5-at-10: NFL about to track football progress, Oregon state title wrongs, college football and TV | Chattanooga Times Free Press (2024)

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Praise be

The NFL is set to use the preseason to test computer-generated technology to track the progress of the football with hopes of implementing it as soon as this fall.

Oh glory be.

For years when the question has come up about which sports rule I would change, it almost always goes back to this one.

Football is, at its core, a land-acquisition game where big dudes create space for fast dudes — each of whom are taking years off their lives — for the chance to get and extra 36 inches.

Or less.

And while the means and the methods and the plays and the players and the equipment and the enjoyment have advanced far beyond the wildest dreams of Halas and Lombardi and Heisman and Bryant, we have forever measured that most basic tenet of land acquisition with two old guys standing on the sideline with orange-clad sticks connected by chain links.

Think about the transformation in other avenues of the NFL before we discuss the genius change about tracking technology determining progress of the pigskin.

Lombardi called basic plays — he loved the "Sucker Trap" — by sending in subs and relaying that call to his QB1.

Current offensive guru Sean McVay has a few more details in his nomenclature with "Lense to Deuce Right Claw Short Lander Z Strong X Revo Z Lockback Can 2 Jet X Monday Astro Read Alert Money Deacon Flow Panama on the Omaha" called in through radio headsets in the QBs helmet.

Yet, the success of each call was measured by two old dudes holding sticks held together by chains.

Praise, be the NFL is addressing this, and it's a decision long overdue considering the NFL ball already is loaded with technology to determine NextGen stats.

Here's hoping they used for yardage marks, TDs, fumbles and every possible option.

And don't worry about the chain crew. They will still have jobs. They will be there as a) a backup in case something happens to the technology and b) for the coaches, players and in-game fans for the optical reference point of down and distance.

This also could enhance the ever-important pace of play considering the lack of the need for measurements on too-close-to-call spots at the first-down marker or replays on every seemingly close TD.

What a great decision. What a glorious rule change. I now only have one minor quibble:

How long before it can come to college football?

Two wrongs do not, well, you know

OK, first, there are a handful of rules I believe you should follow as a sports fan.

If you are a man older than 14, don't wear another man's jersey.

Heckle if you want, but cusses are over the line and slurs are completely out of bounds.

Booing is acceptable. But not for high school kids.

That last one leads us to Oregon where the state championship track event was held recently.

(Speaking of state championships, follow along with Stephen Hargis and his crew for the best Spring Fling coverage anywhere. Those are rules, too.)

So a transgender athlete won the girls 200, and did so rather comfortably.

You folks know my stance on this. Crossing the transgender line in sports competition is almost universally unfair competitively to the athletes born female.

The examples — yes, Lia Thomas is arguably the most recognized — are almost universal. Heck, the most famous former athlete who is transgender — Caitlin Jenner — concurs with that statement.

But as the above story details, the crowd was booing the end of the race, so in effect booing the high school athlete. (And bigger picture, those boos and jeers are being hurled at someone already dealing with way more adjustment issues than your normal teenager.)

Yes, the ruling to let this athlete compete is dead wrong in my eyes, but it was not the decision of the athlete to allow this.

Write letters to the editor. Confront the OSSAA or whatever the state association is. Walk up to an official and tell them their committee should be ashamed.

Yes, I know boos rain down at officials — or even struggling coaches after puzzling play calls — at high school events. But that's assuredly not the same as a running event at a track meet.

I hate the ruling and the decision to let transgender athletes compete in female sports.

But I hate booing high school athletes every bit as much.

College football and TV

So college football's landscape is changing quickly.

More power players — the NCAA Board of Governors and the Big Ten — have agreed on the settlement proposal in the House v. NCAA lawsuit that we have discussed a bunch this week.

When the SEC votes to approve, the proposal will just mean more. (See what I did there, DD?)

But that's far from the only line item from Wednesday.

First, there was news that the Big Ten will have a nine-game schedule on Friday nights on Fox.

It makes money-sense because the competition for eyeballs on Fridays in the fall is limited.

That said, I am not crazy about the college football trend of moving games to Friday nights, especially when it includes throwaway match-ups like the late-September border war that is Washington at Rutgers. And yes, if you are a Washington student looking to road-trip following the Huskies, well, you best leave by Aug. 15.

Also in the above story is the amazing detail that FOX's Big Noon college football window of the best Big Ten game of the week has been the top-averaging window in college football for the past three years by average with more than 6.73 million viewers.

Yes, it stunned me that it passed the CBS 3:30 SEC slot, but then you remember that Alabama and Georgia have been in that slot a bunch over the last three years and they have been beating a bunch of folks by a bunch over the last three years.

Then there was news that TNT will partner with ESPN for broadcasts on selected college playoff games in coming years.

That's grand I guess, but it does not soften the blow of the other big TV news as it appears all but a done deal that the NBA will go back to NBC as its third major broadcast partner when the new deal is finalized. NBC — and streaming arm Peaco*ck — will join ESPN and Amazon showing the league that has billed itself as FANNNN-tastic through the years. This decision is not fantastic in my view, unless one of those three partners acquires all the pieces on TNT's classic studio show "Inside the NBA."

Sad day for casual NBA fans if you ask me.

But hey, maybe Chuck and Ernie and the crew can do the Inside the College Football Playoff pregame show.

This and that

— Speaking of the NBA, Luka and Mavs stole Game 1 from Minnesota. Luka Doncic had 33 and Kyrie Irving had 30, but the biggest play in the game was a nullified Karl-Anthony Towns putback, which was wrongly called offensive interference. The call was not overturned on replay, which hammers home the point that the NBA replay is easily the worst version in all of sports.

— Braves played. Braves won. Is this team — right now — completely dependent on Marcel Ozuna, Max Fried and Chris Sale? Discuss.

— On the other end, the smokin' Phillies (36-14) are off to the best 50-game start in the majors since Seattle started 38-12 in 2001.

— Patrick Mahomes weighed in on the controversy of kicker Harrison Butker's commencement speech at some college no one has heard of. Mahomes and Chiefs coach Andy Reid said they did not agree with Butker's remarks, which included questioning Pride Month and saying women should focus on children more than careers, but said they believe him to be a good person.

— We are supposed to get a look at the police video of when Scottie Scheffler got arrested before the second-round of last week's PGA Championship in Louisville. Yeah, I don't think this is going to turn out well for the officer if I had to guess.

Today's questions

It's the ol' AGT — anything goes Thursday, which is not to be confused with America's Got Talent.

Which is where we'll start on our AGT. Which reality show(s) do you watch? It's OK, and you can give all the reasons ("kids like it," "I trade football in the fall for American Idol in the spring," etc.) you want. But I see all these stories about this reality winner or that one, and I realized the only reality sport I watch is sports.

Also, if/when the ball properly gets tracked, what's the next sports rule we need to start our campaign to change? (Mine is the automated strike zone. Want to hear yours.)

Friday night college football, friend or foe.

As for today, May 23, let's review.

Bonnie and Clyde were killed on this day 90 years ago.

"The Shining" was released on this day in 1980. That's a horror flick that has aged well.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler would have been 72 today.

Drew Carey is 66 and has found great success as Bob Barker's replacement on "The Price is Right."

In honor of what looks like the end of an era, let's do the all-time Rushmore of sports studio shows.

Go and remember the mailbag.

5-at-10: NFL about to track football progress, Oregon state title wrongs, college football and TV | Chattanooga Times Free Press (2024)
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