle, things can get better. We want to recognize someone who is iconic and almost catalytic is trying to understand and help a difficult situation. If we as a country are going to have empathy for those who are disabled, let’s show them someone who lives and breathes trying to find a solution to a major problem in our country.”
MMQB: Here’s a special-teams player who made an iconic play, and was recognized by the Saints with a statue outside the Superdome. And you nominated him more for his will to fight this disability.
Cassidy: “What is Steve’s motto? ‘No White Flags,’ right? We can use a little bit more of that attitude in our country right now. Steve can help us all see people with disabilities in a different and more hopeful light.”
3. I think, though his forte was the horses, Bill Nack, who died of cancer last week, could write anything with the best sportswriters of all time. Nack knew the horses so well I could have sworn he was on a first-name basis with Secretariat, perhaps the greatest thoroughbred of all time. Just read the first two paragraphs of his epic tribute to the fallen horse when he died at a Kentucky horse farm in 1989:
Just before noon the horse was led haltingly into a van next to the stallion barn, and there a concentrated barbiturate was injected into his jugular. Forty-five seconds later there was a crash as the stallion collapsed. His body was trucked immediately to Lexington, Ky., where Dr. Thomas Swerczek, a professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky, performed the necropsy. All of the horse’s vital organs were normal in size except for the heart.
“We were all shocked,” Swerczek said. “I’ve seen and done thousands of autopsies on horses, and nothing I’d ever seen compared to it. The heart of the average horse weighs about nine pounds. This was almost twice the average size, and a third larger than any equine heart I’d ever seen. And it wasn’t pathologically enlarged. All the chambers and the valves were normal. It was just larger. I think it told us why he was able to do what he did.”
Nack’s famous story is one of the greatest in the history of the magazine. Such a normal guy. You’d never know he was revered like few others in the history of our industry. The megastars loved him and felt fortunate to be in his presence. The youngsters and new writers learned how to act when you get to the top of the business—because Nack never big-timed them. The writing world will miss him.
4. I think I think the greatest sight of the week was Ryan Shazier exiting a golf cart without assistance Saturday on the field at the Ohio State spring game, standing without holding on to anything, and waving to an appreciative crowd. His recovery from a spinal injury, clearly, is going well. “It’s a good feeling to be on the field, but it hurts for a second,” he told Steelers.com. “I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone and sometimes when you are at the games, or in the moment, it kind of hurts dealing with my situation.” Understandable. But it doesn’t stop him, not for a moment.
5. I think the draft in Texas will have one particularly distinctive feature, which NFL director of special events Peter O’Reilly described for our Tim Rohan: “We’re taking a page from the political convention playbook, if you will, of creating team delegations, which we’re calling ‘The Inner Circle.’ So on the floor of the field of the draft, right in front of the stage, each team will have a delegation of 50 fans who will represent them. You’ll see them quite a bit during the draft coverage.” That’s an interesting concept. But I would wonder this: What do you do with the Rams delegation, which won’t have a pick on Thursday night, and won’t pick Friday night till late in the third round? Or Houston, which goes pick-less in rounds one and two? And the other team, Kansas City, with no picks in round one? Bring some coffee for them.
6. I think I can’t find a likely spot for Josh Rosen in the top six. Not saying there won’t be one—at all. The Jets could pick Rosen, and the Bills or Dolphins could trade up to do so. I just can’t find it right now.
7. I think, in light of the news that there’s been a roadblock toward disbursements of funds for players who qualify for money from the NFL’s $1-billion head-injury settlement fund, the judge and if needed, Roger Goodell, need to intervene immediately and get the money flowing—to the people and estates who clearly qualify.
8. I think, not to be pitiless to Mark Sanchez, but I don’t have any sympathy or empathy for someone who tests positive for a substance that is on the banned list. Sanchez, surprisingly, was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season. (He’s currently a free agent.) There’s only one way to have a rule and that is to suspend anyone who tests positive for performance-enhancer.
9. I think, after reading this story by Juliet Macur and John Branch of The New York Times about the abuse cheerleaders face in stadiums and in crowds and at appearances, I’d recommend three things:
a. Every time a cheerleader ventures out beyond secure boundaries like stadium sidelines, she should have some form of security official with her. Sending cheerleaders, for instance, to sell their cheerleader calendars out in parking lots or outside stadiums is a recipe for disaster. Sending cheerleaders to take photos with potentially inebriated fans is even worse.
b. Follow the idea of six NFL teams, such as the Giants and Steelers: Don’t have cheerleaders. I never go to a game in Pittsburgh and hear anyone say: “I wish we had scantily clad women on our sidelines yelling things no one can hear.”
c. Or do what the Packers do: Have college cheerleading squads—traditional cheerleaders from local schools—cheer at the games.
Truly: I’ve never heard fans say that cheerleaders make a significant difference in the fan experience at a game.
10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:
a. Editorial of the Week: by an old friend, editorial page editor Dave Krieger of the Boulder Daily Camera, on the dire straits a Boulder institution is in—and this paper is not alone.
b. Newspapers are important, folks. We need to help save them.
c. TV Story of the Week: from Fox 2 in Detroit, a ridiculous and pathetic example of where a part of our society is.
d. I agree with the sheriff: “It is just absurd that this happened.”
e. Happy 48th birthday to the first overall pick in the 1992 draft, defensive tackle Steve Emtman.
f. This would have been the 30th birthday of Joe McKnight, had he not been senselessly murdered in what appeared to be a road-rage incident. What a shame.
g. Coffeenerdness: Many questions about the ridiculous arrest of two African-American men in Philadelphia for the crime of waiting for a friend while not buying anything in a Starbucks. Is that really something that requires the police to be called? And to be arrested and held for eight hours for waiting for a friend in a coffee shop? No wonder so many people are so angry in this country.
h. Beernerdness: I’ve been a little down on IPAs recently, because I think one IPA tries to out-hop the next one. But last week, in the midst of my Sober April (OK, I broke it for this) the staff at The MMQB tried a bunch of Dallas beers—had no idea there were 96,000 of them—for a special NFL draft story on beers of Dallas. The best: Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Company of Dallas. Tremendous sharp flavor, with very slight citrus notes, and a nose to die for. Thanks, Community. The Mosaic IPA is a gem. (A couple pictures of the tasting here and here.)
i. Crazy enough that my team is 13-2. But look how down is up in MLB through Sunday night:
Boston 13-2 Mets 12-2 LA Angels of Anaheim 13-3 Pittsburgh 11-4 Arizona 11-4
j. Sure, I can see a Mickey Callaway-Alex Cora World Series.
The Adieu Haiku
My fair draft warning: Believe 1 in 50 things You hear in next week.
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