NFL Draft Mania! As fans debate who will go No. 1 overall to the Raiders (JaMarcus Russell? Calvin Johnson? Brady Quinn), consider that a year ago, everyone figured Reggie Bush an "anything-else-would-be-insane" lock to the Texans at No. 1... right up until they drafted DE Mario Williams.
*That's the first intrigue: Who's No. 1? What happens there will reverberate through the rest of the Top 10 (and perhaps the rest of the first round, if it triggers some much-desired trade activity).
*Then: What will Matt Millen do to screw up the No. 2 pick for the Lions? If Calvin Johnson is available, he'd be crazy to not pick him – but it would be ANOTHER first-round WR.
(Rumor has it that the Lions are entertaining a trade with the Falcons to swap the 2 and 8 picks. Good move for
*At No. 3, will the Browns go for a franchise QB (Quinn or Russell) or a franchise RB (Adrian Peterson)? Whoever doesn't get taken might slide down the Top 10. (Prediction: Browns pick Quinn.)
*Which players with spotty backgrounds will get caught in the league's new "character" filter? CB Eric Wright of UNLV will be the case to watch. (Prediction: He'll still go high.)
*What about my personally favorite player in the draft, Florida S Reggie Nelson, who I've heard is sliding? I think he'll be next year's Defensive Rookie of the Year. My prediction: The Pats trade up to get him.
*How many "analysts" and "experts" will use 19-year-old Amobi Okoye's high-first-round draft selection to point out that he effectively implodes the rationale behind the NFL's "age-limit" rules? (Prediction: Not nearly enough.)
So many more storylines, which you can feel free to add in the Comments section. (And, if you're live-blogging the Draft, send me the link to your blog. Happy to add it to the list I'll publish.)
I'll have a live-comment post set up tomorrow for the entire draft weekend.
Roger Goodell floated the idea of moving the Super Bowl overseas sometime in the next decade. I will be the first on the record to say it: That is the single worst idea in the history of sports.
On the flip side: NFL to add 17th regular-season game?! Even speculation of that is huge. What a layer of icing on top of a weekend already dominated by the NFL.
I like the logic: If they want to play more overseas games during the regular season (which they do), it ensures that fans don't lose a precious home game, which was my biggest problem with the international games.
Talk also swirls around eliminating a preseason game in order to find room on the schedule. That would be another move that would be met with universal approval. Everyone hates the preseason.
Some statistician is going to do the dirty work, but qualitatively, it feels like even a single extra regular-season game would make the playoff races vastly more intriguing. (OK: Fantasy playoff races.)
The biggest implication? How about in the record books: An extra game could be the difference between breaking records, topping 2,000 yards rushing and hitting performance bonuses.
(And don't even think about asterisks: Baseball went from 154 games to 162 games, and no one bothers to differentiate records set over the different season lengths.)
We'll see what the players' association has to say about it. An extra game means extra mileage on players, extra chances for injury, etc.
The fact that this is going to be big news speaks to just how precious and valued those 16 games are. To add another? What fan wouldn't want that?
Schilling's Bloody Sock: Gary Thorne backtracked that he must have misunderstood Doug Mirabelli's sarcasm about the sock's blood really being paint. So, apparently, Thorne was punk'd.
Here is Curt Schilling's response to the mini-scandal, via his blog 38Pitches. It's the best example yet of Schilling short-circuiting the traditional media filter through which players connect with fans. Say this: I enjoyed Schilling's entry a lot more than I would have enjoyed a column by a
Yankees-Red Sox hits the
Lakers beat Suns in
In another example, the Jazz (down 0-2) beat the Rockets in
And here you go: The Pistons thumped the Magic in
Is Jason Kidd's knee going to keep him out of Game 3 vs. the Raptors? If so, it's going to be a big
Sonics moving to...Vegas? I thought OK City was a lock, but it sounds like Vegas is going to make the new Sonics owners an offer they can't refuse. And shouldn't refuse. The NBA in Vegas -- the first major sports team in Vegas, actually -- will be huge. Sorry, Seattle: No sympathy when the alternative is Sin City.
MLB: What an exciting week for Torii Hunter. First he sends champagne to the Royals (for which he's punished by MLB). Then he gets hit in the mouth with a pitch by Royals SP Zach Greinke. For Torii: TGIF.
MLB Stud: Bud Selig, for endorsing baseball labor impresario Marvin Miller for inclusion into the Hall of Fame.
MLB Dud: Phil Hughes, with a caveat.Yankees stud pitching prospect gets yanked early after allowing 4 ER and 7H in 4.1 IP. (Not all bad, though: 5 Ks and only 1 BB.) He'll settle.
Michael Vick and Dog-Fighting: PETA has gotten involved calling for Vick's suspension pending further investigation into his involvement in an alleged dog-fighting ring at a house he owns. Catfight!
Meanwhile, ProFootballTalk nailed it: Forget an easy suspension like Pac-Man Jones or Chris Henry. What does the Commissioner do about a player who is as big of a superstar as Vick?
NCAA bans text messaging: I think we'll look back on the last few years of unencumbered texting as a Golden Age for recruiting. Memo to the NCAA: You can TRY to stop technological progress, but you can't. Luddites. Urban Meyer's thumbs will find other ways to be useful.
NBA Draft: PG Javaris Crittenton joins teammate Thaddeus Young in the NBA Draft. Crittenton instantly is one of the Top 3 PGs in the draft, along with Mike Conley and Acie Law. And he's 6-foot-5, which should have scouts panting. He's a first-round lock.
Jeffrey Jordan Watch: MJ's son will be walking on at Illinois, thus ending the dream all Northwestern fans had of JJ leading NU to the NCAA Tournament. Or the NIT. (Whatever. They'd be on TV more and maybe upgrade from adidas sneaks to Jordan Brand.)
If you missed it yesterday, I had two arguments along the same meme: That pro-league age-limits are ludicrous, with two fantastic examples staring us right in the face: Prep-to-pro Monta Ellis winning the NBA's Most Improved Award and 19-year-old NFL Top 15 Draftee Amobi Okoye.
Today's Must-Watch: Dan Majerle hitting some crazy trick shots. In a suit. In one sitting. No editing. (H/T We Are The Postmen)
Today's Must-Read: The Big Picture's interview with ubiquitous sports-blog presence Unsilent Majority, who is graciously hosting me on Saturday night at the Wizards playoff Game 3 versus the Cavs.