Lovie’s sitting pretty
RICK January 22, 2011 1:05AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Do you recall that Bears coach Lovie Smith was on the very hot seat as this season started? Especially after the 0-4 exhibition season?
Lovie was a lame duck, all but fired, and his staff was foie gras. His new assistant coaches, including Mike Martz and Mike Tice, were seen as rent-don’t-buy desperadoes, end-of-the-road fools.
Oh, how I wish I could play some of last fall’s talk-radio rants about how Lovie must go! Even replay monologues in my own brain, for that matter.
Win this NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, and who did a better coaching job this season? Bill Belichick? Rex Ryan? Mike Tomlin? Mike Smith?
Think about it.
◆ BRETT FAVRE, 41, HAS retired from the NFL. Filed the papers.
No, not you, Jenn. Shhh, you massage therapists.
The guy who holds more NFL passing records than anyone filed the papers before, is the problem. Back in 2009.
Indeed, he has said he was retiring so many times that were he Chicken Little and the sky really were falling, he’d be eaten by old Foxy Loxy just on principle.
Word in the bayou is Favre began retiring soon after delivery.
At any rate, he’s gone. We think.
Not with a bang. Not with a whimper. More like a slink.
◆ IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE, but there are rumblings about the Barry Bonds perjury trial actually taking place in San Francisco.
The stuff involving steroids and lying to a grand jury happened so long ago that Bonds is now 46, and BALCO is an acronym that youngsters might think refers to a rap label.
When U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston allowed prosecutors to come up with a list of witnesses, including Bobby Estalella, Randy Velarde, Larry Izzo and the Giambi brothers, you can forgive me for thinking it was a mob hearing. But those are all former or current pro athletes who might have to testify against Bonds by telling about their own illicit muscle-enhancing drug use under oath.
The Steroid Era, baby, long may it live!
◆ PEOPLE ARE WORRIED about the SI cover jinx now that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, center Olin Kreutz and guard Roberto Garza are on the current cover of Sports Illustrated.
You know how the superstition goes: Be on the SI cover, and you’re doomed.
‘‘Doesn’t affect me because I’m Mexican,’’ Garza said with a chuckle at Halas Hall.
Here’s the thing: Joe Montana, John Elway, Michael Jordan and every Super Bowl winner has been on the cover of SI.
It’s kinda up to you.
◆ ANYBODY FIND IT interesting that the University of Texas just signed a 20-year, $300 million agreement with ESPN to set up a Longhorns sports television network?
According to the Houston Chronicle’s report about the unprecedented union of university sports and corporate communications network, ‘‘There is not an athletic department in the country that is run better than UT’s sports corporation.’’
Who can disagree?
As the article dryly notes, ‘‘The money Texas stands to take home yearly from the deal is a significant amount, but then again, Texas tops all schools with an athletic budget of $137 million, in the neighborhood of $100 million more than the University of Houston’s annual athletic budget.’’
Good going, Horns!
But the real issue here is: How far does this go?
Who will compete with Texas, other than, maybe, Ohio State? Money does equal success, if not squandered by idiots.
ESPN is brilliant and relentless. And what the conglomerate has seen is that programming — content — is all. So you buy it. And college sport is amateur sport, so what could be cheaper?
Texas football coach Mack Brown makes $5.2 million a year. He won five games last year. That won’t last long. Bet your horned toad on that.
But if it’s all a corporation — this tax-exempt, not-for-profit college ‘‘extracurricular activity’’ — when will the government, especially the cash-strapped feds, say, We want our cut?
And the players? They’re at the root of this Texas network, of course, but history tells us they’ll be happy just to wave to their homies on TV.
◆ FINALLY, WHY IS AARON Rodgers always on my mind?
How could it be that this genius QB sat on the Packers’ bench for three years while the never-retiring Favre would not retire?
And why did he ever get off it?