First course: I’m pulling for the Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Chip Kelly this season. It isn’t that I’m an Eagles fan or a Kelly fan. I just want to see Kelly’s super up-tempo offense work successfully.
The NFL resists change more than the Republican Party. The slightest innovations send shock waves and criticism through the league. In the NFL conformity is the gospel right down to the players’ socks.
So here comes Mr. Kelly off of the Oregon campus with his hurry-up, no-huddle, quick-strike offense designed to run a play every blink of the eye. The naysayers and critics are tripping over themselves to spew their venom.
If it weren’t for creative high school and college coaches, the NFL would still be using “fullhouse backfields” and dropkicks. But the NFL is the ultimate copycat league. When something new works you can bet the rent money others will follow.
Kelly’s offense is exciting, and that excites me.
Second course: The noise surrounding Tim Tebow has gone from a roar to a whimper. Are we about to see the mute button pushed?
Tebow continues to have a large, faithful and fanatical following of fans, but the media spotlight has dimmed considerably and, sadly in my opinion, Tebow may quietly be in the final days of his stormy and unique NFL career.
In two preseason-game appearances with the Patriots the First Coast’s favorite son has gone 5-for-19 for 54 yards and a pick. Those are awful numbers regardless of how deep your love for Tim is.
The Tebow faithful can still hope Coach Bill Belichick will find a way to use Tebow’s unique skills. Belichick is that rare NFL head coach who is secure enough to try things other coaches won’t. He also may be hard-headed enough in wanting to prove everyone wrong about Tebow that he keeps him.
But roster spots are precious in the NFL and not even Belichick is going to totally waste one.
Third course: I’m an avid golf fan. I’m the guy that watches reruns of the ’75 British Open on Golf Channel.
So it puzzled me why I don’t get all that excited about the PGA Tour FedExCup, which starts this week with The Barclays played in the shadows of New York City’s skyline. First, I realize the four-tournament FedExCup hasn’t really caught on with many fans, including golf nuts like me. Second, golf has been built around the four majors for 60 years and so-called post-season golf simply doesn’t resonate. Besides, the Cup is a baby, only 7 years old.
Still, I should be one of the exceptions. Then it hit me why I wasn’t.
While watching on TV last weekend’s Tour stop in Greensboro there was Zack Johnson, a top-20 player, smiling and talking about skipping this week’s tournament. His brother is getting married and Zach’s the best man. Consider that Johnson has at least 26 weeks a year when he’s not playing. You’d think his brother could pick one of those weeks to get married. Imagine, for example, the Rays’ Evan Longoria taking a weekend off during the MLB playoffs.
If Johnson doesn’t care enough about the Cup, why should I? (Steve Stricker also is taking the week off, leaving 123 golfers in the field. It hasn’t been uncommon for players – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson among them -- to skip Cup events.)
The FedExCup won’t be a really big deal with the fans until it’s a really big deal with all the players.
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