The sports world is filled with opinions and feelings from coast to coast. Fans, media, players and coaches all have their opinions about their respective teams and leagues. These opinions and feelings can lead to broken or made friendships and in some cases even relationships. Here are some of the opinions I have. These are 10 things I think will or need to happen in sports around the country.
1. The new NCAA playoff system will not cure much of anything and will be just as scrutinized as the BCS. Any way you want to look at it or try to shape it the teams picked for the playoff will still be decided by voters. If we have learned one thing in this country through elections it is that you can’t satisfy everyone. Majority rules in voting but that doesn’t mean the minority will be quiet. Expect a good bit of controversy at the end of the college football season this year.
2. The NFL Preseason is too long and should be shortened to two games. Just ask the St. Louis Rams today if they wish the preseason was shortened. They just lost their franchise quarterback Sam Bradford to a torn ACL in a meaningless game. I understand veterans need to get their timing and feel back. I also understand rookies and free agent signings need to get reps with their new teams to understand the playbook. All of that can be taken care of in training camp and two preseason games. Nothing hurts an organization more than a star player going down with an injury in a game that doesn’t count.
3. Professional athletes do not commit more crimes or break more laws than the average US citizen, it just appears that way because they are in the spotlight. It feels as if every time you turn around these days another athlete from around the world of professional sports (mostly NFL) is being arrested for drugs, assault, sexual assault or murder. Since they are in the spotlight and we are living in a day and age where social media rules the world, every misstep is known within minutes of it happening. However, in all actuality, athletes are not much different from 40 years ago. I seem to recall a certain Pittsburgh Steeler by the name of Ernie Holmes being arrested for shooting at cars, police officers and a helicopter. The only difference is social media wasn’t around to make it front page news around the country.
4. The NFL is becoming too watered down with all of the touchy penalties that are being called. The league has made football the most popular sport in America because of its fierceness, toughness and unbelievably nasty hits. The NFL is responding by “making the game safer”. We all want the game to be safer and for its players to live long and healthy lives after their careers, but the game is becoming a shell of itself because of it. With the new rules being implemented this preseason, which seem to penalize defenders for being within a few yards of receivers, it has gone too far. The old saying is offense wins games, defense wins championships. The only problem with that is the new rules are trying to make defenses obsolete.
5. Major League Baseball needs a salary cap, now more than ever, but it will never happen. The MLB Players Association is just too powerful making it impossible for there to ever be a salary cap. Because of this, the smaller market teams are at a distinct disadvantage year in and year out. Those teams can compete with the larger market teams but their windows are much smaller than those teams such as New York and Boston, who seem to be in the hunt almost every season. However, it all comes down to ownerships willingness to spend money, and those in Pittsburgh know greed usually prevails.
6. The NBA could survive in Pittsburgh if given the chance. If an NBA franchise would come the city fans would come out of all corners to support their team. The main issue would be their competitiveness. Just as with the Pirates and Penguins when they are not doing well, a new NBA franchise would only last a few years here being uncompetitive before being ruled a failure.
7. Lebron James and Kevin Love will not bring a championship to Cleveland, at least not right away. Fans around the nation have already started proclaiming the Cavs the NBA favorite. Any team with Lebron has that unfortunate pressure cast upon its shoulders. If he decides to stay in Cleveland for longer than his current contract and they put a complete team around him, it will happen. Until then all of the dreams of an championship in Americas most championship starved city will be just that, dreams.
8. In a few years professional athletes will not be allowed to play on any national teams. Too many athletes are being injured while playing on these “super teams”. Paul George of the Indiana Pacers is the latest victim of playing for free on a national team. The owners of NBA and NHL teams are going to put a stop to this sooner rather than later. They pay their players to perform for their team, not their country. Wrong or right, the days of “Dream Teams” is coming to an end.
9. Ticket prices around the country for all major sports are way too high and need to be lowered. This will also never happen. Imagine taking a family of four to a baseball game. After you pay for the tickets, parking and refreshments you are now out a cool $150-$200. How about a football game? Now you’re talking about upwards of $500-$600. This is why the majority of sports fans are choosing to watch their favorite teams from the comfort of their own home as opposed to live and in person. You’ve all watched a Steeler game that is “sold out” and you can’t help but notice there are 5,000 empty seats in Heinz Field. There would never be an empty seat if the average fan could afford to go to the games.
10. All fans who attend games should stay until the end, no matter the outcome. If you’re paying all that money to see your team live, why would you leave before the game and miss what you paid for? I would never go to a movie or a play and leave before the credits rolled. If I am paying to see my favorite teams you better believe I am staying until the final horn sounds. Call me old fashioned but I want to get the full value for my dollar. Even if the score is lopsided in one way or another fans shouldn’t leave. “Beating the traffic” is not an excuse to a true fan. I don’t spend $150 to watch the Steelers for 3 quarters and leave. If there is action still going on and I am in the stands, I’m going to be a part of it.

Posted in Sports Talk Radio