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Ralph's Mouth

Ralph's Mouth

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

A display of sheer, green envy just isn’t becoming of an 88-year-old man. But Ralph Wilson showed his colors in an Associated Press article published last week.

The Buffalo Bills’ owner called out Redskins owner Dan Snyder by name as the talked to the AP reporter as one of a group of owners who “To me, and this is just my opinion, [they] don't have the same values about the league as the old guard did.”

Wilson whined on, "I just don't think they're as interested in the game as the old owners, I really don't."

The other two owners Wilson singled out by name are Jerry Jones of Dallas and Robert Kraft of New England.

Presumably, the “values” that Wilson is referring to have to do with money and the unwillingness of Snyder, Jones, Kraft and others to “share” it. Wilson located a lapdog in the Buffalo press, the Buffalo News to be exact, who was willing to do his bidding and further articulate his position:
The problem is a Cold New Breed of big-market, huge-egoed owners like Washington's Dan Snyder and Dallas' Jerry Jones, who can't control their Inner Capitalist. They either don't understand or don't care about the all-for-one concept that built the league into a mega-monolith.
Uh, where is the evidence of that? In keeping all of the revenues from luxury seating, stadium naming rights and other sources, Jones and Snyder were just doing what league rules allowed them to do. Nobody asked them for a cut until recently. The first time they had a serious meeting about revenue sharing, which was last month, they were among those who voted to give money—tens of millions of dollars—to the lower-revenue clubs. What, where they just supposed to take out their pens and write out a check to Wilson without any kind of structure, any kind of formula in place?

By the way, what Wilson and his hack writer have conveniently forgotten was that the very same vote that created the revenue sharing plan also kept intact the salary cap system. While the higher-revenue owners like Snyder and Jones must have been tempted to try out a landscape that would have let them bid unlimited amounts of money to acquire the best players, they decided to keep the system in place, certainly not something that their “Inner Capitalist” would have them do. But, no, because they didn’t just hand Ralph Wilson a blank check they’re greedy, their values are misplaced and they don’t care about the game.

While we’re on the subject, can we talk about this myth that it is things like revenue sharing and the salary cap that have made the NFL popular? It has suddenly morphed into The Truth. The NFL is wildly popular not because of its business model but because Americans like football. If people didn’t like the game, the best business model in the world wouldn’t be able to make it any more popular that soccer is.

What’s the second-most popular sport out there? It’s college football, which has very little revenue sharing. Sure, the conferences share TV and bowl revenues among their members. But when Michigan and Notre Dame hook up in The Big House, we don’t see a dime of the millions that such an event generates going to Wake Forest or Vanderbilt. Northwestern, being in the Big Ten, gets a few bucks thrown its way but by far the main financial beneficiaries of such an affair are the participants. And if a rich alum cuts a check for $10 million to have the field named after him, none of that gets shared with anyone outside of the university. Yet the sport thrives because Americans love the game.

And the people of western New York love the game too, perhaps as much as anyone in America, and it’s unfortunate that the Bills may end up moving, to Los Angeles or elsewhere. However, to blame that situation on Kraft, Snyder, and Jones is patently ridiculous. As a Rust Belt city, Buffalo has been in decline for a couple of decades now, perhaps longer. Population and the economy are shifting to the south. That’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way that things are. The Redskins and the Cowboys could pour all kinds of money into the Bills and that wouldn’t change these facts. If the city of Buffalo can’t support an NFL team, it’s certainly not up to the cities of Washington, Boston, and Dallas to do it for them.

Wilson isn’t just enlisting allies in the media; he is turning to where most corporations looking for a handout do, the government. All-Pro Buffalo linebacker Cornelius Bennett never put a hurtin’ on anyone like the last person to get between Chuck Schumer and an TV camera got, so he was eager to jump into the fray. A Buffalo congressman named Higgins wants to have a committee hearing to investigate the revenue sharing plan. I’ve been looking through the US Constitution to find out where the Congress has any express or implied powers to ensure that a sports franchise can stay in a particular city. I’m also trying to find out where they will find all of the time and resources needed to conduct such an inquiry. Your tax dollars at work.

When times are tough, one can hunker down, get tough, and try to figure out a way to deal with it, or one can whine and cry and get someone to threaten a congressional hearing and find a bogeyman. Wilson and his media mouthpiece have, of course, chosen the latter.
Credit the late commissioner Pete Rozelle, who sold a socialist concept to a bunch of capitalist owners on the grounds that parity pads everybody's profits.

One by one, richer owners broke ranks to go for more of the gold. Dallas' Jones was the first to exploit the loophole of unshared revenue from luxury boxes. The me-first principle prompted a glut of new stadiums filled with luxury seats (or hefty upgrades of old ballparks) that cost taxpayers in NFL cities billions of dollars.

The rich got richer, and they don't want to share their excess with their (relatively) poorer brethren. It threatens the competitive balance that turned the NFL into a money-printing machine.
Conveniently left out here is the fact that the stadium that Snyder’s team plays in was built by the team and that he is currently making heft payments on it and that Kraft had to kick in on the construction of the Patriots’ stadium and that Jones will likely have to help pay for a new stadium in Dallas. Apparently, the concept of “excess” when it comes to money only takes into account the revenue side of the picture and ignores the expense side. I guess it’s like that when you play in a 100% taxpayer-financed stadium.

And speaking of excess, how about this: Wilson paid $25,000 for the Bills. He could sell them tomorrow for something in the neighborhood of $800 million. The value of his investment has increased by a factor of 32,000. Wouldn’t a profit of $799,750,000 have to be considered to be excessive, even over the course of 45 years or so? That’s over $17 million a year in appreciation alone. You’re telling me that’s not excessive?

Wilson warns, “Don't buy all of that stuff that the league's PR machine puts out.”

Don’t buy in to all of the “woe is me” spin that Wilson is putting on his current situation, either.

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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys that can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

lucky-whitehead.jpg

Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.