Connect with us
[the_ad id="89560"]

Bruce Dowbiggin

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Running Backs

Published

8 minute read

Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs looked at the reality of being a running back in today’s NFL and caught the 6 AM flight out of Vegas.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley looked at the reality of being a running back in today’s NFL and signed a one-year deal for $10.1 million. The incentives in the deal will be very challenging for Barkley. He said he had an “epiphany”. Or maybe a chat with his banker.

Same situation. Different response. As players coming off their rookie-capped contracts both Jacobs and Barkley found a market that valued running backs just above place kickers on the economic totem pole. Prone to injury and undercut by a steady stream of star running backs emerging from the Draft, veteran running backs across the league now found themselves squeezed on short-term deals for what constitutes pocket change for quarterbacks.

Or find themselves out of the league. As this transpired in RB World, Chargers QB Justin Herbert— coming out of his rookie deal— inked a $262.5 million/ five-year contract extension. While Aaron Rodgers kicked back $30 million to his new team (the New York Jets) so they could gain flexibility under the rigid NFL salary cap. Barkley took a fraction of that to spend his fall/ winter getting pounded and punished carrying the ball.

Indianapolis Colts star RB Jonathan Taylor is another who’s fallen from star to vapour trail. Taylor said at minicamp in June that contract negotiations on an extension are up to the Colts but that not having an extension before the season “wouldn’t be a distraction to me”. While the Stanford product wants a generous contract as he comes off his restricted rookie deal, Colts owner Jim Irsay says the team had yet to exchange contract numbers with their star.

Taylor has now changed his agent and demanded a trade. He and the Colts are currently at war. This has caused much debate within the football community about the former glamour position of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith losing status. One sure sign of the decline is the franchise tag for runners going from $14.5 M down to the $10.1 M accepted by Barkley.

As the NFL becomes more pass-happy, are running backs about to become worker drones, table setters for fabulously rich QBs? It is, of course, a matter of sports caponomics . (For more on the evolution of salary caps read our book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps are Killing Pro Sports and Why the Free Market Could Save Them.)

Scarcity drives value, and the most scarce commodity is not excellent running backs. It’s excellent quarterbacks. Scarcity is why left offensive tackles make more than guards and centres. It’s why cornerbacks make more than middle linebackers. It’s why these positions are drafted in the first round while running backs and others slide to the later rounds.

As we remarked in Cap In Hand, the NFL knew it was a two-tier league back in 1987 when it busted a strike by the NFL Players Association for free agency. “There had been no new CBA since the 1982 agreement expired in 1987. To drain the NFLPA’s bank account, the NFL had previously created a “Quarterback Club” marketing arm separate from other players. While the league’s top QBs and select others were handsomely compensated with bonuses and percentages of sales, the move denied significant marketing revenues to the rest of the players and the union.”

End of strike. You’d think that with agents advising RBs and the market establishing value running backs would put pride aside. Nah. Running back Le’Veon Bell describes the process when he turned down guaranteed wealth in Pittsburgh. “My franchise tag was $14.5M, and I walked away from it,Bell said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “It’s a respect thing. You told me you were going to do this for me but you didn’t… I could’ve just ignored it, went inside the locker room and had been playing. 

“But that wouldn’t have made me happy, and I’m sure inside the locker room, everybody would’ve felt it, and, as a team, we wouldn’t have been good. I feel that’s the same with Saquon. He’s trying to be the best he can, but obviously deep down, he’s not happy, because he wanted to be compensated. He still wants his teammates to be good, so he showed up.”

Bell’s own gamble didn’t work out as he’s drifted from the Jets to the Ravens to the Buccaneers. From leading man to bit player.

Former Bears standout Matt Forte, third-leading rusher in team history, says Barkley and Jacobs should take the franchise tag, “… you go into the building, you can lift weights and you practice with the team and stuff,” he told The Athletic . “And on game day, I just wouldn’t play. And, you know, they can say what they want, the media, they (might) want to bash the player, but you have to use that as a business tactic. Because the team treats it as a business. You have got to treat your body and your career as a business as well. And so that’s the only leverage you have.”

Were we not talking about multi-millions this might be a true tragedy. After all, it is “F***-You Money” with millionaires trying to wrestle fortunes from billionaires. Still, get set for when the NFL negotiates its next collective agreement. We could go without football for a while.

Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent.  https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5 

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the fifth-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His prize-listed 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

Follow Author

Bruce Dowbiggin

Why Are Canadian Mayors So Far Left And Out Of Touch?

Published on

‘The City of Edmonton pays for a 22-person climate team but doesn’t know who on that team is responsible for what, or what that team has accomplished. Meanwhile, Council takes a pay raise and bumps our property taxes by 8.6%”  @michaelistuart

We just returned from a long trip to discover that the City of Calgary wants to potentially re-zone our neighbourhood. Bridle Estates is a collection of 175 bungalow villas for people aged 55-plus. While some people still work most of the inhabitants are retirees. The city’s earnest idea is to create low-cost housing for the tens of thousands arriving here in the city from away.

You can see why a city hall obsessed with white privilege wants to democratize our neck of the south-west corner of the city. Enforced justice has a great tradition. 1970s American cities decided that bussing was the antidote to segregation. After a SCOTUS decision allowing the practice in 1971 (back when liberals owned the court) progressives pushed through an aggressive plan to bus kids from the inner city to the leafy suburbs. And vice versa.

It worked like a charm. For conservatives, that is. It radicalized a generation of voters who soon installed Ronald Reagan as president, and empty buses went back to the depot. The Democrats went from the party of the people to the party people in Hollywood. With time dulling memories, contemporary Woke folk are reviving the integration dream. This time the mostly white suburbs will bear the brunt of the government’s immigration fixation (400K-plus in the third quarter).

There are meetings planned where citizens will be able to address their elected officials— no doubt in a respectful voice. But anyone who’s dealt with Climate Crisis Barbie— Mayor Jyoti Gondek— has much optimism. This is a mayor who exploited a three-way split in centre-right voting here to declare a Climate Emergency on her first day in office.

Then she rolled out hate-speech laws to protect her from being razzed in public. For this and other fabulist blunders— her messing with the new arena project drove a worse deal and a two-year delay in a home for the Calgary Flames— she faced a recall project (which failed to collect over 400K voters’ signatures).

With a housing bubble expanding everyday, Her Tone Deafness has decided that owning a home is so passé. ”We are starting to see a segment of the population reject this idea of owning a home and they are moving towards rental, because it gives them more freedom.” She added that people have become “much more liberated around what housing looks like and what the tenure of housing looks like.”

As the Calgary’s schmozzles and Edmonton’s dabble in climate extravagance illustrate the municipal level of government in Canada is a few lobsters shy of a clambake. Across the country major cities are in the hands of radical NDP soldiers or virtue warriors who would rather have symbols than sewers to talk about.

In Toronto, Jack Layton’s widow Olivia Chow is leveraging her 37 percent mandate to make Toronto a kinder, Wok-er city. In Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., the open-air drug agendas of new mayors and city councils have sent capital fleeing elsewhere. Despite crime and construction chaos, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante won a second term, by emphasizing her gender.

In times when the coffers were full, this ESG theatre might have been a simple inconvenience. But since the federal and provincial governments began shoving responsibilities and costs downward to municipalities there is no wiggle room for grandstanding politicians at the city level. Or for hapless amateurs.

With the public incensed over residential property tax increases on one side and the blandishments of aggressive developers on the other, competent governance has never been more needed in the urban areas. While feds can (and have) printed money to escape their headaches and the provinces can offload costs onto the cities, the municipalities have no room for risk.

The time bomb in this equation is the debt load that the three levels can sustain. After this week’s budget, federal spending is up $238B, or 80 percent since 2015.  Coming off this free-spending budget the feds have pushed the federal debt to more than $1.2 trillion this year (in 2015, the debt was $616 billion.) None of the provinces has shown any appetite for the 1990s-style cuts to reduce their indebtedness. Leaving cities to crank the property-tax handle again.

So far, Canada’s cities have been able to use friendly municipal bonds to ease their fiscal problems. But if the Canadian economy continues its tepid performance with no reduction in debt, financial experts tell us that there could be a flight from Canadian municipal bonds— with a consequent spike in interest rates elsewhere.

The backlash on free-spending governments will be severe— and restricted municipalities will be hardest hit. None of this is resonating with Canadians still flush with cash from Covid. The stock markets are still buoyant and those living in cashbox houses are counting their dividends. Willful denial is the Trudeau legacy.

Which is why so many Canadian were shocked last week when American AntiTrump media star Bill Maher did an intervention on Canadian conceits. Using the True North as his warning to America, Maher ripped apart the gauzy leftist dream of Canada as the perfect society, the Sweden north of Estevan. By the time he was done, the single-payer myth was bleeding on the ground.

Maher knows that the bill is coming due for free-spending Canada and its climate charlatans. (The IMF is already warning of a global crisis over debt loads.) The question is: will Canadians come to the same conclusion before it’s too late to save the cities?

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book Deal With It: The Trades That Stunned The NHL And Changed hockey is now available on Amazon. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his previous book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via brucedowbigginbooks.ca.

Continue Reading

Bruce Dowbiggin

OJ Trial: How It Launched Cable News And Destroyed MLK’s Legacy

Published on

It was the launch pad for CNN. The demise of Martin Luther King’s dream and Ground Zero for racial reparations in America. The O.J. Simpson trial in 1994 is now recognized as the end of civility in the United States. And the beginning of DEI.

Simpson, who died last week of cancer at age 76, was the centre of the story and, as we know now, the least of its elements. Any doubts that festered about his capability to commit a brutal murder of his wife and a friend were quashed when Simpson used his liberty to shake down a memorabilia salesman, using a gun and some muscle to get the job done.

He wandered the world before and after the eight-years-plus prison term, a ghost figure shunned and demonized by almost all. His death brought brief mentions of the spectacular career in sports and media he threw away. But Dave Chapelle sums up this pathetic figure in his stand-up.

While the entire murder/ trial/ incarceration tanked O.J.’s reputation forever it was the making of CNN, which— until the trial— had mostly been a channel you watched while killing time in airports. And, by extension, the shocking not guilty decision was the birth of the cable-news phenomenon.

Instead of investigating plane crashes and propping up bloviating politicians CNN discovered the magic of a live courtroom drama featuring one of the most famous men in America, football great and movie punchline O.J. Blowing out the concept of structured programming, CNN dedicated endless consecutive daytime hours to testimony, linked by a cast of legal figures like Roger Cossack, Jeffrey Toobin and Greta Van Susteren parsing the evidence..

When court broke for the day, CNN went full panel, rounding up ex-cops, ambulance-chasing lawyers, California psychos and political hacks to analyze the day’s events like they were John Madden analyzing Peyton Manning. People tantalized by the Bronco chase and the bloody glove couldn’t get enough of Kato Kaelin.

CNN was aided by Simpson’s defence team which trashed the idea of evidence, turning the trial instead into a referendum on the bumbling L.A. police. Soon everyone knew that detective Mark Fuhrman was a stone-cold racist and Phillip Vanatter couldn’t protect evidence if he tried. And don’t get us started on the quivering figure of Judge Lance Ito, who was bulldozed by Simpson’s crack team of Johnnie Cochrane, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Shapiro and Robert Kardashian.

The apogee of the trial was, of course, coarse actor O.J. not being able to put on the glove (if it don’t fit you must acquit). The stunned look on prosecutor Marcia Clark’s face was mint. For the hyper-liberal, mostly black  L.A. jury that was all they needed to cement the not-guilty verdict. CNN reverberated for weeks on the sugar high from the trial.

White America was largely disgusted with the verdict and said so. Prompting CNN to allege a vast right-wing conspiracy that would end in George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Soon, everyone was in on the game of choosing sides, with MSNBC And FOX News Channel going 24/7 on the racial divide in society. Pretty soon, late-night comics morphed into shills for the Left and against Bush and then Trump. Comedy was deader than O.J.’s victims.

Network profits were lucrative, however, as Roger Ailes (FOX News) and the heads of the Big Three TV news departments whipped the vote for their side. Sadly for CNN, abandoning their role as purveyor of O.J. porn for guileless wind therapist for the Obama Left was not a winner with audiences. The rabid radicals disappeared for MSNBC and the centrists just started watching Netflix. From creators of the TV news cycle on the fly, CNN is now a lame version of its old self, a tepid third in the ratings as it seeks to find a new identity.

The other big loser in the O.J. story was the legacy of Martin Luther King. While gormless lefties still repeat his pleas for a colour-blind society, the reality is that, since the OJ decision, black America has decided it can go its own way, thank you, funded by guilty white liberals and reparations from the Civil War.

In June of 2016— two decades after the Trial of the century— a documentary on the trials stirred the passions again. We observed, “King was predicting a land where colour no longer matters. A land where character and steadfastness and achievement are the highest goals. Today, the proud boast of Obama and the progressives is that everything is about colour, not character. Everyone is about check lists of the aggrieved, talking points of the hard-done-by, education camps for liberal guilt. Growth cannot be made unless it’s as the expense of someone else we hate.

Simpson was a man King might have admired in some ways, even if the ESPN producers dismissed him in their zeal to reinforce the grievance culture. O.J. had no time for those who chose to cut themselves off in their culture, who were marinating in their bitterness over racial bigotry. He chose to be measured by something larger than colour.

That he failed is more of a mark on his character than his colour.” So OJ has that going for him as he checks into his suite in Hades.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book Deal With It: The Trades That Stunned The NHL And Changed hockey is now available on Amazon. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his previous book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via brucedowbigginbooks.ca.

Continue Reading

Trending

X