All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, and I hope all of you have had a great week out there.

As we get ready for the Super Bowl, I’ve got an incredible offer for you: bet $5 on either the Chiefs or the Bucs to win, and if your team wins, you get $275. That’s a 55-1 payout. Want a guaranteed win? Have a friend or family member take the opposite side, and you’re guaranteed a $275 payout on a $10 bet. Boom, new users can’t lose. Go get those bets in today.

Okay, here we go:

PatsLife Tweets:

“Has Tom Brady proven he is more responsible for the Patriot dynasty now? What percentages would you give to both Brady and Belichick for their role in it?”

I’ve been saying for years that the quarterback was far more important than the head coach in the NFL. In college football, however, I think that’s flipped because even a great quarterback is only in a program for three or four years. So the head coach matters the most in college football, but in the NFL, the quarterback matters the most.

This year has just further solidified that argument, in the NFL in particular.

Just look at Bill Belichick’s NFL career. He has a losing record when Tom Brady isn’t his starting quarterback and a 77% winning percentage when Brady is his quarterback. That’s pretty dispositive, I think, especially when you consider what’s happened this year. Brady leaves, and the Patriots go 7-9. Brady arrives in Tampa Bay, and the Bucs go from 7-9 to 11-5, 14-5 with the three playoff wins added in.

I thought we’d debate Brady vs. Belichick for a long time to come because I thought Belichick was the one coach out there who might prove my thesis about the quarterback mattering the most in the NFL wrong. But I think this year has effectively ended that debate. The Patriot dynasty was primarily a function of Tom Brady. What percentage? I’d give Brady 75% of the credit and Belichick 25% of the credit.

Adam writes:

“When will be the next time we see a sellout crowd in a stadium? Baseball this summer? NBA Finals? Or not until football in the fall?”

I definitely think we’ll see sold out football games by late August and early September in many parts of the country where football is the most popular. I’m not sure that will be uniform everywhere. The Pac-12 and the state of California, for instance, may have restrictions on attendance, but I suspect the SEC and Big 12 in particular will have completely full stadiums and normal tailgate atmospheres by late August and early September.

So that’s when I feel like it will definitely happen.

Remember that most regular season baseball games don’t sell out, so I don’t think baseball sellouts are necessarily likely for a while. But I do think we’ll have “full” stadiums in baseball by the summer for sure. I suspect many baseball stadiums will want to be full-go by July 4th, if not sooner.

So if you’re asking me for an over/under on when there will be a sellout crowd in a stadium, I think we’ll have full stadiums beginning to occur in baseball by July 4th.

As for the NBA, I think they will be the most cautious league of all. So I’d be surprised if they had full arenas, particularly because California and the northeastern states, the two most restrictive places in the country, are likely to have teams in the NBA Finals.

Given the fact that the NBA arenas are also indoors, I don’t think we’ll see full arenas in the NBA this season.

So, again, I’d go with full baseball stadiums by July 4th in at least some parts of the country.

Why do I think this will happen?

Basic math. COVID cases in the country are plummeting by a massive amount, and it can’t be connected to the vaccine yet. I think what’s happened is we’re starting to hit herd immunity in many communities. Just think about it. We’ve got to be well over 100 million COVID infections. No one knows the exact number because so many cases are asymptomatic, but 120 million, a 4x rate to the number of confirmed cases, feels like a conservative estimate given that the CDC was saying we were only catching one in every ten of the COVID cases back in the summer. If you presume 120 million infections and then also add in that we’ve now given the first vaccine to over 30 million people, we’re talking about nearly half the country — 150 million people at minimum — having been exposed to COVID so far, either through vaccination or infection.

Given that the distribution of COVID hasn’t been equalized across all fifty states or in every city, it stands to reason that some places are higher than this 50% rate and some are lower. But there is little doubt that the virus has largely run its course in much of the country. Again, just look at the data. COVID cases are plunging everywhere right now.

Once everyone aged 75 and over is vaccinated, the COVID death rate, assuming the vaccines work in the elderly, is going to take a massive nosedive. Combine that with warmer weather arriving in the near future — which means more people will be spending time outdoors instead of cooped up indoors, which is when viruses tend to spread the most — and all of the metrics right now are very favorable.

The one caveat here is the fear of the new COVID variants rising up, but I think given the rapidity of the vaccine roll out currently taking place and the fact that many have already been exposed to COVID, it’s hard to see how we aren’t back to normal in many parts of the country by the summer.

Okay, additional caveat, this also assumes the vaccines work as promised. In other words, if the vaccines don’t work, especially if they don’t work in the elderly, then we’re back to relying on herd immunity as the only real way to end this virus.

By the way, as I’ve written before, I feel fortunate to live in Tennessee because my life has felt pretty normal throughout this entire COVID imbroglio. My family has pretty much lived our lives without fear since April or May of last year. My kids are in school, we’ve gone to sporting events like we normally would have, we’ve traveled, worked out in gyms, continued to eat out in restaurants for the past year. Other than wearing a mask to enter businesses, our life really isn’t any different than it has been most of the time.

We’ve tried to be careful around my parents, who are both 75 years old, but my parents are getting vaccinated today, and my wife’s parents have been vaccinated too now. So, again, presuming those vaccines work, our elderly relatives should be out of the COVID woods too.

My parents haven’t really changed their lives either. They went to Disney World with my nieces and nephews this fall and have been around our kids pretty much like normal since May of last year. My mom was pretty straightforward about their choice, “We don’t know how many more years of life we have, so we don’t want to spend it hiding from our grandkids.” That’s their choice. Others have the right to make their own choices too.

My wife and I are headed to Mexico in a couple of weeks, I’m planning on taking my boys to the SEC Tournament in Nashville, and then our family is going to Utah for spring break. (My wife is teaching the kids how to ski and snowboard. I hate all winter sports — I don’t do cold weather — so I’m just going to sit at the bar and drink.)

Come the NCAA tournament, by the way, we are going to do a live OutKick show on the opening Friday of the tournament with Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and Paul Kuharsky, so I hope to see a bunch of you there.

I’m also hoping to be able to get away for a weekend and take my boys to spring training down in Florida at some point too.

So that’s my spring schedule.

We’re full-go with normalcy here.

Bruce writes:

“Joe Biden’s Press Secretary yesterday said masks and social distancing are still pivotal even after you receive the vaccine. Sounds like they’re indirectly saying the vaccine is not effective, so why would people get it?”

I believe this guidance is based on the idea that you can theoretically still be an asymptomatic spreader, even after you get the vaccine. In other words, the vaccine protects you from having a severe reaction to the virus, but doesn’t protect you from getting it and spreading it to someone else.

Having said that, I’d refer to the numbers analysis I shared above. By the summer, there just shouldn’t be very many COVID issues at all between vaccinations and herd immunity from the 120 million+ people who have already had the virus.

Holly writes:

“Still waiting for the bottom line numbers from NCAA Football testing for the season. Cost? Positives? Actual hospitalizations? Myocarditis testing? How much per school, division, etc.?”

I don’t think we’ll ever get a full release of college data like this because each school and each conference keeps that data internal as opposed to sharing it with the NCAA.

But we have gotten full data from the NFL, for example, and I suspect that data reflects what we also saw in college sports: that there were no serious issues with COVID anywhere in the NFL. That is, no player, coach, or team employee suffered a severe health issue or, certainly, any death.

In fact, the NFL data showed the rate of infection among NFL players and staff was lower than the rate of infection for the general public. So it ended up being the case, as I told you I believed would be the case, that players were actually safer playing their sport than they would have been as members of the general public not playing sports at all.

Indeed we haven’t seen a single severe issue in any American sport on any level that I’m aware of connected to the playing of sports. In other words, no one ended up seriously ill or dying because of playing sports during COVID. How do we know this? Because it would have been front page news everywhere if any coach or player had died of COVID. It just hasn’t happened. (Some athletes have died with COVID, but those athletes weren’t actually playing their sports.)

Now we’ve had some outlier incidents involving college students who have died with COVID, but those haven’t been connected to athletics and those numbers are far lower than the number of college kids dying of the seasonal flu, dying in car accidents, being murdered, or dying from drug or alcohol overdoses. In other words, COVID has had a far less serious impact on college campuses than many other risk factors we accept every year without question.

And the data has ultimately reflected what I told you the data was reflecting before the seasons were played — young people are at less risk from COVID than they are the seasonal flu. That’s especially the case now that COVID has extended for two flu seasons. (You really should divide the COVID illnesses and deaths by two at this point because we’ve had two different seasons of COVID, just like we have a different flu season every year.) Flu cases, by the way, are at all time lows. The flu doesn’t exist this year at all, which should be a positive, but is receiving almost no attention at all.

I’m looking forward to the work that Avik Roy will do to contextualize all of the COVID data and tell us what lessons we’ve learned from that data. He told me on the Wins and Losses podcast that data should be out by the end of the month. If you haven’t already listened to that podcast, I’d encourage you to go listen to it here.

In the meantime, the big takeaway here is this: all kids should be back in schools and all sports should be playing everywhere in the country.

That’s the argument I made last night on Fox News:

R.L. Page writes:

“Do you see OutKick starting a ESPN like channel?”

By the fall, my plan is to have live, daily OutKick opinion programming from six in the morning until seven at night on the east coast. That’s 13 hours of daily programming from the time people wake up in the morning until games start in the evening. That programming will be available to our audience in as many ways as we can possibly manage. Live video streaming on OutKick itself, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, via apps available on your TVs, via audio only streaming on the site, traditional radio, podcasts, and potentially on satellite radio for those who prefer audio.

Essentially, I want you to be able to find our programming everywhere.

It’s possible we will also have that content streamed on a “traditional” sports TV network, but I think being available to everyone everywhere is far more valuable than being available on a specific TV channel at a specific time.

I’ve been arguing for several years that we’re rapidly moving into an era where people will expect their favorite programming to come directly to them either on their phone or in their car at their leisure and at their preferred time. That is, whenever you are ready to consume OutKick content, I think we have to deliver it for you in the most convenient way possible.

Not everyone is going to consume it in the same way.

My 75-year-old dad may still want to listen to me live on radio, but I think he’s the minority going forward. I think most people want to be able to listen to me and all of our OutKick programming at their convenience. That’s what the data is telling us, based on our podcast numbers for OutKick the Show, which have exploded. So I think our responsibility at OutKick will be to deliver our content to you as many ways as possible.

And, by the way, the audience for OutKick on the web is pretty massive too. We had twenty million people consume our content last month on the site. That’s the biggest month ever, and I don’t see us slowing down. So we need to make sure you can consume our content as easily as possible on this website too.

We’re not going to be paying money for sports rights at OutKick, but we’ve now reached the point where we can compete with ESPN on a daily basis when it comes to opinion programming. And if you look at, for instance, my morning radio show, we’ve not only proven we can compete with ESPN, we’ve proven we can win that battle. OutKick is dominating mornings nationwide right now and has become the sports radio show with the biggest audience in the nation anywhere in our timeslot.

I don’t see why we can’t continue to grow that going forward.

But you have to think more broadly in terms of what a “channel” means. It’s not just a TV channel any longer. Our content has to be everywhere in all mediums simultaneously.

Jack writes:

“Can you think of any other political leader in American History to be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and then proceed to write a book on how he’s a hero and get nominated for person of the year?”

Of course not.

Andrew Cuomo’s governorship of New York is, by virtually all objective measures, the worst gubernatorial job in the 21st century in this country, and maybe the worst in the 20th century too. He’s been an unmitigated disaster when it comes to the COVID death rate and to the economic collapse in his state.

And many in the general public are just now realizing this because the mainstream media has done such a manifestly dishonest job promoting the job he’s done. I mean, if you doubt the power of the media, look at the way Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been treated compared to Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom. DeSantis has done a far better job than both other men without question.

Yet if you polled the average person in America, I doubt they’d know this.

Just look at the unemployment rates in their states: Florida is at 6.1% unemployment and New York is at 8.2. California is at 9.0 unemployment! Yet the death rates are worse in New York, by far, than they are in Florida, and California isn’t much better at all if you factor in average age of residents.

I’m going to write on this next week when football is officially over, and I can actually come up for a breath of air.

Okay, I’m on Fox News in a couple of hours. I’m a guest on Senator Marsha Blackburn’s podcast, which we’re recording in an hour. Then, I’ve got my OutKick show to do, I’ve got the Fox Bet Live TV show to do and then I’ve got dinner and drinks with advertisers.

The OutKick life never sleeps.

Go get your bets in for the Super Bowl — a $5 bet on the Super Bowl winner returns $275 — and, as always, thanks for your support of OutKick.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

One Comment

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  1. What would be nice in your future growth is to provide non-political, or at least non-PC, sports coverage. I’d love a site like ESPN’s or CBS’ where I could get all the scores, game analysis, without all the left-wing b.s.

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