Sporting goods … and bads

nfl

I thought, for about five seconds, about getting a ticket to the Super Bowl. I could be in New York in four hours. I have a place I can stay at no charge. I used to live in New York and New Jersey.

Then I went to Stub Hub and saw the cheapest ticket was $900 in a really bad seat and thought, “I’m really not that big a fan of either team.” But if my son, the Seahawks fan, would have coughed up the dough for tickets for two, well, yeah, I would have been there, bad seat and all.

Anyway, I decided to save my money. We’re near the NCAA basketball tournament. I know how much those tickets run. And I know I can afford that. Of course, I have to be a pretty big fan of one of the teams to go.

Seattle: A city of law-abiding winners

These are Seattle fans, waiting for a traffic light to change so they could cross the street and celebrate their the Seahawks 2014 Super Bowl slaughter of the Denver Broncos.

These are Louisville fans, not caring what traffic lights are doing, as they celebrated the Cardinals 2013 NCAA Men’s basketball championship after beating the Michigan Wolverines.

In both cases, birds beat mammals.

But in this case, even as a Louisville resident, I have to admit Seattle looks like the more pleasant — and law abiding — place to be.

The old ‘wrong ball’ play

This is probably proof that football does cause concussions that lead to brain damage:

Because it works again:

And again:

And again:

It is in the arsenal of every Pee Wee football team. When it works in high school, as in the first clip, that’s a sign the kids took too many hits to the head.

 

A double sack by the Skins

I watched a preseason football game this week between Washington and Tampa Bay. Nothing to brag about, since nothing that happens in the preseason actually matters.

But this was an impressive quarterback sack during the matchup (click on the photo):

original

If I’m the Bucs, I cut a lineman and a quarterback to get my roster down to 53. If I’m the Skins, I make sure I don’t cut Rob Jackson.

Did you know dribbling is allowed in football?

OK, this is going to sound bizarre.

I just got a digital antenna, which allows me to watch broadcast television.

(Yeah, I know it’s no big deal. But I haven’t had cable television since 2003, and I never got an antenna for television until this week. So all that stuff people were saying the past decade about the thing they saw the previous night on the tube. … I had no idea what they were talking about.)

Anyway, I’m cruising the channels, and I land on an ad in which former Baltimore Ravens lineman Tony Siragusa is selling adult diapers:

And I’m thinking, why is he doing this?

So I go online, and the Intertubes tell me that it’s for guys who leak as a result of prostate cancer surgery. But I’m wondering if the number of men with that problem is that high? High enough to justify an ad campaign that has to get into the millions of dollars.

Then I saw this:

neufootbawl

And suddenly, everything makes sense.

So the lesson I get out of it?

I should have never gotten a digital antenna. There are some things I was better off not knowing.

O.J. Simpson wins parole, stays in jail

A couple of days ago, I asked “whatever happened to O.J. Simpson.” Found out he was trying to win parole. USA Today says he did — sort of:

O.J. Simpson won parole Wednesday on some of the charges that have kept him in a Nevada prison for almost five years, but still faces at least four more years behind bars.

The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners order says the decision relates to two kidnapping and two robbery convictions and one conviction for burglary with a firearm. But Simpson, 66, will continue to be held for related convictions for which he is not yet eligible for parole.

So, O.J. got some time knocked off his sentence. But he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

The fall and rise of Louisville sports

There must be one or two University of Louisville sports fans out there. If you’re one of them, Forbes magazine took a look at the school’s athletic director, Tom Jurich.

When Jurich took over the program in 1997:

Louisville athletics was a pariah. An organization so

Louisville Cardinals athletic logo

Louisville Cardinals athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

misaligned, so bloated in inefficiency that the very conference it helped form had sued to expunge the university from its ranks. A desperate attempt to prevent the department’s disease of non-compliance from spreading to the other members of the league. There was little hope for Louisville, its faith seemingly sealed as terminal.

In his influential work on organizational management, “Good To Great”, author Jim Collins refers to the circumstances Louisville had fallen into as the “Doom Loop.” The organization lacked internal accountability, failed to achieve credibility within its own community and had lost all authenticity with the college athletics community as a whole. It was not that the department did not want to change, but rather that it lacked the discipline to do so.

The program had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

For Jurich and his leadership team, part of that process involved confronting the hardest decision a manager must ever make – replacing individuals who did not fit within the cultural boundaries they set out for the department. In fact, within the first five years of tenure, there were more than 130 changes within the staff, or almost 50% of the entire department. Such high turnover is almost unheard of from any organization with the multi-million dollar revenues, and is testament to the dire situation Louisville found itself in.

And it’s biggest problem was it was completely out of compliance with Title IX, a crucial program that stresses the importance of women in sports.

“When it came to non-compliance with Title IX, Louisville was in dire straights,” says Jurich. “We had Lamar Daniel, a leading gender equity consultant, come to campus and tell us that we were the ‘worst program he had ever seen’. Here was someone who had spent over two decades conducting investigations for the Office of Civil Rights and who was practically at a loss for words on just how bad our situation was.”

While the problem Louisville faced was evident, the solution was less clear. At the time, the department’s budget was $14.8 million, or just 17% of the $85 million it had risen to today. Just about every area of the department needed improvement and additional resources. The problem was that not only did the Cardinals need to fund-raise, but also that they needed to invest the majority of the money back into women’s sports, none of which would provide any financial return on investment.

Wow. This place is hopeless.

But the Forbes article details the steps taken to rebuild UofL’s stature in athletics.

So what does the school have to show for it?

Some 15 years after Jurich took over as athletic director, the Louisville Cardinals have made history. The university became the first to win a BCS football game, a national championship in men’s basketball, play for the national championship in women’s basketball, and make the College World Series all in one year. Even more significantly, the University received an invitation to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), a move that all but guarantees stability for many years to come in tumultuous college athletics landscape. For any other university, achieving even one of those feats would be cause for tremendous celebration, but for the University of Louisville, anything less would have been a disappointment.

The article is worth reading. (Though it seems to have dropped a section involving UofL basketball. It makes a reference to Pitino, but no reference to Rick’s first name.)