In the midst of a pandemic, with millions of unemployed and no assurance that there will be an NFL season, Dak Prescott is now the main symbol of professional sports idiocy.
The rather average quarterback with a playoff victory over his football resume turned down an offer of $ 35 million a year, $ 175 million for five years in total, from the Dallas Cowboys.
For the record, that’s significantly more than Tom Brady, with all of his Super Bowls, will be paid by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s much more than the winners of the old Super Bowl – Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay or Russell Wilson in Seattle – will win.
It is remarkable, at this time in history, that Dallas would make this kind of offer to begin with. And what’s even more remarkable is that Prescott would refuse it, especially at a time when the world – away from professional sports – is trying to understand where it is.
In fairness, since the announcement of Prescott’s offer, the Cowboys and Prescott camp have denied history. They will continue to deny it while Prescott is apparently seeking $ 45 million for the final year of the deal – and perhaps one of those years contributing to more than one playoff victory.
THIS AND THAT
If hockey comes back, the Columbus Blue Jackets are a bad game for the Maple Leafs. They are tough on the puck, tough in the corners and are very well trained by John Tortorella. Of the non-eliminatory teams added to the 24-team format envisioned by the National Hockey League, if it returns in July, Columbus is the one you don’t want to play, especially with Norris Trophy caliber defender Seth Jones in good health enough to come back… Tortorella is a clear candidate to be the coach of the year in a deep field. He could win, but Mike Sullivan in Pittsburgh, Bruce Cassidy in Boston, Alain Vigneault in Philly, Dave Tippett in Edmonton or Jon Cooper in Tampa. These are all good choices. My three finalists would be Tortorella, Cassidy and Vigneault… The NHL has yet to decide what to do about this year’s draft. When to hold it. How to organize it. But if you’re a team like the Chicago Blackhawks, would you rather be in the lottery with an early pick, or be in the extended playoffs with a chance against the Edmonton Oilers? Or both? And if you’re the Oilers, are you happy to be in a short streak against all of this Stanley Cup experience from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford? … Nick Nurse’s career as head coach in the NBA, year 1: win the league championship year 2: win the coach of the year award. It’s not a bad start to a guy who’s always turned around… A player’s agent during the hockey break: “Some of my clients have never been without skating for that long, probably in their entire lives. “
THIS AND THAT
Another hockey agent took offense at my qualification as Donald Fehr last Sunday as an absent chief of the NHL Players’ Association. “No one in the hockey industry has been busier since the closure,” the agent wrote to me. “We are all fortunate to have Don Fehr and his vast experience, wisdom and intellect on a daily basis for the players. Two other equally prominent agents wrote emails in line with what I wrote … The last time the Detroit Red Wings needed a superstar as much as they do now, they wrote one. His name, Steve Yzerman, their current general manager. And the truth: they didn’t want Yzerman to come back in 1983. They wanted local kid Pat LaFontaine, who went to the Islanders a choice earlier… It took a 24-team post-season format for the Coyotes’ Arizona and GM John John Chayka finally say they are heading for the playoffs … Chayka is 30 years old. Kyle Dubas is 34 years old. Their age counted the day they were hired. They were great stories. The only thing that matters now is how they do their job. You don’t hear much about David Poile’s age. You hear a lot about how he has more job wins than anyone in history. And every year, I kind of hope that this is the year that Poile wins a Stanley Cup…. When D.J. Smith played for and then coached the Junior Windsor Spitfires, the team he hated most was the London Knights. Now his teenage son Colton Smith is going to play in London for the former enemy, and owner Mark Hunter, who worked with Smith as a maple leaf.
HEAR AND THERE
Wouldn’t it make sense for the Raptors to set up some sort of training camp in the United States, rather than having to worry about opening borders and quarantine restrictions to have a camp at home and then having to go south for the possible NBA return planned in pencil at the end of July? … How is social distancing so confusing in grocery stores? I understand six feet. It’s my size. Please stop piling up for no good reason … The best thing about COVID golf, my only round to date: no scorecards, no pencils, no lies … Almost everyone could do: Mike Singletary will not return for his third season as a high school football coach in Houston after spending 1-21 his first two seasons at Trinity Christian Addison High. Last season he was 0-11… I went to the bakery on Friday and all the way back trying to figure out what it was like to carry a loaf of bread. As if you were wearing a soccer ball? … Really, has Horace Grant been more famous than him in recent weeks? We didn’t talk much about him when he played his 17 seasons in the NBA … September is perhaps the busiest sports month of all time: the US Open, golf and tennis. The French Open. The Kentucky Derby on Labor Day. Possible beginnings for the NFL and the CFL. Possible playoffs for the NBA and the NHL. Possible baseball flag races with more playoff teams. LeMans 24 Hours … And just in case you missed it, the Kitchener Ribfest has been rescheduled for September, in case all of this sport makes you hungry.
SCENE AND HEARD
If it’s Alphonso Davies now, imagine what he will look like when he grows up. He is not 20 years old until November. I know it’s early, but with so many sports interrupted, canceled or postponed, does a great season in the Bundesliga put him in the running for the Lou Marsh Trophy, as Canadian athlete of the year? … A concern with more than 700 NHL players apparently returning this summer: if 3% of all COVID-19 tests are not accurate, does this mean that there are 21 players to worry about each day and all those around these 21 players? … If the Leafs had found a decent goalkeeper earlier in the season, they would have finished with a few more points. And then they would play someone other than Columbus, if that happens … Have you ever watched a show that you really care about, but you can’t stop in the middle for some reason? I’m doing it right now with Money Heist on Netflix. It’s season 2 and I’ve had enough.
AND SOMETHING ELSE
Where do sports writers find their stories? The best come from relationship building. Building trusts. Face-to-face interviews. To work with and around the people they write about. And I wonder now, as so many in our industry do, what happens to our profession with little access, with conference calls and Zoom interviews only, without availability of the press box? How much is the writer and the reader missing? … If you haven’t read the column on former Leaf Jim McKenny this week, maybe you should. You can’t write this without some kind of relationship and trust … The worst part about conference calls. You get a question, maybe follow up. You can’t build a decent story around this… Hamilton is expected to host the Gray Cup in 2021. If there is a season in the CFL, there will be no Gray Cup Week, just a championship game. at the team home with the best record. It could be consecutive Gray Cup games in Hamilton… Sunday is Day 72 at home. I will not lie. We miss conversation for dinner, new things to eat, new things to talk about… And now it’s time to walk around with a happy birthday to Marvin Hagler (66), Gary Roberts (54), Tracy McGrady (41 ), Rob Ducey (55), Peter Liske (78), Curtis McElhinney (37), Kris Draper (49), Bartolo Colon (47) and Reggie Cleveland (72)… And hey, what happened to Mike Babcock ?
GOAT DEBATES LIMITED TO CIRCLES
T DEBATES LIMITED TO HOOPS
Basketball seems somewhat obsessed with the debate over the best player in history, although it is clear that the best player is Michael Jordan.
As the documentary The Last Dance ended, there seemed to be an ongoing conversation about who was the best player in NBA history. Is it LeBron James? Was it Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Was that the obvious choice, Jordan?
And again and again he buzzed.
And I thought for a moment: who is the best player in baseball history and why has it never really been debated? How often do you hear a conversation between Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mike Trout? And where do you put Ty Cobb?
Maybe it’s just the nature of the two sports – so much basketball on the stars, much less baseball.
It’s the same with football. Have you ever heard of one who is the best player in NFL history? The best quarterback, perhaps. Better going back, sometimes. But the best hobby? You can’t compare Tom Brady to Jim Brown to Lawrence Taylor. In a way, it’s like comparing Jordan and Jabbar. Different positions completely.
In hockey, it’s often a three-way conversation, depending on your age. It’s Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr or Gordie Howe. Gretzky is the modern choice. Howe is the choice of Gretzky himself and Scotty Bowman. Orr is my choice. There is no right answer and really, not much conversation about it either.
You can’t hear it except for basketball. Then you hear it too much.
MONEY AT THE HEART OF THE MLB STRIKE
It has become a war of disclosed history – the great battle between the ownership of baseball and its players. Two parties are trying to win the media and the favor of the fans before finding a way to return to the field.
As always, it’s about money. And the division of money. And how it will all be resolved.
Major League Baseball has come up with an overall impressive and comprehensive health plan to deal with the game, as it should be dealt with when it returns to the field. It sounded like the complicated part we were dealing with, health being such an important issue in these difficult times.
But really, it’s about dividing money, now and in the future.
Baseball players have their contracts signed for the coming season, with one difficulty: the season will not be 162 games. It will probably be half of that. And it will be played in empty stadiums.
Baseball players will accept to receive half their salary for half of the games played. The owners have a different vision and they should. The stadiums will be empty this season. The $ 100 million to $ 200 million they usually get from ticket sales won’t come back. They want some sort of cost insurance now and in the future, without certainty when they resell the tickets.
It’s so different from the problems in the NHL or the NBA because players in these leagues have already been paid for most of their season. MLB players were not paid at all. And there is no certainty that they will be with the season still in question.
GENERALS STRENGTHEN FOR OLD TEAM
Craig Donaldson played three seasons in defense for the Oshawa Generals and more than held up.
Some of his teammates then played in the NHL, such as goalkeepers Jeff Hackett and Fred Brathwaite. Most of them have continued their lives, as the majority of junior hockey players evolve.
Donaldson became an emergency doctor, where he has been practicing for over 20 years now. And in tribute to and in collaboration with Donaldson, former general manager Sherry Bassin and former Oshawa player Joe Busillo have formed a charitable fundraiser to help hospitals in Orangeville, where Donaldson practices, and Oshawa, where he plays.
The goal: to buy coronavirus-related pumps during this difficult time.
So often we hear what hockey is not. We hear about the problems, the social problems, the cost, the violence. We are Canadian: we like to beat ourselves for cultural reasons that are not always understood or explained.
What we rarely hear about: Old teammates come together for the common good. Fundraising, in this case, to celebrate the professional success of a former Generals player whose name will not be remembered.
If you are interested in contributing – and I know everyone is asking us – here is the website: hockeyforhealthheroes.com.