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Brackets, WBC, and NFL

Mar 20, 2013 -- 2:04pm

 

You’re grinding over your bracket. You feel lost. You don’t know James Madison from Dolly Madison. Where in the hell is Florida Gulf Coast? What is an Iona? Is Valpo a dog food brand?

Relax. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re part of the vast majority. First, millions of people who watch little or no college basketball during the season fill out brackets. It has become as American as apple pie and food stamps. Second, even the honest experts will admit it is a crapshoot.

I offer these suggestions in filling out your bracket:

  1. If you don’t recognize the name of a school, don’t pick it to win.
  2. Flip a coin.
  3. Go with the teams that wear your favorite colors.
  4. Ask that know-it-all friend and pick opposite of him.

If you’re still confused, pick the lowest seeded teams to win. There aren’t nearly as many upsets as we're led to believe.

*****

The World Baseball Championship hardly created a ripple in the USA. Fans didn’t care, the media all but ignored it in most markets and most Major League stars opted not to participate. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big deal. A very big deal.

Throughout the Hispanic world the fans were passionate, the TV audiences were huge, and media coverage was extensive and the players – many MLB stars -- embraced it. The same was true in Japan.

The WBC was created to make baseball more of a global sport. It succeeded. In fact, the WBC may have succeeded too well for American baseball. Hispanic players already are on the verge of dominating Major League baseball. The invasion of Japanese players continues to grow.

Thanks to the WBC, more youngsters in those countries now aspire to play in the majors.

Meanwhile, American youngsters and their parents were too busy worrying about NFL free agency and the upcoming NFL draft.
Oh well.
*****

I think most football fans understand the importance of player safety. And I think most of us understand how the game has changed – including from a financial aspect -- and how much bigger and faster today’s players are than they were just 25 years ago.

And still as rules were put in to protect quarterbacks we joked about putting skirts on them. And we’ve all chuckled and talked about the game turning into flag football instead of tackle football.

But is there a danger of the decision-makers going too far? NFL owners meeting this week are talking about making it illegal for RUNNING BACKS to lead with their helmets. These are the guys who take the most punishment. Now they’re supposed to run with their heads up and take more of a beating?

What would Bronko Nagurski and Marion Motley think? With this rule in place we’d have never heard of Larry Csonka, Jim Taylor, Earl Campbell and Alan Ameche and many other great power backs.

If the rule is made I guess 3rd-and-1 becomes another passing down. 

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