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All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, and we’ve had a heck of a snowmegeddon week here in Nashville, as I know many of you in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, other parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama have also experienced. Those of us in the South aren’t used to ice, snow and sub-freezing temperatures for a week or more in a row.

But that’s where we’ve found ourselves.

My kids are about to head out for an afternoon sledding run, so I’m going to knock out the mailbag and then go join them on the neighborhood hills.

As always, I’d encourage those of you in Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia to go sign up and take advantage of up to a $1000 free wager. Other states are coming soon so go get signed up today.

Okay, here we go:

Right off the top, I think Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern are the two most successful radio voices of all time. You can argue to a standstill about who the “best” is, but the way I would distinguish them is by saying Rush is the most influential and Stern is the most entertaining. That seems like a very fair analysis of their overall talents.

As a guy who has done solo radio for ten years now — on the weekend at first and daily for the past five years — I don’t think the general public realizes how unique of a talent you need to have to do solo radio well for any length of time. But to do solo radio well for decades, as both Limbaugh and Stern have done, is virtually impossible.

You often hear former NFL quarterbacks marvel about Tom Brady’s ability to play as well as he has for as long as he has, and I think anyone who does radio, if you talk with them very long at all, would ultimately return to Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern as the two most influential and talented voices in the history of radio. In other words, if you do radio yourself, you appreciate the talent even more than the listeners do because you know all the challenges inherent in live radio. Which is high praise indeed.

So my sincere condolences to the Limbaugh family and to his millions of listeners.

He was truly a legendary — and fearless — voice and the most influential radio host of all time.

Lots of you:

“What do you think about the controversy surrounding Ted Cruz’s family trip to Cancun?”

First, the fact that Cruz has received more social media attention this week for taking a trip to Cancun than New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s potential criminal actions in regards to COVID issues is a fundamental failure of our media. Whether you agree or disagree with Cruz’s vacation timing, his trip to Cancun is relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. The fact that it’s somehow become a major story is a testament to how broken our media is.

Second, this is not an example of hypocrisy. Cruz has embraced ending lockdowns and opening up travel in this country. Unlike teachers union employees or school board members who took trips to the Caribbean while arguing it wasn’t safe to reopen schools, Cruz, at worst, took a poorly planned vacation with his family. But there’s no direct hypocrisy from an elected official here. Plus, Cruz is a federally elected official, not anyone who is running on-the-ground activities in the state of Texas. If the governor, for instance, or a city mayor, had left town, that would be a really bad look given their responsibilities. But this isn’t the same thing.

Now can you argue that someone of Cruz’s stature should have anticipated that his trip would draw abundant attention and wasn’t smart to make purely from an optics perspective? Sure. But the idea that this is somehow akin to elected officials who have advocated lockdowns and then behaved in a hypocritical fashion, I just don’t see it.

Third, I think Cruz should have come out and said what I think many moms and dads who work a ton think: he took the trip to spend time with his family because he feels guilty about how much he works. I’m sure the usual suspects who hate his policies would have jumped all over him regardless, but as soon this story went public, he should have said: “On the spur of the moment, I decided to take a trip with my family. I understand some of my constituents are upset that I traveled while Texas was struggling with winter weather, but my girls are young and asked me to come with them, and I want to spend time with them on a vacation while they’re still young enough to want to spend time with me. I was a dad before I was a senator, and I’ll be a dad long after I’m no longer a senator, God willing.”

Finally, I don’t like the idea of people taking secret photographs on airplanes either.

That’s how this all started.

Who was the person taking the photograph? Weren’t they also traveling to Cancun from Texas in the middle of a winter storm? I know that Cruz is a public figure, but doesn’t he deserve the ability to also be a dad and take a public flight like other parents?

One of the things that stuck out to me about the photo was that it appeared Cruz was traveling in coach class on a public flight, just like a regular family would have. If Cruz were super wealthy, like many in politics are, he would have been able to get on a private plane and no one would have ever known he took the trip. But he wasn’t hiding the way he was traveling.

Again, you can criticize the decision to take the trip — and it may well be bad optics from a political perspective — but I’ve traveled to Cancun with my family several times in the past few years. Heck, I was scheduled to travel to Cancun this week until the weather hit Nashville and canceled all those trips.

I just think it’s very creepy for someone to be taking a secret photo of anyone while they’re on a plane with their family and then immediately posting it on social media to create a mob-like response. Especially when the person who took the photo was doing the exact same thing that Cruz was.

But the larger issue remains, how in the world did this receive more media attention than the revelations that Andrew Cuomo attempted to cover up tens of thousands of deaths that occurred under his watch in New York? It’s madness.

David writes:

“Who is more likely to be removed from office, New York governor Andrew Cuomo or California governor Gavin Newsom?”

Given the fact that both New York and California have become one party states, both men, despite horrific performances as governors, are much safer than they would be in states with competitive political dynamics.

Having said that, I think it’s clearly Cuomo because his own political party has begun to turn on him, and there are allegations of severe criminal behavior against him. While Newsom has been an awful governor during COVID, most of the recall effort is motivated by his idiotic decision-making and hypocrisies in violating his own COVID rules, not necessarily any direct criminal behavior on his part. Plus, unlike Cuomo, most Democrats in California have not begun to turn on him.

At least not in public yet.

So I think it’s clearly Cuomo.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write on the COVID data across the states, but New York and California have crushed their economies without making their people any safer at all. The data on this is clear and transparent: Andrew Cuomo, of any elected official in America, handled COVID worse than anyone.

His lockdowns destroyed the economy without providing any measurable health benefit to his constituents.

It was the worst of both worlds.

Nathan writes:

“Who starts at QB for the Jets, Eagles, and Texans next year?”

Jets: Zach Wilson
Texans: Deshaun Watson
Eagles: Jalen Hurts

I think Zach Wilson will be the second quarterback off the board after Trevor Lawrence, and I think the Jets will trade or release Sam Darnold and draft Wilson with the second overall pick. I don’t buy that the Texans will trade Deshaun Watson, and I think the Eagles have painted themselves into a corner here and have no real option but to play Hurts now.

If the Eagles decide to draft a quarterback with their sixth pick, then they are effectively admitting the Jalen Hurts pick last year made no sense. I know we’ve seen teams willing to move on rapidly from first-round picks — the Arizona Cardinals got rid of Josh Rosen after one year and Washington got rid of Dwayne Haskins before the second year was up — but I think the Eagles have to give Hurts at least a chance to be the guy for a season.

So I’d roll with these three guys being the starters for these respective teams.

The one wild card here is what if the Jets offered Sam Darnold, the No. 2 pick and their first rounder next year for Deshaun Watson? Would the Texans turn down that offer? I’m not sure. But it would be awfully tempting, I’d think, especially if the Texans believe Sam Darnold is the least bit redeemable at all. Or if the Texans are in love with any of the quarterbacks in the first round this year.

Final data point that was absolutely staggering to me — between 2009 and 2016, there were 22 quarterbacks drafted in the first round. Not one of the quarterbacks from this eight year window — not one! — is still with the team that drafted them.

That’s unbelievable and speaks to how incredibly difficult it is to find stud quarterbacks.

Darren:

“Thoughts on the NFL and NASCAR joining forces on the Sunday before President’s Day? Daytona drops the green flag at noon CST, Super Bowl kicks off at 5:30 CST, America sleeps it off the next day? This needs to happen.”

This is a really fun idea, but I think NASCAR data likely tells them that going head to head with any Super Bowl coverage at all, including the pregame, is a loser for them.

What I think is more likely to happen is the NFL takes over President’s Day weekend and makes Super Bowl Sunday a default national holiday.

That could happen as soon as this coming year, given that the NFL is expanding to a 17-week regular season. Once that happens, then I suspect the Daytona 500 will get pushed back to the next weekend so NASCAR can continue to have its own weekend all to itself.

Okay, thanks for reading OutKick. I’m headed outside to sled with my kids. Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend.

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.

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