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All That and a Bag of Mail: Black Friday Edition

Happy Black Friday!

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving.

As I write this on Friday morning, my wife is preparing to head out shopping with our kids, and I’m trying to figure out how many times we are going to watch Christmas Chronicles 2 between now and Christmas. We are already at two, so I think eight is a comfortable over/under to set.

I appreciate all of you supporting OutKick so far in a wild 2020, and here we go with responses to your Friday mailbag questions:

Michael writes:

“Two questions: 1) When do you think we will reach the point at which all COVID-related government restrictions have been lifted? 2) How long after that point will it become a mainstream opinion that the lockdowns were terrible govt policy?”

I am hopeful that all government-related COVID restrictions will be lifted by the summer. Once we get to a point where everyone in nursing homes is vaccinated — which I hope will happen this winter — the death rate will fall by at least half, ending the COVID fear porn in the media.

Yes, there will still be people dying WITH COVID, but they will be few and far between once nursing home deaths are taken off the table. (By the way, people will continue to die in nursing homes at high rates, but no one will notice when they are dying of something other than with COVID. Remember, the people dying are mostly not dying of COVID, they are dying with COVID. As in, COVID is one of three or four comorbidities that the average dying person has. This, of course, receives almost no media attention, but it’s why determining how many people have truly died from COVID has been so difficult.)

By the summer, anyone who wants a vaccine should be able to get one, and the combination of people who have already had the virus and people who have gotten the vaccine will effectively end any substantial outbreaks in the country, forcing the fear porn to find a new target.

This, unfortunately, won’t end the COVID political battles.

Because once the vaccine is widely available, there will likely be major battles over whether vaccination for healthy people should be compulsory. For instance, should children, who have virtually zero risk from COVID, be vaccinated? Right now the vaccine is for adults, but eventually kids will be part of the vaccination debate too. And I suspect there will be a demand for a national vaccine registry and that battles over issues of this nature will continue through the summer and into the fall.

But the governmental restrictions should cease by the summer if the vaccine rollout goes well.

As for when mainstream opinion will come to acknowledge that the coronabros and the fear porn led to terrible government policy relating to lockdowns, that’s a fascinating question.

If the COVID story is honestly told, I believe we will come to see lockdowns, school shutdowns, and the sundry panicked COVID response as the greatest American public policy failure since the Vietnam War. But that relies upon there being an honest public analysis of the historical record in the years ahead. Will we actually get that? Or will the coronabros and the fear porn purveyors refuse to allow this to occur?

I just don’t know.

What we’ve seen over the past several months is that, if you dare to question any overreach, you are attacked by the fearmongering and emotional COVID mob.

That means it may take decades until the definitive book is written laying out all the data and making it clear that lockdowns never made any sense at all. In particular, I’m hopeful the disastrous decision to shut down schools, which is already slowly becoming acknowledged to be a complete failure, will lead to an overall reexamination of our decision-making when it comes to lockdowns in general.

The stock market has already told us that COVID is the biggest overreaction in American history. Honestly, I hope you guys listened to me and bought stocks. I’m not sure we will ever see for the rest of our lives a better buying opportunity than what existed back in March. We’ve gone from 18,000 on the Dow to over 30,000 on the Dow in record time. The S&P and the NASDAQ are up even more.

It truly was the buying opportunity of a lifetime.

What I do know is that Operation Warp Speed — assuming the vaccines work — should be considered an American success story on the same level as the Manhattan Project. So there are positive stories to be told here, but I’m not sure that will happen either because Trump was president and this would require giving him credit for helming this policy, something the mainstream media is unwilling to do.

To go from a novel virus arriving in America in February to having a vaccine that is nearly 100% effective by October is one of the greatest accomplishments in American history.

While much of our response to this virus has been emotional and illogical, getting a vaccine this rapidly is simply a remarkable achievement. And it bodes incredibly well for our ability to handle any new pandemic that emerges in the decades ahead.

Personally, I’m hopeful that we never have another pandemic like this in our lifetimes, but our ability to produce a vaccine this rapidly offers a positive sign for a future when we might have a truly deadly pathogen that spreads rapidly around the world.

Regardless, it should be a phenomenal story to tell, but will it be told? Or will the narrative be that America failed because Trump is the worst thing to ever happen to the country? If we tell the story honestly, it will be one of a failed initial response, but an ultimate triumph.

Mike asks:

“Will Mike McCarthy be the HC in Dallas next season?”

I don’t see how you keep him, honestly.

I know the Cowboys have been beset by injuries, but his leadership is a disaster. And his decision-making has been awful.

I still have no idea what the fake punt play design from yesterday was. Was the punter supposed to be a lead blocker or a receiver? And what made anyone on the Cowboys think that a slow-developing fake was going to work? And why would you run it at that point in time when the game was still very much in doubt and all you needed was a punt and a defensive stop?

The big decision the Cowboys are going to have to make is this: what do they do about Dak Prescott? Given that they are now sitting at 3-8 on the season, they are likely to have a top ten draft pick. If you look at the available quarterbacks in the 2021 draft, we’re talking about five or six guys potentially going in the first round. So do the Cowboys consider signing and trading Dak? Or just letting him go and drafting a quarterback in the first round? It’s possible the Cowboys could be able to get the second or third best quarterback in the draft.

Right now, they’d be picking third after the Jets and the Jags.

Heck, from that position, the Cowboys could even make an aggressive play to trade up and get Trevor Lawrence.

I don’t think taking a quarterback’s an awful decision since you’re talking about giving Dak over a hundred million guaranteed coming off a serious injury or drafting a young quarterback and being able to pay him almost nothing for five years.

The Rams, Eagles, Chiefs, and Seahawks, among others, have all been able to either advance to the Super Bowl or win a Super Bowl with a quarterback under a rookie deal. Getting a quarterback way beneath his market value allows you to spend substantial assets on other positions, permitting you to build a roster of better talent around him.

So I actually think the Cowboy decision at quarterback is more significant than their decision at coach.

But having said all this, I don’t see how you bring back McCarthy for next season. I think he has to go.

Raymond writes:

“Do you think the NFL is seriously considering forcing the Ravens to forfeit their game against the Steelers?”

I think forcing forfeits over COVID is a really bad precedent to set.

Especially with the playoffs getting closer. What would happen if a playoff team had COVID issues and wasn’t able to play? Are you going to make a playoff team forfeit? What about the Super Bowl? Can you imagine the season ending that way?

I think the better precedent to set is that the games go on, no matter how many COVID positives there are.

Why do I say that?

Two reasons: 1. There’s no precedent for COVID passing during athletic competition anywhere in the world. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it does mean it’s virtually impossible. COVID-positive players can’t play, but this means that asymptomatic players, who may test positive later, have virtually no chance of passing the virus. 2. The NFL built up expanded rosters to deal with issues just like these.

It stinks if a team has an outbreak, but the players haven’t had any serious health issues so we’re not talking about long-lasting health concerns. I’d just keep the schedule rolling as it is and play no matter how many positives a team has. (This obviously could become an issue if a team isn’t able to produce a complete roster to play a game. But that would require, like, twenty COVID-positives, which hasn’t happened anywhere yet.)

But if the NFL decides to cancel the Ravens-Steelers game, then I think the easy solution is to expand the playoffs to eight teams in each conference and just set the precedent that if there are a set number of COVID positives — we’d need a targeted number — then games will be canceled for the regular season.

Once you get to the playoffs, I think you have to play. Because otherwise, you’re talking about holding up the entire playoffs over one team having an outbreak.

You can’t have that happen.

The final option is just bumping back the season by a week or more, which seems fine to me, but that the NFL appears to have rejected.

Zach writes:

“With politicians such as Denver Mayor Michael Hancock breaking their own COVID rules and suggestions, is it officially time for the gloves to come off and allow people to make decisions for themselves?”

It’s way past time for people to be allowed to make decisions for themselves, but how about the hypocrisy of all these politicians lecturing their constituents on the need to follow their prohibitions and then the politicians themselves not even being willing to follow their same rules?

It just demonstrates how full of crap many of these regulations truly are.

I think the Gavin Newsom absurdity in California really brought this hypocrisy home for many people.

I also think the Supreme Court decision is an important one — that mayoral and governor restrictions aren’t allowed to violate the Constitution. That is, that our rights under our laws don’t cease to exist during a pandemic.

The reality has been pretty clear here for a long time: if you’re elderly or immuno-compromised you need to be smart about exposing yourself to the general population, but if you’re young and healthy you should be going about your regular life because you have almost zero risk of death or serious illness.

This isn’t complicated. The COVID data has made this clear since March or April. Heck, I’ve been arguing it on this website since back then. Protect the vulnerable and let the rest of the people get back to work.

This virus impacts people of different ages differently. So why would we insist on a one-size-fits-all policy? It’s completely nonsensical.

I just don’t get it and never have.

And I also don’t get how the vast majority of Americans still don’t understand basic facts like these. The fear porn has been so overwhelming that basic facts haven’t been transmitted to the general population. And that’s what scares me far more than the pandemic, our ability to disseminate factual information through our media channels completely failed this year.

Crazy Bills fan:

“Is Josh Allen the best QB from the 2018 draft?”

I’d rate the five first round quarterbacks from 2018 thusly right now:

1. Lamar Jackson
2. Josh Allen
3. Baker Mayfield
4. Sam Darnold
5. Josh Rosen

But Josh Allen is giving Lamar Jackson a real run for that first spot right now.

And the trend lines definitely favor Josh Allen this season. Based on his performance last season, Lamar clearly had a big lead entering into this year, but his lead has been cut into substantially so far this year.

What would need to happen to put Josh Allen in first place? He’d need to take his team to the playoffs and win a game or two there. So far, no one in the 2018 draft class has won a playoff game. (Only Jackson and Allen have started playoff games at all, Jackson twice and Allen once.) So winning a playoff game or two — something the Bills haven’t done since 1995 — would be a major asset for Allen in this debate. (The same, by the way, would be true for Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens were to make the playoffs this year and win a couple of games, or even a game, in the post-season, it would represent another step for him even in a year when he hasn’t been as good as last year.)

The Jets will have a big decision to make about Sam Darnold in the offseason if, as seems likely, they lock in the No. 1 overall pick and Trevor Lawrence is available. It seems likely Darnold would be on the trade block then. Josh Rosen is already on his third team, so I think he’s clearly in the last spot here. Baker Mayfield has the Browns at 7-3, but I think it’s fair to say there’s still a great deal of skepticism about his long-range future with the Browns right now too, so putting him at three feels fair.

So that effectively makes this a two horse race: it’s Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson.

Johnathan writes:

“Why did Dallas give Zeke the big contract if they’re not going to use him? And is there any hope in Dallas?”

I have no idea why they gave Zeke such a massive contract and why they have been unwilling to use him since that point in time. With Dak out, this should be when Zeke proves his value. Instead, the opposite has happened. He looks like he’s finished as a major force.

I do know this — the Cowboys set an awful precedent in giving Zeke big money and tearing up his contract when he still had a year left on it.

I don’t blame Dak for being upset with that decision or expecting the same treatment.

Which, unfortunately for Dak, he never got.

Lauren writes:

“Where will Hugh Freeze be coaching next year? He should have multiple offers on the table.”

I’m honestly not sure if Freeze will have multiple on the table because I’m just not sure how many jobs are going to open up.

Right now South Carolina is open, but I’m not sure Freeze is the Gamecocks’ top target. (There are so many moving parts, rumors, and intentional subterfuge on coaching searches like these that I think it’s hard to peg down what’s true and what isn’t.)

If he doesn’t get South Carolina, I’m not sure what other big jobs are going to come open. I tend to think, at this point at least, that Jim Harbaugh is going to be back at Michigan next season. (Really, I do). If that happens, then what other jobs are opening up?

Sure, Tennessee or Vanderbilt could fire their coaches, but I’m not sure either would be willing to make a move this offseason.

And I don’t see a college coach making the jump to the NFL either.

Which means I think there’s a decent chance Freeze stays at Liberty and waits until next season when the COVID insanity is gone and we have a more traditional coaching market.

I don’t see Freeze’s value going down next season. I think he’s going to be the SEC’s white whale. He probably stands to make even more money, honestly, by spending another season at Liberty.

Thank you for reading Outkick, and I hope you guys have a fantastic long weekend.

I’m headed to the beach now. It’s another day of perfect weather in Florida.

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. Hope you’re right, Clay, on the vaccine. But I fear a global, UN-backed mandated vaccine policy for all…of course. Biden will insist that all must have vaccine to do Anything. Ticketmaster and Quantas airlines planning, I’m sure all PC corporations will follow.

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