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NFL Weekend: This, That, And A Few Other Things...

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The NFL pre-pre-pre-season in underway... Sort of? The those grueling six hour work days must be hard to deal with in shorts, shirt and helmet? The rookies have to stay after school - while the veterans ice joints a few months removed from the 2014 NFL season that was... - to learn how to "practice"... Really? Yes, yes, I know there's a learning curve between college and the NFL. Yet, it always make me laugh a bit when a head coach talks about teaching guys how to practice a game they've been playing since they were "wee bairns"...

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My thoughts on the media coverage of the NFL can be jaded at times. For one thing, I'm sort of one of them, so casting a reviewer's eye ain't easy...

Writing about professional sports isn't as easy as some would believe. There has to be a balance between pure objectivity and positive/negative spin. A writer who makes a living by singularly lambasting teams and players isn't going to last long in this business. There are exception to this not so general rule (see: Skip Bayless, et al), but most of them reside in the "shock-jock" realm of radio talk shows. Yet, in this long drawn out preseason, sports-zombie zone leading up to the start of the 2015 NFL season, once a week I'm going to  mention a sportswriter - with an emphasis on the ones who actually WRITE - that I admire...

Judy Battista, NFL.com...

If anyone thinks it hasn't been tough on women writers to earn respect in the NFL, you're down right blind. Battista earned her way into the top echelon of sportswriters by hard work, and fantastic turn of phrase. She writes with a discerning eye toward fairness, yet can slice away at a hard edge subject like few others. Judy cut her teeth with the Miami Herald, then in the "Big Apple", writing for the New York Times' NFL desk. If anyone believes her move to NFL.com was based on the league wanting to include more women on their writing staff, think again. Battista knows the game of football, and she's earned the respect of every NFL team. I have little doubt she'll one day join the only woman - Mary Garber - selected to the National Sportscaster and Sportswriters Hall of Fame...

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A mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Anyone wonder how the brains of some NFL players can actually power their bodies, let alone excel on the talent laden fields of the NFL? Case in point: The latest brain-methane released by a player during the off season. Newly signed to the New England Patriots, linebacker Brandon Spikes bops his car off a vehicle, then fled the scene. Knowing full well there was NO WAY anyone would be able to draw a line back to him - after abandoning his Mercedes-Benz Maybach - he decided to blame it all on a deer... Bambi did it, dammit! Being the sly-boots he knows he is, he even enlisted On-Star into his perfect crime... Computers are NFL groupies after all, right?

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I wonder if GEICO will ever get into the sports agent business? I mean, if you could save $432,000 over four years, wouldn't you do it? #9 overall draft pick Ereck Flowers thinks it's a good idea, and why not? The 2011 CBA set out most of the baseline numbers for rookie contracts, so the need for an agent to negotiate for him really isn't there. All he needs is to review a few contracts other rookies have signed in the past, then dial in the remaining off sets by writing versions he's reads down on some 3x5 cards. When he and the New York Giants' general manager get to the off set portion of his contract, he simply throws a card on the table for the GM to read. If he shakes his head, Flowers throws another card on the table until they find one he and the team can live with for the next four years...

The 2011 Collective bargaining Agreement hit agents hard. Many thought the industry was in trouble, but they've managed to remain financial pilot-fish for most players. They come in handy for negotiating things like endorsement, and post-rookie contracts. But why give them money for the simple stuff like a rookie deal? Hats off to Flowers for showing the intelligence so woefully missing among NFL players when it come to finance...

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I received an e-mail a few days ago regarding Brandon Bate. The sender wanted to know why I tend to ding Brandon every once in a while in my articles, and short stories. Here's a clip from a story I wrote a while ago as an example:

"Burrr-apa!  Burrr-apa!" My friends and I went silent. They studied me for a second, backing away from the fart-esk sound. I made a dismissive wave of my hand, "That's just a ring tone... No, really!" They continued to back up anyway. I answered my phone just as it farted again. "Welcome to the Church of Small Genitalia auto-sign up. Thank you for joining. Just know that guys with little dicks like yours are people too! We'll try to help by signing you up for every Viagra site in the universe! If you've reached this number by error, or are from the Washington D.C. area - work for Lowes - and are in denial, and would like to un-sign up, please press #1..." My phone started beeping furiously, and I could hear a generous smattering of swear words in-between the beeps. The line went dead...

SEE! There's nothing wrong with giving my good friend a heart felt mention once in a while... In truth, Brandon is a great friend, superb writer, and all-round good sport when it comes to me plugging him into my little scribbles. I'm beyond proud of how Brandon's grown as a writer, and I consider him my closest friend here at Turf Show Times. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret Brandon doesn't share with anyone but his closest, dearest friends and heroes... Did you know the Star Wars character "Jar Jar Binks" was inspired by Brandon? Yup! George Lucas was wandering through a Lowes - where Brandon used to work. Lucas began to twitch, then maniacally laugh when he saw Brandon. The rest as they say, is history...

Jar Jar Binks

Have a great weekend, and thanks for dropping in for a read! Have questions for me, the TST staff, or about the 2015 St. Louis Rams? E-mail me, and I'll answer: GUARANTEED!