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Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:17 am
 

Should the HOF selection process be tweaked?

HOF

By Josh Katzowitz

The night before Super Bowl XLVI and a few hours after the Pro Football Hall of Fame votes had been announced, the three Eye on Football bloggers walked back to our hotel, debating whether the NFL enshrines players in the best way possible.

Criticisms already had begun to pour in -- how could Bill Parcells not be elected, how could the selection committee leave out Cris Carter? -- and the three of us pondered the best way to fix the selection process (or if it should be fixed at all).

I believed the status quo, for the most part, was fine, but Ryan Wilson seemed to me the most open to change.

Since that time about two weeks ago, the floodgates of criticism have opened and a torrential waterfall of suggestions from fans and players have formed a maelstrom of condemnation in which hardly anybody can escape.

Which is why, in part, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who has been a Hall of Fame selector for two decades and is one of the most-respected NFL reporters, is contemplating dropping out of the process altogether.

“I've been thinking of stepping down from the committee of 44 selectors. Many of you are right. Twenty years is a long time,” King wrote Tuesday. “I've stated my case -- in favor or opposed -- for many who've been elected and many who haven't. And I've thought, independent of the argument some have proposed for term limits for Hall voters, that maybe it's time for someone else to sit in judgment of these great players, coaches and league and club officials. Fresh voices are good things.

“In 20 years, sitting on the panel has gone from an honor to equal parts burden and honor. I never got in this for pats on the back. I got in it to try to do the right thing by my conscience. Sitting in judgment of the all-time greats is an often-intimidating job, because you realize you're acting as judge and jury to a man's career. When Chris Doleman got in this year, he said that night that the only thing better in his life would be when he died and met his maker. Don't think that's lost on me. It's an honor -- with a heavy weight attached. And the weight gets heavier every year."

Curtis Martin led this year's HOF class. (US Presswire)
But fans and players have criticized the process. When receiver Tim Brown didn’t make the Hall this year, he lashed out on Twitter. Other former players have criticized the fact that Carter still is on the outside. Some don’t understand why Cortez Kennedy made it in this year, and some can’t figure out how a five-time Super Bowl champ like Charles Haley didn’t.

Cleary, though, the toll weighs heavily on the 44 selectors, journalists representing each NFL market and other at-large voters, who have to elect at least four players (and leave out close to a dozen legitimate candidates) each year. I saw that in person the night of the election when I ran into a voter at the media hotel lobby and his eyes looked glazed and his brained seemed frazzled.

What should be done about the process? Anything? What would satisfy the general population -- who has began to see the selection process as unfair and, ultimately, incorrect? Anything at all?

Here are some of the ideas I’ve heard that the Pro Football Hall of Fame could choose to use in order to tweak the process. Some ideas, in my view, would hurt more than they’d help, but at least one is good enough to put into place immediately.

Term limits: Recently-elected Chris Doleman and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio have championed the idea of getting new blood in the system every five years, and in theory, that’s not a bad idea. But in this day and age, when journalists move from job to job and beat to beat (and sport to sport), the number of long-time football writers will begin to dwindle. You look at the list now and you can see long-time NFL reporters like Rick Gosselin (from the Dallas Morning News), John McClain (from the Houston Chronicle), and Ed Bouchette (from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ). I’d rather have them selecting the inductees, because they have perspective and can compare players across eras, rather than a younger soul whose institutional knowledge doesn’t go beyond the 1990s.

The Hall of Fame selectors have received criticism for not inducting Cris Carter (US Presswire)
In order to vote for baseball’s Hall of Fame, you have to be a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for at least 10 years. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar with football. But until then, term limits only limits the perspective the committee will bring.

Expand the vote: Admittedly, I like much about baseball’s Hall of Fame selection process, and the ability for a large group of people weighing in on the sport’s legacy is good policy for that sport. For football, I don’t see how expanding the voter pool will make the process any less cumbersome or fair. With the way the football committee is set up, each of the 15 finalists is presented by one voter and then the entire body debates that player. Say, for instance, you expand the 44 voters to 88. Then, you have a selection committee that has become twice as cumbersome and takes twice as much time to make a decision. Already, the process took seven hours this year to vote in the six members. Simply put, there isn’t enough time in the day to add that many more new people. And who says 88 is the right number anyway? What about 150 or 300?

If we’re talking about expanding the vote, then, we’re talking about scrapping the entire current system. If you want 300 people voting on the Hall of Fame, you have to go to a baseball-type system where you vote for the players you think are deserving and that’s it. No meetings, no debating. I think that could work, but logistically, in this system, there’s not a chance that could happen.

Add more variety: Why not add football executives or former players or living Hall of Fame members? The theory behind that idea would be to rid the committee of any perceived biases. But how does adding executives and players, who might have personal relationships to those up for induction, add objectivity to the proceedings? It doesn’t. Despite the idea that one person who has a beef against, let’s say, Cris Carter and keeps him out because of a personal vendetta, I really don’t think that happens as much as the public might believe. These voters take their jobs too seriously in order to upend themselves by making it personal. I couldn’t say the same for executives and former players who might vote in, let’s say, Carter because they’re good buddies with him. How is that any more fair?

Stop with the four-man minimum: I think the Hall of Fame might be better served with less inductees than with more. As it stands now, the selectors have to vote in at least four new members per year with a maximum of seven. I refer back to baseball, where if a certain class isn’t good enough, nobody gets in. There shouldn’t be a minimum requirement, because it should be hard to get into the Hall of Fame.

Make votes public: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The voters for the AP polls in college football and basketball are there for fans to see. Why won’t the Pro Football Hall of Fame allow its selectors to do the same? I know plenty of the 44 who want their votes to be made public knowledge. And if there is a bias among some voters, this might help dispel their desire to keep out the players they don’t like.

So, what am I saying here? Basically, I think the current format works. Despite all the criticism that’s heaped on the selectors, I’m not sure there’s a better way to get players inducted. I’m biased, of course, because I think journalists make the best selectors. They’re trained to be objective, and they’re trained to research, ponder and think about every possible angle before making a decision like this. I’m content with the system the way it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good nonetheless.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:07 am
 

Schiano hires Raye, another veteran assistant

Schiano

By Josh Katzowitz

For those who worried that new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano would have a tough time transitioning to the pro game after spending the past decade coaching Rutgers, he has continued surrounding himself with veterans to help ease him into his new job.

A couple days after the team officially hired former Browns head coach Butch Davis as an advisor to Schiano, Tampa Bay announced that it has hired Jimmy Raye as a senior offensive assistant.

"With over 30 years of NFL experience, coach Raye has attained a wealth of knowledge that will be an invaluable resource to our coaches and players," Schiano said in a statement released by the team.

Raye has coached for 40 seasons, including 34 in the NFL, and he was the Buccaneers offensive coordinator from 1985-86.  He’s also served as the offensive coordinator for the Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, Redskins, Raiders and 49ers.

So, yeah, the guy has experience putting together NFL offenses (though he won’t be the offensive coordinator for Schiano -- that job has already gone to Mike Sullivan).

But you might recall the last we heard from Raye was when he was the 49ers offensive coordinator in the final season of Mike Singletary’s reign as coach in 2010. The day after Singletary gave Raye a public vote of confidence just three games into the season, Singletary fired him.

So, like Davis (fired from his last two jobs), Raye probably can provide Schiano with guidance, but you have to begin to wonder if Schiano requires that his assistants had to have been fired within the past two years before he'll consider them for a job.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:55 pm
 

Jerry Jones wants Super Bowl 50 in Dallas

Jerry Jones 'absolutely' wants Super Bowl L at Cowboys Stadium. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

We said the entire week leading up Patriots-Giants and have been telling anybody who'll listen in the days since: Indianapolis knows how to put on a Super Bowl. Everything went smoothly, the people couldn't have been nicer, and aside from the Peyton Manning drama, the execution from start to finish was flawless.

So it stands to reason that the NFL would be back, perhaps soon, for another Super Bowl, right? Well, maybe not. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz, appearing last week on The Tony Kornheiser Show, said that one drawback could be the capacity of Lucas Oil Stadium. It holds somewhere in the neighborhood of 68,000 people; Cowboys Stadium, by comparison, is expandable to more than 100,000.

Which means that, despite a mostly forgettable Super Bowl experience last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has every intention of bidding for Super Bowl L (yep, that's 50). That's still four years off, but the next three Super Bowls are set: New Orleans in 2013, New York/New Jersey in 2014 and Arizona in 2015. SportsBusiness Journal's Daniel Kaplan notes that the announcement for the next unawarded venue customarily takes place in May (even though the league has yet to send out request for proposals for said announcement).

Either way, Jones' has told Kaplan that he will "absolutely" make a bid for NFL championship game slated to be played in February 2016.

Other possible destinations (per Kaplan via PFT): Santa Clara (at the site of the new 49ers stadium), New Orleans, and Tampa. Kaplan adds that Miami, Indianapolis, and L.A. have a “slight” chance, while London's prospects are "extremely remote."

It's criminal to think that Dallas (specifically, Arlington), which turned into a slapstick comedy routine last February because of once-in-a-lifetime ice storms coupled with no real ice-removal strategy, would be more likely to land a Super Bowl before Indianapolis, but that's what an extra 30-40,000 seats will do for you.

In completely unrelated news (or perhaps very related given some of Jones' personnel decisions over the years), we were shocked to learn that Jones admitted earlier this month that he's had "50 concussions." He joked that had he not taken so many blows to the head he might be president of the United States instead of owner of the Cowboys.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:33 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 9:34 pm
 

Report: Cowboys not interested in Randy Moss

For the second time (that we know of), Jerry Jones isn't interested in Randy Moss. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Randy Moss, 35 years young on Monday, has had an epiphany. Or maybe it's a mid-life crisis. Whatever, one of the NFL's most explosive receivers wants back in the NFL. Moss played his last game in 2010, when he caught passes for the Patriots, Vikings and Titans before deciding to retire. Now, after a year away from the game, he's ready for a comeback.

The biggest obstacle, of course, is the same one that faces 38-year-old Terrell Owens: are any teams interested in his services? (If not, Moss could probably make some pocket change by hosting his own show. In a short time, he's proven he's clearly capable of pulling it off. Seriously, this is comedy gold.)

Moss admitted that he had regrets in New England and Minnesota, and the Jets and Eagles are reportedly "curious." (As we joked in the latest Pick-6 Podcast, "curious" sounds like something you'd read in a Craigslist ad.) One team that won't be in the running for Moss' services? The same team that said "thanks but not thanks" in the 1998 NFL Draft when they selected Greg Ellis with the No. 8 pick and Moss fell all the way to the Vikings at No. 21: the Cowboys.

A source tells ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins that the team will again pass on Moss 15 years after initially doing so.

"This shouldn't come as a surprise because the Cowboys have some talented and young wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant," Watkins wrote Tuesday night. "The team also wants to re-sign Laurent Robinson, who led the team with 11 touchdown receptions in 2011."

So where does that leave Moss? Glad you asked because we talk about it below:


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Posted on: February 14, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 8:16 pm
 

T.O., nearly broke, doesn't want your pity

Owens says he trusted the wrong people and now he's nearly broke and facing mounting bills. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The NFL season may be over but that doesn't mean there's no football on the horizon. Yes, the NFL Combine is less than two weeks away but the same day that offensive linemen and tight ends go through their on-field paces at Lucas Oil Stadium, Terrell Owens will be making is IFL debut with the Allen Wranglers.

Okay, you were probably expecting a bit more in the "Wait, there's still football!" build up. And we suspect that, come Februrary 25, many of you will opt to watch 350-pound guys run 40 yards in a straight line (possible unintentional comedy value) over T.O.'s not-so-triumphant return to football (if you're into tragicomedy, then maybe Owens and the Wranglers are for you).

Part of the reason T.O. signed up for IFL duty is because he had burned a lot of NFL bridges. And of those left standing, no one was interested enough in a 37-year-old wide receiver with behavior-management issues to give him a shot. So the Wranglers, where Owens is also co-owner, was his only football-playing option. Exacerbating matters: T.O., who was in the NFL for 15 seasons and signed contracts worth $80 million, is nearly broke.

Appearing on ESPN Radio recently, Owens, however, said people shouldn't feel sorry for him.

"Absolutely not," he said via Sports Radio Interviews. "As far as my situation? The thought that I’ve lost $80 million dollars? That’s a little bit skewed considering like you said if you look at the years and the contracts that I have had and me not actually completing a couple of those contracts in their entirety.

"Again no matter what I have lost money," he continued. "It’s partially my fault because I didn’t manage and I wasn’t on top of my financial people as I should have. Again who’s to say how much I lost? Have I lost money? Yeah. Was it $80 million? I doubt it. But at the same time I feel like this is a situation for me to go out and speak and let a lot of guys know that are coming into the National Football League or any league for that matter … When you have financial advisors that you’re dealing with and that are on their team that are supposed to be taking care of their finances … I feel victim to it because I had heard about these stories prior to it happening to me and there’s going to be some other stories after me. The fact that I took for granted the orientations and the seminars that we had during the course of football season where these guys basically came in and tried to help us, facilitate us and educate us on your financial matters. I didn’t take advantage of that because I was referred to this guy that mismanaged my situation by my agent and my marketing guys."

Owens first spoke publicly about his financial situation in the January issue of GQ, even recounting one story where a friend, "a guy who I'd helped when his grandmother passed," drained one of his bank accounts of more than $270,000. He says the bank returned the money but "it pretty much destroyed whatever trust in people I had left." The article says that Owens never had many friends — teammates never called him to party, he says, wrongly assuming that he was "too big" to socialize — and now, "I don't have no friends. I don't want no friends. That's how I feel."

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, called when he found out Owens had taken huge finiancial losses.

"When Drew heard about what had happened with my money, he said, 'Oh man, is there anything I can do?' " Owens told GQ. "And I said, 'Dude, are you going to give me my money back? I don't think so, so why bother trying to appease me?' " (Rosenhaus' response: "In my opinion, the conversation did not go down that way." )

Now T.O. is left with barely anything in the bank, plenty of Bills -- including child support payments to four women that total $44,600 a month -- and until he signed with the Wranglers, no discernible income.

"Now I’m even hungrier to get back on top and do the things I think the way I should have been doing it," he told ESPN Radio. "I’ve had some people who have supposedly been in my corner that have my bests interests in heart and I’ve come to find out that’s not what happened. Again I will reiterate it is partially my fault because I wasn’t doing my due diligence to be on top of my own finances and it’s a sad situation.”

And that brings us back to the Wranglers. T.O. will make his debut in 11 days.

"…I’m using this as a platform really to keep myself in shape. The business side of it too is something that intrigued me, being a co-owner with the team, so again this is me transitioning into life after football. That’s the business side of it, obviously football doesn’t last forever and I feel I’m physically fit and can play at a productive level to where I can play a couple more years in the National Football League and that’s what I’m pushing for," he said. 

"Other than that I’m not going to give up hope just because somebody says that I’m 38 and I just had a knee injury. Injuries are part of the game. I think everybody knows my track record … I work out hard, I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on the field and get back to 100 percent and I’m doing that.”

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

'There’s no question it can be worked out if [Peyton] wants to be here.' - owner Jim Irsay (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

By all accounts, Indianapolis' first Super Bowl was a resounding success. From all the things the host committee could control (hotels, media, fans, transportation), to even those it couldn't (the weather), it was a seamless process that made last year's Super Bowl in Dallas seem more like Thunderdome.

If there was one blemish -- albeit a tiny one -- it was the after-school-special-style drama that played out between Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and team owner Jim Irsay. Whether the leaks about Manning's health were planned or not (we think they were), the fact remains: Peyton's neck injury is serious enough to raise questions about his future in Indy, and it's to the point where just about everybody figures he'll be playing elsewhere in 2012 (or whenever he's healthy).

Manning's Offseason Saga
Except that Irsay now seems amenable to keeping Peyton in Indy. (Seriously, we're almost at the point where Manning and the Colts are like that insane couple you know who break up every few months in a spectacularly public spectacle only to get back together days later to try to make it work. And because they really, really love each other.)

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay told the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell Tuesday. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.’’

Manning, 35, missed the 2011 season while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries. The Colts went 2-14, Irsay subsequently cleaned house, and now, with a new front office, coaching staff and the first overall pick, looks to rebuild a franchise that Peyton led to one championship, 11 playoff appearances, eight 12-plus-win seasons, and a 141-67 record.

“There’s no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay, who has concerns over Manning’s long-term health, told the Star. “It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton.’’

Of course, this won't preclude the Colts from taking a quarterback with that top pick. And it also means that Manning, should he want to stay, won't be in line for the $28 million bonus that's due March 8. Irsay expects to meet with Peyton in the next week, and as Chappell notes, the $28 million bonus activates the final four years and $90 million of his current contract.

In light of Irsay's comments, here are Manning's choices: a) don't budge off the $28 million and expect the Colts to release him (there will be plenty of interest in Manning's services in free agency, no matter his current health status), or b) rework his contract and stay with the Colts where he'll most likely serve as a mentor to Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

It still seems like a long shot that Manning would return to the Colts, primarily because if he thinks he can play at a high level for 2-3 more years, he won't get that opportunity in Indy if the new franchise quarterback is standing over his shoulder.

The Star's Bob Kravitz guesses that Manning won't "be thrilled" when the owner and the quarterback eventually talk because any scenario that includes Peyton and the Colts in the same sentence will also mean that he'll have to take a hefty paycut to stay in town.

"The franchise looks good here either way," Kravitz wrote Tuesday night. "If he leaves, then the Colts can say, 'Well, it’s on Peyton. That was his choice.’' If he returns, it’s going to be on the Colts’ terms, and while Manning comes off as the ultimate hero, the Colts and Irsay get some of that reflected glory."

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 4:24 pm
 

Roddy White thinks Roger Goodell is overpaid

Roddy's not a huge fan of Roger Goodell's salary. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

In discussing a reported "doubling" of Roger Goodell's salary on Monday, we made mention of Falcons receiver Roddy White's response to the news on Twitter: he wasn't too thrilled about Goodell getting a raise.

Or, more specifically, he thought Goodell was overpaid. (Consider yourself [sic]'d until further notice.)

"How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that cant run tackle or catch," White tweeted when hearing the news of Goodell's salary bump. "Roger Goodell is getting over never seen anything like it 20 million for looking over the league with tremendous help I guess the NFL is banking. The NFL is not a company it's a nonprofit organization that makes a lot of profit.

"Ok i am done."

But White wasn't done because, as often happens on Twitter, people responded to him. Someone said that Goodell's "job allows [White] to make money." White took umbrage with that.

"Thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard the players make this league dont ever forget that," White tweeted in response. "My god given talents feed me not him."

Goodell might not pay White's salary, but he is in charge of making the NFL increase its revenue stream, which does put money in White's pocket, albeit in an indirect way. And besides, if you'll recall our post on Goodell's salary bump, we actually quoted the guy who does pay White's salary: Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

Blank heads up the NFL's Compensation Committee and, thusly, is the guy who ultimately pays both Goodell and White. So perhaps Roddy should just have a chat with his bossman about Goodell's salary instead of broadcasting his business beliefs on Twitter.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Fisher, Murphy, Whiz now on Competition Committee

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The NFL's Competition Commitee is responsible for studying "all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs." And on Tuesday, Roger Goodell and the NFL announced that Rams coach Jeff Fisher, Packers CEO Mark Murphy and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt were added to the Competition Committee.

Fisher served on the committee from 2002-2010 before taking a year off after the end of his run with the Titans. During that time, he was co-chair of the committee along with current chairman, Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons.

Whisenhunt has previously served as a member of the Coaches Subcommittee, which makes recommendations to the Competition Committee. Murphy played for the Washington Redskins for eight years, reaching two Super Bowls and being named to the Pro Bowl in 1983.

The three additions for 2012 join McKay, Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals, John Mara of the New York Giants, Ozzie Newsome of the Baltimore Ravens and Rick Smith of the Houston Texans on the committee.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com