13) Carson Palmer retired this week; he earned $174,148,722 in his NFL career, which means he can do whatever he wants the rest of his life, but lot of athletes have trouble finding something to do that is as stimulating/interesting as playing ball.
Former Phillies star Mike Schmidt talked about that after he retired, how he has struggled to find something that motivates him like baseball did. Schmidt does Phillies games on TV on the weekends; he tried managing in the minor leagues, but that didn’t last long.
12) This would be an interesting TV series; looking up retired athletes and seeing what they’re doing now. Anfernee Hardaway is an interesting person to look at— he coaches high school basketball in Memphis now, and has a really good team. Hardaway earned over $120M in his playing career.
11) TV ratings for the college football bowl games were up 7% from last year; yes, there are too many bowls, but yes, people are watching them.
10) Snowy day here today at Armadillo World HQ; it is a windy, snowy mess here, but was also a solid day of movies on TV. Bull Durham, Blue Chips, The Bodyguard, plus I found a Without a Trace marathon. Better than braving the elements outside on a cruddy winter day.
9) Kevin Durant donated $3M to the University of Texas to support the basketball program and the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation. Durant only played one season at Texas, before heading on to the NBA.
8) RIP Rob Picciolo 64, who passed away this week. Picciolo played nine years in the majors, six of them for the A’s— he was a solid fielder who today would be a super-utility guy. He had been coaching in the major leagues, with the Angels and Padres.
7) Central Florida went 13-0 this year, joining this list of smaller-budget football programs that had an unbeaten season. Here is how the other four teams did the following season:
Utah, 2005— 7-5, won Emerald Bowl 38-10
Boise State, 2007— 10-3, lost Hawai’i Bowl 41-38
Utah, 2009— 10-3, won Poinsettia Bowl 24-13
TCU, 2011— 11-2, won Poinsettia Bowl 31-24
6) Lot of college basketball teams have almost no depth; Syracuse lost 73-67 at Wake Forest on Wednesday; they played two guys the whole 40:00, two others 37:00. Their subs played a total of only fifteen minutes.
5) Sign of the Times: In Tulsa’s 90-88 double OT win over UConn Wednesday, Golden Hurricane made 17-41 3-pointers, 25-36 on foul line, but only 7-23 inside the arc. Shooting has become a huge skill, since teams that don’t have much depth play more zone.
4) Guy named Briceton Branch won around $1.3M when he won this year’s Westgate SuperContest, where you pony up $1,500, then pick five NFL games a week against the spread. More than 2,700 handicappers were involved this season, the biggest one they’ve had.
3) Football coaches are gypsies; Giants’ offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is the new QB coach in Denver. Rumors on the Interweb Thursday had the Broncos more interested in acquiring Kirk Cousins than Eli Manning- they’re desperate to upgrade their QB play from the last two years.
2) There are rumblings that Donald Trump is going to the Alabama-Georgia game Monday nite, raising the possibility that player(s) on either team might take a knee during national anthem; seeing how there will be roughly 200 players on the sidelines, what are the odds that we get thru the night without some politically-inspired drama?
1) Warm thought of the day: Dodgers’ spring training tickets go on sale Friday morning; tickets are $3 cheaper if you buy them in advance, as opposed to buying them the day of the game.