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I’m back with a Friday mailbag because I have COVID, the Omicron remix version, and I can’t go to the gym this morning before the radio show because I’m trying to stay home for five days.
Much to the disappointment of the coronabros, who would like to see me die from COVID, I am already back to 100% after a little less than two days of a light cold. I also had a slight fever on the first day. Otherwise, I’ve continued to work from home just like I normally would have.
I’ll be doing my gambling show with Todd Fuhrman, The Fade, and we’ll also have Fox Bet Live today to get you ready for the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend. I’ll give you my picks here and also update you on our final tallies in college football this year.
We got white hot down the stretch run of the bowls and the Playoff and finished the year 10-2 against the spread. That ran our season total to 85-81, which got us back up to 51.2% on the year in college football. In the NFL, the story is even better. We are rolling at 62-43 in our OutKick NFL Six Pack. That’s a 59% winning percentage in the NFL this year.
This week’s OutKick Six Pack of Super Wild Card Picks are:
Patriots at Bills -4
Raiders +6 at Bengals and the over 48.5
Eagles +8.5 at the Bucs
49ers +3 at the Cowboys
Steelers +12.5 at the Chiefs
Cardinals at the Rams -4.5
There you go, seven winners for you. Get rich, kids.
With that in mind, here were your questions you asked last night.
“What percentage of black head coaches, quarterbacks and general managers will be enough to make it not racist?”
This is the question no one ever answers — it’s easier to just scream RACISM! — but it’s the one that most needs to be answered to set a reasonable template. I’m going to focus on head coaches because I honestly think there’s no racism argument against black quarterbacks any longer when four of the five highest paid quarterbacks of all time are now black.
So let’s talk about head coaches.
Right now, there is one black head coach, Mike Tomlin, among 25 current head coaches in football. (There are seven open jobs.) That means black coaches represent 4% of NFL head coaches. (There are also a couple of additional minorities, but those don’t count, evidently.) Let’s say that two more black coaches are going to be hired for the seven open jobs. That would take us to nearly 10% of black coaches in the NFL. Given that black people are 12% of the United States population, that would roughly approximate the overall percentage of the black population. If there are three black coaches hired, which also seems possible, the NFL would nearly identically replicate the existing black population in the country.
Given that, in theory, all races can evenly compete for head coaching jobs, I believe NFL head coaches should roughly approximate the overall racial percentages in the country. That would be equality to me because it would represent equal representation. (Interestingly, if that was our method of analysis, then the group that would actually be the most underrepresented would be Hispanic head coaches.)
Of course that wouldn’t be acceptable to the woke community because the people who are most upset about the lack of black head coaches always point to the fact that 70% of the players are black. But I always think this is a false analogy because most former players don’t want to be NFL head coaches. Why not? Because players get paid way better than young coaches — and the best players get paid way more than even the most successful head coaches of all time. Bill Belichick will make less than a quarter of what a top quarterback will make this year — and they see how hard NFL coaches have to work. And when their careers are over, they want to have normal lives.
If you just made millions of dollars a year to play football, do you want to make less than $100k to coach football? And start off fairly low on the coaching ladder? That’s unlikely. Especially when the real money for former players, if you hit it right, is in announcing football. Tony Romo makes $17 million a year to call games with virtually no stress. That’s millions of dollars more than Bill Belichick actually makes to coach. Which is why, regardless of your race, the more successful of an NFL career you have, the less likely, historically, you are to coach pro football.
Add in that many coaches start coaching at 22 years old, and playing in the NFL can actually put you behind the coaching career arc.
Furthermore, if you’re really upset about a lack of head coaches, what you really need to focus on aren’t the head coaches, it’s how many coaches are starting at the lowest levels of the profession. And then how many of these coaches climb up to the next rung and then on to position coaches and coordinators? The best way to get hired in the NFL is to be a successful offensive or defensive coordinator. So if you’re deeply concerned about the race of coaches — I’m not — then the entry point should be the focus, not the end point.
The NFL’s own insanely competitive culture also works against the idea that racism would be at play here. Given how competitive the NFL is, all coaches want their assistant coaches to be as talented as possible. Do you really think Bill Belichick cares what the racial make up of his staff is? All he cares about is winning. So he’s going to hire the coaches that are most likely to help him win, regardless of their race. And so are all of his subordinates.
Finally, I also think there’s a copycat aspect to the NFL. If you worked for Bill Belichick for the past two decades, you got a coaching job. That’s despite the fact that almost none of these coaches panned out as head coaches on their own. That’s because the NFL — and colleges too — often hire people based on their proximity to success.
Look at Sean McVay. When he had immediate success with the Rams, everyone went out and hired their own version of Sean McVay — the youngish coach with a scruffy beard and an analytics background. And then what happened? Most of McVay clones have actually done pretty well so far — Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor at Cincinnati, Matt LaFleur at Green Bay, all of these guys have put their teams in the playoff.
If a young black coach like Byron Leftwich gets hired this year and immediately has success, everyone will want the next Leftwich. And it will open the door for a bunch of Leftwich clones like we’ve seen all the Belichick and McVay clones.
“Now that the Supreme Court has made its COVID vaccine mandate decision, what about nurses, NFL coaches, etc that lost their job due to holding the opinion they did? How do people take action against those who took unconstitutional action against them? Is it even possible?”
The Supreme Court didn’t say your individual business couldn’t mandate vaccines, just that they couldn’t do so while relying on Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate.
I agree that if your business insisted you get the COVID vaccine because of Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate that you should have some legal recourse, but I’m not sure what recovery options you’d have here. And, significantly, they would depend on which state, and potentially the city, you live in right now.
Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, if you live in a state with a Republican governor, you may have legal redress if your employer attempts to mandate your vaccine. I’d encourage you to consult a labor or employment attorney in your state or city to get the best analysis of your particular legal situation.
My hope is that now that the Supreme Court has shot down the mandate that many businesses will feel emboldened not to require their workers to get the vaccine.
That’s my hope, anyway, but the legal situation is still a mess for many people, depending on which city or state they live in.
“What’s the Over/Under on GOP House pickups in November?”
Given that there are only about fifty seats that are truly competitive, I’d expect that even with a red wave, which I think is very likely, it’s going to be hard to flip more than that fifty, even if things went absolutely perfect for Republicans.
Combine that with the fact that Republicans did pretty well in 2020, picking up seats when everyone seemed to believe they would lose seats, and I’d set the over/under at thirty.
Some people are going to say that’s too low, but given the seats in play, that feels like a reasonable target.
“I’ve got a special needs daughter the will likely lose her nursing if we don’t get exemptions. She’s at far greater risk from that than COVID. When do we get back to multivariate risk analysis instead of being so fixated on the single point of vaccines?”
First, I hope your daughter gets the help she needs in the months ahead.
Second, and I’m frustrated more people aren’t making this argument, given that Dr. Fauci said that everyone will ultimately get Omicron, how is there any basis for a vaccine mandate any longer? The Biden administration and their health advisers used to tell us that if you were unvaccinated, you were putting others at risk because you could get and spread COVID. But the vaccine doesn’t keep us from getting and spreading COVID. And now that Fauci has said everyone will get the Omicron variant, assuming he’s correct, this means that everyone vaccinated and unvaccinated alike will get COVID.
Now you can argue the unvaccinated face a greater risk when they get infected, but if the risk is primarily borne by them, how can you disallow that risk? We allow people to make risky decisions all the time. Heck, obesity and smoking are both horrible for your long term health, and we allow people to consume fatty foods and buy cigarettes.
Which is why I think the abundant spread of Omicron has completely destroyed any argument in favor of vaccine mandates.
“Will Jameson Williams injury convince a future star player to opt out of the college football playoff?”
I suspect this will happen at some point, yes. And I also think it’s interesting that most fans haven’t begun to debate this yet. Because Matt Corral’s injury in the Sugar Bowl game between Ole Miss and Baylor got way more discussion than Williams’s injury on Monday night did. Yet Corral’s injury was nowhere near as severe as Williams’s injury.
Why haven’t fans debated this more significantly? Because Williams was playing for a championship and Corral wasn’t. I understand that distinction for fans, but does that really matter a great deal to players? Heck, would it matter a lot to you?
If I told you your favorite team could win a title or you could get twenty million guaranteed, how many of you would pick your favorite team winning a title? Almost none of you, I’d bet. Well, that’s what a player could put on the line if he’s seriously injured in a Playoff game. And your team isn’t even guaranteed to win anything, as happened to Williams.
I think this risk analysis becomes even more true if you get to the end of a season and there’s a 12-team Playoff left out there. If your team doesn’t get a bye, and you keep winning, that means some teams would eventually play 17 games, including four games after the conference title games.
If you’re a junior or a senior guaranteed to go in the first round, you’re putting tens of millions of dollars, potentially, on the line with every Playoff snap. That’s why I’d suggest that a Playoff expansion should be accompanied by some sort of overarching insurance premium for top players.
As is, we’ve pretty much expected that sitting out for bowl games makes decent sense. Well, if that’s true, when does it make sense to sit out for other games? I mean, once your team has no chance to win a title, which for many teams is the case by October, what are you playing for? Where, in other words, do you draw the line on which games matter?
That’s especially the case because Ja’Marr Chase and Micah Parsons both chose to sit out the entire 2020 COVID season and not only weren’t harmed by it, they were the best players, arguably, on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball in the NFL this year.
Now they had COVID as a convenient excuse to sit out in 2020, but how many top draft picks would actually like to skip their final season of college football and just start training for the NFL Draft? I bet a ton of them would love to do this. Granted there’s no guarantee you won’t injure yourself doing this training, but it’s less likely to happen than in a full season of contact football.
“Do you think football would be better if punts were like timeouts? Only get 3-4 per half?”
This is a really interesting idea.
Yes, in theory it would make the game way more fascinating. It could also, believe it or not, encourage strategic punting. That is, you’d want to pin your opponent deep and try to make him use up his punts. And once he didn’t have any punts left, you’d be incentivized to try and pin him deep.
In theory, I really like this idea because it makes the NFL even more of a chess match.
Okay, I’ve got the Clay and Buck radio show to do now.
Appreciate all of you and hope you enjoy the Super NFL Wild Card Weekend.