By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The London dream is dumb. It just is.
I understand that this is America, so merely being an unstoppable profit machine, simply being a monolithic corporate powerhouse, and just being the unchallenged overlord of television ratings will never be enough. There’s always got to be more, more, MORE. No matter how large a company may be, no matter how astronomical its profits may rise, it simply must grow. Otherwise, in the American spirit of business, it is shrinking.
To stagnate is to die.
You could probably hold some type of debate on capitalism on that topic, and it might take you several hours or perhaps even days. It would likely be quite boring. And annoying, depending on the person with whom you’re carrying on.
But in the case of football, this simply does not need to be case. Jamming a London team down the throats of all who follow professional football is an unnecessary step toward world domination that will never come to fruition in the way that the billionaires running the league envision.
While of course, yes, expansion into foreign markets like England or China (and perhaps to a smaller extent, Mexico and Canada) is a guarantee to expand profits, it comes with some significant issues that work to weaken the product. Permanently basing a franchise in London — whether that’s the Chargers, Jaguars, or whoever else gets rumored to be sent across the Atlantic — creates a series of complications without any true solutions.
The challenge of scheduling the travel, both for the theoretical London team and its theoretical opponents, is one that only can be “solved” by creating a significant disadvantage for one team. (That team will usually end up being the London team.) And that’s just for games.
If the London Scallywags (I just named them, do you like it?) needed to work out three running backs on a Tuesday, the team has to fly in a guy from Los Angeles, a guy from Memphis, and a guy from Miami. That’s inconvenient. Those players also have to take a 20-hour round trip flight just to run around for some coaches, trying to get a job they are very unlikely to be offered.
In some sort of satellite base, to alleviate some of that inconvenience, the Scallywags could keep some scouts and coaches stateside, but which ones? Their better scouts? Their less-experienced ones? Most cohesive football operations like to function together, rather than separated by a vast and deep ocean.
And what of the injured players? Being injured is enough of a nuisance without having to fly for 10 hours to get a second opinion. And if the Scallywags are on a three- or four-week road trip in the continental United States, is living in a hotel for a month the ideal situation for any player to recover from any injury?
Plus, how would the Scallywags really compete in free agency? All things being equal, what player would willingly sign up for that lifestyle unless the Wags were willing to overpay to an overwhelming degree. And if the ol’ Scally boys can’t lure free agents without overspending, then they’re operating at a major disadvantage in a league that is governed by a salary cap.
All of that is just the surface level stuff. You could do this all day.
Putting an NFL team in London is a bad idea. Nobody — aside from those who are already profiting in the billions of dollars — want it to happen.
OK, maybe this guy, too:
Let’s make some Week 10 picks.
(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)
OAKLAND (+1) over Los Angeles Chargers
I don’t know, man. I was so bad last week. SO. BAD. It’s embarrassing. I went 3-10-1. It was one of the very worst weeks I’ve ever had in my decade of bravely and audaciously making NFL picks just for you. And so, really, I’m a broken man. I don’t know what to tell you.
That will be a recurring theme throughout these here picks.
Detroit (+2.5) over CHICAGO
These teams are almost as hot as me right now. The Lions have lost four of their last five after their promising start to the year. The Bears have lost four straight after coming out of the gates real hot.
What I’m trying to say is these teams stink. This game stinks. (And I stink at picks.)
Baltimore (-9.5) over CINCINNATI
I was all excited to make the smart pick, anticipating a Ravens flop after their emotional and LOUD victory over the previously undefeated Patriots a week ago. And against, say, at least 20 teams, I’d willingly jump at the opportunity to take nearly 10 points the other way.
Alas, the Bengals make this move impossible. And so, though I still envision a less-than-perfect game from Baltimore due to the hangover effect, I cannot in good conscience do anything except select Baltimore.
(I’m also bad at this, so take all of that with a grain of salt.)
Buffalo (+2.5) over CLEVELAND
This is a weird one. The Browns just lost to the Broncos. The Bills are 6-2. Sure, the Buffalo offense isn’t anything great … but they’re averaging 19.8 points per game … which is almost a point more than Cleveland’s fancy pants offense.
I suppose the line has something to do with people finding it hard to envision the Browns losing a fifth straight game? I guess. Yet anybody who’s watched Freddie Kitchens this season should have no hesitation in seeing that one come to life.
(Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield this season? They’ve been almost as bad as I have been at making picks. But not quite.)
NEW ORLEANS (-13) over Atlanta
The Falcons … didn’t fire Dan Quinn?
New York Giants (-2.5) over NEW YORK JETS
The New York Giants are a football team that functions just on the edge of competence. They show flashes of competence.
The New York Jets? They do not. In a year where some people anticipated they’d actually push the Patriots in the AFC East, they have crashed, and they have burned. They lost to the Dolphins. Their No. 3 overall pick at QB is bad. Their prized free-agent acquisition is both bad and slightly injured. Their head coach, who was called some sort of quarterbacking and offensive wizard (despite having been Ryan Tannehill’s coach for years), is bad.
The Jets are bad.
(So am I.)
(But you knew that.)
TAMPA BAY (-4.5) over Arizona
You think making picks is easy? Do ya? DO YOU?
It’s not. It’s not easy.
Spend more than five seconds thinking about this one, and you’ll understand.
Kansas City (-3.5) over TENNESSEE
This sounds weird to say, or even think, but I don’t even care if Patrick Mahomes goes in this one. Matt Moore has been stunningly serviceable in his time on the field. He’s completed just under 65 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no picks, averaging 7.2 yards per passing attempt and posting a shiny 100.9 passer rating. This is MATT MOORE we’re talking about!
When it comes time to debate Andy Reid for the Hall of Fame, and people like me point to pesky things like “playoff records” and “clock management,” someone ought to just fire up the tape of Matt Moore’s improbable run of quarterbacking in the autumn of 2019 to shut me right up.
Miami (+10.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Look, I know, I get it. Miami’s not a real NFL team. One win over the Jets doesn’t change that.
But the Colts haven’t won a game by 10 points all year long. In their five wins, their largest margin of victory was seven points. They won another by six points, another by a field goal, and two games by just two points. Last week, they puked away a road win in spectacular fashion, Jacoby Brissett suffered a knee sprain, Brian Hoyer promptly threw a pick-six, and Adam Vinatieri shanked a would-be game winner into the Monongahela.
Even including Indy’s losses, all eight of the Colts’ games have been decided by 7 points or fewer. They play tight games. If Miami can carry on like something even just close to an NFL team, I may look like a GENIUS for making this pick.
(Writer’s note: He will not look like a genius, no matter what happens.)
Carolina (+5.5) over GREEN BAY
Another whatever pick right here. I mean, the Packers: What are you? Who are you?
They either look like a Super Bowl team or a last-place finisher. Which one they are depends on which way the wind is blowing. Their unpredictability leads me to feel comfortable taking Carolina with a healthy dosage of points. Even if I end up being dead wrong, I’ve spared myself from the pain and anguish of wondering how and why the Green Bay Packers are playing like a bunch of jabronis on my television.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) over PITTSBURGH
This is kind of incredible: Prior to getting gifted a win they didn’t deserve last weekend, the Steelers’ first three wins of the seasons came against the Bengals, Dolphins and Chargers. Those three teams are a whopping 5-20 this season. Pittsburgh won’t be true contenders for a wild-card spot this season.
(Oddly, though, their largest loss of the season came in the only game that featured Ben Roethlisberger playing for its entirety, and in the game that came with an entire offseason to prepare for.)
DALLAS (-3) over Minnesota
THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS SMELL.
That is all.
(Well, also this: As a starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins owns a 33-20-1 record when playing in the 1 p.m. ET window. He’s 9-23 in games played later than that. That’s bananas.)
Seattle (+6.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
A Monday night game that’s actually worth watching? A true unicorn on the NFL’s schedule.
I kind of like the 49ers to pull out a victory and remain undefeated for a few more weeks.
I rrrreally like the Seahawks covering, especially if George Kittle is affected by the knee injury that ended his night early last Thursday. Kittle accounts for 30 percent of the Niners’ receiving yards. Jimmy Garoppolo has targeted Kittle on a quarter of his throws this season. If Kittle is out or not playing at full speed, the Niners’ offense should have trouble moving the ball, even if that Seattle defense is nothing like it was back in the good old Boom days.
So I really like that. But I’m also just hoping to be able to show my face next week. Another week of picks like the one I had last week, and it will officially be time to retire.
You have my word on that.
(You most certainly do not.)
Last week: 3-10-1
Season BEFORE last week: 55-65-1 (hey that’s just regular bad, not TERRIBLE, huh?!?!?!)