Conventional Wisdom Scoffs at NFL in London. Why?

Americans understand the English.  Bob Glauber rode the tube two years ago.  Dan Shaughnessy can unleash an arsenal of ethnic stereotypes.  Greg Walsh knows his “tea and crumpets.”  With our perfect knowledge, we know an NFL franchise will never work in London.  We just know.  It’s obvious.  Why bother to analyze it?

There’s a common element to this type of ungrounded, conventional wisdom.  It’s stupid.

Continued at The Big Lead


Review of “The Band That Wouldn’t Die”

3162247592_9f9f08b016ESPN premiered The Band That Wouldn’t Die last night, the second of their 30 for 30 documentaries.  Barry Levinson, the director of Rain Man, told the story of the Baltimore Colts leaving for Indianapolis through the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band, who stayed together during the 12-year interim before the Ravens arrived.  The film was compassionate, well-shot and brilliant.

Continued at The Big Lead

Don’t Be a Sucker and Pick The Lions This Weekend

zornThe Redskins had a bad week.  The fallout has been rough.  A rookie linebacker was a dimwit.  Jim Zorn may be in trouble.  Morale is low.  Washington scored just nine points at home last weekend.  That said, they still did something the Lions have not done in nearly two years, win.

Inspired by Washington’s troubles, Pro-Lions sentiment has been simmering.  The Redskins expect a challenge.  The Lions “have a chance.”  They may even pull off “an upset.”  They won’t.

Continued at The Big Lead

The NFL Should Examine Startling Number of Domestic Violence Arrests

james-harrison-white-house-dog-attackNFL arrests are endemic.  According to a database maintained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, there have been 458 NFL arrests since 2000.  Puritans that we are, we  target widespread sins such as strip clubs and casual drug use, but this focus obscures a greater problem for the NFL, domestic violence.

Continued at The Big Lead

2009 NFL Preview: Miami Dolphins

chad-pennington-dolphinsMiami is the city of sun, fun, fabulousness, and, if you are Dan Le Batard, profuse sweating.  The Dolphins are the enduring franchise in the city, and they could not have found two more fitting public faces to represent Miami’s flavor and diversity, Bill Parcells and Chad Pennington.

Last Season: The Dolphins finished a sad 1-15 under Cam Cameron in 2007, but under new coach Tony Sparano rode the wildcat and an easy schedule to a fierce 10-game swing in 2008, largest in NFL history, to finish 11-5.  Improbably, they beat both the castrated Patriots and the Brett Favre Express to win the AFC East.

Continued at The Big Lead

2009 NFL Preview: Detroit Lions

staffordkegThe Lions finished 0-16 last season, the worst record in NFL history and a fitting piece de resistance for forty-six years of failure under the Ford ownership.  Some might call their losing “epic,” but that would imply there was a story.  The Lions’ season had neither drama nor interest.  They were neither cursed nor compelling.  They were, simply, demonstrably worse than every team they opposed.  It was not a year to relive. (Continued)

Vick Penance Seems Perfectly Timed, To Diminish The Story

michaelvick_aboutRoger Goodell conditional reinstated Michael Vick, so that he would be able to return for the sixth week, Oct. 18-19. It appears to be wariness and excess punishment for a man fresh off a 23-month federal sentence, but the timing buries the story too well to be coincidence.

Vick’s punishment is longer than the common four games, but short enough for a team to sign him. It upsets no one. It neutralizes the partisans.  It is the perfect length to limit the controversy.

Continued at The Big Lead