1. I think I don't mean to downplay the importance of the labor negotiations, but I don't find them particularly interesting, particularly in a week when there's lots of other things happening. But I see a few options in how this week could unfold: The NFL could get an extension to the March 4 deadline for the expiration of the current CBA, which could happen but seems inconsequential because it's not going to push the two sides to an agreement. The players association could decertify, which seems certain if the extension doesn't happen, because a decertification can't happen for six months if it doesn't happen this week, and it's so vital to the players' cause. Third, the owners could lock them out. Or the players could decertify and there could be no lockout. Of course, a midweek decision in the Minnesota TV lawsuit could change all of that. So stay tuned.
2. I think Dallas-Fort Worth is going to get another Super Bowl in the next 10 years. Maybe within six or seven. But Jerry Jones has a lot of penance to do first for the massive screwups. Here's one I heard over the weekend: Do you realize two United States senators -- along with about 35,000 others, from the sound of it -- had to stand in line outside the stadium for at least two hours before the game?
One league owner recently criticized Jones in a league meeting for the horrible delays and game-day mismanagement. And what was the deal with the league and Jones never being able to say in the days before the game what the stadium capacity was going to be, almost like there was an attempt to say, Let's figure out ways right up to the end to keep selling tickets and making as much money as we can here.
Jones issued a tepid apology for the Super Bowl chaos over the weekend in his first public comments since the game (they're not worth reprinting here because they sound like the biggest non-apology a lawyer has ever written to be said by a famous person in an attempt to put some salve on a horrible situation). So why do I think the area will get another game? Because when the emotion and lawsuits go away sometime in the next two years, the owners will get enough iron-clad assurances about the game being run the right way (with some road salt and plows at the ready) that they'll realize they can make more money holding the game there than in most, if not all, other venues.
3. I think the workout I'm most looking forward to the rest of the Combine will be Mark Herzlich's. He's the Boston College linebacker who missed the 2009 season to fight cancer. He played last year and is cancer-free. "It'll be a fun day for me,'' Herzlich said Sunday, "because the scouts will go, 'Oh, wow -- he can move again.' I want to go out there and impress people with my physical stuff.''
Herzlich said his mentality as a football player didn't change because of the time he spent in treatment and away from football. "Off the field,'' he said, "I changed a little bit. I'm a different person. You don't change your core values or anything but you became a little more patient. Sitting in a hospital for six hours a day you've got to become patient. I think my film study improved because that's all I did for a year.''
4. I think, and I'm actually pretty sure of it, that Nick Fairley will not be the first pick in the draft. I'm trusting Someone Who Knows And Who Has Been Correct About A Lot Of Things In The Past Year on this. He knows who he is, and he's adamant Fairley won't go one.
5. I think, by the way, three NFL people told me over the weekend that Marcell Dareus of Alabama will be drafted ahead of Fairley. More versatility and more ability to stop the run than the suddenly lightish (6-foot-3 and 291 pound) Fairley.
6. I think Jason Garrett told a story over the weekend about new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan that, if you're a Cowboys fan and want to see Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware dominate the league the way they did collectively in 2009, you'll be happy to hear.
Said Garrett: "We had an interview. He came into my office and he had on a coat and tie and his hair was nicely combed. He looked good. He looked good. But we started talking football and about three minutes into our conversation I'd never seen a guy who wanted to get out of a coat and tie more than this guy and so I said, 'Rob just take the thing off,' so literally he went, 'Boom' and got rid of the tie, grabbed a pen and started going on the board. And it didn't take long. I was impressed by the effort. I was impressed by the coat and tie and I was equally as impressed of him getting rid of it and getting going and really being who he is.''
Just remember one thing it you're underwhelmed by the Ryan hiring (which I decidedly am not): Rob Ryan is certain he can be a head coach in the NFL, and a head coach just as good as his brother. So he's motivated to lead the league in sacks and have a top-five defense and for the Cowboys to win. All of that, he knows, will lead to interviews for head-coaching jobs. So his motivation falls right in line with the motivation of every Cowboys fan.
7. I think the Rex Ryan guarantees are starting to bore me. I understand that's who he is, but more and more, I don't care.
8. I think the Bengals are doing their due diligence on the quarterback position, which tells me they might grant Carson Palmer his wish to be traded when the NFL finally gets a labor deal done. Talking to one Bengals official over the weekend, I was surprised to hear that whenever trades are allowed after the signing of a new CBA, the team will listen to offers for Palmer.
9. I think if I were Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke, I'd be strongly considering a good puzzle piece for my defense in this draft -- and then make a call to Mike Brown for Palmer when the market opens up, whenever that is. I'd love to see Palmer in the West Coast scheme, especially with a smart guy like Harbaugh at the helm. I don't think Palmer would miss Ohio for a second.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Someday soon we're going to see Denver FOX affiliate sports reporter Josina Anderson go national. Met her for the first time over the weekend after respecting her from afar. I was impressed. She knows things.
b. Love what Vin Scully said about the death of Duke Snider: "Although it's ironic to say it, we have lost a giant.''
c. Thank you, Chris Pika and Pete Moris of the NFL staff at the combine, for finding and returning my lost iPad. I owe both of you a Boulevard Wheat.
d. And I can't thank you enough, Scotty's Brewhouse, and you too, Twitter followers and Indianapolis football fans, for turning out and packing a room at Scotty's in downtown Indianapolis Friday night for the Second Annual Peter King Tweetup. (That means, yes, we'll be doing it again next year, and I'm going to impose on Scotty's to find us a bigger room.)
Thanks to so many people -- Will Carroll for arranging it; George Atallah, Domonique Foxworth and Chester Pitts of the NFLPA for providing some perspective and news on the labor talks; Albert Breer, Doug Farrar, Aaron Schatz and many other media folk for giving perspective on the players at the combine and lots of other NFL stories; Patty, the fan of so many of us writers who drove from St. Louis; the Six family of Fishers, Ind., who are becoming regulars at these things; and Scotty Wise himself, for introducing me to a few of his fine beers and giving me a nice T-shirt with his Three Wise Men logo.
We spent three-and-a-half hours there and it felt like 35 minutes. I felt the love, and appreciate all of your support and camaraderie. We're a strange but fun extended family. Thanks for being part of it.
e. Can the Devils (winners of 15 of 18 since mid-January) leapfrog five teams and make up nine points in the last 18 games of the NHL to make the playoffs? I doubt it, but you never know. What a run.
f. From reading the dispatches from Florida, sounds like the Red Sox already won 105 games and are a cinch for the World Series. Two things to keep in mind. One: Last time Boston won 100 games was 65 years ago. Two: Last time we saw two supposed stalwarts in the rotation, Josh Beckett was 6-6 and John Lackey led all of baseball in base runners allowed. They may well have an other-worldly lineup, but let's all settle down about what an incredible team this is.
g. Coffeenerdness: You've got to really want the triple grande hazelnut latte at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Westin Indianapolis. It costs $6.01.
h. Beernerdness: One more bit of thanks to Scott Wise: Appreciate the Three Wise Men growler, and I'm glad my guest and I had a chance to empty it before leaving the event Friday night. A growler. What a concept!
i. Good luck, Matt Mosley, in your new media venture. I'll miss your blog.
j. Oscar thoughts: How interesting, the catty pre-Oscar coverage. E live ripped Scarlett Johansson for her messy hair ... You deserved the Oscar, Melissa Leo, but America would have cheered louder for Hailee Steinfeld ... As I tweeted last night: The Triple-A All-Star game in Pawtucket would be more riveting than the first two hours of that broadcast ... Good for Jeff Lurie and wife Christina Weiss Lurie, the executive producers of Inside Job, on their victory for Best Documentary ... "I've a feeling my career has just peaked,'' Colin Firth said after winning Best Actor. Heck of a pick ... Talk about chalk. The top five awards -- movie, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress -- all went to the favorites. So happy for The King's Speech.
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