My favorite time in the otherwise excruciating pre-NFL Draft season is the period where wannabe GMs and 140-character analysts attempt to read between the lines of coach and general manager quotes to decipher just who their favorite team is going to draft. This stage is in full swing now that Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer have gone on the record to say very little about their draft intentions, leading others to attempt some form of jerk-off Pavlovian deconstruction—if Coach X says Y, he must mean Z!
The latest comes from Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk1 who, in a psychoanalysis that rivals Dr. Phil, attempts to turn Ray Farmer’s open praise of Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins into some cat-and-mouse shenanigans that—somehow—lead the Browns to coveting an offensive lineman.
In the same interview, Farmer heaped praise on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (“Exciting, electric. He’s dynamic”), Khalil Mack (“I would say he’s a physical anomaly”), Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans and Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles (“Both of those guys are talented players.”). Of course, none of these players drew a “wow,” but to extrapolate smoke from such quotes is a fools errand. Next Monday can’t come soon enough.
The collateral damage from the Chief Wahoo debate is starting to drip over onto apparel companies. The Associated Press reports of a Pacific Northwestern plea for Nike Inc. to stop selling MLB-licensed merchandise emblazoned with the Indians’ secondary logo. Nike would not be printing (and, thus, selling) merchandise with Chief Wahoo on it if the logo were not among the bevy of MLB-licensed images provided to the company for distribution. It’s realistic to assume that the company could also choose to not produce apparel with said imagery on it (the Washington Redskins are mentioned in the report as well), but this would also assume that Nike didn’t just decide to do away with the abuse of overseas labor.
This isn’t to say that the Swoosh won’t catch on eventually. But it is to say that the corporate inertia in Washington County is among the slowest in the entire sports world. And this includes Major League Baseball.
Those of you able to stomach the NBA Playoffs have been blessed with one of the better first rounds in recent memory. Five of the eight series went seven games with each of the five being completely up for grabs. San Antonio was on the wire. Toronto’s bid for the second round was blocked at the final second. And this doesn’t even include the issues in Los Angeles with Donald Sterling and the Clippers. I mean eight (EIGHT) first-round games went into overtime—more than the last four seasons of playoffs combined.
The most compelling series, at least from a Cleveland fans standpoint, should have been the Houston-Portland series, if only because of the play of one Damian Lillard. If you missed it, Lillard sank an incredible buzzer-beating three pointer off of a simple curl that vaulted his team into the second round while simultaneously forcing some Cavalier fans to debate whether or not they would rather have Lillard over Kyrie Irving. For your viewing pleasure:
I think the way the fans’ arms raise in unison may be my favorite part of the whole gif, but I digress. If you recall, Lillard was one (of the many) point guards to terrorize Irving this season, hitting a game-winner in one of the Cavaliers’ best games of the 2013-14 season. He has a huge cult following of NBA fans, has his own massive sneaker deal (Adidas) and is an All-Star in his own right. And now his team (though surrounded by talent that dwarfs that of Cleveland) is heading into the second round of the playoffs. The debate isn’t without merit. Who would you rather have?
Speaking of Kyrie Irving and shoe deals, Jordan Zirm over at Stack Media discusses the 2014 free agency landscape on the sneaker front, doing so with legendary sneaker business analyst Matt Powell. While Powell couldn’t confirm the rumor, he’s under the impression that Kyrie Irving will in fact be getting his own line of shoes this coming season. He’s had two consecutive years of PE (Player Exclusive, for the out of touch). His own shoe would put him in rarified air with guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. Does Irving deserve to be in that company? Given his commercial appeal with Pepsi MAX and Foot Locker, it appears that Nike believes so.
Only three more episodes of Mad Men left, you guys. Is this season living up to your expectations?
And just because: That’s just isn’t fair, Ronaldo.
- This type of nonsense is certainly not limited to Florio. You could throw a rock at a Clevelander’s Twitter feed and plunk someone who thinks they’re in tune with NFL wisdom. It’s an epidemic, really. [↩]