Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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That said, this obscure fact came up in the midst of all of it. Only three players in NFL history, per this tweet, have caught passes from both Brady and Peyton Manning: Dan Klecko, Torrance Small ... and Jermaine Wiggins.
Welker will presumably the fourth, and the most famous, unless you consider he has never been a subject of Stu's Hunt Down while Wiggins has.
As noted in a casual office conversation with Stensation -- who had no idea we were frantically searching for a mid-afternoon post -- the news that Ryan Fitzpatrick was cut by the Bills means that, for now, Tarvaris Jackson is the starting QB in Buffalo!
This was the quote from head coach Doug Marrone at the Jackson re-signed in mid-February with the Bills:
“I spoke with Ryan (Fitzpatrick) and Tarvaris (Jackson) and told them we will have an open competition at the quarterback position – similar to what we will do at all positions on our team heading into our offseason work."
If that was the open competition, it is down to one man. T-Jack is a starter again.
NFL free agency starts this afternoon, and the Vikings have a significant shopping list between now and the draft. The top of the list, with more urgency than ever after yesterday’s trade, is wide receiver. But there are other areas to address as well. So here is a wish list of five hopefully realistic free agents the Vikings could go after:
Deadspin got ahold of the financial records for the Carolina Panthers, and the look inside the pages is quite interesting. The takeaway paragraphs are the first two:
In 2010 and 2011, as the NFL prepared for and staged a lockout of its players, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was among the hardest of the hardliners, urging his fellow owners to "take back our league" by demanding a more management-friendly collective-bargaining agreement.
Meanwhile, according to an audited financial statement obtained by Deadspin, Richardson's Panthers were making more than $100 million in profit over the fiscal years covering those two seasons.
That's a pretty fine hard news lead. And you should read the rest.
Every so often, I will read a quote from some sports team or league executive about promotion and marketing, a quote that's some variation on this misbegotten theme: "We want to promote our team / league / sport as an entertainment product - as an alternative to the movies and TV." In practice, what this "entertainment product" generally means is some combination of cheerleaders, rock music, and scoreboards -- effectively, distracting attendees from the action on the field.
It's worth considering this, because while sports may be entertaining, sports fans don't experience them in the same way as they do entertainment, unless they genuinely don't care about the outcome of the game. It is possible, for example, to enjoy going to a baseball game just for the experience of sitting outside on a warm night, eating hot dogs and drinking beer; indeed, this particular passion has been the genesis of a good amount of the St. Paul Saints' revenue over the years. But, save for a few die-hards, many of the people who go to a Saints game can't tell you a week later who pitched, who the Saints played, or even who won.
It's also particularly strange that while sports fans have a more personal connection with a team than, say, music fans have with a band, the sports fan's outward expression of that passion is - unlike the music fan's - entirely impersonal. For example, those that wear a T-shirt or hang a poster of a favorite band or movie or Internet comic strip are doing so to express something about themselves as a person, in terms of this thing they like and are passionate about - but you would never, ever, hear the same person refer to that group as "we." Sports fans' love of a team is entirely personal, but the outward expression is to show off that they're part of something bigger than themselves. The folks in Wild jerseys walking the streets of St. Paul tomorrow evening aren't donning red and green to tell the world something about themselves, personally - they're doing it because they are Wild fans, part of a plural, and wearing a jersey to the game is what Wild fans do.
The point I'm trying to make is that entertainment is transient, but fandom is permanent, and that those who'd try to sell sports as entertainment are always destined for worries about the box office. I enjoy going to Saints games, don't get me wrong, but I'm always going to weigh my options, because it never rains at the movies and my backyard is just as warm as the ballpark (and has cheaper food besides). But the Twins - I'll plan ahead for the Twins, I'll pay actual money for the Twins, and all because they're my team and I want to be there when they win so that I can be part of something that's bigger than I am. Even when they're terrible. They're not competing for my entertainment dollar. They're competing for something else entirely.
*On with the links:
*John Rosengren heads up to Warroad to catch the latest Warroad-Roseau game and write about it for SB Nation Longform. It's such a well-known rivalry that it borders on the cliche, and yet Rosengren's story is captivating, as it's told through the eyes of the fans and -- especially -- the parents that are drawn into the great historical circle of Warroad-Roseau for one night.
*Wright Thompson of ESPN profiles the soon-to-be-50-year-old Michael Jordan and discovers what we might have expected: without the competition of the game, Jordan seems completely and profoundly miserable.
*At Esquire, Tom Junod talks to NFL players about injuries -- not just head injuries, but the day-to-day painful existence of football. In all of the discussion about safety in the NFL, it is worth remembering - it's surprising, even frightening, but still worth remembering - that most of the guys who play in the NFL are willing to trade daily pain and lifetime health problems and shorter lives, just to keep their spots and help their team win.
*Sports Illustrated went to Antarctica for the Swimsuit Issue this year, and Steve Rushin went along for the ride. (WARNING: cheesecake photos of penguins.)
*And finally: Let's all watch Phil Mickelson fall over.
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