Archive for July, 2011

NFL Lockout 2011-Epilogue

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

The NFL Lockout has ended. It looks like a good deal was signed that benefits everybody.

Before getting to the nuts and bolts of the deal itself, political notes are in order. Those who think that the the deal will spur politicians to get a debt ceiling deal done that will have long term benefits for America are dreaming. Forget the size of the numbers involved. That is irrelevant. There are three reasons the politicians are failing where the NFL succeeded.

1) In the NFL, everybody negotiated in good faith toward a common goal. Playing football makes all parties involved wealthy. Not playing football depletes the players immediately and the owners at some point. The bonds of trust were there between the main players and owners. Each side had bad actors, but the hug between Colts Center Jeff Saturday and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft will not be forgotten soon. Both sides saw continuation as success as stoppage as failure.

Commissioner Roger Goodell desperately wanted to be seen as a neutral, honest broker. For the most part, he succeeded. The nature of his job makes him beholden to the owners because they can fire him. Yet he was sensitive to concerns and very much tried to steer the ship properly. Enough people trusted him, and the deal got done.

Politics does not have this because there is zero trust between the White House and political opponents do not trust each other. President Obama demonizes those who disagree with him as evil. Mr. Obama is not an honest broker. In fact, he is not a broker at all, but a disengaged individual who may or may not care if a deal get done. Mr. Obama claims that the other side is inflexible when the truth is that his public words of compromise are meant to imply that everyone should shut up and agree with him.

If a deal does not get done, Mr. Obama can just blame other people.

In football there are fans. In politics there are voters. Fans have no power. They cannot fire anyone. Voters can fire politicians. Mr. Obama knows that if his job can be secure by getting others fired, stalemate and breakdown is more beneficial than agreement and harmony. He has a segment of the population with him and a segment against him no matter what. The swing vote is shrinking, and if he can convince them that he is noble and his critics are evil, he can parlay a breakdown into electoral success again. The incentive to strike a deal is not there.

The football fans all wanted a deal, with many not caring about the end result. Political voters care passionately about the details, rendering some to prefer no deal to a bad one.

2) In the NFL, everybody is flush with cash. The league was arguing over how much to divvy up to which groups. This is a fantastic problem to have. There are no have nots in the current NFL, only those who have less. Everybody is getting more money, so it is easier to have everybody win.

Politically, America is broke. It is time for austerity. The fights are not over who to give more but how to give everybody less. Some on the left want everybody to keep getting more until the system collapses. Many on the right want painful austerity measures to save the current financial system. This leads to arguments over who should face the cuts.

3) In politics, the fight is over capitalism versus socialism. These are diametrically opposed philosophies. President Obama wants to steal from productive job creators and give more to his political base. That is the path to socialism. Conservatives would rather help the job creators. The battle of unbridled freedom and liberty and forced equality may never be resolved. The two views cannot coexist.

In football, everybody is a socialist. Football is the ultimate collective. Former Owner Art Modell once called the owners “32 Republicans who vote socialist.” Socialism is a failure in politics, but it is vital to the success of professional sports. Forced equality works. What some deride as “parity” is actually “competitive balance.”

In life, which related to politics, people are inherently unequal. Yet in the Kibbutz known as the National Football League, sharing is vital to survival. The Draft order, the hard salary cap, revenue sharing, and league wide television deal are all collective wins for all the parties involved. When all the parties are interdependent and interlocking pieces of the same puzzle, getting a deal done is essential.

The politicians will most likely continue to screw everything up, especially President Obama. I just thank the heavens that he has nothing to do with the NFL. More importantly, thank heavens the NFL deal got done.

The details of the deal have been discussed ad nauseum, but here are some points.

1) The players used to get close to 60% of revenues. Now they get 50%. This would seem like a pay cut but it is not. Of the 9 billion in revenue, the NFL used to get 1 billion right off the top for administrative expenses. That billion dollar haircut is gone. So the players get a smaller percentage, but of a larger overall number. It comes out to about the same money.

2) The deal has no opt out clause for either side . It is an iron clad 10 year deal. This ensures labor peace for a decade.

3) The season stays for now at 16 games. Hopefully the owners will leave this alone, but that is asking a lot.

4) Players who were eligible for medical care up to 5 years after they retire now have medical benefits for life. In a game as violent as football, this is a big deal.

5) Rookie salaries have been cut by about half. This was the least contentious part of the negotiations, because even players resented seeing rookies get $50 million bonuses without playing a down.

6) Unrestricted free agency, originally at between 3 and 6 years, is now 4 years.

There will always be lingering issues. The NFL Conduct Policy gives broad powers to the Commissioner. While Mr. Goodell has been tough but fair, the potential for abuse is still there in the future. Also, let’s see if the league truly cares about its retired players and makes sure that their pensions are sufficient.

The one sadness in all of this from a football standpoint was the cancellation of the 2011 NFL Hall of Fame Game. The induction ceremonies will go on as scheduled, but without the game itself. Each team will still play all of their preseason games, but the loss of that one game is still a shame.

On a more human level, the entire NFL family and football fans everywhere offer condolences to Robert Kraft. His wife Myra died a couple of days before the deal was done from cancer. She was only 68. She was a Jewish woman active in her community and a rock of support for her husband. She was active in combating violence against women. The one time she got involved in football matters was to get the team to remove a draft pick upon learning about his history of violence against women.

In his most painful moments, Mr. Kraft focused on work. As Jeff Saturday said, “without him this deal does not get done. He saved the game of football.”

Whether that is overstated does not take away from the class and courage of Mr. Kraft. May Mrs. Kraft be enjoying a peaceful life in heaven away from the physical pain of her final days.

After all, whether in politics, sports, or life itself, the goal is to leave things better than when we found it.

The NFL succeeded. NFL 2011 is soon upon us in its entirety.

Let’s play some football.


NFL 2011 Free Agency Explosion

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Hallelujah, praise the lord almighty, the NFL lockout is over!

Pro football has returned.

Tomorrow I will deal with the end of the lockout itself. Today is just some quick notes on some key free agency deals.

The Eagles were the big winners in the Nahmdi Asomugha sweepstakes, instantly vaulting them into a Super Bowl possibility. Yes, one player can make a difference, and Asomugha does. Deshean Jackson’s holdout could be a problem, but it is up to Walrus Lite Andy Reid to make sure that does not happen.

The Jets and Cowboys lost out on Asomugha, and the Jets were desperately trying to free up cap space. Due to their pursuit of Asomugha, they lost Brad Smith, who plays quarterback and returns kicks. He is an electric performer and losing him hurts. The Jets are still loaded, but these moves do hurt, especially in a “Super Bowl or bust” year.

The Raiders lost Charles Woodson a few years back and saw him win a Super Bowl with the Packers. Once again, the Raiders lost the best cornerback in the league. It will be another long year in Oakland. Despite being much improved, the Raiders have a rock hard schedule. Starting 0-5 is possible with a Monday Night road game in Denver, another road game, home games against New England and the Jets, and another road game. The schedule maker brutalized the Raiders this year.

Despite losing to the Jets in the playoffs last year, the Patriots did go 14-2 and somehow…again…got better. They picked up wide receiver Chad Johnson and malcontent defensive end Albert Haynesworth. Some will say that taking on problem children will wreck the team, but that does not happen with Bill Bellichick in charge. Players talk about “the Patriot way,” which means that he will cut players loose with no emotion if they don’t immediately conform to “the Bellichick way.” Other problem children such as Corey Dillon and Randy Moss fit right in the system. Haynesworth began his Patriots career by…what else? Missing a couple of practices.

The Chargers lost Darren Sproles to the Saints. This is a big loss for the Chargers, as Sproles is a game-breaker. The Saints then shipped Reggie Bush off to the Dolphins. Sproles is a much bigger impact player than Bush. Bush, while less overrated than fellow USC alum Matt Leinart, is expendable. There is no excuse for dating a Kardashian, but even that was less hollow than his performance on the field. He had moments of brilliance but long stretches of uselessness. The Saints could have won the Super Bowl without him, and he knew it. The fans never loved him like they did Deuce McCallister.

The Eagles trading Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals was expected, but I still do not see why everybody was fawning over Kevin Kolb. He hasn’t done anything. He has potential, but so does every other player in the league who has barely played. He started one game for the Eagles, got injured, and lost his job. Andy Reid got lucky with Michael Vick, leaving Kolb virtually untested. Anything Ken Whisenhunt brings in will be an upgrade from the departed Matt Leinart and a downgrade from the retired Kurt Warner. All Kolb needs to do is throw the d@mn ball high in the air and let Larry Fitzgerald catch it. Anybody outside of Captain Checkdown Leinart should be able to do that. So Kolb only has to be good enough.

The most maligned player in the league is Donovan McNabb. McNabb is often compared to Randall Cunningham because they are both running quarterbacks who did not win the big one. Cunningham revived his career when he left the Eagles (and football entirely for a year) and returned to the Vikings. McNabb is now with the Vikings and will be the starter. This fills the void left when Favre finally retired for real.

Oh, and yes there actually was a brief 2011 Favre-watch, but it was not to be. He is not going to the Eagles. He is staying on his ranch, mowing his lawn, and playing high school football with the neighborhood kids. He will not return because Deanna would kill him. The grizzled groundhog saw his shadow, and it was gray haired. He is retired. There will not be 6 months more of football.

The Eagles were determined to crowd the other 31 teams out of the news media, so they decided to take their umpteenth gamble and hire Vince Young. Young has a million dollar arm and a ten cent head, to quote “Bull Durham.” He is the backup to Michael Vick, and will look good holding a clipboard. Young could have owned Tennessee, and like Leinart, wasted away potential hero status. At least Young wins games, but he needs to learn how to win over a locker room again. If he acts like a team player this year he could get a starting job somewhere else. He is insurance because Vick runs crazy and gets into trouble on the field.

Jake Delhomme has been released by the Browns. Walrus Mike Holmgren likes Colt McCoy, and there is plenty to like. As for Dolhomme, he has never been the same since the shocking playoff loss to the Cardinals following the 2008 season. I still say his problem is psychological, and that he is not a washed up bum that his critics make him out to be. We shall see.

Kerry Collins retired from the Titans. The classy Collins admitted that he still has the fire on Sundays, but not the fire for training camp and every little thing it takes. He is a winner who overcame demons early on to have a great career. He will fall short of the Hall of Fame, but the Hall of Very Good should acknowledge him. With Collins, Vince Young, and Jeff Fisher all gone, the Mike Munchak era begins in Tennessee with much uncertainty.

The Denver Broncos are expected to return to prominence at some point because John Elway is now at the helm in the front office. He has Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton, and an attempt to trade Orton failed when he refused to restructure his contract. Orton is also one of the most underrated players in football. All the guy does is win. He is more than a game manager. Yet Tebow is a rock star, and that will win out.

The New Jon Fox team in Denver will be better than the misery he left behind in Carolina. The Panthers went 2-14 last year and may be worse this year. They lost Matt Moore to the Dolphins. Moore can actually play.

From the worst to the best…Peyton Manning has again shown why he is the consummate professional and company man. He has made it clear that he does not need to be the highest paid player in football. He wants to win. If less money means holding on to other key players, he is ready to do it. Every player in the league could learn from him. Money is transitory, but Super Bowl rings last forever.

Tomorrow I will delve into the lockout, and this post will be updated if events warrant.

For now, let’s just be glad the lockout is over.

Like much of America, I am ready for some football.


Barack Obama, meet Jayson Blair

Friday, July 29th, 2011

In 2004 Jayson Blair destroyed the New York Times. Now it seems he has been reincarnated as Barack Obama to destroy much more.


July Guest Hosting the Rick Amato Show

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Tonight I will be in San Diego guest hosting the Rick Amato Show on KCBQ 1170 AM and KTIE 590 AM.

My guests include:

Nathaniel Wyckoff, author of the book “Yaakov the Pirate Hunter.”

Ari David, 2010 candidate for the U.S. Congress in Los Angeles.

Aberto Waisman, 2010 candidate for the California Assembly in Northern California.

Julia Kavich, President of the West Los Angeles Young Republicans.

The show is also simulcast over the Internet, that triple-dubya-dot-com-gov-org type stuff.

The show runs from 7-9pm PST, 10pm-Midnight EST.

Tune in!


Greg Gutfeld of Redeye–My lord and savior

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I have seen the light.

Greg Gutfeld of “Redeye” is my lord and savior.


Barack Obama and Susan Boyle–Together Again

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Once again, Barack Obama needs to channel his inner Susan Boyle to keep people awake.


NAACP 2011 Convention + Black Tea Party in Los Angeles

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Here is my report from the 2011 NAACP Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in addition to the Black Tea Party rally outside the Convention Center led by Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express

The best football temper tantrums

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

The president recently threw a 45 minute temper tantrum because he refuses to accept that people disagree with him. He complained that the other side was “moving the goal posts.” He likes to use football analogies because he thinks it will convince people that he really is a jock and not the effeminate sweet young boy who probably thinks that skipping rope and hopscotch are sports.

Here is his a small portion of his temper tantrum.

Ok, enough. He is the only man able to combine crazy with boring. That takes talent.

Anyway, here are some really fantastic and legendary football temper tantrums that will live forever long after the current First Gasbag in Chief is a Trivial Pursuit question.

Dennis Green–

“They are who we thought they were!”

“Crown their @ss.”

Moral: Do not kick the ball to Devon Hester.

Aftermath: Last good game ever played by Matt Leinart, Greene got fired.

Jim Mora: “Playoffs!?!”

Here is the Coors Light version.

Aftermath: They did not make the “playoffs” and Mora was fired. Peyton Manning did eventually win a few games.

Bill Parcells: He is the legend of press conferences. He has so many. This is one I did not even know about.

Rex Ryan: I keep saying it. He looks like a football coach. He insists he is not a great leader. He is wrong.

Brian Billick: I wish I could find the clip.

“You don’t tippy toe into the Lions’s Den. If you do that you’re gonna lose. You go in there, carrying a spear, screaming like a banshee, saying where is the son of a b*tch?”

Here is some fun with him.

Aftermath: The Ravens beat the Titans and won the Super Bowl.

Mike Gundy: “This is garbage! The editor who wrote this is garbage!”

Aftermath: They actually won the game…imagine if they had lost.

Adolf Hitler: He screams a lot for a guy who has been dead for a few decades. When he found out the Giants beat the Cowboys it did not end well for him.

Aftermath: The Fuhrer was a bad guy. Romo is still in the league, but the Giants won the Super Bowl.

Mike Ditka has had several, but this exchange with Will Ferrell was hilarious.

Adam Sandler did star in the football movie, “The Waterboy.” Yet he was calm in that one. As hockey player turned golfer Happy Gilmore, he took on Bob Barker. “The price is wrong, b*tch.”

Baseball gave us Earl Weaver, Hal McRae, Dallas Greene, and the legendary Billy Martin. It’s still baseball, but back then I could actually watch when one of those was storming out or being escorted back into the dugout. Now that Bobby Cox is done, baseball is unwatchable again.

This one is not sports, but still legendary. Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

This concludes Temper Tantrum Sunday. Outside of the president, it is nice to know real men still exist.

Now let us pray that the NFL Lockout officially ends. The Hall of Fame Game has been canceled. This is not some debt ceiling dispute. This is serious. If the regular season gets canceled, the biggest temper tantrum will be by me, and it will be much uglier.


Fark Saturday

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Today is Fark Saturday.

I thought the hate mail I received and published Thursday was good stuff. Picture economic holistic justice inferior minister Ioana Stoica and multiply by that by 1000. Ok, maybe not 1000…maybe double. Still, that is a lot.

I had to ban several people from my frequent Washington Times Communities column because they kept uttering profanity and crude responses that were as irrelevant as they were badly spelled.

So instead they went “underground” and had a b*tch session where they complained about me.

After reading their comments, am I mad?

No. I think it’s hilarious. They ripped me pretty good. Their main joke seemed to be that the photo of me on my page has my mouth open. I was in the middle of giving a speech. They decided that meant I was homosexual and that my mouth was open so male genitalia could be inserted.

Look, these are liberals. This is how they behave. If that makes them happy to go Perez Hilton on my picture, fine by me.

Most of them began desperately searching online for anything they could about me to attack. Several of them found quotes from another Erik who spells his name with a “k” and not a “c.” This Erik is a systems analyst. I know nothing about him, and regret that he is being attacked by people who think he is me. Of course if he gets money from people who love the article, he really should send it to me.

These people have never met me, with the exception of one guy. The gist of his comment, and I am paraphrasing was “sat next to him in first class…inferred he did conservative comedy…seems like a standard talking head…he’s not gay, he was on his cell talking to his girlfriend…nice guy…wasn’t impressed.”

I have no idea which flight it was, but he revealed a couple secrets about me that I guess are supposed to be a source of shame. The truth is upon us all. I have now been “outed.”

1) I often fly first class..2) I’m heterosexual.

Fine. You caught me.

(I wish I knew which flight it was, not so I could remember the commenter, but which girl I was seeing. I fly a lot and date a lot, first class in both cases. Love me them Republican Jewish brunettes.)

So the question then becomes why I would make a big deal about comments on my site but have zero objections to another site ripping me to pieces.

The answer is very simple.

My columns are my responsibility.

Commenters tend to overestimate their own importance to the point that they become insufferable. Most people who read columns never comment. The commenters are the loudest, but the silent majority read without comment.

Measuring comments is not an accurate metric of traffic. Measuring overall page views and visitors is a better metric.

I say this because I could write a column with zero comments and another with 200, and my traffic is the same.

This is not to put down commenters. It’s just that they are a pleasant addition, not the sole reason the column existed. The chicken-egg dispute does not exist here. First came my blog and then the commenters.

I have a responsibility to my readers, whether they comment or not. They don’t want profanity and crudity. I know this because I speak all around the country, and the people tell me what they like and dislike. I listen to my audience.

(They claim they do not want sexual humor, but blog traffic spikes in direct correlation with the occasional sexually charged column proves otherwise.)

Also, most commenters who write usually disagree with the writer because that is what gets their buttons pushed. People are less apt to write an author they agree with except to maybe say they agree.

By banning those who do not conform to the rules I set out and “forcing them underground” as one said to me, everybody wins. I get to keep the erudite, serious commenters who provide value and intellect. The lower class who want to discuss bodily functions and other cursewords have a playground to play in, get filthy, and revel in their filth.

This is democracy at its finest.

They have zero control over how I run my site and I have no control over how Fark runs its site.

At last count there were 260 comments dedicated to pretty much ridiculing me. The thread was then closed for comments. Oh well.

I was hoping they would hit 26,000, but I am not that cool yet.

On my site the puppies will continue to get housebroken.

Outside of my domain, I say let freedom, no matter how tasteless, ring loud and proud.

Let the dogs bark! Long live the Fark.


Bernie Goldberg takes on Jon Stewart over Herman Cain

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Bernie Goldberg takes on Jon Stewart over Herman Cain.


Editors note: Totally unrelated: In baseball news, the Mets went on the road and defeated the Marline 7-6. I still detest baseball, but July 22 is the birthdate of my late grandfather, who died 9 years ago. He loved baseball and the Mets, and they always seem to win on his birthday. They did it again. I love you grandpa and miss you.