Tag Archives: NFL

A Few Friday Thoughts on Football

Football news we’d been expecting and waiting for in the L.A. area arrived today — the San Diego Chargers (previously the L.A. Chargers) are returning to L.A.

Oh, joy.

Prior to this last season, the Los Angeles area had been without an NFL team for some twenty years (since the Rams absconded to Saint Louis in the 90s). Such a loss.

We didn’t, at least as far as I was concerned, actually need an NFL team in our part of SoCal.

We had perennially contending “pro” teams: the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans — I am of the opinion that any team with dozens of players benefiting from $50,000+/year full-ride scholarships is a professional team and the players are professional athletes.

We have a number of other exciting to watch college and junior college teams.

And — we have some of the most exciting high school football teams in the nation playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in stadiums where every seat is up close and personal. Having seen more than five hundred of these games over the last thirty years, I can assure you that most of them are a lot more exciting than those played by the L.A. Rams in 2016.

Just think of it — twenty years without an NFL team in L.A. and all of a sudden we have three teams vying to come to L.A.: 2016 the Rams arrive with a 4 and 12 record — losers; the Chargers leave San Diego with a 5 and 11 record — losers. The Oakland Raiders who appear ready to go to Vegas closed out their regular season with a 12 and 4 record. Lost Wages, Nevada wins again.

The Rams will play in the Coliseum which seats 80,000+ fans for the next two years before their own stadium in Inglewood, which also will seat 80,000 fans, is completed. If they continue to lose, there’ll be more than a few empty seats staring at the television cameras.

The Chargers, who’ll play at a soccer stadium in Carson until the Inglewood facility is completed, will be hard-pressed to sell out its 27,167 seats the next two years if they continue to play the way they have.

I doubt I’ll be going to any Ram or Charger games. If I want to watch them, I’ll catch them on the boob-tube. Just because they now have Los Angeles in front of their names doesn’t guarantee the support and loyalty of those of us who live in the Los Angeles area — and I live in Orange County. If these billionaire owners want my money — over and above what I spend on my Cable TV bill, that is — they’ll need to improve their product.

Yes, next year I’ll root for my favorite NFL team — Go, Packers and anyone else who plays the Forty-Niners.

Yes, next year I’ll root for the Trojans and Bruins and Gophers.

Yes, next year I’ll root for the Chargers (Edison High School Chargers, that is), Huntington Beach Oilers, Fountain Valley Barons, Orange Panthers, Villa Park Spartans, El Modena Vanguards and Canyon Comanches and other SoCal teams.

The L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers? Maybe . . . but not the way they played these last few years.

Oh, yeah — I’ll continue, perhaps a bit ironically, to root for Arsenal: Go Gunners!

Pro Athletes — former Student Athletes?

Professional / Student Athletes

Are the professional athletes who play for our NFL teams (and other professional sports) really former student athletes or did they just attend school on dollars paid by others, including taxpayers and other students?

What kind of an education did, and do, these players actually get? What do they learn beside how to be better athletes? Do they attend the same classes other students attend, or do they attend classes especially set up for student athletes?

Many of them never graduate.

Los Angeles is currently in the hunt for an NFL franchise to call its own. Personally, I think our two current “professional” football teams are sufficient, but what do I know? In the running are three teams which used to call Los Angeles home: the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the Saint Louis Rams. Why we would want any of these back again is beyond me.

I ventured to the San Diego Chargers website and looked to see if I could find out anything about the education their players received while in college. After all, if you had a team composed entirely, or almost entirely, of college graduates, wouldn’t you want to brag about it?

The only place I could find any information about the education of the people in the Charger organization was their Media Guide. As you might expect those in charge of the organization and its finances were highly educated. The players . . . not so much.

Following is a list of coaches and players and their college majors and degrees. I may have missed a few but the list below contains the information I found while looking at the Media Guide rather than watching football.

Maybe you’ll come to the same conclusion about “student” athletes I did.

San Diego Chargers

General Manager — Tom Telesco — John Carrol University, 1995, degree in business management

Head Coach — Mike McCoy — University of Utah “graduated”

Asst — John Pagano — Mesa State, degree in business marketing

Asst — Frank Reich — Maryland, graduation and degree not mentioned

Asst — Kevin Spencer — He earned his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a Master’s from Cortland State.

Asst — Joe D’Alessandris — Bachelor and Masters from Western Carolina University

Asst — Fred Graves — Utah, degree in business

Asst — Don Johnson — Butler Community College and Jersey City State, no degree mentioned

Asst — Kent Johnston — graduated from Stephen F. Austin University and he earned a master’s in physical education from Alabama

Asst — Pete Metzelaars — Wabash College, degree in economics

Asst — Ron Milus — University of Washington, graduation and degree not mentioned

Asst — Mike Nolan — University of Oregon, graduation and degree not mentioned, “Nolan began his coaching career in 1981 as a graduate assistant at Oregon.”

Asst — Nick Sirianni — Mount Union, graduation and degree not mentioned

Asst — Ollie Wilson — Springfield College, BA, MA in physical education

Asst — Craig Aukerman — University of Findlay, degree in elementary education

Asst — Andrew Dees — Syracuse, degree in child and family studies

Asst — Bobby King — UTEP, graduation and degree not mentioned

Asst — Rick Lyle — Missouri, degree in parks, recreation and tourism

Asst — Greg Williams — North Carolina, degree in sociology

Asst — Shane Steichen — UNLV, degree in journalism and media studies

Asst — Chris Shula — bachelor degree from Miami of Ohio and masters in education from Oklahoma

Asst — Mark Ridgley — Pittsburgh, degree in economics, masters in education from Central Michigan

Players —

Jahleel Addae — Central Michigan, major/degree not mentioned

Keenan Allen — University of California, African-American studies major, degree not mentioned

Jerry Attaochu — Georgia Tech, science, technology and culture major, degree not mentioned

Joe Barksdale — LSU, general studies major, degree not mentioned

Donald Brown — Connecticut, exercise science degree

Donald Butler — Washington, construction management and business major, degree not mentioned

Ryan Carrethers — Arkansas State, interdisciplinary studies degree

Kellen Clemens — Oregon, business administration degree

Kavell Conner — Clemson, sociology degree

Richard Crawford — SMU, major and degree not mentioned

Chris Davis — Auburn, public administration degree

Greg Ducre — Washington, sociology major, degree not mentioned

King Dunlap — Auburn, adult education degree

Brandon Flowers — Virginia Tech, sociology major, degree not mentioned

Malcom Floyd — Wyoming, health sciences major, degree not mentioned

D. J. Fluker — Alabama, health studies degree

Orlando Franklin — Miami, psychology degree

Antonio Gates — Kent State, general studies major, degree not mentioned

Ladarius Green — Louisiana-Lafayette, degree in finance

Chris Hairston — Clemson, management major, degree not mentioned

Melvin Ingram — South Carolina, degree in African-American studies

Dontrelle Inman — Virginia, digital art major, degree not mentioned

David Johnson — Arkansas State, degree in physical therapy

Stevie Johnson — Kentucky, sociology major, degree not mentioned

Jacoby Jones — Lane College, Tenn., interdisciplinary studies major, degree not mentioned

Cordarro Law — coaching education major, degree not mentioned

Sean Lissemore — William & Mary, kinesiology major, degree not mentioned

Corey Liuget — Illinois, sociology major, degree not mentioned

Ricardo Mathews — Cincinnati, criminal justice major, degree not mentioned

Kyle Miller — Mount Union, health and physical education major, degree not mentioned

Nick Novak — Maryland, degree in kinesiology

Branden Oliver — Buffalo, completed last two classes for a degree in sociology

Tenny Palepoi — Utah, degree in sociology

David Paulson — Oregon, business major, degree not mentioned

Austin Pettis — Boise State, communications major, degree not mentioned

John Phillips — Virginia — degree in sociology

Kendall Reyes — Connecticut, degree in communications

Philip Rivers — North Carolina State, degree in business

Patrick Robinson — Florida State, social science major, degree not mentioned

Trevor Robinson — Notre Dame, management/consulting major, degree not mentioned

Lowell Rose — Tulsa, communications major, degree not mentioned

Mike Scifres — Western Illinois, communications and broadcasting degree

Brad Sorensen — Southern Utah, economics major, degree not mentioned

Damion Square — Alabama, major and degree not mentioned

Darrell Stuckey — Kansas, degree in communications

Manti Te’o — Notre Dame, graphic design degree

Johnnie Troutman — Penn State, African and African-American studies degree

Mitch Unrein — Wyoming, criminal justice degree

Jason Verrett — Texas Christian, sports broadcasting major, degree not mentioned

Chris Watt — Notre Dame, marketing degree

Eric Weddle — Utah, special education major, degree not mentioned

Kenny Wiggins — Fresno State, communications major, degree not mentioned

Steve Williams — California, sociology major, degree not mentioned

Tourek Williams — Florida International, sport and fitness major, degree not mentioned

Jimmy Wilson — Montana, business major, degree not mentioned

Mike Windt — Cincinnati, degree in psychology

Danny Woodhead — Chadron State, math education major, degree not mentioned

Melvin Gordon — Wisconsin, life science communications major, degree not mentioned

Denzel Perryman — Miami, Sociology major, degree not mentioned

Craig Mager — Texas State, physical therapy degree

Kyle Emanuel — North Dakota State, degree in construction management

Darius Philon — Arkansas, enrolled in college of arts and science, degree not mentioned


 

The list goes on, but I got tired after the sixty or so above. I may have spelled a name or two incorrectly or missed a degree or two, but on the whole I believe the data is correct–at least, as it was laid out in the Media Guide.

I realize that in today’s world we treat entertainers, and professional athletes are only entertainers, in a manner that is different from how we treat others. I do not, however, believe that we should give them or their organizations a free ride. If they go to tax-supported schools, they should take real classes designed to give them a real education–in something other than the sport they wish to play. College should not be a taxpayer supported minor league for the NFL or the NBA.

They should get an education that will prepare them for life, not just a couple of good years in the professional leagues before they are worn out and tossed away.

Perhaps this article would be instructive–The cost of a career: NFL players and bankruptcy