1. I think Greg Bedard made a very strong point in his Boston Globe piece Sunday about the efficacy of the commissioner helping a coach play-act to build a good relationship with a player. That's what Jets coach Rex Ryan claims Goodell helped him do with Santonio Holmes before the season last year.
In his new book, Ryan wrote about getting Roger Goodell to come to the Jets' facility in New Jersey. Ryan said he told Goodell he wanted him to "rip my a-- in front of Santonio ... Then I asked if he would turn and give both barrels to Holmes ... He chewed us out, and I think it actually brought Holmes and me closer.'' As Bedard asks, what business is it of Goodell's to help a coach get closer to a player? Goodell told Bedard he was simply trying to help Holmes stay on the straight and narrow, and maybe that's his view of what happened. But it's certainly not how Ryan portrayed it.
Two other points: By Ryan writing about this the way he did, he's clearly not going to make the commissioner happy, because the way he writes about the nudge-nudge/wink-wink incident is going to draw the ire of teams around the league who think Goodell favors the New York franchises anyway. And when Holmes reads about this -- if he does -- how will he feel about his coach wrangling the commissioner into the building to play-act a scene to make Holmes feel closer to his coach?
2. I think it's one thing for Ryan to have done this, but to write about it totally compromises the effect of it with his player, and it certainly won't endear Ryan to him. Imagine Goodell doing a favor for a coach like that, and then Ryan crowing about what a great idea it was in his book.
3. I think the NFL rule about fining teams in the event of their players getting more than a couple of fines for excessive hits is not the latest example of picking on the Steelers. It's a continuation of what the league has done with personal conduct policy. It's reasonable to me to think that if a team has, say, three players who get fined for hits the league views as over the line, that the team isn't emphasizing with the players enough the rules they have to play by. (Reasonable, I said; not a certain fact.) So why not fine the team?
4. I think it's interesting to note that Marvin Lewis will break a franchise record this season (if there is one) by coaching a ninth year in Cincinnati. Paul Brown and Sam Wyche coached eight.
5. I think it just seems ... weird ... for a Pittsburgh Steeler, particularly one of the toughest ones, to win "Dancing With The Stars.'' I mean good for Hines Ward. But I don't know many Steelers fans who held DWTS parties to watch the other night.
6. I think when Plaxico Burress gets out of jail a week from today, and when the NFL resumes, he'll have two or three teams very interested. My guess is the Jets, Eagles and Raiders will be involved (the Jets if they don't sign Randy Moss), and I'll tell you a team that should be interested: Cleveland. A reborn Burress would do a good job giving Colt McCoy a threat he doesn't have right now-if Burress is in shape and as interested in resuming his career as I've heard.
7. I think, responding to many, here are updates on Paul Zimmerman, recovering from March 2 spinal surgery in addition to the effects of his 2008 strokes, and on Steve Sabol, undergoing treatment for a brain tumor: Zim has been slow to regain strength in the leg most affected by the surgery, and it's been a frustrating time for Paul and wife Linda in New Jersey. They'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Steve Sabol got a recent visit from Bill Parcells and Dan Henning, retiree coaches migrating north for the summer, and that boosted him quite a bit. He hasn't been in the NFL Films offices much as he's in an intense part of his radiation and chemotherapy treatment. He's still aiming to attend the Aug. 6 induction ceremonies for his dad in Canton. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Best wishes to both.
8. I think if I was about to lay out $120 million, or whatever the five-year price tag for Peyton Manning will be for the Colts when the contract gets done, I'd be a little nervous about the last couple of years of that deal after seeing him undergo two neck procedures in 16 months.
9. I think I've thought all along that Kerry Collins would be back for a training-wheel season for Jake Locker in Tennessee ... until I heard what veteran guard Jake Scott of the Titans had to say. "I'm not sure Kerry isn't going to say, 'I'm done,' and ride off into the sunset,'' Scott told Ross Tucker and me on the radio last week. "I don't think he wants to come back and be a nursemaid to a young kid. Money's not an issue to him.'' The Titans will certainly need a vet, and a better one than a Rusty Smith-type, in 2011, and maybe beyond.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. And thank you, everyone who is serving and has served, for what you have done and continue to do for all of us. The other day, in the Charlotte airport, I heard some clapping and looked over in a US Airways gate area and saw a soldier waving to the folks waiting to board. Nice effort.
b. "I'd made that move all day and thought I could do it again.'' The words of Indy car driver J.R. Hildebrand, who is going to think for a long, long time of his move around a slow car into the wall when he should have coasted home to win the Indianapolis 500. Buckner-like.
c. I know nothing about auto racing. Less than that, though friends like Bryan Broaddus have offered for years to teach me. But what I saw was a guy with a clear path to victory get very slightly greedy and move to pass a slow car on the last turn. If those guys have the pit crew in their ears, shouldn't the pit crew have said, "Don't take any chances ... Coast home!'' I doubt there's any way Dan Wheldon could have caught him.
d. Just watched the highlights of that soccer title game in London. Wish I'd seen more. How exciting is that Messi?
e. So this is why they play the games: Remember how we thought the Texas Rangers, midway through April, were going 140-22 this year, and the Red Sox 22-140? Consider this: Since Boston started 2-10, the Sox are 28-13. Since the Rangers started 9-1, they're 19-24.
f. Sorry for ruining baseball and all, but I think collisions at home plate in baseball ought to be what they are when I coached travel softball. Runner has to avoid the collision at home plate. What's so hard about having to dive around the catcher rather than having to plow into him? And what I'd do if I had a great young catcher is teach him to stand a few feet in front of home, and make a sweep tag. I just don't think it's worth potentially ruining the catching career of one of the two best guys (along with Joe Mauer) just for the principle that home plate belongs to the catcher, damn it, and if it means we're going to lose our best player for the season, then so be it.
g. I heard Aaron Boone the other night say you shouldn't mess with the fabric of the game. In other words, it's a necessary evil to lose Posey, and for him to undergo the kind of surgery that could materially affect his chance to be a great catcher from here on out. Part of the game. I don't buy it. It's good and macho, but you poll 100 Giants fans right now and ask them if they wish Posey had been standing a foot or two in front of the plate, leaving a clear path for Scott Cousins to either score or be tagged out without a collision with a sweep tag.
h. Just think how significant that Cousins run was. It probably cost the Giants any chance they had to repeat as world champions.
i. What a long, strange trip it's been for Tim Wakefield (2-1 as a Boston spot starter and bacon-saver). Here's how long and strange: In Wakefield's first summer in the Red Sox rotation, 1995, my daughters were 11 and 8 and we took a vacation to the national parks of Utah and Arizona. Wakefield's back in the rotation (for now), and my daughters are 27 and 24, with full-time jobs on the West Coast.
j. And he says he wants to keep playing for the foreseeable future.
k. Great stat prompted by Peter Gammons: Tim Wakefield has 195 career wins, David Cone and Doc Gooden 194.
l. Bobby Abreu 535 career doubles, Lou Gehrig (who died 60 years ago this Thursday) 534.
m. Experienced one of those clicker-in-the-hand moments where time stopped for an hour the other night. Flipped past "Planes, Trains and Automobiles,'' and had to go back. Well worth an hour of my life. "Everybody Doin' The Mess-Around,'' might be one of John Candy's best five movie scenes.
n. Coffeenerdness: Tyler Kepner, in Sunday's New York Times, said Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has a 33-step routine to every day during the season. One of the steps: "Find a Starbucks.'' Wonder if Long's nickname is "Latte.''
o. Beernerdness: With the weather turning hot all of a sudden, I'm back in the Peroni mode. Cold weather, heavy beer. Hot weather, it's Peroni time.
p. Speaking of summer mode in Boston: I realized the other afternoon, passing an empty, sun-baked sidewalk-seating café in the South End of the city (it must have been 93 degrees) that the weather had gone from intolerable to intolerable in the span of a week.
q. Good luck in retirement, Ken Schanzer.
r. Remember, please, our neighbors in Tornado Alley: Give to the American Red Cross (redcross.org), and the United Way (liveunited.org). Thank you.
Penguins squeak past Ducks in shootout
Johan Franzen scores two as Red Wings pound Devils in Detroit