First things first: Go right over to those links to the right and join up in my four football prediction competitions – two NFL and two CFB. The group name for all of them is the usual: Daily Quickie Readers. Hope you join in. Winner of each gets to write a guest-post on DS.com. (Or, alternatively, maybe a prize that is perhaps a little more enjoyable.)
Next: Click this link to read my Jaguars season preview on Deadspin. As many of you know, I picked up the Jags as my favorite NFL team before last season began. I'm back for Year 2. Consider yourself appropriately appalled.
Madden 08 released today: As I pointed out in the Daily Quickie (I believe in last year's edition on the day Madden 07 was released), the release of Madden has become one of the biggest days of the sports year. It's arguably bigger than any single NFL weekend except the Super Bowl. And it arguably tops any single day's event in any other sport, with the exception of the first two days of March Madness (which, coincidentally, are two days of all-consuming attention, not unlike the first two days you have Madden out of the box).
Vick Watch: Now the other two guys are cutting deals, too. Vick is SO screwed. Doesn't even matter HOW he's screwed. He just is.
Should Vick himself take a plea deal? He probably should, simply to get this behind him (and understanding that he's in a ton of trouble, whether he feels like he did anything wrong or not). Here's the priority: Avoid any association with gambling (which could get him banned from the NFL for life), avoid jail time, take the NFL's punishment (even if it's a year) and, for cripes sake, rehab his image.
How could Vick rehab his image? Once the legalistics are behind him, he can admit how wrong he was, display contrition and become the poster guy for animal care – in particular, being a spokesperson against dog-fighting and other cruelty issues. Give money. Give time. Give celebrity. Create and star in a documentary about it. Write a book about it. Despite the current loathing towards him, I suspect that fans WANT to forgive him – he simply needs to (sincerely) give fans something to hang their forgiveness on.
Related: In an interesting NYT/CBS poll, 36 percent of fans who know about the case think that Vick is receiving preferential treatment. Wow: If what he's getting is preferential treatment, I don't want to see what "throwing the book at him" looks like. Did the local prosecutor bumble the case? Yes. Have the Feds been deliberate? Yes, but that's called "building a case." Has the NFL been lenient? Considering they suspended him indefinitely on nothing more than the indictment alone, not particularly.
MNF Preseason Debut: Last August, on the day of Tony Kornheiser's debut, I suggested he was the best thing to happen to Monday Night Football since Howard Cosell. Unfortunately for all of us, I was a wee bit off. (Cripes: When you make as many boldly superlative pronouncements as I do, you can't be right ALL the time.)
I acknowledge that glaring error in the hopes that you'll forgive me a second straight year of hyperbole, because I was off by one year: Ron Jaworski is the best thing to happen to Monday Night Football since Howard Cosell. "Is it Monday yet?" was brilliant, but here's my 2007 MNF slogan suggestion: "We've put the 'football' back in Monday Night Football."
Broncos 17, 49ers 13: Who's with me that Jay Cutler feels like a late-round steal in your fantasy draft? (Alex Smith will be a late-round bargain, too.)
Bonds Watch: Is 2008 his last year? Needless to say, I don't expect there to be a "Retirement Tour" around the league... although there should be. And any team that wants to juice attendance (home AND road) should sign him. Much like his Home Run Chase, most fans can say they want no part of Bonds, but if you've never seen him in person, you'd be crazy not to attend at least one of his games next season, if only just to tell your kids you did.
Meanwhile, Bonds was greeted with cheers last night in
MLB Stud: Welcome back, Richie Sexson.
Cal Ripken's new job: He's "special sports envoy" for the State Department. I hope administration spin czar Karen Hughes doesn't simply use Ripken for attempted political gain. But, overall, I really like the idea.
NFL Coaching: Here's to Lane Kiffin's quick and complete recovery from whatever viral infection has got him down right now. Gotta show solidarity for an NFL coach who is younger than me.
Pat Riley to coach another three years: I'll take the under.
Sonics relocation to
I feel badly for fans in
So the logical question: How soon can the NBA get a replacement team in
I'm late on this, but... Mark Cuban approves of tanking: It's nice to see him affirm a position I've held for years. Tanking isn't just OK, but in many cases is optimal.