1. March Madness is the most exciting time of the year.
People who don’t watch college basketball or sports in general, show up at tournament time. Brackets are filled out in offices around the country and every underdog in the country takes center stage. This time of year puts a dollar value on the term “longshot”.
2. College baseball and college hockey don’t matter.
ESPN can televise the College World Series and the Frozen Four til the cows come home. No one cares. That is all.
3. The Fighting Irish will be overrated.
I’m an Irish fan and even I know the football team won’t be at the top consistently ever again. Other schools have more to offer now than just tradition. TV deals, elaborate facilities, fancy uniforms…and better weather for starters.
4. The head coach will leave.
Why wouldn’t he? Millions of dollars being thrown at you to upgrade. No penalty for lying to recruits. Integrity not a requirement for the job. There’s always someone better lookin than the one you’re with I guess.
5. The NCAA will NEVER be about the student athlete.
So much to say here. But look, just a few things Mark Emmert and the NCAA could do to give the impression that they care about kids.
– lift the transfer requirement that scholarship athletes must sit out a year.
– pay lifetime medical if an athlete is injured in sport.
– allow scholarship athletes to work
– make conferences align regionally to cut down travel time.
– let all athletes return to scholarship play if they declare and enter the draft….even if they get drafted. (As baseball does)
If you ever believed that the NCAA was in it for “the student athlete” or if you’re one of the idiots who say that the free school is enough payment…then you should read this and EVERYTHING Jay Bilas ever has to say on this subject.
Rashard Mendenhall…this is deep. Great read.
The most popular sport in America is the most dangerous sport in America. At least that’s the current narrative. Here’s a link to an article in Make It Better Magazine with information on the subject of safety in football. Oh, and I just happened to be quoted in the article (as Eddie Conley). Enjoy!
Football is now by far the most popular sport in our country. As Howie Long said, “Baseball is America’s past time but football is America’s passion”. In my mind this has never been more true than it is today. The NFL ratings are topping the all time viewing marks on a weekly basis. There’s an NFL Network, an NFL Mobile App, and each Super Bowl is the most watched show of all time. College football ratings and attendance are at an all time high, college bowls are paying out incredible amounts and college coaches can retire after one contract. Even high school recruiting is a business and signing day is covered like the NFL Draft. So it stands to reason that the football consuming public would follow daily football stories like soap operas. And these stories, football stories, are beginning to define our culture.
Take for example the most recent stories. Richard Sherman’s rant after the NFC Championship Game that garnered so much attention and now the story that Co SEC Defensive Player of the Year and certain NFL draft pick Michael Sam, is gay. These stories matter to us, but why? Because the responses to these stories represent how America feels about on going controversial issues, like bigoted perceptions of black men/athletes and gay rights. Bingo, just like that these issues become national topics of discussions and the delivery system; football.
Let’s dig a little deeper. The NFL concussion issue. This issue of the long term brain damage that occurs based of repeated concussions is a big enough deal that the NFL actually settled a law suit with former players (currently being reviewed by appellate court) for several hundred milliions. But for the rest of the country at issue is youth football and whether or not we are putting our kids at future risk by allowing them to play football. With hundreds of thousands of kids participating in youth and high school football, this is a huge parenting concern. And the new show on cable called Friday Night Tykes shines a spotlight on how parents push their kids in sport. Parenting is always a concern for our country and for these two particular parenting issues, the delivery system; football.
There are many issues that football has highlighted for us in the recent past including, gun ownership, marijuana use, mental health issues, drunk driving, and the need for labor unions…to name a few. All major topics of discussion for our country right now brought to you in football context, every week during the NFL season and beyond. Each of these topics makes America think about, discuss and then choose a side based on these things affect us. Our responses are real actionable responses because a lot of the issues are real issues we face daily. A reality show in the truest sense. And it really hits home.
Teammates Matter » Jay Bilas on “True Toughness”
With all of this talk lately about football being too dangerous, and those who play being entitled, spoiled athletes who’ve been coddled simply because they can throw a football, I thought I’d talk about one of the positives of the sport. The fact is most kids who play football don’t make it any further than high school. The game itself is under more scrutiny than ever because of the potential for head injuries, yet football continues to be America’s favorite sport. Why? Well at the college and pro level, it’s pretty obvious that the aggressive, fast paced nature of the sport has something to do with it. But what makes younger kids play? What makes parents allow their kids to play such a potentially dangerous and heavily scrutinized sport? I think there’s a pretty obvious reason that doesn’t get a lot of attention. It’s because the sport helps to build character. Now listen, l think all can help build character, particularly team sports. In my opinion though, there are a few things that make football different. Here are my top 5 reasons that football helps builds character:
1. The Time Of Year The Game Is Played
For kids, football is played at about the most difficult time imaginable. The beginning of the school year. As kids try to transition to at minimum a new grade and sometimes a new school, they are also tasked with the pressure of two or three a day practices usually in extreme heat along with the stress of academics at the beginning of the school year. Let me be clear, football is A LOT tougher to play in extreme heat than in cold weather, particularly practices. Simply getting through camp for two weeks before the first game is something most kids couldn’t manage comfortably.
2. The Competition
Football teams have more players per team than any other team sport as well as having the shortest season. This usually means intense competition for playing time. When kids are in direct, physical competition on a daily basis, it can lead to some pretty uncomfortable moments like ending up on your back in the middle of the field after being run over by one of your friends. And…it also hurts. Just getting off the ground is always a challenge. Then, when the positions are filled and you’re one of the starters, you have to play well in games and in practice to keep your spot. When you aren’t a starter, you have to continue to practice hard without the promise of ever playing. You’re competing in a very physical manner, against a lot of guys, with a limited amount of games. Stress.
3. The Structure
Individually, you knock down your teammate in practice. Then you get knocked down by your teammate in practice. Rinse, repeat. In one on one drills and in scrimmages. No fighting, no anger…for the most part, just focus.
As a team, think about it. 22 kids attacking each other aggressively for about 8 seconds at a time. After each play, a whistle blows, the kids stop and go back to the huddle. They calm down quickly, get specific instructions and go back for the next 8 seconds of aggression. Repeat about 100-120 times per game. Think about it.
4. The Discipline
You ever try to get 85 kids to be good students, to come to practice everyday, to get along with each other and to perform football related tasks, in sync, that admittedly I don’t completely understand. Ok then.
5. The Tangible Intangibles
A couple of scenarios.
These are my top 5. I can’t promise you that these character builders will get your kids to the NFL, but I can promise that they will prepare them for a better life.
I’m going into my 17th season of coaching football at either the youth or high school level. Here are my top 5 coaching tips for football, but that I think apply to every team sport:
1. Connect with your players.
Getting to know your players and letting them get to know you helps each of you find the motivators that will bring out the best in the player and the coach. Sharing your experience as a player can help as well to give your player that assurance that you know what he or she may be thinking or feeling in situations common to the sport.
2. Choose team leaders wisely.
Make sure your captains are leaders and fit the mold of the team. Not by ability or star power but by ability to lead by example. A captain should be able to represent you with the team but also be able to be their collective voice with you. Empower them. Choose the number based on how many kids fit the profile. If there’s only 1, then 1 it is. If there are none to begin the season, then use that as a goal throughout the year.
3. Be yourself.
Kids see through the fake persona. If they think you’re faking, they may not trust you. Once the trust goes its tough to get them back. Be real, be honest and admit mistakes. All mistakes are team mistakes.
4. Set tangilble team goals.
Set measurable goals for practice, games and for the season. Use statistics. Kids love statistics. Talk about goals weekly and attach them to helmet awards and weekly captainships. The dog days of the season move faster when the team has goals to reach.
5. Empower your assistants.
Your position coaches have mini teams themselves. Empowering them is a good way to pound your message in with a different voice. Empowering assistants encourages them to keep the ideas flowing and more ideas…better than less ideas. If you respect your assistants, the kids will too.
Did you notice that there was nothing about x’s and o’s? Exactly.