Archive for April, 2020

MLB Radical New Idea For Season, 2021 NFL Draft April 29-May 1st

BASEBALL

Major League Baseball is continuing to come up with ideas to salvage the season. In the latest proposal, teams would be stationed in three hubs: Florida, Arizona, or Texas. Each franchise would be re-aligned to three divisions accommodating 10 teams in each division (or possibly 12 teams in one and eight in another). The teams would then play their regular-season games (without fans) in the local facilities in the state.  This means no American or National League. They’re also planning an Opening Day on July 4th.

FOOTBALL

The NFL announced the 2021 draft will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from April 29-May 1st.

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Lakers Return PPP Funds, Ball Brothers Sign With Rock Nation, Peloton’s Largest Streamed Class

BASKETBALL

The LA Lakers received one of the taxpayer-backed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The program is meant to give companies taxpayer-backed, forgivable loans if they keep their employees during this crisis. The disbursement of funds, however, has been uneven. The Lakers explained they would be returning the money (as many other well-off companies and institutions have done) and said, “Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

LaMelo, Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball are planning to sign with Roc Nation Sports, Jay-Z’s Sports Management company. According to LaMelo Ball’s manager Jermaine Jackson, “This was a family decision. This is now an extended family. They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z. The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new.”

OTHER

Peloton stock is up 60% since the Coronavirus sent everyone into quarantine. Last week, the company reported its largest streamed class with more than 23,000 cyclers.

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NFL Draft Sets Record, SEC 40 Players Drafted, NBA Training Facilities Open, Cutler/Cavallari Divorce

FOOTBALL

The NFL set a record with 15.6 million people tuning in Thursday night for the first round of the draft. Over the three days of the virtual draft, an average of 8.4 million viewers watched, eclipsing any other previous records.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) had 40 players drafted out of 106 total picks. LSU and Alabama, the two powerhouse teams in the SEC, had 10 and nine pics respectively. This statistic has a huge impact on where high school’s top prospects will sign if their intention is to play in the NFL.

BASKETBALL

The NBA announced players living in states where the stay-at-home order has relaxed will be able to return to their training facilities as early as this Friday. All workouts will be voluntary and limited to individual sessions.  There is still no word on when (or if) the NBA season will resume.

OTHER

Former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and reality TV star Kristin Cavallari announced they are getting a divorce. The couple were married for seven years and have three kids ages 7, 5, and 4.

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NFL Draft: Burrow, Young, Okudah, Thomas, Tagovailoa, Herbert Top Picks, Packers Shocker With Jordan Love

FOOTBALL

The first round of the first-ever virtual NFL Draft went off pretty smoothly. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell presented the picks from his basement and even made fun of himself by having fans boo him (to simulate a live draft). To absolutely no one’s surprise, quarterback Joe Burrow was chosen first by the Cincinnati Bengals with defensive end Chase Young going to Washington, cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Detroit Lions, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas to the NY Giants, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to the Miami Dolphins, and quarterback Justin Herbert to the Los Angeles Chargers.

The biggest shocker of the night was the Green Bay Packers moving up to grab Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the #26th pick. Many thought the Packers would use their slot for a receiver in order to give veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers some weapons. But the Packers shocked us all and picked up Aaron’s eventual successor. This scenario is eerily similar to what happened in Green Bay 15 years ago when the Packers shocked their 35-year old quarterback Brett Favre by drafting Aaron Rogers with the 24th overall pick. Rogers didn’t end up taking over as the starter until the 2008 season, but everyone knew the end was near for Favre. By the way, Rogers is currently 36 years old

For more NFL draft news, click here.

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NFL Draft Tonight, Revised Wonderlic Scores, Nick Saban Finally Gets Email Account

FOOTBALL

The NFL draft is finally here. The first-round begins at 8:00 pm (ET) tonight with round 2 on Friday and rounds three through seven on Saturday. Teams will have 10 minutes per pick for the first round. If there are any technical difficulties (which will likely happen as the draft is remote for the first time in history), the NFL has the option of extending the time. Since the teams aren’t in their regular “war rooms”, coaches have set up added monitors and landlines to simulate a draft room (pictured here is the setup for John Lynch, the GM of the SF 49ers). The NFL also mailed technology kits to 58 players, so they can interview them remotely and simulate “draft parties” in their living rooms.

The Cincinnati Bengals have the first pick in the draft and are almost certain to take LSU’s, Joe Burrow. Ohio State’s Chase Young will likely go #2 to Washington, but crazy things can happen at the last minute, so you never know.

A couple of days ago I posted the Wonderlic scores for the top quarterback prospects in the draft. According to reports, those scores weren’t accurate (as some players took the test twice and the latest scores weren’t reported). I promised a friend who is a huge Alabama fan I’d update the scores, so here you go:

  • Nate Stanley: 40
  • Justin Herbert 39* (previously 25)
  • Jake Fromm: 35
  • Joe Burrow: 34
  • Jake Luton: 33* (29)
  • Brian Lewerke 30* (25)
  • Jordan Love: 27
  • Anthony Gordon: 25
  • Jacob Eason: 23
  • James Morgan: 23
  • Jalen Hurts: 21* (18)
  • Tua Tagovailoa: 19* (13)

Speaking of Alabama, head coach Nick Saban admitted on the Dan Patrick Show it took quarantine for him to finally get an email account. He said his wife would receive all of his messages, but she got fed up and made him open his own account. Even though he can now communicate via text and email, he said he has never sent a text message in his life. He said he will receive messages but instead of hitting “reply”, he prefers to pick up the phone and call back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gronkowski Joins Buccaneers To Play With Brady, Must Defend 24/7 Championship Anytime/Anywhere

FOOTBALL

The New England Patriots traded Rob Gronkowski, one of the best tight ends in NFL history, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronkowski retired in March of 2019 but has always indicated he would reconsider retirement particularly if he could play with Tom Brady. Rob has one year and $9 million left on his contract with the Patriots, so the Pats will receive a 4th round draft pick for Gronk, while the Bucs also receive a 7th round pick in the deal.

One complication for Gronkowski is how he’ll defend his 24/7 Championship Title. The 24/7 Championship was created by World Wrestling Entertainment and only has one rule, the title must be defended “24/7 anytime, anywhere as long as a WWE referee is present”. The WWE congratulated Gronk on their twitter feed saying  “Congratulations to Rob Gronkowski, the current WWE 24/7 Champion, on his return to football. Per the rules of the 24/7 title, Gronk must defend his championship at all times in any location. He could be celebrating a touchdown pass from #Tom Brady…anytime, anywhere”

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Hacking Concerns At NFL Draft, Tua Ranks Lowest On Wonderlic Test

FOOTBALL

The highly anticipated NFL draft begins Thursday evening.  As the draft will be remote for the first time in history, many teams and coaches are concerned about protecting their private conversations and having their information hacked. Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters about his concerns saying, “(Our IT staffers) assure me that we are doing everything humanly possible. And,  I remind them that that’s what Wells Fargo and all those other places said about our private information.” One cyber expert from the University of Maryland said, “It’s such a high-profile target. You could compromise it to send out a message. You could shut it down just for (kicks) and giggles. There are myriad reasons (to want to attack this).”

One of the measures used to access NFL draft prospects is the Wonderlic test. The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions answered in 12 minutes. The test measures “general cognitive ability in three areas: math, vocabulary, and reasoning.” The average score is 20, and traditionally most quarterbacks and offensive linemen score higher than average. This year, top quarterback prospect Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) ranked the lowest of all the quarterbacks with a score of 13. The highest score went to Nate Stanley from Iowa (40). The likely #1 pick Joe Burrow (LSU) came in at #3 with a score of 34. The only player to ever score a perfect 50 was punter Pat McInally in 1975. Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick (Miami Dolphins) recorded the highest score for a quarterback at 48. He was a seventh-round pick in the 2005 draft.

Here’s the full list of scores of the top 12 quarterbacks for the 2020 draft:

Nate Stanley (Iowa): 40
Jake Fromm (Georgia); 35
Joe Burrow (LSU): 34
Jake Luton (Oregon State): 29
Jordan Love (Utah State): 27
Justin Herbert (Oregon): 25
Anthony Gordon (Washington State): 25
Brian Lewerke (Michigan State): 25
Jacob Eason (Washington): 23
James Morgan (Florida International): 23
Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma): 18
Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama): 13

 

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Conley Jr. Wins HORSE, Green To Developmental G-League, Shaq’s Kids Commit To LSU, Von Miller Has Coronavirus

BASKETBALL

In case you didn’t watch the riveting action Thursday night, here are the results of the NBA’s first-ever televised HORSE challenge. Utah Jazz point Mike Conley Jr. easily outshot Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine for the title. As part of the challenge, the title sponsor, State Farm, donated more than $200,000 in support of coronavirus response efforts.

The #3 prospect in the NCAA recruiting class, Jalen Green, announced he will skip college to pursue a pro career. Green will join the NBA’s developmental G-League. The program is unaffiliated with an NBA franchise but designed to attract elite players with the sole purpose of getting them ready for the NBA. Green joins Isaiah Todd (the #13 prospect) who de-committed from Michigan earlier this week.

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal can watch two of his children playing for his alma mater next year. Amirah O’Neal and Shareef O’Neal committed to playing basketball at LSU. Shareef announced in February he was transferring from UCLA to LSU, while Amirah recently posted on Instagram “I never imagined myself saying this, but I am excited to say that I have decided to commit to being a student-athlete at LSU alongside my brother Shareef. I am sooooo grateful to spend my next four years as a Tiger.”

FOOTBALL

Von Miller’s agent, Joby Branion, confirmed the Denver Broncos Pro Bowl linebacker has tested positive for COVID-19.  Von Miller, who has asthma, said his girlfriend caught the symptoms when she determined his cough didn’t sound normal. He added, “I’m still new to this. I’m not sure what’s going on but I tell ya what, I’m in good spirits. I’m still Von. I’m not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that.” Von Miller is the second known NFL player to contract the virus.

 

 

 

 

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Browns Debut Retro Uniforms, Reports Odell Beckham Jr. Could Go To Vikings

FOOTBALL

The Cleveland Browns followed a number of other teams in virtually debuting their new uniforms. The retro look harks back to 1964 when the team won an NFL title and was led by the legendary Jim Brown. The notable changes include brown and white jerseys, white and brown pants (no orange pants), inside the collar of every jersey will be the number 1946 instead of “DAWG POUND”, and no drop shadow numbers.

Speaking of the Browns, there has been some speculation that Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could be traded. Marc Malusis of WFAN tweeted “Source has told me that the Browns and Vikings are in discussions on a trade that would send [Beckham] to the Vikings for a 2nd and 5th round pick next year.” According to reports, this scenario is highly unlikely partly because the Vikings would have a tough time absorbing Beckham’s base salary of $14 million, and Beckham Jr. and Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins don’t appear to be a great fit.

 

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Trump Announces He Wants Sports Back, PGA Tournaments Return In June, Lamar’s Truzz Trademark

MISC

President Trump announced he is enlisting an advisory group (which the White House has dubbed the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group) from all sectors of the American economy. Included in the group are leaders in the sports world such as NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NFL’s Roger Goodell, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Also included in the group will be MLB’s Rob Mandred, NHL’s Gary Bettman, UFC’s Dana White, PGA’s Jay Monahan, and NASCARs Lesa Kennedy.

Trump announced this group on Tuesday at a White House press conference and said, “We have to get our sports back. I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. But I haven’t actually had too much time to watch. I would say maybe I watch one batter then I get back to work.”

GOLF

The PGA will reportedly announce the return of golf on June 11-14th at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, TX. They plan to add a few additional tournaments over the summer as well, but all the events will likely be played without fans in attendance and with guidelines for appropriate social distancing.

FOOTBALL

Baltimore Ravens quarterback and NFL MVP Lamar Jackson filed multiple trademarks with the intention of using the words/phrases to sell merchandise. One of the trademarks is for the word “Truzz” which is a different spelling for the nickname Ravens running back Mark Ingram used for him last season. Ingram called him “Big Truss”, but someone else filed the trademark for that name. Jackson also filed for trademarks for the phrases “Era 8 By Lamar Jackson”, “Not bad for a running back” and “You are going to get a Bowl out of me, believe that!”

 

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