NEW: Keeping it Loose Podcast 1/17/17

Getting back in the game this semester. JT and Ryan talk about some NBA spreads for Wednesday and the upcoming NFL games. Warning extreme looseness.

What’s to Come, & Bill Burr’s Take on Deflategate

Now before you get mad, please hear me out. This isn’t opinion, but this is honestly what you can expect. Tom Brady does not have a chance at winning his appeal.

The U.S. Court System is not going to overturn Roger Goodell’s ruling. Not because of the facts or circumstantial evidence involving the case itself, but because of the NFL bylaws. When players enter the league, they agree to adhere to the rulings of the commissioner. For this reason, they don’t have the right to sue. It is like checking the “I Agree” box when you update your software. You never read the fine print, but hidden in the text are statements that protect whatever company you are dealing with. The NFL is no different.

Hear what an expert in law has to say about the issue:

https://twitter.com/foxandfriends/status/724915784279969792

So, essentially, Roger Goodell is the judge, jury, and executioner. If I were the players, I would try to bargain for some sort of hearing board made up of both executives and former players. That would be a great way to ensure that any player found in violation of a rule would have a fair due process. The current situation is not only unfair, but it doesn’t work. It seems as if the league is not harsh enough with serious offenses such as Greg Hardy or Ray Rice, and they are too harsh with less serious offenses such as the ‘Deflategate’ allegations.

 

I’m sorry for Pats fans, because this issue should be over and done with, but unfortunately, it is not. However, unless Brady is ok with throwing money away on attorney fees, he should just drop the appeal. He’s got plenty of cash, so if he’s fine with writing a big check, then more power to him for standing up for the principle.

 

Pats fans, you’ll love this. Savage stand up comic, and die hard Bostonian, Bill Burr just rips all things Deflategate. Let’s just say the Colts don’t have a leg to stand on… This is worth the watch ( and that’s coming from a Jets fan).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTjCdpAAYo8

 

– R. Ilardi

 

 

 

Who Does Sam Bradford Think he is?

(Photo via philly.com)

Gee, it must be great getting paid $36 million over two years to play football. Well, apparently, Sam Bradford doesn’t think so. As news broke that the Philadelphia Eagles packaged a horde of draft picks to move up to the 2nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it became nearly certain that the Eagles had their sights set on Carson Wentz as their QB of the future, assuming Cal QB Jared Goff goes first. That left Sam Bradford, who just signed a 2 year, $36 million contract with the team, feeling “unwanted”. Now, he has made it clear he wants out of Philly, and is refusing to show up to any of the off-season workouts. If only he knew how lucky he was.

Keep in mind: although Philly has plans of drafting Wentz in the first round, Bradford was a lock for the Eagles starting job this year. The team wants to give Wentz at least a year or two to learn from the bench before taking the helm as starter. So, the job was all Bradford’s for the 2016 season, maybe the next season as well. Not only would Bradford be starting, but he would have a chance to display his skills to the league and hopefully get another hefty contract coming off of this current two-year deal. Most QBs in this league, a league with a 3-4 year average shelf-life, would kill to be in his position. But, obviously, the 2010 first round draft pick sees himself in a greater role.

Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon, expressed his client’s concerns regarding this situation. “Basically, our contention is that the team could have used the draft picks on offensive and defensive players for this season, to win this season. If the plan was to build for the future, where does that leave Sam this year?” (ESPN.com) Sure, Bradford has a point; he wants to be the franchise piece and not a stop-gap for their future solution at quarterback. But, he is completely missing the point. Frankly, when people think of Sam Bradford, they don’t think of a “franchise quarterback”. Instead, they think of an injury prone draft bust who has a losing record in his 5 years as an NFL starter. He’s averaging a million dollars earned for every touchdown thrown in his career, $58 million in career earning to go with 58 touchdown passes. His job isn’t to demand a safe home where he can play, his job is to compete and prove to NFL coaches around the league that he is truly the guy capable of manning the ship. Instead, his trade request just comes off as cowardice and spoiled.

I do not understand how Bradford feels entitled to this kind of “special treatment”. Maybe the money is getting to his head. Let’s not forget, he did receive the largest amount of guaranteed money at the time he was drafted. This was the year before the new CBA agreement created a rookie wage scale that significantly reduced the guaranteed money paid to rookies. Just for perspective, Bradford received a 6-year, $72 million contract ($50 million guaranteed) as a rookie. The next year, after the new CBA was implemented, Cam Newton (another fellow 1st overall pick) received a 4 year, $22 million contract. Cam is now the league’s reigning MVP, and Sam is the average QB who can’t quite understand what opportunity looks like.

No one was saying that by drafting Wentz this year that Bradford can’t be the Eagles starter for the future either. He simply could have worked harder and potentially outperform Wentz in training camp and retain his starting role for years to come. But he felt too pressured by Wentz, forcing this trade request. This surely says something about Bradford’s confidence level in his own game.

After this public outcry for a new home, this leaves Bradford in an even worse situation than he could have had. For one, even if he wants to be traded, that doesn’t mean other teams want to take care of this spoiled QB with a $36 million price tag to his name. And if he stays put in Philly, which seems like the likely option, he’s going to have to play through the harsh criticisms not only from the noisy Philly fans, but from his teammates. It remains to be seen how this move will affect his public image, but it seems certain that he’s not going to be that franchise player that he hopes for. Real franchise players let their play do the talking, not their contracts.

– J. Yellin

Jordan Spieth is no different!

Most people know Jordan Spieth as golf’s golden boy, but let’s not forget one fact. He is a twenty-two year old just like you and me. That means he does twenty-two year old things. People see him as one of the PGA Tour’s greatest players and sometimes we forget that he’s a kid. That’s why this week was so awesome.

After the unfortunate final round mishap at the Masters, this vacation to the Bahamas couldn’t have come at a better time. Ricky Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Smylie Kaufman accompanied the young phenom on this bender in the Bahamas.

For those who don’t follow Ricky Fowler on snapchat, go ahead and put that at the top of your “to do” list. Ricky’s iPhone is a portal into the shenanigans. My personal favorite was the David Feherty impersonation where they said “Jordan’s more hammered than his drive”.  Nothing but golf tans, sliced tee shots, booz, and Jordan sporting the dad bod. What a treat for young fans everywhere.

This just makes me love Spieth even more. Is there anything that the kid doesn’t do? He is great at golf, humble, kind to fans, charitable, and when he is with his friends he’s just like the rest of us.  Even the best of the best need to relax.

Check out some of Fowler’s video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOIdQGUInuM

 

-R. Ilardi

The Countdown to October 9th Starts Now

(Photo via designbyhumans.com)

In the shocker of the century, the all-mighty Lord Goodell wins and continues his reign of absolute power over the league. After appeals had revoked Goodell’s initial 4-game suspension handed to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just over a year ago, the NFL’s appeal of the appeal has won. Tom Brady’s original 4-game suspension will be reinstated and effective starting in week 1 of the upcoming 2016 NFL season. It is a sad day for all of patriot nation…

After going to court last year and winning the appeal that vacated his 4-game suspension, it always worried me that Brady was never out of the troubles of Deflate Gate. Although Judge Richard Berman found that Goodell over-stepped his powers in giving Brady his suspension, today we witnessed the reinstatement of Brady’s 4-game suspension, despite the fact that nothing about the case has changed. If there was some sort of new evidence presented of this alleged occurrence or any proof that something actually happened, then fans would have no right to question this decision made by the court today. But regardless of this horrible mistake of a court ruling, as of today, we will have to see the Patriots play their first four games of the 2016-2017 season without their star quarterback and franchise leader, Tom Brady.

I have complete faith in the Patriots and likely starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. We will obviously not see the same offense in these first four games as we would with Brady under center, but I look for the Patriots defense to carry them through these first four games. A young defense that ranked 9th last year in overall defense and allowed only 19 points per game will be much improved this year after bringing in free agents Chris Long and Terrance Knighton, and having a healthy roster going into next season, specifically the linebackers who were heavily injured last season.

Along with this top 10 defense, the Patriots have brought in many veterans to strengthen the offense, like TE Martellus Bennett, RB Donald Brown and WR Chris Hogan. That, along with the already proven Patriots passing threats of Gronkowski, Edelman and Amendola, plus the return of both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount to solidify the back field, has me feeling very confident in Jimmy Garoppolo in this four game stretch to start the season. The Patriots will open the season with a tough game in Arizona against the Cardinals, but after that, they have very winnable games against Miami, Houston and Buffalo. I believe if all things click early on with the offense, we could see the Pats sitting at 3-1 when Brady returns to unleash hell on the NFL. Worst case scenario, I see this team losing no more than two of these first four games.

Fast forward to week 5 of the 2016 NFL season: the return of the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, from a suspension given because of a scandal that was the biggest waste of time in sports history. A pointless investigation that turned into a web of lies from the NFL that is now regarded in the two words we all hate… Deflate Gate. We will see the revenge-filled quarterback come out of this suspension with more fire than ever, and more to prove than ever before. Brady is going to go on a rampage against any and all opponents he faces, and who better to start it than the Cleveland Browns. Mark your calendars folks. Sunday, October 9th at 1:00 pm, the revenge tour begins.

– J. Horrigan

 

Conor McGregor Done? Hold Up

(Photo via wikipedia.org)

“I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.” ­ Conor McGregor, 19 April 2016, 2:29 PM

These were the retirement words issued by Conor McGregor, the most electrifying UFC fighter the world has seen since Brock Lesnar, Tuesday afternoon.

You’re kidding me right? Well, luckily, he actually was.

On Thursday morning, McGregor (19-­3 MMA, 7-­1 UFC) made a statement that he was infact NOT retiring and is ready for UFC 200 against Nate Diaz (19­-10 MMA, 14-­8 UFC). “I am paid to fight,” McGregor wrote (via Facebook). “I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting. There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.”

I found it surprising that a proven, humbled fighter like McGregor pulled a retirement stunt for publicity. In fact, McGregor states that he “retired” to avoid the press and all the PR that surrounds this upcoming fight. His first loss in UFC came at the hands of Diaz at UFC 197, in which McGregor was humbled about the loss, but attributed it to busy PR and hectic schedule. What he wasn’t aware of was that his retirement tweet gave him more publicity than he thought. But it also helped the UFC. “There had been 10 million dollars allocated for the promotion of this event is what they told me,” McGregor wrote yesterday. “So as a gesture of good will, I went and not only saved that 10 million dollars in promotion money, I then went and tripled it for them. And all with one tweet.”

Well played Conor. Hungry as day one.

– M. Fritz

Harper Making Curry-like Ascension to the Top

(Photo via washington.cbslocal.com)

We are only about 15 games into the regular season, but already, we are seeing numerous stars in the MLB come into the league and dominate. With former superstars like David Ortiz, Ichiro, Albert Pujols, etc. that are likely heading to their final at-bats in this league, the MLB is ready to usher in a new age of talent and excitement to the game. And no star shines brighter than Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.

Harper, 23, was first recognized back in his high school days in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even by age 19, scouts and executives knew that this player was something special. He ended up getting drafted by the lonely Nationals 1st overall in the 2010 draft. Since then, Harper has become the youngest position player to ever make an all-star team, was the 2012 rookie of the year, and became the youngest MVP winner in league history. In his breakout 2015 MVP season, Harper batted .330 with 42 homers and 99 RBIs. But his greatness doesn’t stop there…

Bryce Harper has started his 2016 season even stronger than last year. In just 13 games, Harper has hit 7 HR, to go along with 20 RBIs, and has led his Nationals to the second-best record in the league (they are only a ½ game behind the Cubs). Clearly, Harper is ascending at an incredibly fast pace. He looks poised for the same kind of performance leap that Stephen Curry saw from last year’s MVP season to this year.

Both Harper and Curry have become the faces of their respective leagues, and both are only going to get better. While Steph has transcended the way the game is played, with more emphasis on dribbling and outside shooting, Harper has also become a trailblazer for how our national pastime is played. He is adding a jolt to this slow-paced game, making it more exciting and enjoyable for both players and fans alike. He has taken the throne atop the rest of the league’s superstars, just like Curry did, bypassing King James in the process.

It might be too early to call, but Harper looks well on his way to another MVP title this year. What remains to be seen is if his Nationals squad has the pieces to contend for a title. They always seem to look good on paper, but tend to fizzle in performance near the end of the year, or just simply underachieve. But what I know for certain is that whatever the Nationals hope to achieve over the next few years, they will have to rely on the 23 year old prodigy to get them there.

– J. Yellin