"It would have forever severed the players of the NFL from a fair share of the revenue.''
-- NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, to Brian McGovern and Maurice Jones-Drew on their Sirius XM NFL Radio show, on the last offer owners made to players, March 11.
Well, I guess. But it's hard to imagine the NFL offer -- $161 million per year per team in salary and benefits in year four of the proposal with no backside if the NFL's revenue estimates were higher than projected (when the players wanted $161 million per year per team PLUS backside revenue) -- was so monumentally, impossibly difficult to bridge. It's why I maintain that the difference between the two sides is not so great that some real negotiations couldn't bridge the gap.
"As far as returning to the NFL ... How do I put this? I'm not what you call an entertainer, man. I don't want to sound mean or attack the NFL, but I'm not an entertainer. I see football as being the same as being a singer, being a dancer or something along those lines. When we fill out our W2s, we're in that category of entertainers, man. That's not me. I want to be doing something to better myself, to better someone else. Glen Coffee's not an entertainer ... I want to love what I do. I don't just want to get paid.''
-- Former 49ers running back Glen Coffee, who surprised the 49ers by retiring last August when he was sure to make the team as the lead backup to starting running back Frank Gore, in a superb and revealing interview by 49er beat man Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
"It felt like a normal game. Is that bad? It felt like a normal game.''
-- Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, to ESPNMilwaukee, on his feeling on the sideline as the Super Bowl was nearing kickoff last February.
That is certainly not bad, Mister Rodgers. That's when you know you've got this game licked, when playing in the biggest game of your life feels totally normal. And then going out and playing like it.
"Yes. Fluidly bad.''
-- Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, asked by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times if the NFC West, with three uncertain quarterback situations out of four teams, is the most fluid division in the NFL.
In the Wall Street Journal Friday, author George Will said he wanted to see baseball expand the playoffs, so more teams would be playing for something in the last month of the regular season. "It's important for baseball to take back September,'' Will told Matthew Futterman.
Well, I'm a fairly big baseball fan, and even I would say that ship sailed ... about 25 years ago. Take back September? You must be kidding. Much to my chagrin, baseball on TV has been dying for years, except in some very strong local pockets. Let's look at September 2010, to the two national windows for baseball (FOX on Saturday afternoon, ESPN on Sunday night) for proof. The rating I give you here is the overall rating (percentage of U.S. households watching the event) and share (percentage of households with TVs on watching the event).
On average for the NFL games, pro football got 22.3 percent of the TVs in America that were in use to watch the NFL on Sunday nights last September. Baseball got 2 percent. Baseball might move the needle by adding another wild-card team to the mix and keeping more teams interested late in the year. And football might idiotically shoot itself in the foot if it continues lockoutball, but this is no gap to be made up by changing scheduling or playoff format. It's a chasm.
The fine folks of Salisbury, N.C., acquitted themselves like champions in their annual hosting of sportswriters and sportscasters from around the country. As new Hall of Fame inductee Bob Ryan said when a peer asked him if he should attend the three-day gala during which kids ask for autographs from radio play-by-play men from the Dakotas: "Only if you want to be treated like a king for three days.''
One of the charming features of the stay was a trolley tour of Salisbury, a small city about an hour north of Charlotte. On the tour, we passed a cemetery and were informed of this oddity: Many years ago, a religious man in Salisbury suffered a horrible accident and lost his foot in a train accident. He survived, but the foot could not be reattached. Being a Christian man, he wanted to have it buried, and it was, with a tombstone on the plot, in the southeast corner of the cemetery. When the man died, he too was buried in the same cemetery ... but not in the same plot. He was buried north of the foot, with another tombstone commemorating a good man gone. So this man was buried twice, in the same cemetery, in different plots. Now that's something you don't see every day.
Hertz Should Be Ashamed of Itself Dept.:
I rented a full-sized Hertz vehicle for my two-day trip to North Carolina and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Awards. Two days, $44 a day. Drove the car 169 miles. The tank read 5/8ths when I pulled into the Charlotte Douglas International Airport's Hertz lot at 5:35 a.m. Tuesday.
"Did you fill the tank with gas?'' the courteous check-in gal asked.
"No, sorry,'' I said.
She noted the mileage and handed me the receipt.
The receipt for charges of $249.31.
The gas for driving less than a half-tank cost more ($89.40) than renting the car for two days, minus taxes ($88). Hertz charged $8.99 per gallon for refueling. That seems fair (he said sarcastically).
Then there was the $17.98 for NeverLost GPS (which did its job; I was never lost on the trip) and the usual collection of cloudy charges -- "concession fee recovery,'' $11.92 ... "customer facility charge,'' $7 ... "vehicle licensing cost recovery,'' 62 cents -- that makes the renting of cars in America so joyous.
Three-eighths of a tank of gas for $89.40? If that's not price-gouging, I don't know what is.
Hip To Be Square Dept.:
I will never get used to a person at 9:58 a.m. -- as happened Sunday in the row in front of me on a Boston-to-Washington United flight -- saying to the flight attendant with the beverage cart coming down the aisle: "Two Stolis on the rocks. No water.'' And then, by 10:13, both of the little vodka bottles, and the plastic cup, empty but for the ice. Vodka shots are something I can't do at 11 at night, never mind when Cheerios should be on the tray table.
"Remember: if you're walking around disoriented, half-naked bodies, screaming about the End of Days, it's just The Preakness.''
--@jasongayWSJ, sports columnist Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, on Saturday, with Rapturemania in full bloom.
"Carson Palmer intriguing. 2005-2007 3rd best QB in NFL behind ManningBrady. Arm strength, pocket roughness, accuracy for a power thrower ...
"More Palmer. Based on film study arm strength has decreased since injury. Not the same passer he was. Can't drive ball and make stick throws.''
--@gregcosell, NFL Films NFL Matchup show executive producer and student of the game, in a double tweet on the (apparently) retiring Bengals quarterback -- if the Bengals do not trade him. Or something like that.
"RIP, Jim Corbett Sr., best dad, my best friend and reason I love and write sports for a living -- a 1947 Yonkers (N.Y.) boys club founder and coach.''
--@jimcorbettUSAT, on the death last week of his dad, a 23-year Little League coach, founder of a parish basketball program in his New York City suburb, and the kind of father we dads should all aspire to be.
Stars recover from slow start, beat Ducks to tie up series
Blue Jackets rally from three-goal deficit in Game 4 to beat Penguins in overtime