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By the time you read this, it is possible the Philadelphia 76ers might’ve won a game. It’s also possible you might look out the window and see pigs flying first-class on a Virgin Atlantic flight.
Thousands upon thousands of Pop Warner, high school and college football coaches dream of one day getting one of a handful of NFL coaching jobs that open every year. These positions – mostly assistant coaching spots – can be obtained through two time-honored avenues: 1. Hard work and success.
Turn on your TV right now, and before you can count to 10, you probably will see a daily fantasy sports commercial. Fantasy sports is swallowing America, one daily draft at a time. Your Aunt Bess can do it – it’s fun and, well, you can even play for free! DraftKings was TV’s single biggest advertiser the opening week of the NFL season. And, according to Bloomberg News, the DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy sites generated $60 million in entry fees for the NFL’s Week 1, twice the amount of money Las Vegas sports books handled.
When I was on vacation this summer – I went to the Galapagos Islands to run with the bulls; alas, I was misinformed, so I ended up swimming with the tortoises – my pager went off alerting me to a news break, which I called up to find the following words, “Nick Saban Speaks Out.” My Speedo nearly fell off my sleek, tan body by itself.
It is time to choose my NFL Team of Destiny, a.k.a. How Stupid Can One Man Be in Public, and I refuse to make an error again. They say you learn from your mistakes; alas, I prefer to learn from other people’s mistakes. So there’s a good chance that I will never learn to stay away from rookie quarterbacks.
Couch Slouch this week presents the first of a two-part series on stadium development in America, part of my ongoing “No More Stadiums, With or Without Tax Subsidies” effort that recently was named the fourth-least successful grass-roots movement by Grass Roots Quarterly magazine. Here’s the latest stadium update on America: WE APPARENTLY NEED MORE OF THEM.
Couch Slouch this week presents the first of a two-part series on stadium development in America, part of my ongoing “No More Stadiums, With or Without Tax Subsidies” effort that recently was named the fourth-least successful grass-roots movement by Grass Roots Quarterly magazine.
On the day The New York Times reported that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for allegedly hacking computer networks to steal information about the Houston Astros, Bill Belichick declined comment and Roger Goodell announced he would hear the Cardinals’ appeal. (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up. Uh, actually I do.)
Facing corruption charges from U.S. prosecutors and endless bashing by worldwide media, embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned last week, then agreed to sit down for an exclusive one-on-one, bare-all interview with Couch Slouch. We met at a café around the corner from a bank where he’s had an offshore account since 1938. He sipped on Dom Perignon and I drank Yoo-hoo. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation: Couch Slouch: Let’s start on a positive note – was there ever any doubt in your mind about winning a fifth term as FIFA president?
Deflategate has perplexed and paralyzed Sports Nation – a bizarre, unlikely and brazen act of cheating, a bulky NFL investigation that comes to no definitive conclusion, a four-game suspension for the league’s marquee quarterback, a black eye for a rogue franchise that’s run out of eyes to be blackened. Yet nobody knows exactly what happened, for sure.
Couch Slouch learned a long time ago – I believe I was 3 years old – that, in America, money talks and poverty walks. My mother and I used to take the bus a lot, which put us squarely in the middle of the class struggle. Anyway, while on a Los Angeles metro bus myself the other day – the 33 line, which goes from the bowels of the city to the beach – I wondered about the seeming incongruities of certain people getting certain jobs:
Couch Slouch learned a long time ago – I believe I was 3 years old – that, in America, money talks and poverty walks. My mother and I used to take the bus a lot, which put us squarely in the middle of the class struggle.
For Mike Budenholzer, whose Atlanta Hawks have been the surprise of the NBA this season, we have good news and bad news: The good news is Budenholzer was recently named NBA Coach of the Year; the bad news is he has two, maybe three seasons before he’ll be gone. Here’s the thing – and Couch Slouch hates to start off columns on such a dark note – but just as assuredly as people know from the moment they are born that they one day will die, NBA coaches know from the moment they are hired that they one day will be fired.
I’m in the information business, my friends, which means I’m in the business of staying informed most of the day online – sports sites during daylight hours, porn sites during after hours – so you can imagine my dismay when ESPN, the worldwide leader for everything that counts in my life, recently overhauled its website. That’s right – in the middle of the night, like those moving vans the Colts used when they snuck out of Baltimore to Indianapolis 31 years ago, ESPN whisked away my fits-like-an- old-pair-of-slippers ESPN.com and wheeled in a spanking new ESPN.com.
In his swan song as MLB commissioner last year, Bud Selig scheduled Opening Day in Australia. Because, hey, nothing says spring and baseball more than playing the season’s first game at 3 a.m. ET 7,500 miles away from the nearest U.S. ballpark. In his debut as MLB commissioner this year, Rob Manfred scheduled Opening Day at Wrigley Field at night. Because, hey, nothing says spring and baseball more than playing the season’s first game on a 48-degree Chicago evening.
New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants baseball to move into the 21st century – Couch Slouch disagrees with him right there; the 20th century was a lot better than people remember – and, along those lines, has proposed a number of new-millennium changes. Manfred, it appears, would like a game that is faster, a game that is higher-scoring, a game that resonates with a younger fan base and a game that embraces social media.
Yes, those were some fantastic finishes on the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament: UCLA-SMU, Purdue-Cincinnati, LSU-N.C. State, Wofford-Arkansas, Butler-Notre Dame, R.J. Hunter’s otherworldly 3-pointer in Georgia State-Baylor. But the road to the Final Four remains a highway to nowhere. I hate to beat a dead horse – well, it’s more of a cash cow than a dead horse – but March Madness remains a signpost of insanity at the oversized import of big-time intercollegiate athletics in our daily lives.
On the brink of a national nightmare, on the doorstep of our darkest hour, on the verge of our greatest fears being realized, we have been saved: Major League Soccer players and management finally negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement, averting a strike that would’ve wiped out the start of the 2015 season.
Mike Krzyzewski and Gregg Popovich each recently reached lofty plateaus – Coach K became the first Division I men’s basketball coach to record 1,000 career victories, “Pop” became the ninth NBA coach to record 1,000 regular-season victories. Arguably, Krzyzewski is the best college coach of his generation and Popovich is the best pro coach of his generation.
For my money, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the World Series of Poker are America’s top two sporting events, the only difference being, dogs whine less than poker players. Once again, intrepid Siberian husky Chuchi’s Yuki kept an exclusive journal for Couch Slouch on his four-legged week in New York as he competed for best in show: Wednesday: A wire fox terrier won it all again last year? What’s that, 14 times now? Why don’t they just save us all the trip and award it to the damn wire fox terrier by Skype? ... Hope it’s not too late, but I brought a pinstriped water bowl for Derek Jeter’s retirement. … Every other dog used to be Fido; now every other dog is Fifi. … I’ve got a thing for chocolate brown Irish water spaniels. … Even a Shih Tzu would have given the ball to Marshawn Lynch.