We’re now into the second day of the shortest month of the year — and what better way to welcome February than with a entry today filled with nothing but short notes:
— Even though their only game this past weekend was the “Why don’t they just play flag football if no one’s actually going to try and tackle someone?” exhibition known as the Pro Bowl, the NFL is still in the news today. The biggest story today from the upcoming Super Bowl is the ankle injury — reportedly a torn ligament — that threatens to knock Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney out of the game.
If he can’t go, the loss of the Freeney would be huge for the Colts. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday, having missed every Colts practice last week, though Indianapolis coaches and players are hoping for better news as the week unfolds. It’s too bad the Colts didn’t just rest him throughout that pesky regular season and playoffs — he might not have gotten hurt then! Clearly, anything other than moving him around from August to now in any contraption short of having mattresses, pillows, and pads tied around every inch of his body was unnecessary risk-taking from Indianapolis when it came to safeguarding one of they key players for the ultimate goal, the Super Bowl. And yes, I’m being sarcastic. Sort of.
— Meanwhile, the other big NFL news is the ruling from Special Master Stephen Burbank that the league’s attempts to rid themselves of a revenue sharing pool — which adds up to $220 million in 2010 and helps to fund almost 1/3 of the NFL’s lower-revenue clubs — isn’t going to happen. The league had argued that the pool was only required in years with a salary cap — which the upcoming 2010 season looks like it will not have — but Burbank ruled in favor of the NFL Players Association in stating that such a change couldn’t be made without the consent of the union.
For those of you who’ve forgotten about the ugliness of the labor struggles in the 1980’s that plagued the NFL, you’re about to get a refresher course as this decision is only the first shots fired in what’s going to be a bitter war between players and owners — meaning that we’re about to get another edition of billionaires fighting against millionaires, an idiotic exercise in greed that leaves the common fan like you and me as the real losers. You’d think that with such a large pie to divide (partly thanks to the ridiculous costs now associated with actually attending or watching NFL games) and incentive to keep the money flowing in, both sides would be able to come to some sort of agreement rather easily — and of course, you’d be thinking wrong.
My own money is on a lockout by the owners next season. In the past, I’d been on management’s side more often than not when it came to these sports labor disputes, but over time I’ve come to despise both parties when we reach a situation where ridiculous amounts of money coming in isn’t enough for either side. The NFL has always been at the top of the sports food chain, but both parties in this fight should remember the 1994 baseball strike and the near-crippling effect it had on the game. In a country where people are losing their jobs and their homes, and where the news is filled with stories of big-money businesses on Wall Street sticking it to the common man, the average NFL fan will have less patience than ever before for people, most who are out of touch with the realities of life that face most Americans, fighting over billions of dollars.
— Oscar nominations were announced today, with a larger roster of films than usual competing for the top prize. This year marks the first since the change was made to expand the number of movies nominated for best picture to 10, (up from the previous total of 5). Looking over the list of the films that made the cut, I’m thinking that some of the concerns voiced about the move watering down the honor were well-founded.
Nominated for Best Picture was box-office juggernaut Avatar, as well as the well-reviewed films The Hurt Locker and the animated Up. None of those three were a surprise in their nominations, and if well-respected film critics are to be believed, all three were more than worthy (even though I still haven’t seen Avatar, everyone who loves the film can’t be wrong, right?).
However, there are some movies on the rest of the list that make it look like the Academy was just trying to fill space. Several films on the list of ten were entertaining movies, but they just don’t feel like Oscar winners. District 9? Inglorious Basterds? The Blind Side? Really? While those three were all solid movies, none of them would have gotten an Oscar nod before this year – and that’s because, frankly, none of them would have deserved one.
— Lastly, I may be spotty this week with updates as I’ll be tied up with renovation work around the house. I’ve got tile installers invading my life for the next two weeks, as well as upcoming visits from my plumber and carpet installer. All of this is good news, however, as it means my stalled home renovation is picking up speed again. My father-in-law picked himself up off the canvas like Rocky Balboa the last two weekends, coming through for the project in a huge way — and the work getting done in the next week or so will be crucial to get the work done here once and for all.
So while the work goes on around me, it gives me an opportunity to start boning up on my upcoming fantasy baseball season. As we get closer to the start of the season, stay here for some advice guaranteed to probably be of no help to you in your own leagues, but hopefully it will be entertaining nonetheless. If you’ve forgotten how I did last season when it came to making predictions, a recap of the carnage can be found here.