By: David Lamm
Believe it or not, there was a time when NFL players said “good bye” to their teams the day after the season ended and didn’t report back until preseason camp.
There truly was an off-season back then for the NFL.
Jimmy Johnson changed all of that when he coached the Cowboys in the 1990s. Johnson decided he could gain an edge by having his players work during the off-season.
The Cowboys won Super Bowls in 1993, 1994 and 1996 – and the rest is history. In a copycat league, every team eventually starting having regular off-season team gatherings.
It became so bad the players union had to step in and limit the number of days players had to report during the off-season. Teams didn’t quit trying, however. “Voluntary” workout days became the norm.
Fast forward to 2019. The NFL is booming. Money is pouring in for everyone involved and the game’s popularity is off the charts.
Now, a player is seen as a bad teammate if he skips “voluntary” workouts.
Passing of PGA legends impacting tournament fields
The PGA Tour stops in Fort Worth this week for the Byron Nelson tournament. By Tour standards, the Nelson has a terrible field.
It used to be one of the must-play stops on Tour. What happened? Byron Nelson died.
We’ve seen the same decline in the Colonial since the death of its host, Ben Hogan.
Yes, the reworked Tour schedule is a factor, but mainly it comes down to players not having to tell a living legend they’re going to skip his tournament. Sadly, it’s kind of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing.
We’ve already seen more players skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational since he death. When Jack Nicklaus passes, expect the Memorial field to weaken.
The Nelson has one top-10 player, Brooks Koepka. Patrick Reed, 19, is the next highest ranked player.
Everyone else, apparently, is getting ready for next week’ s PGA Championship.
It makes me sad.