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“Oh Apple… One More Thing…”

He makes many, very, valid points.

Yes. Yes, he does.

I still have my iPhone 6 Plus on order as we speak. Despite….

a. Hating the living crap out of the new “Ellen” flavored OS color and font scheme

b. The fact I’ll have to buy a whole new suite of cases, dongles, cradles, tripods and what not to fit the thing.

Sure, I won’t be throwing this BIG IRON into any tight jeans and walking 3 miles through downtown Manhattan.

But it’s gonna be suh-WEET!

PS: And actually, YES, I DO want a virtual “big screen TV” in my pocket. The fact that seamless, widely available lightning fast LTE bandwidth is blanketing the nation, and content companies and sports leagues are pushing us video entertainment and live TV over mobile, it only makes sense to have the biggest screen possible.

PPS: There’s a 50-50 chance I hate it, and return it within a week. Stay tuned for that!

Forecast: Grim

Yes, you read that headline right.

Sorry, to be a bummer. I know, I know. Kirk looked fabulous. I mean that. Hell, he looked like Tom Brady.

He made great reads, threw the ball on time and accurately, and knew when to flush plays that were dead on arrival. He was a leader, and ready to play, which is the hallmark of a pro’s pro who plays the role of backup.

I’m very happy for him. Good kid. But it was Jacksonville. And their secondary had all the coordination of electric football pieces with their plastic bases bent out of shape. I am pretty sure Cousins is not Brady, but we shall see.

Now, back to the smoldering wreckage that is the RG3 “era” here in Washington.

Oh sure. “We can rebuild him.” As Jay Gruden himself said after the game, Griffin will probably “set records” for the fastest comeback from a dislocated ankle.

Super. Can we hang a banner for that “record” too?

The sobering, depressing fact will begin to set in, if it hasn’t already: Mike Shanahan’s big bet is likely a loser.

Four for one. That was the deal. We gave up 3 number 1 picks and a 2nd rounder, and we got back RG3.

Four for one.

I said at the time, nobody is worth 4 picks.

Except maybe Peyton Manning in his prime.

Now, RG3 is hurt again. At best (as of this writing) he could return at some point in 2014. And do what? Limp around and keep trying to “evolve” into a pocket passer? And what if Cousins is playing well?

At worst, he’s back to square one next summer, having missed one entire off-season, one entire season, and with major, catastrophic injuries to each side of the machinery that makes him mobile.

He will be entering his fourth season, as uncertain as ever as the franchise quarterback, yet also running into a crucial club decision on whether to pick up his 5th year option.

Cousins may complicate that greatly, should he show enough to warrant a new deal. Which he will be due as soon as 2016, since as a 4th round pick the team only controls him for four years off his rookie deal, not five like first rounders.

Fast forward to next September 1st. Can you see the nightmare from here? I can.

RG3 vs. Cousins is far from resolved as to your future, and both guys will need a decision. New deal for Kirk? Don’t pick up the option on Robert’s 5th year until he proves he can stay healthy? And how exactly do you manage that hot mess in the media and with fans? Who is on the cover of the media guide?

Hell, who’s the starter?

I know what you are saying: this is a GOOD problem to have. Right? Most teams would KILL for a decent young backup, right?

Sorta. And that’s assuming Cousins is “decent.” The remaining 14 games will be a demanding task master. Right now he’s got two wins as a starter in the NFL. Cleveland and Jacksonville.

As Denny Green once said: “If you wanna crown him, then go ahead… crown his ass!”

I said before the season – and loudly – that Griffin was going to have a good year. Better than last year, but not quite his rookie tour de force. My only fear, was re-injury.

Those fears have come home full force.

I don’t want to pretend like I know what players are “injury prone” but the data points are surely coming in on Griffin, and they look bad. Some have said he’s got little “sprinter legs” that are unsuitable for a long career.

Eh. Maybe. I don’t have a leg caliper on me, and Griffin hasn’t let me get close enough to him yet to measure.

Perhaps more troubling is the undeniable truth that the door is now sealed like a vault on him ever returning to the “electrifying” RG3 we saw as a rookie. The one who could capture the edge on any pass rusher, the one who could suck a defense into his jetwash while darting up the middle.

That guy? Gone.

Gone, gone, gone. We’ve barked and the birds have flown. The trail is cold, if there ever was one.

Not that I bow out, at this point, nor should the Redskins.

But what did this organization project for Griffin, when they pushed such a dizzying ransom onto the table for him? Did they scout and rate him as a “revolutionary” dual-threat weapon for a decade or more? Did they expect to transition him into a more pure pocket passer after his rookie season?

We’ll never know, and the guy who committed us to this purchase has been fired. He’s likely in Cabo. Ask him.

It’s not so much that I wonder “WILL RG3 be any good when he comes back” it’s “WHAT GOOD is RG3 when he comes back from now this latest speed scrubbing injury?”

Let me take a wild swing at “Best Case/Worst Case.”

Best Case: Cousins plays GREAT, and this team makes the playoffs. He’s named the starter next summer (regardless of RG3’s rehab) we sign him to a new deal and tell RG3 this will be his last year as a Redskin. Cousins proceeds to be our franchise QB for a minimum of 5 years.

Worst Case: RG3 is wrecked and will never be the same. Cousins proves to be a backup caliber player you simply cannot make your starter, or spend any significant money on. We are back draft-hunting for a QB again next May.

The truth will probably land somewhere uncomfortably in the middle. And it will fill my phone lines on the radio for not just months, but likely, years.

I want to re-iterate, lest anyone think I’m just being a “sore-loser” on staking so much on RG3’s comeback and season sans Shanny, that I am HUGE Kirk Cousins fan now. Huge. Maybe this kid IS special. I would happily wear the dunce cap and sit in the corner if his future brilliance ends up parallelling the Brady-for-Bledsoe plot twist everybody watched in New England.

But aside from the short-lived sugar high of beating the stuffing out of the Jags and Chad Henne, this was a disaster as big as the blown out knee in the Seattle game. Maybe bigger.

At least following that game, nobody was wondering who the starter should be.

Roy Wood Jr. Is 0-1, But Not Humbled Like Ray Rice

“I heard Twitter was gonna take away his blue check mark.”

Classic.

Kids, let me tell you about Roy Wood Jr. Not only is he funny as shit, but he loves sports… and is CREATIVE AS HELL.

You know he conceives, shoots, produces and edits these weekly segments himself? Amazing.

Enjoy. And sign up for Cover5.

Make a league yourself, or join my free one here!

“You Can’t Prove That!”

Right when you thought you already had the most delicious “screw you” day in NFL history for Roger Goodell and his band of amateur prevaricators, it somehow gets better.

I am in a delighted state of shock. #ThisLeague… is running around with it’s hair on fire!!!

/extended Snoopy dance

Please, nobody throw them a bucket of water!

The most common question I have heard now in the last 24 hours, is the most basic one: WHY? Why go through so much trouble to NOT see the tape. WHY not blast Ray Rice with a full 1-year sit down, and the same scolding letter you wrote to Ben Roethlisberger?

Ray Rice is as disposable as a “star” as actual running backs are to teams these days. Cut him loose, rev up the bus, and burn rubber on him.

Well, I have a theory on that WHY. But first let’s also dispel another common phrase I have heard about Goodell: “He can’t be that stupid…”

To which I am quick to say…. DONT BE SO SURE ABOUT THAT!

That video makes 99% of the general public say: “I feel sick.” Suspending Rice for a full year doesn’t suddenly make the public say.. “Ahhhh. I feel SO much better now. Ray Rice is out for a full year.”

There is no Feel Good Balm in a tube you can lightly apply and make it all better.

Fans and non-fans are still just as sickened – proper suspension or not – and left to ponder: “Just how many of these guys ARE there in the NFL?”

Worse yet, one wonders: “And Rice seemed like such a nice guy. Can I trust any player not to be a total scumbag wearing a cheap smile who is coached into being a smooth interview?”

Think about it… this was the WORST VISUAL the NFL has had since Daryl Stingley… and arguably the worst visual ever. At least Stingley was paralyzed by a hit from another man, and in the context of playing a brutal game each man signed up for.

No amount of games lost, erases people seeing a woman cold-cocked and kicked out of an elevator like garbage.

Put simply: a suspension would be easy. What was hard? THAT VISUAL NEEDED TO DIE!

Forever, preferably.

Unrealistic you say? Well, maybe. But it worked with the Spygate tapes (Jay Glazer’s bootleg, notwithstanding). Why not try again? We’ll figure out Plan B later, right?

You see, almost every other “very bad thing” by players or owners that the NFL had to deal with… never had visuals attached to them. They existed in the abstract.

We didn’t see anything but empty cages at Bad Newz Kennels.
We didn’t see Aaron Hernandez execute his gang-bangin’ buddy in the middle of the night.
Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide of his girlfriend was nothing but yellow crime tape around an apartment.
Ray Lewis and his homies stabbing to death two guys in the club, was just a limo with bullet holes and some shell casings on the street marked by yellow number placards.
Bountygate had Gregg Williams’ pre-game audio … but audio ain’t video.

Remember: humans are visual creatures. We believe what we SEE, above all else. Above what we think, or what we know, or what we read, or what we are told.

That’s why somebody smart invented the phrase: “Seeing … is believing.”

As much as we like to paint the NFL as an unstoppable printing machine, somebody in some board room has to do some negotiating. Just as TV networks and beer companies have to be somewhat responsive to their own public perception.

So when Goodell and his suits sit down to bang people for money, the people with the checks in hand get to say… “Okay…. who do I make this out to… and oh yeah… we really don’t like it when your players make the throat slash gesture while standing over somebody. Can you do something about that?”

News of 3 players busted in one off-season for beating up women is one thing. You can always say “we’re cracking down on that.”

But when you SEE Ray Rice, deliver a textbook LEFT HOOK to his wife, like he had been training for months for the moment she stepped up to him… that’s when corporate dollars go cold.

Suddenly, the buy rate is not for 110% of last year’s budget, but rather 70%, and a “we want to see the league make more strides on this first” kind of thing.

And it’s bad for fucking business all around.

So the NFL knew this thing was bad. They clearly had a copy. Goodell MIGHT not have seen it, but my guess is that an underling saw it first, reported what was in it… and said to Roger: “We need to protect you from seeing this, because hopefully.. it NEVER gets out. You need DENIABILITY.”

So they make a deal with Ray Rice’s scummy attorney, Michael Diamondstein… and say… look… legally, ONLY YOU have a copy of this. You need to EAT THIS VIDEO, and we’ll find a way to go as easy as we can.

Rice settles his legal status May 20 by entering the PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention) program. The NFL then sllllloooooowwww walks things as much as it can from May 20 to July 24 – both to figure out a plan, and to see if that REALLY BAD video somehow shakes loose.

They can’t wait any longer because training camp is about to begin… and so they move on a paltry 2 game suspension, hoping that no other copies exist, and that Ray’s people keep up their end of the deal.

Then sometime shortly afterward, Harvey Levin gets a call. A significant wire transfer for the tape goes through. And he sits and waits…. like a tiger in the jungle.

And BOOM… in the PRE-DAWN hours, on the league’s most celebratory Monday – essentially, Christmas morning for football fans – he lights the NFL’s house on fire.

Everybody is scrambling. EVERYBODY. Especially the league suits. Who make a VERY BAD CHOICE when they say WITHIN HOURS… “Hmm…. first we’ve seen of this.”

CHECKMATE.

The NFL, if smart, should have waited all DAY, even scheduled a presser for TUESDAY morning. Go dark. Nobody make any sharp moves. Get your ducks in line. Get your story straight. See what else shakes out. HAVE A PLAN.

Nope. They are stuck. “We haven’t seen this until now.”

At this moment, their goose is cooked, and they don’t even know it. You can’t prove a negative. How can you? Goodell never saw it? Unless you had a Go-Pro on his head for 7 months, you’ve got nothing.

What they should have said is simple: “Yes, we’ve seen this video and it is disgusting. But like we said all along, we took all factors into account. Of course we didn’t want this released because it’s an awful visual for kids to see, but frankly we knew this is what was on there.”

And let the pundits line up for another round of whacking the piñata of morality until the stuffing falls out. Then it fades. And fades. And the dogs bark, but the league caravan moves on.

rice_w_lawyer

Hypocrites, Stooges and Liars

It would be impossible to write a script for a PR disaster like this.

Impossible.

In fact, if the entire Ray Rice fiasco – from first punch to ultimate release – was pitched to a screenwriter, it would be rejected on the grounds of implausible stupidity. On all counts, by all parties.

The stupidity of Rice to believe (my theory, not documented) that an elevator does not have security cameras. The stupidity of Goodell to “invite” both Ray and Jenay to come sit with him in his office and talk it out. The stupidity of the Ravens to push so much franchise equity into the Ray Rice Rehab Project. The stupidity of Goodell’s apology for going too light, coupled with a new feel good but also stupid policy – one that is not really “new” nor a tight “policy” that will only invite further murkiness on future suspensions. And lastly the stupidity of so many “high level” NFL reporters to just bounce along, rely on sources, believe the narrative, assume the best, and play “business as usual” for the Mighty Shield.

Go sit in the corner, all of you. Just sit there and look stupid.

Now, the Ravens just look gutless and hypocritical. You said you would stand by your man. Now, stand by him. Chickenshit. Kitchen too hot for you, Ravens? You made poor Janay both take that punch to her face, AND humiliate herself on your Under Armour logo-ed podium. Now, you kick the money out from under her? rice_3

Another virtual punch to Janay’s face.

She knew the deal. She was playing the “long game” here. Nothing could take back getting cold cocked that night, so why not protect the remainder of that $40 million extension? She’s gonna someday get half of something, right? Better to get half of 40, than half of 20. We all have our price.

Now that the video has come out, so much for that. As Darth Vader might say: “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it further…”

It”s almost like some people said: ‘Oh, so THAT’S what knocking a woman out looks like. Ohhh… wow. That’s bad…”

The league’s new story, is that they never had the tape, or seen the tape. Hmmmm. Really? Let’s see: TMZ>NFL. Not sure I’m buying that one.

Who wants to bet that if/when the Ginger SpokesApe deigns to answer further questions on this, his story will have been “modified” again? Anybody?

And how about all those ace NFL reporters? Boy, they sure do “speak truth to power,” huh?

Peter King added another embarrassing episode to his resume when he had to issue an apology that said basically: “A league *source* told me the NFL had seen the video, and we both just assumed they league MUST have seen it, but geez, I suppose I should have called the NFL directly and got them on the record.”

They built an entire NFL web portal for this guy.

Adam Schefter, touted as a non-stop dynamo with cell phones in every free hand, actually wondered aloud on ESPN if the commish had been “lenient ENOUGH” with Rice.

Stooges. All of them.

So here we are. Nothing has changed. Nothing. Ray Rice admitted to both magistrate, owner, and commissioner that he knocked out his fiancé in an elevator. All three entities accepted this, and acted accordingly based on self interests. The victim accepted the outcome and consequences moving forward.

But the stark truth of moving pictures now means everything has changed? The hypocrisy, is staggering. People with a brain know that you don’t knock your fiancé out cold, just because she goes into an arm flailing rage. People with a brain know that if somehow that did happen, the man wouldn’t just stand there and try to KICK her lifeless legs out of the elevator doors.

This was, as the great episode of Deadwood was titled, “A Lie Agreed Upon.”

Al, at the end of the second episode, dictates an article to Merrick (who doesn’t want the truth of what happened; rather, he wants the decent truth) about the altercation between Bullock and himself. In counterpoint to the roiling tensions seen throughout the long day (neatly bifurcated between day and night in the two episodes) we’ve just witnessed, Al tries to reassure everyone that nothing has changed, that business continues as usual, that the Gem will offer “a new and jaunty freedom” and Bullock will continue to be sheriff and everything is just fine, even as we can see the injuries covering his body, can see the town rousing itself for a new day, the indecision on Seth’s face as he chooses to enter the house he built for his family for the first time. I’ve talked before about how the series Deadwood is full of lies agreed upon, and there are a large number of those lies in this episode, but Seth and Al are telling deeper, more personal lies here. Seth and his wife have agreed to tell the lie that they’re in love, that this life is what they want and who they are. Al lies to Merrick, to say that everything will be OK and things will proceed as normal. So far as anyone else is concerned, these lies are fine, so long as they ARE agreed upon. That almost makes them truth.

All the parties had come to terms they could live with. Until TMZ dumped an unconscious body on their doorstep.

A scrappy little digital tabloid where the founder sips a Big Gulp leaning over a cubicle, has blown a massive chunk out of the Mighty Shield’s credibility and image.

A franchise that has erected a statue to a guy who obstructed a brutal double murder, has another humiliation etched into team lore.

The overpaid NFL bootlickers and mouthpieces have had their pants pulled down in front of every consumer of league “information.”

All in all, a pretty good day.

ray-rice

The POLL

the QUOTE

“You think it’s easy being a lousy father?”

Nick Tortelli, Carla’s ex-husband in the TV show “Cheers.”

the GIF

Jim Harbaugh is in pain.