Sunday Morning Coffee — April 18, 2021 — NFL Season Kick-Off; Vegas Reopens; Sexy Ruskie; Tat-Up For Burgers and …..

Time to tie up some loose ends before we begin a special week of celebration with Earth Day on Thursday.

The NFL fanatic will tell you the new season really starts every April with the collegiate draft and schedule release. The draft, switched from Vegas to basements across the country last year, is scheduled for April 29-May 1, on-site in Cleveland. Hope springs eternal for 31 of 32 franchises. And then there’s the Jets.

The schedule has normally been released in late April, but this year will probably be delayed a couple of weeks due to the addition of the 17th game. Airline reservations always boom the week of the schedule release with fans making plans to travel the country to see their team. Concurrently, ticket resale boards get stocked with overpriced inventory.

It may not be the most competitive or important game on this year’s schedule, but none will be any more talked about or a more expensive resale ticket than Tampa Bay’s visit to New England.

I used to understand business, but I guess being out of the circuit for almost three years has washed away a lot of what I once knew. I don’t get this: the NFL just concluded successful negotiations with their television partners- NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN/ABC and Amazon, a newcomer to the parade, for 11 years at a combined $100 billion for the rights. Yes, that’s with a ‘b’. All the networks will lose money on the deal. To make it worse, the networks are losing money on the existing contract, but just accepted fee increases of 75-80% to renew beginning with the 2022 season. According to the Wall Street Journal, CBS, Fox and NBC will see their rights’ fees double to $2 billion per season; ESPN will jump from $2 billion to $2.7, and Amazon gets in for the bargain price of $1 billion a year. If all the networks are losing money, why do it? Back in my day if I knew all of my competitors were losing money on a deal, I’d run away from it. Football doesn’t work that way. A longtime network sales executive told me last week, “From a financial point of view, you’re right, it makes no sense. But everyone is afraid of the other guy having something they don’t, so they all get in over their heads. For the advertisers, it’s the best vehicle the networks can offer to reach a predominately male audience. The networks try to parlay that into other sales opportunities on other programming.” Oh.

Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are a bunch of has-beens. None made the top three of this season’s MLB jersey sales. The top two are Dodgers and neither is named Clayton Kershaw. In order it’s Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Fernando Tatis Jr. Harper is fourth and Kershaw fifth.

Encouraging news for Nevada and its tourism. Governor Steve Sisolak announced this past week that effective June 1 all operations can function at 100%. However, a mask mandate remains in place. Which means you still won’t be able to see the pit boss smirk when you’re standing with a hard 20 and the dealer hits a five-card 21. But at least the table will be full.

Gloria Henry died on April 3. We kids remember her as Alice Mitchell, Dennis’ way-too-tolerant mom on Dennis The Menace. Ms. Henry was 98.

Organized labor is on the same path of extinction as the daily newspaper and pay phones. In 1973 over 24% of the U.S. workforce was unionized; today it’s 6.3%.

The Illinois state treasury is flying high over this. In February, for the first time, monthly tax revenue on marijuana sales were higher than alcohol.

Russian dreamboat.

Good news and bad news out of Moscow for Vladimir Putin. The good news, and to nobody’s surprise, Putin was chosen the sexiest man in Russia. The bad news is he only got 99% of the vote.

In case you went to sleep a little early last Monday night, you missed Steph Curry becoming the all-time leading scorer in Warriors history with 17,818 points. That would normally get a yawn if not for whose record he broke. Wilt Chamberlin scored 17,783 points in less than six seasons as a Philadelphia-San Francisco Warrior. Curry is in his 12th season for the franchise. It took Curry 745 games to equal Wilt. Chamberlin did it in only 429 career games. Different era, different story. Curry, 6’3”, 185, is a marksman. Chamberlin was anything but. Playing at 7’1”, 275, he was a brute force. Nobody, except for Bill Russell’s defense, could stop him. Chamberlin dominated the inside every time he stepped on the court, which was often. The Kansas grad averaged playing time of 46 out of 48 minutes a game through his Warriors career. In 1962 he sat on the bench for eight minutes. The whole season. He probably could have played more if he weren’t so tired from bedding those 20,000 women he bragged about. Wilt, who died in 1999, averaged a mind-boggling 41.5 points a game in his 15 overall seasons in the league. However, one thing the Stilt couldn’t do was shoot free-throws. A lifetime .511 shooter from the line, he missed 5,805 in his career. That’s 5,805. Curry can shoot free-throws and has also benefited from the three-point game which didn’t exist in Chamberlin’s era. Even if it did it’s a shot Chamberlin had zero chance of making. However, in a strange way, Wilt would have capitalized from the three-pointer. His inside dominance on both ends of the floor would have resulted in hundreds of easy put-backs on teammates misses from downtown. He could have easily had more than just the one and only NBA 100-point game.

Maybe it just me, Part 1 – How can anyone have any ‘personal liberty’ qualms about a so-called vaccine passport? You need a driver’s license to operate a vehicle. A pilot’s license to fly a plane. They tell me you even need a license to hunt and fish. What’s wrong with a proposed vaccine passport that would prove an expedited, certified, documented entry pass in lieu of negative Covid tests or eliminate a temperature check or a health questionnaire? Seems to be a question of efficiency for those who desire as opposed to a personal liberty hardship for those who oppose for the sake of a fight.

No room in the carry-on.

Maybe it’s just me, Part 2 – Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama describes himself as shy and a bit of a loner. He doesn’t really care for media attention either. Yet here’s a guy who carries his championship Green Jacket through TSA at ATL the day after winning the Masters. Nah, nobody will notice that.

MLB’s collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of this season. It will probably also end the pitchers batting in the National League. Insiders believe the DH will become universal. There was always something intriguing about watching the guy with a .079 average try to make contact.

All-Star Game hijinks aside, more hypocrisy from Major League Baseball. It sanctioned changing all doubleheaders from nine innings to seven, but won’t recognize a seven inning no-hitter in the record book.

Continuing my Reds watch. My season bet of Cincinnati under 81.5 wins isn’t doing so hot. All I need is Cincy to play .500 ball or less and I ring the bell. So, just because I have them, the Reds won six of their first seven, their best start in 20 years. They then cooled a little but yesterday’s game against Cleveland pretty much told me the way this season will go. The Indians led 2-1, top of the eighth, runners on first and third, nobody out.  Next batter: hits into a routine triple play.  Bottom of ninth, same score.  Cleveland brings in their closer whose change-up is 99 mph.  First two batters, easy.  Third guy hits a ground ball to first. Buckner’d. Two hits later he comes around to score. Tie game. Reds then walk it off in the 10th. They are now 9-5 and look like the Big Red Machine. They lead baseball in runs scored, just like the Machine used to. I feel the noose tightening. I am four games off the pace I need with only 148 left to play.  Damn Reds.

And speaking of the damn Reds, Pete Rose turned 80 on Wednesday. It’s long past time for him to spend a weekend in Cooperstown as a guest of honor.

Why does men’s college basketball play two halves and the ladies play four quarters?

Bad news for anyone who played ‘over’ Bernie Madoff serving 150 years of his sentence. The con guy died Wednesday after only 12.

Here’s an important domestic travel suggestion for what everyone expects will be a busy summer. The Wall Street Journal suggests if you’ll need a rental car, even before you book your flights and hotels, check for car availability. The rental industry was rocked by the pandemic and forced to sell off a sizable portion of their fleets. Cars are scarce and priced as high as they’ve ever been. Don’t get trapped into non-refundable air tickets and non-refundable hotel deposits before you see if you can find a car.

Still time to grab a tat.

Farmer Boys, a fast-food chain in SoCal and Vegas, has a really lousy one-sided promotion for anyone but the hungriest or desperate. Simply join their loyalty club then go into one of their designated tattoo parlors in West Hollywood or Las Vegas and get a 2”x 2” Farmer Boys tattoo inked on a visible spot and you get free burgers at any of their locations. Reading the fine print, it’s limited to one burger a week and good only for the following 52 weeks. After that, you pay your own way while your arm is a walking billboard for them.

Enjoying Jeopardy!’s guest hosts more than I thought I would. So far Ken Jennings, no surprise, and Katie Couric, a little surprise, have been really good. Kudos too to Aaron Rodgers — very dry, very smart and very entertaining.

A really fun show on Netflix is Imposters. Two seasons filled with laughs and an always-turning story line.

Julius Erving, a Nets alum from their ABA days on Long Island, says the Brooklyn Nets are turning into the Yankees and trying to “buy championships.” Dr. J must not be much of a baseball fan. The Yankees haven’t won since 2009.

Finally, a little nice news. Remember about two months ago we mentioned the plight of colleague, friend and Sunday Morning Coffee reader Ron Lonicki who was in early kidney failure and wanted us to reach out for any help or advice we could muster? Well, Lew Matusow, also a longtime friend, colleague and SMC reader wanted to help. They didn’t know each other. Other than great taste in reading on Sunday mornings, Lew found out that Ron was a fellow Kiwanian. Lew’s background is public relations. He’s been doing it since Ike was still in boot camp. Okay, it only seems that long. Lew put his vast talents to work and convinced the San Diego Union-Tribune, Lonicki’s hometown newspaper, of a great public interest story in their own backyard. Ron is a long way from being out of the woods, but selfishly I’m tickled to see our work bring together two great guys with one common cause. Ron still needs help but here’s the link to a good start:

That’s it for this week. We’re going to take a break next Sunday and sleep in. In the meantime, help me and pull against the damn Reds.


  • Ken Rich says:

    Roy, the only thing you missed was the French Open being delayed by a week. Thanks for avoiding politics this week. Great stuff as always,.

  • Mat Whatley says:

    Thanks Roy! Another great read!!

  • I great read, yes, but I prefer the ones with politics. Or something I understand. Have a great week!

  • Eric Wilson says:

    Thanks Roy, well done, as usual.

  • Warren Plowden says:

    Roy: Pete was a Macon Peach in his minor league days and was a bad boy then. No, no to Cooperstown!

  • Ronald Campbell says:

    I want a Sean Kazmar jersey

  • Herbert Shainker says:

    Roy, Great job as always. Just curious…..rumor has it you know someone in Vegas who has hit 12 in a row on season win totals. Did he also pick the Reds? If not…..why didn’t you just piggy back on his pick????

  • Lew Matusow says:

    Since Ike was in boot camp? Seriously? Just because my first PR campaign—as a 6-year-old—was for Stevenson…..

    GSAU (great stuff as usual for the uninitiated), RB.

    And thanks for the Ron Lonicki mention. The GoFundMe fund has topped $3,000. Now, if only one of the legions of SMC readers can spare a kidney….

  • George Howard says:

    The comments about Wilt were great! Amazingly, he was a Republican and strong Nixon supporter. He used to go to rallies wearing an extra large sized button that had one word on it—Milhous. I don’t think Wilt was actually into politics but his style cracked me up.

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