The Lottery Ticket

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I hope Marcus Paschal, the football head coach at my alma mater of Largo High School in Largo, Florida, doesn’t mind me sharing this photo with you.

He is one of only three players from my school to play in the NFL on a full-time basis. (Leonard Johnson and Dexter McCluster being the other two.) The numbers are probably similar in other sports, whether they be baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, what have you.

Very few make it in the world of sports. As the photo illustrates, a million kids play high school ball across the country, but roughly 150 of those players will be around to see their 4th season in the NFL.

Just as you can’t plan on winning the lottery, athletes have to realize that as much as they dream of winning a Super Bowl, the odds are definitely not with them.

The XFL

ESPN did a recent documentary on the most recent major spring football league that had a network TV deal: the X Football League of 2001. 

When I first heard about the league in 2000 and heard that WWF honcho Vince McMahon was going to run it, I quite honestly didn’t know what to think. He was (and is) a marketing genius when it came to wrestling, turning the WWF from an East Coast circuit to a worldwide circuit with no borders. 

I also knew he had a bodybuilding circuit that was a bit disastrous, lasting less than a year. And with all due respect, what did a wrestling guy know about football?

I remember thinking that the league could last a few seasons. They didn’t get into a bidding war with top NFL players, opting to hire players mostly fresh out of college ball. They did have an interesting rule that a punt would be a live ball once it went 25 yards, in other words, each team was free to attempt to claim it. 

It’s biggest problem, or so I thought, was that it looked too much like pro wrestling on a football field, and a bit less of a football game. Because fans, for the most part, knew by that time that wrestling was choreographed, they had to wonder about the XFL being the same, right?

Sixteen years later, no one has dared to try the concept again, though one of these days it’ll happen. It’s just a matter of when. 

Giving No Quarter, Asking No Quarter

To go along with the first Suprr Bowl to end regulation tied and needing overtime to break, we’ve now had what’s believed to be the first tie vote in the US Senate to confirm a member of a President’s cabinet. Much like sports, the Senate has its own tie breaking procedure: the Vice President votes, and so Betsy DeVos is now the Secretary of Education.

These are interesting times politically and for our country. A new Supreme Court justice nominee, a widening conflict with Iran, and the continuing war of words between Trump, his staff, the media, and the Democrats. 

Generally, I root for our country, not against it. Much like Mr. Trump made errors in his bid to be President last year, he seems to have the same learning curve as President. He adjusted well as 2016 progressed, so it’s logical he’ll adapt to things as his Presidency progresses. 

The caveat to that thinking, however, is that the opposition is much more diverse, and that some of these things can’t be controlled, like the economy. Then there’s that George Soros fellow, who many on the conservative side believe is the architect and financier of these protests over Trump’s immigration reforms. 

All we can do is keep watching and see how things play out. 

Another Patriot Reign

Wow.

What a game.

The first ever Super Bowl overtime game.

The first ever comeback in a Super Bowl of more than a 10-point deficit.

The first QB and head coach to win five Super Bowls.

For Atlanta, pure heartbreak.

For New England, pure joy.

A game to be remembered FOREVER.

The best football game I’ve ever seen.

Thank you, Patriots and Falcons.

A Well Needed Time Out

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As many of you know, tonight is the playing of the 51st Super Bowl. (The NFL has this obsession with roman numerals, so they call the event Super Bowl LI.) Either New England or Atlanta walk away tonight as the champion team of the year, and the sports world thereafter will turn to other events, like the Daytona 500, and the 2017 MLB baseball season.

I have seen the Super Bowl referred to a few times over the years as the Great American Time Out. With all the vitriol in the news over our new President, and the changes he wishes to make with the country, and the unprecedented staunchness of the left who have put up such resistance to even his cabinet picks, it’s a well deserved break.

I have also had the honor of going to a Super Bowl in person, the 25th such game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants, won by New York by just one point. I can close my eyes and still see the late Whitney Houston singing the national anthem in the epic way she performed it. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.

If you ever get or win the chance to go to the Super Bowl, do it. You’ll never forget it.

As for my pick, I like the Patriots, 42-34. The Falcons are a very good team, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled off the mild upset. I just think New England is not just playing for today’s game, but for history as well. A win by the Pats would give both Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick five Super Bowls, the most for any one quarterback or head coach.

Enjoy the game. For sports fans worldwide, today is Christmas Day.