Remember when Ken Caminiti told SI that 50 percent of MLB players use some kind of steroid, and everyone kind of scoffed at him. Couldn't be! Then it kinda turned out he was right? (No, not right: Underestimating the total!)
The NFL has had its "Caminiti Moment," courtesy of the eminently more respected offensive lineman Jon Jansen, who pegs the number of NFL players who use PEDs at "15 to 20 percent."
That might seem shocking on its face, but only because it seems so low! I'll take the "Over" on that and double my kid's college fund.
Jansen also says he thinks PED use is "on the rise" because of HGH, which, as we all know, is the gold standard for cheating athletes because it's undetectable.
On the day its 2006 season begins, the NFL is threatened to be undercut by the PED issue, which has always been bubbling under the surface and only recently gained traction.
I still contend that (1) every fan figures most of the NFL cheats with PEDs, but we don't care, and (2) the league is such a juggernaut even widespread PED use or a PED scandal can't touch it.
(Where's my evidence? How about the lack of any outrage over the Panthers 'roid scandal a few weeks ago? Or the fact that most fans won't blink at this "15/20 percent" number.)
And if you thought that the baseball media turned a blind eye to steroids in MLB, they've got nothing on the see-no-evil reporters who cover the NFL.
(Aside from the Panthers, can you think of another single big 'roid story? Are the NFL writers trying to say there isn't a PED problem in the NFL? They're either fooling themselves or simply covering up for their meal-ticket. I don't blame them: NFL fans have indicated that they don't want to know.)
Related: The league and the union are talking about increasing testing, though union honcho Gene Upshaw seems pretty content to let things stand. "Toughest standards in sports" sounds great in a sound-bite, but remember that's relative; it doesn't mean the NFL actually has particularly tough standards. Otherwise, how could that "15-20 percent" number come up?
Meanwhile, the 2006 season kicks off tonight in a game between the Dolphins and the defending champ Steelers (minus Ben Roethlisberger).
We've seen this story before: No Big Ben means big problems for Pittsburgh. And Miami is a trendy team to pick for a breakout season (me in the Quickie, Dr. Z, countless others).
Between the Dolphins D (or the impotent Steelers O), the effectiveness of Culpepper-t0-Chambers and the overnight emergence of RB Ronnie Brown as a sensation, I'm taking the Dolphins over the Steelers.
Tomorrow's storylines today:
*Defending champs reeling!
*Dolphins poised for playoff run!
Commenters: Who's your pick and why?