Jody Michael

"Roger Goodell’s existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL commissioner’s office into, is now symbolized by Ray Rice’s brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. […]

Any games played by Baltimore without its executives and the commissioner having been dismissed, and without Ray Rice being permanently banned by the National Football League, must be fully boycotted by all of us. If not, we become accessories after the fact.”

In Pittsburgh, when the NFL team wants to pay for stadium improvements by using taxpayer money, there are city leaders in Pittsburgh who, in open recognition of the fact that public dollars are increasingly scarce, will engage in legal wrangling until a better deal results that shifts the burden of maintaining the facilities off of the public and onto the team owners who derive untold millions of dollars in private profit from them.

In Cleveland, every prominent politician in town rolls over while the NFL team and its corporate partners pay to get the law changed so the team can get into taxpayers’ pockets for every bit of money that it’s asking for, and in a way that exerts a disproportionate burden on the taxpayers least able to afford it. All despite the fact that public dollars are at least as scarce in Cleveland as they are in Pittsburgh, and probably much more so.

It might tempt a person to think that certain places have the professional sports franchises that they deserve.

NFL playoff predictions

Wild Card Weekend
(A3) Cincinnati Bengals over (A6) San Diego Chargers
(A5) Kansas City Chiefs over (A4) Indianapolis Colts
(N6) New Orleans Saints over (N3) Philadelphia Eagles
(N5) San Francisco 49ers over (N4) Green Bay Packers

Divisional Round
(A1) Denver Broncos over (A5) Kansas City Chiefs
(A3) Cincinnati Bengals over (A2) New England Patriots
(N1) Seattle Seahawks over (N6) New Orleans Saints
(N5) San Francisco 49ers over (N2) Carolina Panthers

Conference Championships
(A1) Denver Broncos over (A3) Cincinnati Bengals
(N1) Seattle Seahawks over (N5) San Francisco 49ers

Super Bowl XLVIII
(A1) Denver Broncos over (N1) Seattle Seahawks

Updating my college bracket playoff idea for 2013: an explanation
16 teams earn spots in the bracket through these steps:
(1) Champions of the six major conferences earn first-round home games and are placed on the bracket where one win would place them in their conference’s affiliated major bowl. The AAC doesn’t have a major bowl affiliation, so its champion is placed during the next step.
(2) The final ten spots go to the ten remaining teams ranked highest in the computer rankings; removing the human polls eliminates any possible bias. (As is done in the current BCS rankings, six computer rankings are used, but each team’s highest and lowest ranking are removed from the formula.) Only three teams per conference can get in the playoff. The two highest remaining teams get home games; in this case, it’s #3 Alabama and #6 Missouri. They, along with the AAC champion (UCF), are placed to balance the expected semifinal opponents. Since #15 UCF is the lowest-seeded of those eight, it goes on #1 Florida State’s quadrant of the bracket, while #6 Missouri goes in #2 Auburn’s quadrant and #3 Alabama goes in #9 Baylor’s quadrant - the rankings are reversely correlated. The other eight teams (“road teams,” as their first-round games will be away games) also balance the bracket by reversely correlating the seeds: the highest-seed road team (#7 Ohio State) plays the lowest-seed home team (#15 UCF), and so on.
(3) The four quadrants are placed so that the best teams meet as late as possible (in this case, Florida State and Auburn wouldn’t meet until the championship game) and so the #1 team has the lowest-ranked semifinal opponent should the higher seed win each game (#1 Florida State would face #4 Stanford, while #2 Auburn would face #3 Alabama).
The semifinal locations are rotated among other lower bowl games to create a matchup in line with a current lower bowl’s conference affiliations should the higher seed win each game. On the left side, Florida State (ACC) and Stanford (Pac-12) could play in what is currently the Sun Bowl in El Paso. On the right side of the bracket, since both Auburn and Alabama are SEC schools, I replaced Alabama with the next-best non-SEC seed, Baylor, who could play Auburn in what is currently the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington.
The championship game continues to be rotated among the four major bowls as currently done.
The first-round games would be two weeks after the conference championship games. The quarterfinal games would be roughly two weeks after that, at or around New Year’s Day. The semifinal games would be the nearest Saturday at least one week after New Year’s Day. The championship game would be the Thursday after the semifinals.
This not only preserves the 98-year tradition of bowl games, but enhances the incentives to win those bowl games. It lets the major conferences keep some of the advantages they demand. If any mid-majors finish the season with a high enough ranking, they would finally have an actual opportunity to reach the championship game. It ensures a home game to the winner of each major conference, preserving the appeal of winning a conference title and keeping the regular season competitive.
So these would be the first-round games we’d hypothetically be seeing on Saturday, December 21:
#20 Wisconsin at #1 Florida State#7 Ohio State at #15 UCF#13 Clemson at #4 Stanford#12 Oklahoma at #5 Michigan State#19 Northern Illinois at #2 Auburn#11 Arizona State at #6 Missouri#10 Oregon at #9 Baylor#14 Oklahoma State at #3 Alabama
You can’t tell me those games don’t look delicious. Plus, it eliminates the frustrating fight over who deserves a BCS bowl bid. Mad that, for example, Oregon somehow lost out on a BCS bid? Problem solved! Now they all have a chance.
Questions? Comments? Let me hear ‘em.

Updating my college bracket playoff idea for 2013: an explanation

16 teams earn spots in the bracket through these steps:

(1) Champions of the six major conferences earn first-round home games and are placed on the bracket where one win would place them in their conference’s affiliated major bowl. The AAC doesn’t have a major bowl affiliation, so its champion is placed during the next step.

(2) The final ten spots go to the ten remaining teams ranked highest in the computer rankings; removing the human polls eliminates any possible bias. (As is done in the current BCS rankings, six computer rankings are used, but each team’s highest and lowest ranking are removed from the formula.) Only three teams per conference can get in the playoff. The two highest remaining teams get home games; in this case, it’s #3 Alabama and #6 Missouri. They, along with the AAC champion (UCF), are placed to balance the expected semifinal opponents. Since #15 UCF is the lowest-seeded of those eight, it goes on #1 Florida State’s quadrant of the bracket, while #6 Missouri goes in #2 Auburn’s quadrant and #3 Alabama goes in #9 Baylor’s quadrant - the rankings are reversely correlated. The other eight teams (“road teams,” as their first-round games will be away games) also balance the bracket by reversely correlating the seeds: the highest-seed road team (#7 Ohio State) plays the lowest-seed home team (#15 UCF), and so on.

(3) The four quadrants are placed so that the best teams meet as late as possible (in this case, Florida State and Auburn wouldn’t meet until the championship game) and so the #1 team has the lowest-ranked semifinal opponent should the higher seed win each game (#1 Florida State would face #4 Stanford, while #2 Auburn would face #3 Alabama).

The semifinal locations are rotated among other lower bowl games to create a matchup in line with a current lower bowl’s conference affiliations should the higher seed win each game. On the left side, Florida State (ACC) and Stanford (Pac-12) could play in what is currently the Sun Bowl in El Paso. On the right side of the bracket, since both Auburn and Alabama are SEC schools, I replaced Alabama with the next-best non-SEC seed, Baylor, who could play Auburn in what is currently the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington.

The championship game continues to be rotated among the four major bowls as currently done.

The first-round games would be two weeks after the conference championship games. The quarterfinal games would be roughly two weeks after that, at or around New Year’s Day. The semifinal games would be the nearest Saturday at least one week after New Year’s Day. The championship game would be the Thursday after the semifinals.

This not only preserves the 98-year tradition of bowl games, but enhances the incentives to win those bowl games. It lets the major conferences keep some of the advantages they demand. If any mid-majors finish the season with a high enough ranking, they would finally have an actual opportunity to reach the championship game. It ensures a home game to the winner of each major conference, preserving the appeal of winning a conference title and keeping the regular season competitive.

So these would be the first-round games we’d hypothetically be seeing on Saturday, December 21:

#20 Wisconsin at #1 Florida State
#7 Ohio State at #15 UCF
#13 Clemson at #4 Stanford
#12 Oklahoma at #5 Michigan State
#19 Northern Illinois at #2 Auburn
#11 Arizona State at #6 Missouri
#10 Oregon at #9 Baylor
#14 Oklahoma State at #3 Alabama

You can’t tell me those games don’t look delicious. Plus, it eliminates the frustrating fight over who deserves a BCS bowl bid. Mad that, for example, Oregon somehow lost out on a BCS bid? Problem solved! Now they all have a chance.

Questions? Comments? Let me hear ‘em.

vicemag:

Will PBS Deliver the Death Blow to the NFL?
The NFL is the most powerful and popular sports league in the country. At this point, it might be the most dominant institution in America, period. In its 93 years it’s grown to become both an altar of mainstream manhood and a multibillion dollar industry that puts on the most highly rated programs on TV. The NFL is so big that fantasy football, a game for grown men where you watch players compile numbers in another game, generates a billion dollars a year by itself. By now you’re likely familiar with the widely-accepted truth that all that tackling involved in the sport damages players’ brains, often horrifically—Alan Schwarz‘s New York Times reporting on that subject started way back in 2007. But if you watch the sport, you probably don’t care enough to stop watching.
PBS Frontline is going to try to make you care more.
League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, a documentary airing tonight based on a book that was released today, is the most direct assault on the league to date. The film not only reviews the by-now-at-least-faintly-familiar evidence that football collisions are very bad for you, it exposes the NFL’s attempts to cover up the damage the sport does to young men’s brains. The league’s executives and doctors come off as myopic and foolish at best, and scheming and evil at worst—in story after story, League shows NFL players dying after losing their minds due to what most independent doctors agree is football-induced brain damage, then the NFL is shown repeatedly denying the connection between football and the broken families it has left behind.
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vicemag:

Will PBS Deliver the Death Blow to the NFL?

The NFL is the most powerful and popular sports league in the country. At this point, it might be the most dominant institution in America, period. In its 93 years it’s grown to become both an altar of mainstream manhood and a multibillion dollar industry that puts on the most highly rated programs on TV. The NFL is so big that fantasy football, a game for grown men where you watch players compile numbers in another game, generates a billion dollars a year by itself. By now you’re likely familiar with the widely-accepted truth that all that tackling involved in the sport damages players’ brains, often horrifically—Alan Schwarz‘s New York Times reporting on that subject started way back in 2007. But if you watch the sport, you probably don’t care enough to stop watching.

PBS Frontline is going to try to make you care more.

League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, a documentary airing tonight based on a book that was released today, is the most direct assault on the league to date. The film not only reviews the by-now-at-least-faintly-familiar evidence that football collisions are very bad for you, it exposes the NFL’s attempts to cover up the damage the sport does to young men’s brains. The league’s executives and doctors come off as myopic and foolish at best, and scheming and evil at worst—in story after story, League shows NFL players dying after losing their minds due to what most independent doctors agree is football-induced brain damage, then the NFL is shown repeatedly denying the connection between football and the broken families it has left behind.

continue

Instead of proclaiming how “respectful” the name “redskin” is in a region with an indigenous population of just 0.6 percent, I am inviting you to take a road trip with me. I am asking you to step out of your gated community and roll with me Midnight Run–style to a bar on the Pine Ridge reservation among the Black Hills in the great state of South Dakota. Once there, you will walk proudly through the door, stand tall in a beautiful burgundy-and-gold Starter jacket and your famous Redskins belt buckle, and sing our shared fight song, “Hail to the Redskins.” Explain the rich history of the team to all present. Tell them about how it’s really a tribute, as your former vice-president Karl Swanson said, “derived from the Native American tradition for warriors to daub their bodies with red clay before battle.” Make it plain that you mean no disrespect, and then let’s roll the cameras and make YouTube magic.
Dave Zirin’s Enough on Grantland (via jonasdees)

Joe Banner is gonna fix our logo and uniforms with focus groups.

That’s right. FOCUS GROUPS!

And you know who the Banner consultants will seek out to populate the focus groups, right?

No, not you. If you’re reading this post… not you.

Yes. The dreaded casual fan.

You, Mr. Hardcore fan, you don’t matter in this process because, let’s be honest, you’re in the bag. You’ll eat any steaming pile of Browns-related crap put in front of you. You’ve proven this for the last fifty years. We don’t need to get your business, we have it.

No. Banner’s consultants want the hipster demographic. The guy from the Sprint commercial who wants to share every data in pixels. A billion roaming photojournalists. You know this is right: the committee selecting your new uniform is the girl playing Angry Birds in the front row behind the dugout. The guy who records a live concert with his phone instead of just enjoying the moment.